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

     Rob Pike

     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