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Last active May 25, 2024 19:51
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appify — create the simplest possible Mac app from a shell script (adds an application icon)
#!/usr/bin/env bash
SCRIPT=`basename "$0"`
OSX_VERSION=`sw_vers -productVersion`
function usage {
cat <<EOF
$SCRIPT v${VERSION} for for Mac OS X -
$SCRIPT [options]
-h, --help Prints this help message, then exits
-s, --script Name of the script to 'appify' (required)
-n, --name Name of the application (default "$APPNAME")
-i, --icons Name of the icons file to use when creating the app
(defaults to $APPICONS)
-v, --version Prints the version of this script, then exits
Creates the simplest possible Mac app from a shell script.
Appify has one required parameter, the script to appify:
$SCRIPT --script
Note that you cannot rename appified apps. If you want to give your app
a custom name, use the '--name' option
$SCRIPT --script --name "Sweet"
Copyright (c) Thomas Aylott <>
Modified by Mathias Bynens <>
Modified by Andrew Dvorak <>
Rewritten by Duncan McGreggor <>
exit 1
function version {
echo "v${VERSION}"
exit 1
function error {
echo "ERROR: $1"
while :; do
case $1 in
-h | --help ) usage;;
-s | --script ) APPSCRIPT="$2"; shift ;;
-n | --name ) APPNAME="$2"; shift ;;
-i | --icons ) APPICONS="$2"; shift ;;
-v | --version ) version;;
-- ) shift; break ;;
* ) break ;;
if [ -z ${APPSCRIPT+nil} ]; then
error "the script to appify must be provided!"
if [ ! -f "$APPSCRIPT" ]; then
error "the can't find the script '$APPSCRIPT'"
if [ -a "$" ]; then
error "the bundle '$PWD/$' already exists"
mkdir -vp "$APPDIR"/{MacOS,Resources}
cp -v "$APPICONS" "$APPDIR/Resources/$APPNAME.icns"
chmod +x "$APPDIR/MacOS/$APPNAME"
cat <<EOF > "$APPDIR/Info.plist"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
echo "Application bundle created at '$PWD/$'"
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varenc commented Dec 28, 2021

This worked great for turning a script into a .app! But if you're doing this to deal with permission stuff, I'll note that the .app still isn't treated like one by macOS for security permission purposes. For example, if your script needs the Accessibility permission, macOS asks you to grant Accessibility permissions to bash (or zsh/sh/env/whatever), even though it's run from this .app. The heavier-weight Platypus app, linked above, addresses this for me so that the .app itself is what needs the permissions. Though I imagine for many this isn't important.

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denwald commented Jul 28, 2022

Thank you for this convenient script. It works like a charm on my Intel iMac running Monterey. On my MacBook Air M1 (Apple Silicon) on the other hand I only get a pop up which offers to install Rosetta emulation. This does not make a lot of sense to me, since I've only packaged a bash script. Any idea if this is a general limitation of macOS and the M1 SOC?

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bikeridercz commented May 13, 2024

Hi ! Something has to change over the time. The script successfully creates an .APP but it does not work in these days. I tried to make simple shell script that works when if invoked directly, however it does not work if wrapped by .APP. Any idea ?

radim@Radim-MacBookPro14 % ./test         
Ahoj !

radim@Radim-MacBookPro14 % ./ 
Ahoj !

radim@Radim-MacBookPro14 % ./ 
zsh: permission denied: ./

radim@Radim-MacBookPro14 % open ./
The application cannot be opened for an unexpected reason, error=Error Domain=NSOSStatusErrorDomain Code=-10661 "(null)" UserInfo={_LSLine=4129, _LSFunction=_LSOpenStuffCallLocal}

radim@Radim-MacBookPro14 % sw_vers
ProductName:		macOS
ProductVersion:		14.4.1
BuildVersion:		23E224

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