Oryna Lienkova
Apple certified support professional
November 4, 2021
12 minutes to read

The macOS does not have a built-in uninstallation feature, which may cause some difficulties in the program uninstallation process. For complete uninstallation, you have to remove not only the app but also all its logs, caches and other remains which stored in your Mac’s hidden folders.
This article covers all possible ways to completely uninstall programs from your Mac.

deleting apps on Mac

Contents

  1. Program deletion vs. program uninstallation.
  2. The quickest way to completely uninstall apps from Mac.
  3. How to manually uninstall programs downloaded from the App Store.
  4. How to manually uninstall non-sandboxed programs.
  5. How to remove Mac Preference Panes.
The quickest way to completely uninstall applications from Mac
If you don’t have time to read the guide, use App Cleaner & Uninstaller to completely uninstall any application from your Mac. This tool will find all of the support files of the apps and help you to get rid of them entirely without remaining temporary files on your disk.

Here is the download link for the 7-days free trial of App Cleaner & Uninstaller.

Program Deletion vs. Program Uninstallation

Most people confuse the terms “program deletion” and “program uninstallation.”

Program deletion means removing a program by moving its icon to the Trash Bin, leaving a number of its service files somewhere in the hidden part of your Mac.

Program uninstallation has a wider meaning. By uninstalling the program, you get rid of the application and all its included files, so that after uninstalling you do not have any orphan files remaining.

There are a variety of reasons why you might needto uninstall apps and programs from your Mac, for example :

You can use special software tools to completely remove programs from your Mac, along with all its service files. You can also use a manual method of program uninstallation. Both of these options are described below.


How to completely uninstall programs from a Mac

To correctly remove the unneeded application, you should first visit the developer’s website for instructions on uninstalling their app. However, sometimes developers may not post it there, and it can be time-consuming to research each app’s specific uninstallation needs.
There is a more efficient way to uninstall apps both quickly and completely, and that is by using a professional uninstaller tool made specifically for Macs.

How to quickly and safely uninstall programs on a Mac

We recommend using the versatile tool, App Cleaner & Uninstaller. This application provides a proper uninstallation process, removing unneeded apps with all of their related files both quickly and safely.

  1. Download and launch App Cleaner & Uninstaller on your Mac.
  2. Drag and drop the unneeded program to the App Cleaner & Uninstaller window.
  3. Click the Uninstall button to uninstall the program from your Mac properly.
  4. That’s it! The unneeded program is completely uninstalled.
    App Cleaner & Uninstaller showing Drag & Drop applications to uninstall option

How to manually uninstall programs on a Mac

Programs downloaded from the Mac App Store are sandboxed programs. Such apps store all the supporting files in their single Containers folder, isolating them from the rest of the system. Therefore, removing such programs manually is much easier than removing applications downloaded from other sources.

As a rule, programs downloaded directly from developers’ sites keep their caches, logs, and other accompanying files in different visible and invisible folders on your Mac. With files scattered throughout your disk, it’s much harder to completely uninstall these programs.

How to uninstall programs downloaded from App Store

In order to manually remove applications downloaded from the App Store, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Open the Application folder in Finder.
  2. Select the unneeded program and drag and drop it to the Bin.
  3. Select Go in the menu bar.
  4. Hold down the Option key and choose the ~/Library option.
  5. Open Containers in Library folder.
    Containers folder in Finder window
  6. Delete the service folder related to the previously removed app. To find it you should know the bundle Id of deleted program.
  7. Empty your Trash Bin.

As you can see, uninstalling programs downloaded from the App Store is much easier than uninstalling any other kind of program.

How to manually uninstall non-sandboxed programs

Programs that are downloaded from the developers’ sites create many files in different visible and invisible folders on your Mac during the installation process.
If you decide to manually remove the unneeded program, you should first visit the developer’s website and locate instructions for uninstalling their application. Follow the steps they provide you with.

However, if you cannot find such instructions, you may use this universal method for manually uninstalling any program:

  1. Quit the program.
    Choosing Quit Firefox command in Dock
  2. Open the Applications folder in Finder.
  3. Select the program you want to uninstall and use the Command + Delete shortcut. Now the unneeded application is in the Trash Bin and it’s time to get rid of all its remains.
  4. Open Finder.
  5. Select Go in the menu bar.
  6. Click Go to Folder in the drop-down menu.
  7. Type ~/Library and click Go.
    Go to Folder window
  8. Within the Library folder, find and delete all files and folders that are associated with the program you want to remove. This means you should delete all items containing the name of the deleted application within the file names.
Note! You should be familiar with this folder before removing files. Delete hidden files at your own risk. If you delete hidden files by mistake, it may cause damage to your Mac.

Check the following Paths:

  • ~Library/Application Support/[program name=””][/program]
  • ~Library/Caches/com.[program name=””][/program]
  • ~Library/Preferences/com.[program name=””][/program].plist
  • ~Library/Logs/[program name=””][/program]
  • ~Library/Containers/[program name=””][/program]

    Finder window showing Firefox Application Support folderIt may take a lot of time and effort to search for service folders related to the previously deleted app.

We recommend using the ultimate Mac uninstaller, App Cleaner & Uninstaller. This tool can uninstall any Mac app, and all without having to check hidden folders.

How to remove Mac Preference Panes

Some programs add their settings to the Preferences dialog system. They are called preference panes.
If you want to remove them, open System Preferences, right-click on the icon → in the pop-up window, click “Remove Preference Pane” → confirm the removal by entering an administrator password.

System Preferences window with Preference Panes highlighted

When you are done deleting all unneeded files and folders, empty your Trash Bin. Good job! Now the program is really gone.


So how to quickly and completely remove apps on a Mac?

When you drag an app icon to the Trash Bin, you might leave megabytes of junk files in hidden folders on your Mac. To uninstall the unneeded programs completely, you have to find all of their related files and delete them as well. But as a rule, it requires significant effort and time to manually find all the remaining files.

Use App Cleaner & Uninstaller to uninstall any program, along with all its extra files, in only a minute. App Cleaner & Uninstaller will also allow you to get rid of files from apps that were previously uninstalled incorrectly, plus it can manage your startup programs and system or browser extensions.

app cleaner icon

App Cleaner & Uninstaller

Uninstall any Mac application in 2 minutes.

Supported systems:
M1, macOS 10.10 +
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Update
v. 7.4.3 Sep, 2021
 

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