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How to Erase an App on Mac

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by Amy on May 24, 2024 | Approved by Christian Cawley

Deleting an app on your Mac might seem straightforward, but there's more to it than just dragging the icon to the Trash. Failing to uninstall apps completely can lead to cluttered storage, slower system performance, and potential security risks. In this guide, we will walk you through how to erase an app on a Mac completely, ensuring that all its traces, including hidden files and remaining data, are removed. Whether you are a seasoned Mac user or a newcomer, these tips will help you keep your system clean and running efficiently.

Why You Should Properly Uninstall Apps

When you uninstall an app from your Mac, some associated files may remain hidden in various folders. They accumulate over time, take up valuable disk space, and can slow down your system. Properly erasing an app ensures that all associated data is deleted, freeing up space and maintaining your Mac's performance.

How to Erase App on Mac

There are several methods available for uninstalling an app on a Mac, catering to various user preferences and technical comfort levels. Here, we'll cover the most common methods:

1. From Finder

This is the most common method to erase apps on MacBook Pro, Air, and more. It works for most apps downloaded from the Mac App Store or the Internet. Here is a guide:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Navigate to the Applications folder.
  3. Locate the app you want to erase.
  4. Drag the app to the Trash located in your Dock.

  5. Right-click the "Trash" icon and select "Empty Trash" to permanently delete this app.

2. From the Menu Bar

This is a more streamlined approach for users who prefer keyboard and menu commands. Here is guidance on how to erase an app on Mac:

  1. Open Finder and click "Applications" on the left side.

  2. Click on the program you wish to uninstall.
  3. Go to the "File" menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  4. Select "Move to Trash" from the drop-down menu.

  5. Erase the app by right-clicking the "Trash" icon and selecting "Empty Trash."

3. Use Launchpad

It provides another simple way to erase apps from Mac, especially those downloaded from the Mac App Store.

  1. Using the keyboard shortcut (F4 or the Launchpad gesture on a trackpad) to open Launchpad.
  2. Hold the app icon you want to delete until it starts to jiggle.
  3. Click the "X" icon in the app icon's top-left corner.

  4. Confirm the deletion by clicking "Delete."
  5. Go to "Trash" and find this program again.
  6. Right-click and select "Delete immediately."

4. Through Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a better option for users who prefer to perform this task quickly. Here are step-by-steps to uninstall an app on Mac completely:

  1. Select the app in Finder.
  2. Press Command + Delete (⌘⌫) to instantly move the app to the Trash.
  3. As always, don't forget to Empty the Trash to finalize the removal.

5. Through the Uninstaller that Comes with the Program

Some program developers provide built-in uninstallers to complete self-cleaning for a better user experience. If the program you need to erase has an "uninstaller" extra in the Applications folder or appears as a folder, you need to find and click on it and follow the instructions to complete the program erasure.

6. Use Third-Party Uninstaller Apps

Sometimes, residual files may remain on your system even after you move an application to the Trash and empty it or use the built-in option to remove it. For this, third-party apps can help ensure a more comprehensive cleanup. Here, you can use Delete Apps developed by FIPLAB to accomplish this task. It is a free and effective tool that scans your system to find all files related to the application you want to erase.

Here are steps on how to erase app on Mac:

  1. Download and install "Delete Apps" from the App Store.
  2. After opening it, click "Select Applications Folder" > "Start Scan."

  3. Select the App you want to erase and click "Next".

  4. Choose all data and click "Done".

7. From Terminal (Advanced Users)

For those comfortable using the command line, Terminal offers a powerful way to erase apps on Mac and associated files. You can do this:

  1. Open Terminal from the Utilities folder in Applications.
  2. Type "sudo rm -rf /Applications/AppName.app" and press "return."
  3. Enter the macOS login password and confirm.
  4. Type "sudo find / -iname "AppName" -exec rm -rf {} \;" and press "return."

That's all about how to uninstall an app on Mac completely, but keep reading for a more thorough removal.

How to Make Sure Programs are Completely Deleted from Your Mac

Usually, when you install a program on your Mac, its related files are put into different locations for optimal performance. Therefore, something may be missed when you use the above method to erase an app on a Mac. To complete this process more thoroughly, please use the following manual and automatic removal methods.

1. Manually Remove Program Leftover Files

  1. Open Finder and select "Go > Go to Finder" in the top menu.
  2. Type the following locations one by one to search for and delete any data related to the application name.

    /Library/Application Support/
    /Library/Caches/
    /Library/Preferences/
    /Library/Logs/
    /Library/Internet Plug-Ins

2. Clear All Data of the App with One Click

Although the manual removal of app remnants described above is useful, it is time-consuming. To save time, you can also use iBeesoft iCleaner for Mac to complete this task. It's free and cleans these files with one click. Here are steps:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft iCleaner for Mac.
  2. Click "Start Analyze" after running it.
  3. After completing the scan, click the "Program Junk, User Junk, and Other Junk" icon to select them.

  4. Click "Clean Junk" to delete them completely.

Tips for Troubleshooting Programs that Can't be Removed on Mac

It can be frustrating to come across an app that you can't remove from your Mac, but there are several tricks you can do to resolve the issue effectively:

Following these troubleshooting steps can increase the likelihood of successfully uninstalling a stubborn program from your Mac system.

Conclusion

Properly erasing apps on your Mac is crucial in maintaining system health and maximizing performance. You can ensure that all unwanted applications are thoroughly removed by utilizing methods such as Finder, the Menu Bar, keyboard shortcuts, and third-party uninstaller apps. Remember, always empty the Trash after deleting apps to confirm complete erasure. With these practices, you'll keep your Mac running smoothly and efficiently, free from unnecessary clutter.

Following this guide will help you become more organized and efficient in managing your digital space and improve Mac performance. Finally, stay tuned to our blog for more tips and tricks on managing MacOS.

FAQs

  • Some files may remain on your system after deleting an app. To locate and remove these:

    1. Open the Finder.
    2. Use Shift + Command + G to open Go to Folder, then type '~/Library' and hit enter.
    3. Check for the app's files in the Application Support, Caches, Preferences, and Containers folders.
    4. Delete any related files.
  • Several third-party apps, such as Delete Apps, AppCleaner, CleanMyMac X, and TrashMe, can simplify the uninstallation process. These tools can help find and remove associated files that are often missed manually.

  • Some pre-installed Mac apps can be uninstalled, while others cannot. For example, apps like Chess or GarageBand can be removed using the methods above. However, critical system apps like Safari or Mail cannot be removed without potentially harming the operating system.

  • If an app still appears in Launchpad after deletion, it may be due to leftover files. To remove it:

    1. Open Launchpad.
    2. Look for the app and try the deletion method again.

    If it persists, check the Applications folder and Steps 1 and 2 from FAQs to remove residual files manually.

  • Uninstalling apps generally pose no risk; however, do not delete system-critical applications or files. Some apps also store data in associated files, so back up any critical data before removing the app.

  • If you purchased or downloaded it from the App Store, please go back to the Store and re-download it. This is also valid if you obtained it from the developer's website. In addition, if you have Time Machine backup, you can quickly obtain them. Finally, if everything fails, you can also try data recovery software for Mac to get them back.