How to Uninstall Apps on Mac Completely

Do you still remove applications by just moving their icon to the Trash bin? We hope you don’t. But if you keep doing that, you should know that in this case the applications retain all their service files on your Mac. As a result, you may unknowingly store gigabytes of useless files on macOS’ hard drive. In this article, we will tell you three ways to delete apps on Mac correctly without their traces remaining. Learn them and choose the most convenient way for you.

Way 1

Use App Cleaner & Uninstaller for macOS

The first way of uninstalling apps is to use a special software App Cleaner. We recommend this way to most of our readers, and here’s why. App Cleaner is a free application designed especially to uninstall programs correctly. It is free to download from the App Store. It is easy in use and allows you to uninstall apps with several clicks. App Cleaner support 1000+ Mac apps for removal. In addition, it has extra features which you can use to reset apps, clean up broken service files and even manage user and system extensions.
So how do you uninstall applications with App Cleaner?
1. Launch App Cleaner.

how do i uninstall apps
2. Select unneeded applications from the list.

mac how to uninstall apps
3. Click the Remove button and confirm removal.

how do you uninstall an app
Once again, App Cleaner is a free uninstalling tool for macOS. Read about more of its features or go to a quick user guide on how to get started with it.

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App Cleaner & Uninstaller:

Way 2

Uninstall Applications Manually

The second way to completely remove apps manually. It requires understanding the macOS catalog system which takes a bit more time. If you are a new Mac user, we highly recommend that you first learn about the hidden Library folder and then use this tutorial. You should be careful not to remove extra files by accident, which may damage macOS system’s work.

Ok, let’s learn the manual way to uninstall apps. Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Open the Finder → go to the Application folder and move unneeded applications to Trash.

2. Now you have to remove the service files of the deleted app. They are stored in the Library folder. By default this folder is hidden. Learn three ways to open the system Library folder.

3. Check the subfolders for the apps’ remains and remove them. Here is list of the most common system file storages:

  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Application Support
  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Caches
  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Logs
  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Preferences
  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Containers
  • Macintosh HD > Users > [current user=””][/current] > ~Library > Cookies

4. Don’t forget to clear the Trash after uninstallation.

Way 3

Use provided uninstallers

Some developers provide special uninstallers for their apps. These uninstallers are only for apps downloaded from the Internet and used mostly if special preferences and drivers are needed.

Usually the native uninstallers should be stored in the Application folders in Finder but they don’t appear in Launchpad. If your application has such an uninstaller, find it in Finder (or use Spotlight) → launch it → follow the steps provided of the uninstalling process.

Take a look at the screenshot example. Here is what an uninstaller for Adobe Photoshop looks like. Each application has its own uninstalling steps and removal tool interface.

how do i uninstall an app on my mac

It may happen that you remove an uninstaller item accidentally. In this case, you can check the developer’s website to download it again or use one of the app’s removal ways as shown above.

Comparison Chart of Ways to Uninstall Apps

Use App Cleaner & UninstallerRemove an App
Manually
Use App’s Native Uninstaller
CostFreeFreeFree
Support of Apps
to uninstall
1000+Manual for each app1 app
Time of process

Little

(up to 10 sec)

Significant

(from 2 to 5 min depending on number of service files and folders where they are stored)

Little

(it may take time to find the uninstaller item or download it from the official website)

Knowledge Requirements

Doesn’t require any specific knowledge; intuitive in use and user friendly.

Requires understanding Files/Folders directory system in macOSDoesn’t require any specific knowledge
ReliabilityReliable; finds and removes absolutely all service filesIf apps are not sandboxed, they may store their service files in a chaotic manner. As a result it’s hard to find all the service files and remove the tracesSome apps may leave files and extensions on your Mac for marketing purposes and notifications
Extra features– Finds old application traces and broken service files

– Allows you to disable Mac startup items & launch agents

– Allows you to remove system extensions

No extra featuresNo extra features

In the above table you can see that the most easy and reliable way to uninstall applications on Mac is to use App Cleaner.

App Cleaner is free to download and supports 1000+ Mac apps for removal. It takes several clicks or up to 10 seconds to remove an application. Finally, it’s easy in use and doesn’t require you to be a computer geek to do the job.

app cleaner

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