How to Uninstall Programs on Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our guide on how to uninstall stuff on Mac! Whether you need to clear up space or simply want to declutter your computer, uninstalling unused applications is an important first step. In this article, we’ll provide you with 12 easy steps to properly and completely remove software from your Mac. Plus, we’ll share some bonus tips and tricks to make the process even smoother.


Step 1: Check for Built-in Uninstallers

The first and easiest way to uninstall an application on a Mac is to see if it has a built-in uninstaller. Some apps, like Microsoft Office, come with their own uninstaller. To check if an app has its own uninstaller, go to its folder in the Applications folder, and look for an uninstall file or instructions.

Step 2: Drag to Trash

If the app doesn’t have its own uninstaller, you can simply drag it to the Trash. To do this, click and hold the app icon in the Applications folder, drag it to the Trash icon in the Dock, and release.

Step 3: Empty Trash

After the app is in the Trash, you’ll need to empty the Trash to completely uninstall it. To do this, right-click on the Trash icon in the Dock and select “Empty Trash.” Alternatively, you can click on the Trash icon, then select “Empty” in the upper-right corner of the window.

Step 4: Use Launchpad

Another way to uninstall apps on a Mac is to use Launchpad. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and find the app you want to uninstall. Click and hold the app until it starts to jiggle, then click the “X” icon in the upper-left corner of the app’s icon. Confirm that you want to delete the app.

Step 5: Use Terminal

For more advanced users, you can use Terminal to uninstall an app. Open Terminal (found in the Utilities folder of the Applications folder) and enter the following command: sudo rm -rf /Applications/ (replace AppName with the name of the app you want to uninstall). You will be prompted for your admin password.

Step 6: Use a Third-Party Uninstaller

There are several third-party uninstaller apps available for Mac, such as AppZapper and CleanMyMac. These apps can help you remove software completely, including associated files and preferences.

Step 7: Remove Launch Daemons and Agents

Some apps can leave behind background processes known as launch daemons and agents. To remove these, go to the Library folder (located in your Home folder) and look for the LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents folders. Look for files that match the app name or developer and delete them.

Step 8: Remove Support Files

When you uninstall an app on a Mac, it can leave behind support files, such as preferences and application support files. These can be removed manually by going to the Library folder and looking for files that match the app name or developer, then deleting them.

Step 9: Remove Plug-ins and Widgets

Some apps can also install plug-ins and widgets that you might want to remove. To do this, go to the Library folder and look for the Internet Plug-Ins, Input Methods, and Widgets folders. Look for files that match the app name or developer and delete them.

Step 10: Remove Login Items

Apps can also add themselves as login items, which means they will open automatically when you start your Mac. To remove login items, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Select the app you want to remove and click the minus (-) button.

Step 11: Remove System Files

Some apps can also add system files that you might want to remove. To remove system files, go to the Library folder and look for the Application Support and Caches folders. Look for files that match the app name or developer and delete them.

Step 12: Restart Your Mac

Finally, after you’ve uninstalled an app and removed any associated files, it’s a good idea to restart your Mac. This will ensure that any remaining files are cleared from memory.


Now that we’ve gone through the 12 steps, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of the concepts and techniques used for uninstalling apps on a Mac.

It’s important to note that simply dragging an app to the Trash and emptying it doesn’t always remove everything associated with the app. Some files, like preferences and caches, can be left behind. That’s why it’s important to check for and remove any associated files and folders manually.

Third-party uninstallers can be helpful, but they are not always necessary. The built-in uninstaller or dragging the app to the Trash can work just fine in most cases. Use a third-party uninstaller only if you’re having trouble removing an app and its associated files.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some bonus tips and tricks to make the process of uninstalling apps on a Mac even smoother:

Tip 1: Use an App Cleaner

An app cleaner is a type of third-party uninstaller that can help you easily remove apps and all their associated files. Some popular app cleaners include AppZapper, CleanMyMac, and AppCleaner.

Tip 2: Save Receipts

When you install an app, the Mac OS can save a receipt for that app. This contains information about the app and its installation location. Saving receipts can make it easier to completely remove an app in the future.

Tip 3: Check for Dependencies

Sometimes, an app can have dependencies on other apps or files. If you remove an app without removing its dependencies, you might encounter issues. Make sure to double-check for any dependencies before uninstalling an app.

Tip 4: Check for App Updates

Before uninstalling an app, check if there are any updates available. Sometimes, simply updating the app can resolve any issues you’re having, and you won’t need to uninstall it after all.

Tip 5: Use an Automated App Manager

Automated app managers, like the one built into CleanMyMac, can keep track of all the apps on your Mac and let you know when an app is no longer being used. This can help you keep your computer free of unused apps.

Tip 6: Keep Your Mac Clean

One of the best ways to avoid the need to uninstall apps on a Mac is to keep your computer clean and organized. Regularly delete old files and applications, and keep your desktop and Downloads folder tidy.

Tip 7: Read User Reviews

Before installing an app, it’s always a good idea to read user reviews to see if there are any issues with uninstalling it. Some apps can be difficult to remove, and it’s best to avoid those if possible.

Tip 8: Use Smart Folders

Smart Folders can help you quickly find and organize files, including those associated with apps you want to uninstall. Use Smart Folders to search for all files created by a particular app, then delete them all at once.

Tip 9: Use Spotlight Search

Spotlight search can help you quickly find and remove apps and their associated files. Simply click the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner of your screen, then type in the name of the app you want to uninstall.

Tip 10: Consider a Fresh Install

If you’re having a lot of issues with your Mac or simply want to start fresh, consider a clean install. This involves erasing your hard drive and reinstalling the operating system and all your apps. Just be sure to back up all important files and data before starting.

