How to Sort macOS Applications by Category in the Finder

By Justin Pot on March 22nd, 2017

If you’re like me, the Applications folder on your Mac is overflowing with apps, most of which you rarely use but still like to keep around. If scrolling through everything to find what you’re looking for is overwhelming, a simple trick lets you sort these applications by categories—like Productivity, Music, Education, and more.

To get started, open your Finder and head to the Applications folder.

From here, press Command+J on your keyboard to open the View Options window. Alternatively, you can click View > Show View Options in the menu bar.

Click the “Arrange By” dropdown, and select “Application Category.”

Just like that, your Applications will be sorted by Category! The sections used in the Mac App Store are all represented, but all applications will be sorted, not just Mac App Store ones.

If you switch to View as Icons (Command+1), the Finder offers rows for each category. It looks great, though might not be for everyone.

There’s one downside to the category view: a lot of applications get dumped into “Other,” presumably because their creators haven’t specified a category. Sadly, we couldn’t find any way to manually specify a category.

Even so, this is a useful trick to know about, and just might make it easier to browse your apps. I kind of wish Launchpad used these categories—I might even consider using it then!

Justin Pot is a staff writer for How-To Geek, and a technology enthusiast who lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.

  • Published 03/22/17
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