How to Delete Apps from Mac: 5 Simple Methods

how to delete apps

Discover the easiest way to streamline your device by learning how to delete apps effortlessly. Our step-by-step guide provides expert insights and tips to help you efficiently remove unwanted applications, optimizing your digital space. Say goodbye to clutter with our comprehensive tutorial on ‘how to delete apps’ – your go-to resource for a cleaner, more organized device. Start simplifying your digital life today!

If you aim to eliminate an outdated application, reinstall damaged software, or simply reclaim disk space on your Mac, it is crucial to uninstall all elements associated with the program. These elements encompass the application itself, its preferences and support files, and occasionally, other concealed files.

To achieve a thorough uninstallation on your Mac, you must opt for one of five available methods. The effectiveness and complexity of these methods differ. Refer to our table below for detailed insights:

Uninstall optionEffectivenessDifficulty level
TrashEffectiveness is minimal if you neglect to locate and eliminate leftover files, but it increases significantly when you actively seek out and remove all remnants.Challenging – the process of tracking down and eliminating all leftover files is time-consuming and demanding.
LaunchpadSimilar to removal via Trash.Challenging — Similar to the removal process via Trash, although not all apps can be uninstalled through Launchpad. Additionally, the presence of a Native Uninstaller.
A native uninstallerHigh difficulty — removes all leftover files securely.Moderate difficulty — you might need to download the uninstaller from the developer’s website as an additional step.
Third-party appsHigh difficulty — achieves complete removal with no leftover files remaining on your Mac.Easy — typically, it involves a one-click and rapid solution.
TerminalHigh difficulty — ensures complete removal of an app and all associated files.Difficult — necessitates proficiency in command line tools.
Difficulty Table

The methods outlined above may require manual intervention, but don’t worry—this article will guide you through each step you need to follow. So, let’s proceed and remove some apps!


1. Uninstall Mac apps using Trash

Whether you’re operating a more recent macOS like Ventura or Monterey or an earlier version such as Catalina or Mojave, the manual process of uninstalling apps remains relatively consistent. Follow these steps:

  • Open Finder > Applications.
  • Select the app you want to delete.
  • Press Command + Delete (⌘⌫).
  • Dispose of the contents in the Trash by clicking the “Empty” button in the upper-right corner of the window.

And just like that, the app is removed.

Even on macOS Ventura, which has improved uninstallation processes, it’s essential to eliminate leftover files for a complete removal. To manually uninstall programs on Mac entirely, you need to locate all associated files that accompany the app. This involves more than just dragging the app icon to the Trash; you’ll need to delve into the depths of your Mac’s system files.

For instance, consider an app storing cache in different locations on your Mac:

To completely remove the app, meticulously go through each of these folders and delete the following:

Keep in mind that there are many more hidden files, and some may be inaccessible to the user. macOS/OS X may also prevent you from deleting certain app files. Exercise caution when deleting system files, as the impact on your Mac is unpredictable if you remove the wrong ones (or even the right ones, for that matter!).

how to delete apps

2. Uninstall Mac programs with Launchpad

To uninstall an app on a Mac using the Launchpad, follow these steps:

1. Click the Launchpad icon in your Mac’s Dock.

2. Locate the app you want to delete.

3. Click and hold the app icon until it starts shaking.

4. Click the “X” in the top-left corner of the app icon.

5. Click “Delete” in the confirmation dialog.

This process removes the app from your Mac, but as mentioned, there may still be leftovers that need manual removal, as described in the previous information.

Note: Keep in mind that not all apps can be deleted directly from Launchpad. Some apps may not display the “X” icon, indicating that they cannot be uninstalled using this method. In such cases, alternative methods, such as those mentioned earlier, may be required for a complete uninstallation.

how to delete apps

3. Uninstall apps with CleanMyMac X

Using CleanMyMac X to uninstall apps provides a quicker and easier process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Download the free version of CleanMyMac X and open it.