We hope this guide has been helpful in showing you how to uninstall stuff on a Mac. With the proper techniques and some helpful tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep your computer clean and running smoothly.

Advantages and Disadvantages: How to Uninstall Stuff on Mac

Uninstalling an application on your Mac can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the platform. However, it is something that you will eventually need to do to keep your system running smoothly. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of uninstalling applications on your Mac.

Advantages of Uninstalling Stuff on Mac

1. Release Disk Space: Uninstalling applications on Mac can release disk space, which is important for your system to run smoothly.

2. Improve Performance: By freeing up space, you can improve your Mac’s performance, making it faster and more responsive.

3. Avoid Clutter: Uninstalling applications can reduce clutter, which can make your system easier to manage.

4. Remove Bloatware: Some applications come pre-installed with your Mac that you may never use. Uninstalling them can help to remove bloatware from your system.

5. Enhance Privacy: Applications may leave behind residual files, which can compromise your privacy. By uninstalling them, you can enhance your privacy and security.

6. Prevent Conflicts: Sometimes, conflicts can occur between applications installed on your Mac. Uninstalling an application can prevent these conflicts from happening.

7. Keep Your System Up-to-date: By removing old applications, you can keep your system up-to-date and ensure that you are using the latest software.

8. Save Money: If you uninstall applications that you no longer use, you can save money that you would otherwise have spent on purchasing new software.

9. Organise Your System: Uninstalling applications can help you to organise your system and keep it clutter-free.

10. Manage Your Applications Efficiently: By uninstalling applications that you no longer use, you can manage the ones you do use more efficiently.

Disadvantages of Uninstalling Stuff on Mac

1. Loss of Functionality: By uninstalling applications, you may lose out on functionality that these applications provided.

2. Loss of Data: Uninstalling applications can result in the loss of data, especially if you do not back up your data regularly.

3. Difficulty in Reinstalling: Sometimes, reinstalling applications can be difficult, especially if you do not have the original installation files.

4. Time-consuming: Uninstalling applications can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have many applications to uninstall.

5. Risk of Deleting Important Files: If you are not careful, you may end up deleting important system files while uninstalling applications.

6. Risk of Removing Shared Components: Some applications may share components with other applications. Uninstalling these components can affect the functionality of other applications on your system.

7. May Need Technical Assistance: Sometimes, you may need technical assistance to uninstall certain applications that are more complicated to remove.

8. May Affect Your Workflow: If you uninstall an application that you regularly use, it may affect your workflow and productivity.

9. May Cause Licensing Issues: Sometimes, uninstalling applications can cause licensing issues if the same license is used on multiple devices.

10. May Not Solve the Problem: Uninstalling applications may not always solve the problem that you are trying to address.

Uninstalling applications on your Mac can have both advantages and disadvantages. It is important to weigh the pros and cons before proceeding with uninstalling any application. Always make sure to back up any important data before uninstalling any applications to avoid the loss of any important information.


1. How do I uninstall apps on my Mac?

To uninstall apps on Mac, you can either drag the app to the Trash or use the Launchpad. Simply click and hold on the app you want to delete, then click the “X” button that appears.

2. How do I permanently delete apps on Mac?

Once you have moved the app to the Trash, right-click on the Trash icon and select “Empty Trash” to permanently delete the app from your Mac.

3. Can I uninstall default apps on Mac?

No, you cannot uninstall default apps that come pre-installed on your Mac. However, you can hide them if you don’t want to see them in your Applications folder.

4. How do I uninstall programs that don’t have an uninstaller on Mac?

You can manually delete the program files, but this can be risky as you might delete important system files. It’s recommended to use a third-party uninstaller app like CleanMyMac X.

5. How do I uninstall multiple apps at once on Mac?

You can select multiple apps by holding down the “Command” key and clicking on the apps you want to delete, then proceed with the usual uninstall process.

6. How do I uninstall apps from the App Store on Mac?

Just like with regular apps, you can uninstall App Store apps by dragging them to the Trash or using Launchpad.

7. Will uninstalling an app free up space on my Mac’s hard drive?

Yes, uninstalling apps will free up space on your Mac’s hard drive.

8. Do I need to restart my Mac after uninstalling an app?

No, you don’t need to restart your Mac after uninstalling an app.

9. How do I uninstall apps that are running in the background on Mac?

You can’t uninstall apps that are currently running in the background. You’ll need to quit the app first before you can uninstall it.

10. Can I recover deleted apps on Mac?

If you have emptied the Trash, you won’t be able to recover the deleted app unless you have a backup of your Mac. However, if the app is still in the Trash, you can restore it by dragging it out of the Trash.

11. How do I uninstall system extensions on Mac?

You can uninstall system extensions using the Terminal app or a third-party app like AppCleaner. Make sure to only remove extensions that you know are safe to delete.

12. Can I uninstall system updates on Mac?

No, you cannot uninstall system updates on Mac. However, you can revert back to a previous macOS version if you have a backup.

13. How do I uninstall plugins on Mac?

You can uninstall plugins from Safari or Google Chrome by going into their respective settings and disabling or removing the plugin. For other apps, you can typically uninstall the plugin through the app’s menu or preferences.

How to Uninstall Stuff on Mac

If you’ve been a Mac user for a while, you’ve probably installed various applications and software to make your life easier. However, clutter can accumulate over time and you might find yourself needing to free up storage space on your Mac. Uninstalling unnecessary apps and software is a great way to do this. In this article, we’ll go over how to uninstall stuff on Mac.

Conclusion and Closing

Uninstalling apps and software on Mac can be a simple process. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily free up storage space on your device and speed up your Mac. Remember to always read the instructions carefully before deleting any files and be cautious when using third-party tools.

We hope this guide has been helpful in teaching you how to uninstall stuff on Mac. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and happy computing!

Until next time,

The Mac team