Launch multiple instances of any given application

Jul 15, '03 10:24:00AM

Contributed by: elmimmo

Although there have been previous hints on launching multiple instances of an application, most often they have revolved around manually duplicating the icon of that app. Technically, that is not launching multiple instances of an application but launching several identical but independent applications.

You can do it without cluttering your desktop. The hint is not mine, I found it in this old thread at the forums. Although it has been submitted several times in some comments, hints involving duplicating icons keep being published. So here is the definitive universal hint to launch multiple instances of an application. It requires Terminal use, but most probably it would be damn easy for a JavaScript coder to develop a dropplet that would perform the same by just dropping into it the icon for the desired app to be relaunched.

To launch a new instance of a Cocoa application, no matter if it is already open or not, simply open the Terminal and type:

/Path/To/Application.app/Contents/MacOS/Application &
For example:
/Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit &
Type that as many times as instances of TextEdit you want running. The & lets you close the Terminal and keep working with the launched instances. Launching Carbon apps is not that easy. If the application is not a bundle, you do that by typing:
/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/Current/
  Support/LaunchCFMApp '/Path/To/Application' &
Type the above as one line, and do not add a space between "Current/" and "Support." If it is a bundle, type:
/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/
  Current/Support/LaunchCFMApp '/Path/To/Application.app/
  Contents/MacOS/Application' &
Again, type the above as one line with no spaces between the "/" at the end of each line and the text on the next. For example,
/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/Current/
  Support/LaunchCFMApp '/Applications/StuffIt Expander.app/Contents/
  MacOS/StuffIt Expander' &

OK. This is not so universal. There are a few applications that refuse to launch. However, if this does not work with a certain application, most probably it will not work either with the 'duplicate icon' hint. For instance, do not bother trying to use this with Adobe Photoshop 7.0!

[robg adds: I have not tested this hint myself.]

Comments (9)


Mac OS X Hints
http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20030711041351836