2. Navigate to the Uninstaller module.

3. Choose “All Applications.”

4. Select the checkboxes next to the apps you want to remove.

5. Click “Uninstall.”

CleanMyMac X conveniently displays the amount of space each app occupies, making it easier to identify the heaviest programs. This eliminates the need for manual steps, streamlining the uninstallation process.

It’s important to note that CleanMyMac X, like other Mac cleaners, does not allow the deletion of system apps such as Safari. However, it does enable you to delete associated data and reset system apps. Follow these steps:

1. Click CleanMyMac X‘s menu in the upper-left corner and select “Settings.”

2. Go to “Ignore List” and click “Uninstaller.”

3. Deselect the checkbox next to “Ignore system applications.”

4. Close Settings and return to Uninstaller.

5. Click the arrow (►) next to the app’s icon to reveal its files.

6. Select the data you want to delete and choose “Reset” from the drop-down list next to the app’s icon.

This process helps free up space on your Mac, and please note that app logs may also be cleared after the reset.

CleanMyMac X

4. Use the native uninstaller

Many applications are equipped with self-destructing utilities or built-in uninstallers that aid in cleaning up after themselves. This is particularly common for third-party apps downloaded from the internet.

To locate the original uninstaller:

1. Go to Finder > Applications.

2. If your app appears as a folder within the Applications folder, it likely has a separate uninstaller inside. Otherwise, its uninstaller may be presented as a distinct app with a name like [Your app] Uninstaller or Uninstall [Your App].

Open the folder, locate the launcher, and follow the onscreen instructions. Once the removal is complete, you can enjoy the additional storage space.

However, even with these built-in uninstallers, it’s still necessary to address and remove any leftover files manually for a thorough cleanup.

how to delete apps

5. Uninstall programs with Terminal

Another method to remove programs on a Mac is by using the native tool named Terminal. Keep in mind that Terminal is a powerful utility that requires a certain level of expertise with command line tools. If you are not confident in using Terminal, it is advisable to choose one of the app removal techniques mentioned earlier. If you’re willing to run Terminal commands, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Applications > Utilities and launch Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command: sudo uninstall file://
  3. Drag the app icon into the Terminal window; you will observe the path to the app.
  4. Press Return and enter your admin credentials.

This process should remove all app leftovers, including the binary file. However, it is still recommended to check for related files using the steps mentioned earlier to ensure a complete app removal.

how to delete apps

More Tips

Removing Third-Party App Icons from the Menu Bar:

Some third-party apps add icons to the menu bar for easy access. If you want to declutter your menu bar or no longer need these icons, follow these steps:

  1. Dragging the icon to the Trash is not a viable method. Instead, go to the settings of each app.
  2. Right-click the app icon and choose “Settings” on the right side of the menu bar.
  3. If that doesn’t work, open the app and access settings from the left side of the menu bar.

Note: This action removes the icon but does not delete the app itself.

Removing Apps That Won’t Delete:

Manual methods may not work for all apps, especially those protected by the system or currently open. If you’re having trouble deleting an app, follow these steps:

  1. Force quit the app: Press Command-Option-Esc, check if the app is on the list, and shut it down.
  2. Reboot your Mac: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve issues with app deletion.

If the app still cannot be deleted, it may be a preinstalled system component, and attempting to remove it could cause issues. In such cases, it’s advisable to keep the app on your Mac.

Deleting apps can be a challenging task, but with the provided tips, the process becomes more manageable. Consider using third-party apps like CleanMyMac X for added convenience and efficiency in managing your Mac’s applications.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best way to completely remove an app from a Mac?

  • The best method is to use a third-party app like CleanMyMac X and its Uninstaller module. This tool not only removes the app but also takes care of all leftover files efficiently. Alternatively, running a native uninstaller can be effective, but not all apps come with this feature.

2. Why should I remove leftover files when uninstalling an app?

  • Removing leftover files is essential to free up space on your Mac, potentially preventing performance issues and slowdowns.

3. When deleting apps, which is better: using a third-party app or manual removal?

  • Using a dedicated third-party tool, such as CleanMyMac X, is generally better and significantly faster. These tools ensure thorough removal of all associated files, providing a more efficient and reliable solution compared to manual removal.

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