Apple Installer: Less than Gracious

June 7th, 2005 | Tags:

I was trying to install an un-named Safari add-on and found that the installer required administrator access, so I sent the company an email and asked them why. The reply came back in less than a day:

[Our program’s] components are installed at the system level, rather than the user level. Therefore, admin privileges are required to make sure the directory permissions end up correct.

[Our program] actually works just fine installed at the user level, but Apple’s Installer is less than gracious with installing software there. If Installer is ever modified to adequately support user-level installations then we’ll probably move [our program], or at least give you an option.

Not sure what limitations are being referred to in the Installer program, but I will post and update if I find out.


It’s been a feature request or bug report within Apple for a very long time. Why Installer hasn’t been modified is a mystery, but even Apple acknowledges the shortcomings. For example, see this recent web page:

Look at the section for installing Automators. Apple provides an installation AppleScript script for installing into the user’s home directory, and they recommend using Installer for system-level installations.

We’ll investigate adapting an installer that gives you the option (system- or user-level), or rolling our own.

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