Best Ways to uninstall Apps on Your Mac

Published April 19, 2019

Mac users have access to millions of apps. Whether you download new apps through the Mac App Store (MAS) or third-party developer websites, you can end up with hundreds of apps taking up space on your Mac.

Most people don’t need every app they’ve downloaded, and if you download too many it can slow down the performance of your Mac. Older apps or games you don’t use anymore, sitting with the data they’ve accumulated, also take up space. All of this has an impact on the performance of your Mac.

Uninstalling apps is the best way to remove this problem. However, a popular misconception with Mac’s is that deleting anything is as simple as dragging an into the Trash, in the dock of your Mac. Unfortunately, to uninstall apps on a Mac, there are a few more steps you need to take. In this article, we cover a couple of ways to uninstall apps on a Mac.

How to delete apps on a Mac?

Unlike other files and folders, such as images, videos and documents, apps have more than one home. With other assets on a Mac, pulling the file into the Trash will remove it. Then, emptying the trash will permanently delete whatever you want to remove.

But with apps on a Mac, they have more than one home. Apps store user preferences, data and cache data, and often these are scattered around in various folders, making it more difficult to remove apps the same way you would a folder of pictures.

There are two ways to uninstall Mac apps: manually removing them, or using a third-party uninstaller app, such as CleanMyMac X. Let’s take a look at these two ways to delete apps on a Mac.

How to manually delete apps on a Mac

Start by going to Launchpad, the native macOS app launcher. Clicking the Rocket icon, which is located in the dock of your Mac is the best way to launch this. Then, type in the name of the app that you want to delete.

Click on the app you want to remove and press Option, then confirm you want to delete it. This will remove the app to the Trash; although you also need to empty the Trash afterwards to delete the functioning part of the app.

Another way is to open the Finder and go to the Applications folder. Within this, you should find every Mac app you’ve ever downloaded, plus any related applications and shortcut folders. Now you can drag all of the apps you want to remove to the Trash, and then to empty it, press Delete Immediately.

Following either of the above steps should remove most of the folders and files associated with an app. But unfortunately, there is more that needs doing to remove them completely; how you manually uninstall apps on a Mac does take a little bit more work.

To remove associated user and data folders that are taking up hard drive space, you need to dive into areas you wouldn’t normally need to access. Thankfully, we can walk you through these steps to make this easier:

  1. Using Finder, type in ~/Library and click Go or Search
  2. Within that, you should see a Preferences folder
  3. Search for any folders and files that are connected to the app(s) you are deleting
  4. Drag these folders into the Trash
  5. Do the same in the Application Support folder

Providing you’ve looked in all the relevant folders, you can empty the Trash. Everything connected to the app or apps you want to delete should be gone for good. Always take care when deleting apps manually: make sure you don’t accidentally delete something unrelated to the app in question.

Remove Mac apps using an uninstaller

It isn’t always easy or safe to delete apps manually. A safer and quicker way is to use an uninstaller, such as CleanMyMac X. You can get this on a 7-day free trial with a Setapp subscription.

CleanMyMac X will safely and quickly scan every app on your Mac, giving you the choice to remove what isn’t needed. Along with the app itself, it will locate associated folders, files and other assets, and remove them at the same time. Downloading an uninstaller is a handy app to have around, especially if you already download a lot of apps on your Mac.

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