I am looking for a trick in which to open the same app twice. Let me explain.

For example, I have an app called SQLite Database Browser but it can only handle one SQL DB at a time. I would like to start another SQLite DB Browser so I can open another SQL DB file. How do I do that?

  • I do this with Firefox occasionally by creating multiple browser profiles. OS X then sees each instance of Firefox with a unique profile as a separate application. Jul 19, 2011 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


If you use open from the command line you can pass a parameter to start a new instance:

open -n /Applications/TextEdit.app

Or, alternatively:

open -n -a TextEdit

Another way is to find the Unix executable in the app bundle and run it:

/Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit &
  • 4
    One could use Automator.app to create a small application that uses this command line to launch a second instance. That would eliminate the need to always type that into a Terminal.
    – slhck
    Jul 19, 2011 at 20:35
  • @Mark. Excellent. The open -n works great. I haven't tried the Unix executable but I'll keep that in mind. @ slhck. scripting will do the trick. If I need to use the command over and over again, I'll definitely make one. Thanks everybody!!!
    – oky_sabeni
    Jul 20, 2011 at 14:46
  • @slhck When using Automator, select "Services" and "Shell Script". Use clover-S to save, and go to keyboard shortcuts, "Services" to find this script and assign it to a shortcut. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/24063/…
    – yurisich
    Oct 28, 2013 at 15:58
  • 2
    just alias it, eg. alias textedit='open -n /Applications/TextEdit.app'
    – VH-NZZ
    Jun 3, 2015 at 7:17
  • In both: Linux and Windows, I just middle-click the app on the taskbar, or click on it from the app list (about 1-2s depending on the screen resolution and mouse distance to the icon). Having 2 application profiles pointing to the same app is IMO not a good solution: what if I need 3 or 4 instances? Will it take 2 spaces on my taskbar if I use none? Will I have to choose which of the two icons I already have open and which I have to click? Apple have a looooot to learn from KDE taskbar, or even Windows taskbar. Aug 23, 2019 at 16:17

I know with CarbonCopyCloner I can make another copy of the application itself and I can open two instances of CCC at the same time. Have you tried something like that?

  • So, use CCC to create another copy of the SQLite application?
    – oky_sabeni
    Jul 19, 2011 at 19:04
  • 2
    No @mdgarci was just giving CCC as an example - just copy your app with finder -- but for better way see my answer
    – mmmmmm
    Jul 19, 2011 at 19:24
  • @Mark Classy example of advertising your answer - but good job on yours. Jun 18, 2018 at 14:51

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