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Install Applications

When the time comes to install other applications on your Mac, several options await. Even now, decades into personal computing, installing software can be confusing. Here are the common methods of doing it.

From a disc

If you purchase a physical copy of a program, it most likely is stored on an installer disc. Insert the disc into your Mac's optical drive and skip ahead to "Installation methods."

Download from the Internet

Thanks to online distribution, you often don't need to bother with discs (and the bloated packaging around most of them).

  1. Download the software from a company's Web site. It will be packaged as an archive (with a .zip or .hqx filename extension), or as a disk image (ending in .dmg).
  2. Locate the downloaded file. In Safari, you can click the Show in Finder button (the magnifying glass icon) next to the file's name in the Downloads window (Figure 4.11).
    Figure 4.11

    Figure 4.11 Locating the installer you just downloaded.

    You can also open the Downloads folder in your Home folder; Mac OS X puts it in the Dock by default.

  3. Double-click the file to open it. If it's a disk image, a virtual volume appears on the Desktop and, usually, a new window appears with the volume's contents (Figure 4.12).
    Figure 4.12

    Figure 4.12 A mounted disk image.

Installation methods

With a disc or disk image mounted on the Desktop, you'll encounter one of the following installation methods.

  • Drag and drop. Simply drag the software's icon to your Applications folder. The developer may have included an alias to the folder in the disk image, in which case you can just drag to that (Figure 4.13).

    Figure 4.13

    Figure 4.13 Drag and drop installation.

  • Run an installer program. Double-click the software's installer program, which should be clearly marked. You'll need to provide your administrator password to grant the program access to write its files, and most likely read and agree to a terms of service contract. Follow the installer's instructions.

After the installation

When the program has been copied or the installer is finished, don't forget to eject the physical disc or mounted disk image: Select it on the Desktop and choose File > Eject (Command-E); click the Eject button in the menu bar; or click the Eject button to the right of the item's name in a window's sidebar. You can also delete the original file stored in the Downloads folder.

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