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LaunchServices is responsible for binding documents to applications and the system-level functionality of launching applications.

It is part of the ApplicationServices umbrella framework.


*Conceptual docs at *Reference docs at *A technote at *The header file at file:///System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Headers/LaunchServices.h

See also HowToRegisterURLHandler.

Courtesy of Charles Srstka, on Apple’s cocoa-dev mailing list:

These two lines of code will get you an NSArray filled with an NSURL for each application on the system, wherever it may be stored.

NSArray *urls; _LSCopyAllApplicationURLs(&urls);

Unfortunately, the _LSCopyAllApplicationURLs() function is private and undocumented. But it does work, and since it’s usually reading cached information out of the LaunchServices database, it’s much faster than a file search.

There is more discussion of this under AllApplications

Well, the good news is that it is not totally undocumented. Tech Note 2029 does mention it. ;-)

New in Mac OS X 10.3 is a promising concept called UniformTypeIdentifiers (UTIs), which serve much the same purpose as MIME types and appear to be designed to replace OSTypes.

See LaunchServices/UTType.h for more information. –boredzo

I would like to associate my document type (.score) with my Application. That means I would like the documents created by my application to have my Application Icon. I would also like to launch my Application when a .score document is double clicked in the finder and open that document. Thanks for any input

To associate your document and application, modify the application’s Info.plist file. You need to add a ‘CFBundleDocumentTypes’ entry. The link below will get you started. Also, look at the Sketch AppKit example.


– GrahamMiln

Thank you for your reply. The ‘CFBundleDocumentTypes’ entry was quickly added in the active target configuration. What about launching a document that’s associated with my application from the finder? Do I need to implement a certain message signature somewhere in my app to take arguments from the finder? Thanks again