APPLY(1) General Commands Manual APPLY(1)
apply – apply a command to a set of arguments
apply [-a c] [-d] [-#] command argument ...
The apply utility runs the named command on each argument argument in turn.
Character sequences of the form “%d” in command, where ‘d’ is a digit from
1 to 9, are replaced by the d´th following unused argument. In this case,
the largest digit number of arguments are discarded for each execution of
The options are as follows:
-# Normally arguments are taken singly; the optional number -#
specifies the number of arguments to be passed to command. If the
number is zero, command is run, without arguments, once for each
If any sequences of “%d” occur in command, the -# option is
-a c The use of the character ‘%’ as a magic character may be changed
with the -a option.
-d Display the commands that would have been executed, but do not
actually execute them.
The following environment variable affects the execution of apply:
SHELL Pathname of shell to use. If this variable is not defined, the
Bourne shell is used.
apply echo a*
is similar to ls(1);
apply -2 cmp a1 b1 a2 b2 a3 b3
compares the `a' files to the `b' files;
apply -0 who 1 2 3 4 5
runs who(1) 5 times; and
apply ´ln %1 /usr/joe´ *
links all files in the current directory to the directory /usr/joe.
/bin/sh default shell
Shell metacharacters in command may have bizarre effects; it is best to
enclose complicated commands in single quotes ('').
The apply command appeared in 4.2BSD.
macOS 12.1 April 4, 1994 macOS 12.1