How to uninstall apps on Mac completely

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
November 21, 2023
6 minutes to read

Do you still uninstall programs on your Mac by just moving their icons to the Trash bin? We hope you don’t. But if you keep doing that, you should know that in this case, the applications remain all their service files on your disk. To completely delete software from your Mac, you need to find and remove their remaining files.
In this article, we will tell you three ways to delete applications on Mac correctly without their traces remaining.

removing apps on Mac


Video Guide

The easiest way to uninstall apps from Mac

The first way of uninstalling apps is to use a special software App Cleaner & Uninstaller. We recommend this way to most of our readers, and here’s why.

It is a special application designed especially to remove programs correctly and completely.  It is easy to use and it allows you to uninstall apps with several clicks. The uninstaller supports 1000+ Mac apps for removal. In addition, it has extra features that you can use to reset apps, clean up broken service files, and even manage user and system extensions.

How to use App Cleaner & Uninstaller:

  1. Download and launch App Cleaner & Uninstaller.
  2. Select the app that you want to uninstall from your Mac.
  3. Click the Uninstall button to delete an app.
  4. Confirm the removal.
  5. how to uninstall app on mac

Once again, App Cleaner & Uninstaller is a special uninstalling tool for macOS. Read more about its features or go to a quick user guide on how to get started with the app.

Uninstall applications manually

The second way to completely remove programs is to do it 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 the macOS system’s work.

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

  1. Quit the program.
  2. Open Finder → go to the Application folder and move unneeded applications to Trash.
  3. uninstall mac apps
  4. Now it’s time to delete of all its remains. While you are in Finder, press the Cmd+Shift+G shortcut.
  5. Type ~/Library and press Enter (Return).
  6. Go to Library folder

  7. 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. Here is list of the most common system file storages:
    ~/Library/Application Support
  8. Library folder
  9. Don’t forget to clear the Trash after uninstallation.
Once again! 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.

How to remove apps from the Launchpad on a Mac:

  1. Open Launchpad from the Dock panel.
  2. Press and hold the Option key.
  3. You will see “X” icons on the applications’ icons.
  4. Click the X icon of unneeded apps and confirm the action. Click Delete for this.

remove app from launchpad on mac

In this way, you can delete an app downloaded from the App Store. Applications that have been downloaded from websites cannot be removed from the Launchpad.
Removing apps from the Launchpad also doesn’t remove apps’ service files. You will need to manually find and clean up them from the Library folder.

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 Applications folder 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 by 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. uninstall apps on 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.

How to remove Mac Settings (Preference) Panes

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

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

Comparison chart of ways to uninstall apps

Use App Cleaner & Uninstaller Remove an app
Use app’s native uninstaller
Cost Free Free Free
Support of Apps
to uninstall
1000+ Manual for each app 1 app
Time of process Little

(up to 10 sec)


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


(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 macOS Doesn’t require any specific knowledge
Reliability Reliable; finds and removes absolutely all service files If 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 traces Some 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 features No extra features


In the above table, you can see that the easiest and most reliable way is to use App Cleaner & Uninstaller.

So how to quickly and completely remove programs 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 get rid of 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. It supports 1000+ Mac apps for removal. It takes several clicks or up to 10 seconds to remove an application. Finally, it’s easy to use and doesn’t require you to be a computer geek to do the job. Plus it can manage your startup programs and system or browser extensions.

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