August 8, 2022

4 ways to uninstall apps on a Mac

Uninstalling Pesky Apps From Your Mac!

In theory, uninstalling unwanted, unneeded, and pesky apps from your Mac should be simple. All you need to do is drag it into the bin. Sadly, apps are more resilient than documents and movie files and don’t go down without a fight. Or to be less dramatic, you have to get rid of what they leave behind to truly purge the app from your system.

So how do you get rid of unwanted apps?

Understand Your Apps

When you install an app it can do some weird and wonderful things. It can:

  • Store itself in more than one location.
  • Bring friends or “satellite” apps.
  • Store itself in unusual locations few knew existed.

Now you know why when you drag your app to the trash, there could be an entire family of the same or related apps left on your system. How rude!

Three Ways to Delete Apps From Your Mac

In essence, delete means delete. So if you’re trying to remove an app, reinstall a corrupted one, or you simply want to create more space it is important to remove the whole app and not just a portion of it.

If you consider that an app has preference and support files, and often hidden files, you can see how hard this can be.

To completely remove it you can use:

  • Trash.
  • Launchpad.
  • A native uninstaller.

So let’s look at how you use these to remove apps without leaving some of it lingering about creating issues.

Using Trash to Uninstall Apps

This system should work no matter what version of macOS you’re using. So, open:

  • Finder.
  • Applications.
  • Choose the app that is biting the dust.
  • Press Command + Delete (⌘⌫).
  • Go to Trash and click the Empty button.

Sadly, this is not the end of the story. Apps don’t go down without a fight and to continue that fight you have to hunt down other locations where bits of the app are stored and delete them. They tend to lurk in system folders, and you have to go through them one by one to find and purge.

This includes the following:

  • Binary and dock icons located in /Applications/.
  • Support files found in ~/Library/Application Support.
  • Support caches located in /Library/Caches/ and ~/Library/Caches.
  • Plugins found here; ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/.
  • Library located in believe it or not; ~/Library/.
  • App preferences; ~/Library/Preferences/.
  • Crashes; ~/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter/.
  • App saved states; ~/Library/Saved Application State/.

Ensure you know the file you delete is part of the app you deleted. System problems can ensure and they are no fun to fix if you delete something important.

In addition, apps can be found in hidden files including ones your Mac has banned you from accessing.

Uninstalling Apps with Launchpad

To use Launchpad do this:

  • Launch Launchpad in your Mac’s Dock.
  • Find the app that must die.
  • Click and hold the app until it shakes.
  • Click X in the top left corner of the app.
  • Click Delete.

Again, you’ll have to go through the steps outlined above to track down the rest of the app and put it to rest.

Delete Using a Native Uninstaller

Some apps come up with a utility designed to make the app self-destruct. If your app has one not only should you praise the god you believe in, but you should use it as it should remove the entire app from your system.

So:

  • Finder then Applications.
  • If your app looks like a folder open it. If it has an uninstall folder click it and let it do its stuff.

Good luck with uninstalling apps from your entire Mac!

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