7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 20, 2012 9:08 AM by way458
474pjl Level 1 (0 points)

I am trying to remove apps I don't like or use.  How do I delete them?

MacBook Pro
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)

    Uninstalling Software: The Basics


    Most OS X applications are completely self-contained "packages" that can be uninstalled by simply dragging the application to the Trash.  Applications may create preference files that are stored in the /Home/Library/Preferences/ folder.  Although they do nothing once you delete the associated application, they do take up some disk space.  If you want you can look for them in the above location and delete them, too.


    Some applications may install an uninstaller program that can be used to remove the application.  In some cases the uninstaller may be part of the application's installer, and is invoked by clicking on a Customize button that will appear during the install process.


    Some applications may install components in the /Home/Library/Applications Support/ folder.  You can also check there to see if the application has created a folder.  You can also delete the folder that's in the Applications Support folder.  Again, they don't do anything but take up disk space once the application is trashed.


    Some applications may install a startupitem or a Log In item.  Startupitems are usually installed in the /Library/StartupItems/ folder and less often in the /Home/Library/StartupItems/ folder.  Log In Items are set in the Accounts preferences.  Open System Preferences, click on the Accounts icon, then click on the LogIn Items tab.  Locate the item in the list for the application you want to remove and click on the "-" button to delete it from the list.


    Some software use startup daemons or agents that are a new feature of the OS.  Look for them in /Library/LaunchAgents/ and /Library/LaunchDaemons/ or in /Home/Library/LaunchAgents/.


    If an application installs any other files the best way to track them down is to do a Finder search using the application name or the developer name as the search term.  Unfortunately Spotlight will not look in certain folders by default.  You can modify Spotlight's behavior or use a third-party search utility, Easy Find, instead.  Download Easy Find at VersionTracker or MacUpdate.


    Some applications install a receipt in the /Library/Receipts/ folder.  Usually with the same name as the program or the developer.  The item generally has a ".pkg" extension.  Be sure you also delete this item as some programs use it to determine if it's already installed.


    There are many utilities that can uninstall applications.  Here is a selection:









    Spring Cleaning


    Look for them at VersionTracker or MacUpdate.


    For more information visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on removing software.

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Kappy wrote:





    IMHO, it's better to stay away from these apps. Two reviews


    <http://www.macworld.com/article/151403/2010/05/essentialutilitiesuninstallers.ht ml>



    My own experience is closer to the latter.

  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)

    I've used all three. Presently I use Automaton. I've not experienced any issues with any of them.

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Kappy wrote:


    I've not experienced any issues with any of them.

    And I'm sure you're not alone. But… Dr Smoke (whose FAQ you recommended) suggests, in a different FAQ, using Norton Antivirus. Clearly, he never had any issues with it. And yet there are quite a few veterans here who have often argued very strongly against using it. Comparaison n'est pas raison, so my point is merely that there are very few apps which cause problems for all users.

  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)

    The main criticism in the article about uninstaller apps is not that they create problems, rather that they do not usually rid the system of all the files an application may create. That is valid mainly because it's difficult to know where applications will install files outside of certain common locations. Norton products on the other hand have a long established history of creating major problems like drive corruption, negative interaction with other applications, etc.


    Before I would suggest not using something I'd want to learn what problems it may create. I did not see any criticism of the uninstaller apps associated with system interaction problems. Uninstaller apps work well with OS X. Some are better than others at finding files to remove. That's probably good to know when deciding which one you might use. I've used all of the ones mentioned in my FAQ. I picked the one that works best for me and has features I can use.

  • way458 Level 1 (0 points)

    Drag and drop to trash. Just done it myself.