With the exception of App Store purchases, installers run the gamut from simple to excruciatingly complex.
Some apps, when unzipped after download, simply need to be dragged to the Mac’s Applications folder. Others have an actual installer and put the app’s files who knows where. For a few years I’ve used a Mac utility that does what Apple probably doesn’t want Mac users to do. Open installers, and extract individual files and folders.
Why would you do that?
Most Mac installers come in disk images, .pkg package files, or are zipped up in a variety of archives. Double-click on an installer app and it simply installs everything it’s programmed to install.
What if you want to examine a package file or disk image or archive before installing it? That’s easier said than done, but much easier with the Pacifist utility.
A good example is the installer for OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Download it from the App Store, double click, and it installs everything. What if you only want to install a specific app that was corrupt, or accidentally deleted? That’s what Pacifist does.
Use Pacifist to find and install a single app from the Mavericks installation file. Pacifist can also verify existing app installations and find missing files or files which may have been altered. It can even examine OS X kernel extensions and tell you which installer did the installation; either Apple or a third party.
Pacifist is decidedly a Mac Geek users utility, but made easy for those of us of more common stock. There’s no better way to dig into a Mac app’s installer than Pacifist.