This article is based on our expertise in uninstalling apps on a Mac and cleaning its hard drive from the leftovers. We’ve been working 10+ years in developing special disk utility for safe and complete removal of apps on macOS. We regularly explore the latest updates of macOS and update our apps and our articles according to system changes. If you have any questions related to this guide, contact us by email.
It’s only a matter of time before we decide to remove unnecessary programs from our Macs. There are a variety of reasons why we decide to uninstall apps and programs. For example:
- The startup disk is almost full
- You have detected a number of applications that are outdated or no longer necessary
- You’ve just switched to a new macOS system and your old 32-bit programs are no longer supported, and you want to get rid of them.
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.
We recommend using App Cleaner & Uninstaller, a special tool that helps you completely remove any program 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.
Program Deletion vs. Program Uninstallation
Most people confuse the terms “program deletion” and “program uninstallation.”
Program deletion means to remove 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.
This article covers all possible ways to uninstall programs from your Mac.
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.
- Launch App Cleaner & Uninstaller on your Mac.
- Drag and drop the unneeded program to the App Cleaner & Uninstaller window.
- Click the Uninstall button to uninstall the program from your Mac properly.
- That’s it! The unneeded program is completely uninstalled.
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:
- Open the Application folder in Finder.
- Select the unneeded program and drag and drop it to the Bin.
- Select Go in the menu bar.
- Hold down the Option key and choose the ~/Library option.
- Open Containers in Library folder.
- Delete the service folder related to the previously removed app. To find it you should know the bundle Id of deleted program.
- 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:
- Quit the program.
- Open the Applications folder in Finder.
- 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.
- Open Finder.
- Select Go in the menu bar.
- Click Go to Folder in the drop-down menu.
- Type ~/Library and click Go.
- 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.
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]
It 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 the Mac Preference Pane
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.
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.