Skip to content

A Comprehensive Guide to Permanently Removing Apps on Mac

Trying to uninstall an app on your Mac only to find it‘s still lurking around? You‘re not alone! Fully deleting unwanted apps can be tricky – but this step-by-step guide will show you the techniques to permanently banish any app from your Mac forever.

Why Should You Bother Uninstalling Apps?

Having random unused apps hanging around may not seem like a big deal. But keeping your Mac tidy by uninstalling apps you no longer need has some important benefits:

  • Save storage space – The average app takes up around 100 MB of storage. That adds up fast if you have dozens of unused apps! Removing them frees up room for files you actually use.
  • Speed up your Mac – Too many apps, especially poorly optimized ones, can bog down your system. Deleting them can give a nice boost in speed and performance.
  • Enhance security – Unused apps increase your vulnerability to malware and other risks. It‘s smart to remove programs you don‘t use to strengthen your Mac‘s security.
  • Fix app problems – If an app is glitchy or unresponsive, uninstalling and reinstalling it often fixes things.
  • Simplify your digital life – Less unused apps makes for a cleaner, less cluttered computing experience.
Reasons to Uninstall Apps
Save storage space Enhance security
Speed up your Mac Fix app problems
Simplify your digital life

So while removing unused apps requires some effort, it pays off – a tidy Mac is a happy Mac! Now let‘s look at how to banish those unwanted apps for good.

Uninstall Methods from Basic to Advanced

There are a range of techniques to uninstall programs on a Mac, from quick and simple to extremely thorough. Let‘s go through them from easiest to more complex:

Delete the App File

This basic method removes just the main .app file itself:

  1. Find the app – Locate the app in your Applications folder or via Spotlight search.
  2. Drag to Trash – Click and drag the app file to the Trash.
  3. Empty Trash – Right click the Trash icon and choose Empty Trash.

Fast and easy, but this leaves behind all the associated files and preferences. Read on for better options!

Remove from Launchpad

Launchpad provides a streamlined uninstall process:

  1. Open Launchpad – Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock or use a gesture/hotkey.
  2. Locate the app – Find the app among the icons in Launchpad.
  3. Click the "X" – Press and hold the icon until they all jiggle, then click the X.
  4. Confirm deletion – Click the Delete button to confirm removing the app.
  5. Empty Trash – Finish the job by emptying the Trash.

This gets rid of the app cleanly in just a few clicks! Much better than the basic delete method.

Uninstall Using the App Store

For App Store downloads, uninstall directly from the source:

  1. Launch App Store – Open the App Store on your Mac.
  2. Go to Purchases – Click your account icon and choose Purchases.
  3. Find the app – Scroll through your installed apps and locate the one to remove.
  4. Click Delete – Choose the Delete or X button next to the app entry.

The App Store will cleanly uninstall the program and most related files. Don‘t forget to empty the Trash after!

Leverage Uninstaller Software

Purpose-built uninstaller tools are extremely thorough:

  1. Get an uninstaller – Download a well-reviewed uninstaller like CleanMyMac X, AppCleaner or EasyUninstall.
  2. Run the tool – Open the uninstaller and scan for the app you want to remove.
  3. Delete all traces – It will find all files, caches, prefs and other remnants to delete.
  4. Empty Trash – Finish up by taking out the Trash containing the deleted app traces.

Mac experts recommend using a specialized uninstaller app for the most comprehensive uninstall. It really helps avoid leaving any leftovers behind!

Manually Search and Delete

For absolute certainty, you can manually sweep for any remaining files:

  1. Open Finder – Launch Finder via the Dock icon or with a keyboard shortcut.
  2. Check usual locations – Scan common spots like Application Support, Caches, Preferences folders.
  3. Do a system search – Use Finder system search to look for files/folders with the app name.
  4. Inspect user account – Switch to your user folder and dig around for any remains related to the app.
  5. Examine LaunchAgents – Carefully check LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons for anything related to the app.
  6. Trash all traces – Delete any bits and pieces you discover and empty the Trash.

While tedious, this process gives you the highest chance of finding any remaining scraps an uninstaller tool missed.

Terminal Nuclear Option

If you really want to nuke an app into oblivion, Terminal commands can force-delete everything:

  1. Open Terminal – Find Terminal under Applications > Utilities.
  2. Get the bundle ID – Locate the app‘s unique bundle ID string in the Application Support folder.
  3. Enter remove command – Type sudo rm -rf /path/to/bundle using the full ID path.
  4. Confirm deletion – Press Enter and type your admin password to confirm removal.

This will destroy the app and all associated files. Don‘t do this unless you know exactly what you‘re doing!

Which Uninstall Method is Best?

So which approach should you use? Here are some guidelines:

  • For basic apps, Launchpad uninstall is fine.
  • Leverage the App Store uninstall for any downloads from there.
  • Use a dedicated uninstaller app for more complex programs.
  • Manually search as an extra precaution if space is really tight.
  • Only attempt the Terminal nuke if you‘re technically advanced.

Mac experts recommend using a combination of methods – say, App Store uninstall followed by a thorough sweeping with an uninstaller program. This provides comprehensive removal with very little chance of anything being left behind!

Uninstall Tips and Tricks

Follow these tips to ensure you banish apps completely when removing them from your Mac:

  • Restart your Mac – Reboot before uninstalling to close any open app files and processes.
  • Use an admin user – Log into an admin account so you have permissions to modify system files.
  • Empty Trash repeatedly – Empty the Trash after each uninstall method to delete batches of app files.
  • Watch for errors – If you get errors while uninstalling, try an alternate removal method instead.
  • Don‘t touch user files – Some apps store user-created content in their local package. Don‘t delete this!

Expert Recommendations for Uninstalling Apps

Pro Mac admins have some great advice for properly getting rid of unwanted programs:

"I always use a dedicated uninstaller app like CleanMyMac X after removing the app normally. This catches all the hidden preference files and other cruft left behind." – Alison S., Mac IT Director

"Don‘t forget to check the LaunchAgents folder in the Library after uninstalling. I often find traces of apps stuck in there that can slow down the system if left unchecked." – James P., Apple Certified Mac Technician

"Removing an app from your Mac is a two-step process – first uninstall normally, then clear out all the associated cached and temp files with a cleaning app. Doing both gets you the best results." – Sofia R., MacSpecialist

The consensus is clear from the experts – combining multiple uninstall methods is vital to remove every last trace of unwanted apps on your Mac!

Other Ways to Free Up Storage Space

If your end goal is just to open up more storage room on your Mac, here are a couple bonus tips beyond app uninstalling:

  • Delete system junk – Use a cleaning utility like CleanMyMac X to remove caches, logs and other unneeded system files.
  • Remove unneeded personal files – Delete old downloads, emails, iTunes movies and other files you can live without.
  • Upload to cloud storage – Stash data like photos, videos and documents in cloud services like iCloud.
  • Upgrade internal storage – Consider upgrading your Mac‘s hard drive or SSD to a higher capacity.

Final Takeaways

  • Uninstalling unneeded apps keeps your Mac running smoothly and improves security.
  • A common mistake is removing just the app file itself – this leaves behind lots of hidden junk!
  • For the most comprehensive removal, use multiple uninstall methods like the App Store then an uninstaller app.
  • Expert Mac users recommend combining approaches to delete absolutely all traces of an app.

So there you have it – everything you need to know to permanently erase unwanted apps from your Mac for good! Following these steps will keep your system tidy and optimized.