Defining Apps and Utilities

It’s a habit of mine to make use of the default setting and make use of it. One of the default state in Snow Leopard and its predecessor is the existence of Utilities folder. I never put anything inside this folder because I haven’t figured out what it does.

I have defined my own style to organize apps within the Applications folder. It is simple — without various of methodology and formula.

Applications Folder

Utilities Folder

Basically, I put apps inside Applications folder and utilities apps inside Utilities folder. The result is a well organized Applications folder.

But how do I determine which apps considered as utilities? This is how I distinguish them.

  • If it is actively used regularly, mark it as apps. Apps such as Alfred and Bowtie are the example of this type of apps. I use them regularly and have to control it.
  • If I control it, mark it as apps. There might be some apps you don’t use regularly. But whenever you use it, it requires you to control its behavior. I need to control Transmission for torrent download and Data Glue to join several parts of files. However, I don’t use them regularly.
  • If it is an apps, mark it as apps. Photoshop, Safari, iTunes and Mail are clearly this type of apps.
  • If it is running in background to enhance your workflow. Mark it as utilities. Caffeine, Cinch, and F.lux are considered as utilities.
  • If it has the chance to cause failure to your system. Mark it as utilities.
  • Let utilities apps stay still inside its Utilities folder.

By organizing your apps into these two categories, you will be able to tell how many apps are installed. Because most of the utilities apps exist to assist you when problem occurs, it is better to have them there. And if you think your system is bloated with many unnecessary apps, it is time remove some of them.