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Here you can see in which directories Start uses Spotlight to search for applications. You can add your own entries to this list here.

The search scope is especially interesting for users of macOS 10.15 Catalina or higher. By default, Start does not search in the application directory of the current user (~/Applications) due to sandbox restrictions.

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To protect your data, Start runs according to Apple's specifications in a so-called sandbox. The sandbox gives Start only very limited access to the files and folders on your Mac. For example, applications can be started in the applications directory, but for files or programs in their own directories, Start requires permission from you. When you add your own files to Start, permission to open them from Start is automatically added. You can see which accesses you have set up over time (and which may no longer be needed) in the "Sandbox Access" list in the settings.

If you have allowed access to a directory, the permissions also apply to its subdirectories.