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Deleting apps on a Mac is pretty easy, isn't it? You go to the "Applications" folder, grab the app icon for the relevant software and throw it in the trash. Complete!
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.
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 down the mouse button until the apps start to wobble. To delete the corresponding app, click on the cross ("x") next to the app that 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.
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.
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:
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
Use Macube to clean up and speed up your Mac. Download the free demo here.
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.
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:
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.