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Deleting apps on Mac is actually quite easy, isn't it? You go to the "Programs" folder, grab the app icon for the relevant software and throw it in the trash. Finished!
Not quite ... this process should actually work for some smaller apps, but for most programs, this only deletes the application itself, leaving a lot of remnants of the app on the Mac. Caches, log files and registry files remain in the system and gradually fill the operating system in the background with superfluous files and information. On the one hand, this takes up unnecessary space on the hard drive and, on the other hand, background processes may continue to run, which slow down the Mac. For this reason, it is important to know how to uninstall a program properly - in such a way that it doesn't leave any junk on your Mac.
Delete app store apps from the launchpad
If you download a lot of programs from the App Store, you are in luck, because they install less deeply in the system because macOS forbids this. To delete these apps, open the launchpad via the dock.
Now hold down the Option key or click on any app and hold the mouse button down until the apps start to shake. To delete the relevant app, click the cross ("x") next to the app you want to delete and then confirm that the app should be removed.
Note: If the corresponding app does not have a cross next to it, it does not come from the App Store or is required by the Mac. In this case you have to use the Finder to delete the program.
Disadvantage of this method: Software from the App Store also creates settings files, caches and a lot more, which is then left on the Mac after the software itself has long been removed from the Mac.
Tip 1: use the app's uninstaller
If you have an app with a native uninstaller, you can use this to remove the software and all related data from the Mac hard drive. These uninstall programs are usually supplied with the software and are often in the same folder as the app itself. Unfortunately, very few applications have their own uninstall program, so this solution is rarely available.
Tip 2: manually uninstall a program and its leftover files
If you have the time and know what you are doing, you can delete the app yourself, including all the rest, from the Mac by hand. It works like this:
- After trashing the application itself or deleting it from Launchpad, you still have to find what's left. These leftovers are usually located in the Library folder. However, if you're still using OS X 10.7 (Lion) or earlier, you won't be able to see the library. However, there is a trick to access this hidden file. Three ways to the library I explained in the linked post. One of them is explained below so you don't have to click away.
- Open the Finder and look for the "Go" item in the top menu bar. In the drop-down menu, select the entry "Go to folder" and click on it. Now type ~/Library in the pop-up window and click "Open". Hopefully the Library folder will then appear.
- Now you have to find the remains of the deleted application. To do this, enter the name of the application for which you want to find the leftovers in the search field. As you type, you can select the "Name matches" suggestion, which you should do.
- In the bar below the search field you have to click on "Library". Now all files and folders containing the name of the application will be displayed. Make sure you're looking in the Library folder, though, because looking in This Mac doesn't show all of the hidden files.
- The files you see are the leftovers that should be gone. You now select this and move it to the trash.
- That's it - the leftovers are gone and all you have to do is empty the recycle bin to completely erase the data.
While this is an effective way to remove unnecessary files, it is time-consuming. There is also the risk of deleting important files that you might not even want to delete. I usually use tip 3 or 4 to uninstall programs on the Mac.
Macube Cleaner: Completely uninstall programs with one click
- Completely - Macube Cleaner scans the hard drive for program overrides and removes all parts of the program
- Easy - With Macube, every beginner can clean up their macOS system and delete unnecessary caches, preference files and logs.
- Instant - With other features of Macube you can find unnecessary duplicates, leftover programs and other things that slow down Mac on your Mac. With the Smart Scan, these are safely removed.
Use Macube to clean up and speed up your Mac. Download the free demo here.
Tip 3: AppCleaner and AppZapper
The software AppCleaner is a free but helpful little program that does the work described above for you. It is used by dragging the application to be uninstalled onto the AppCleaner window. In a matter of seconds, the software searches for the files that are probably related to the app and asks whether they should all be deleted. If you confirm this, the files mentioned will all be removed from the Mac.
A reader recommended the software to me AppZapperwhich basically works like AppCleaner. There is also an area in which you can drag the app into and then receive a list of the files found, which you might also want to delete.
Tip 4: CleanMyMac
Who already (recommended!) Setapp subscription has booked, gets CleanMyMac virtually free of charge. Everyone else can Demo version install to have a look at the Mac cleanup tool. I've been using CleanMyMac for many years to unclutter my Mac with just a few clicks, and uninstalling software is only a small part of it - but the software does that well too.
CleanMyMac X has a dedicated area to completely remove applications. It works like this:
- Launch CleanMyMac and then click Uninstall.
- "All Applications" is usually already selected there and you can see a list of all apps that can be found on the Mac.
- Now you mark every application that you want to remove.
- Then all you have to do is click Uninstall and CleanMyMac X will do the rest.
I hope that with these tips I was able to show you how to cleanly delete software from the Mac without messing with your Mac with leftover data. If you also have a few tips, let me know via the comments!
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
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