How to Properly Uninstall Unwanted Apps on Mac

Have troubles in uninstalling software on your Mac? Have no idea how to get rid of a problematic app? Most third party apps can be easily removed as long as you take the right steps. If you fail to remove an unneeded app, read this post to get the right way. Hereby we list three methods of uninstalling Mac apps. You can choose to adopt one of them to achieve the removal task, depending on the app you want to delete.

Method 1: uninstall (App Store) apps through Launchpad

First of all, ask yourself if the app you want to uninstall was installed through the Mac App Store? If so, you can directly uninstall it through a few clicks in Launchpad.

  • Access to Launchpad through the Dock, Spotlight or gesture shortcut
  • Search for the app in the Launchpad, or type its name in the search box on the top

  • Click and hold the app icon for a few seconds, until it starts to jiggle and shows X
  • Click X in upper left corner of the app icon, and click Delete in the pop-up dialog

Once you choose Delete in the last step, the app will be instantly removed from your Mac. To re-install it later, you can download the app again as long as it is available in Mac App Store. If there is no X appearing when the app icon jiggles, that means this app is not installed in Mac App Store and thus you cannot remove it by this way.

Method 2: Run apps’ uninstall script (or 3rd-party uninstaller)

Some apps, especially those security software, come with a dedicated uninstaller. For instance, most Adobe software, once installed, will create a folder in Applications folder, which contains an uninstall tool. In that case, you are suggested to run the dedicated uninstall script to properly remove the app and its associated files.

To be specific, you need to access to the folder where stores the app, double click on the uninstall icon, and then follow the onscreen prompts to complete the removal.

What if you cannot find the folder or uninstall tool inside? Well, you can either utilize an universal uninstaller (which is usually a paid software) to remove unneeded apps, or carry out the uninstallation using the conventional means below.

Method 3: delete apps in the Applications & Trash folders

To remove the apps that are not installed through Mac App Store or has a built-in uninstaller, you can delete the app in Finder, including Applications and Trash folders.

  • Open up Finder, and click Applications from the sidebar or the Go menu
  • Locate the app, right click on it and choose Move to Trash from the show-up menu. Alternatively, drag the app icon to the Trash in Dock and drop it into the Dock icon

  • If prompted, type your current admin password and click OK to allow the deletion

  • Choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu (or right click on the Trash icon in Dock and choose Empty Trash). Then click Empty Trash in the confirmation dialog.

Why I cannot trash the app? Some users may have the doubt. If the app or file cannot be trashed, it is likely that this item is being used or currently active. The fix is to entirely shut down the app or other process that is using the file. In case you cannot kill the app even in Activity Monitor, reboot Mac into Safe Mode, and trash it again.

Further question: how to ensure a clean uninstall?

No matter which method you use to remove unwanted apps, don’t forget to check if all the app components have been cleared out from your system. Here’s how to do:

  1. In a Finder window, choose Go to Folder from the Go menu
  2. Type (~)/Library in the box and click Go button to open up this folder

  1. Type the keyword of the app you have uninstalled before in the search box
  2. Control-click the app-related items, right click on any of them and choose Delete

That’s how you can manually sweep out all leftovers after the uninstall. If you have a professional uninstall tool, that part can be skipped as it will do the job for you.

Thank you for reading this post, and we are glad to have your comments here.


You must be logged in to post a comment.