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How to Uninstall Apps on Your Mac: 6 Quick Ways

Remove unwanted apps on Mac with simple steps.

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Last updated: December 9, 2023

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TL;DR

To uninstall apps on your Mac, follow one of these methods:

  1. Use MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller to uninstall apps and remove associated files in one go, leaving no leftovers.
  2. Use Finder to drag apps to the Bin and then empty it.
  3. Open Launchpad, click and hold an app icon until all apps start jiggling. Then, click the small cross to delete it.
  4. Open Terminal, type sudo uninstall file://, drag the app from the Applications folder into Terminal, enter your admin password and press Enter.

Downloading apps on Mac, using them once, and then completely forgetting about them – I’ve often done that. As a result, my system piles up with unused apps hogging up space and slowing down my Mac. So, what’s the workaround? Uninstall apps on your Mac – the ones you don’t need, of course! Here, I’ll show you the easiest ways to get rid of unused apps on your Mac.

Before We Begin

Uninstalling unnecessary apps on your Mac improves its performance, security, and usability. Download MacKeeper to regularly remove apps you no longer use to free up space, protect your data, and boost productivity.

Uninstall Unwanted Apps on Mac In One Click Using MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller

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While you can use the Apple native methods to uninstall apps, they’re not as quick and accurate as using third-party software like MacKeeper. Plus, no native method deletes leftover files while uninstalling an app.

Follow these steps to uninstall apps on your Mac with their leftover files using MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. After installation, launch MacKeeper and click the Smart Uninstaller in the left-hand menu.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. Select the applications you want to delete from the list and click Remove Selected.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up to confirm the deletion.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller
  1. MacKeeper will uninstall the apps and remove associated files and folders. You will get a Removal Completed notification. Click Continue to finish the process.
click continue after removal completed

Now, you can move on to deleting the app leftovers using the Smart Uninstaller:

  1. Launch the Smart Uninstaller and click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. When the scan completes, click Leftovers in the left sidebar.
click leftovers in the left sidebar
  1. Select the leftover files you want to delete in the right pane and click Remove Selected.
select the leftover files you want to delete and click remove selected
  1. Tap the Remove button to confirm the removal.
click remove on the pop up
  1. This will remove your selected app leftovers, and you’ll get a Removal Completed notification. Click Continue to finish the process.
click continue after removal completed

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides uninstalling apps on your Mac, MacKeeper can also help delete cache files on your Mac, remove login items, keep track of app updates, remove duplicate files, and more. You can learn more about it in my MacKeeper review.

5 Alternative Ways to Uninstall Apps on Your Mac

While I’ve always found MacKeeper to be the best solution for uninstalling apps and their leftovers on my Mac, I understand that some users prefer exploring built-in methods. So, below, I’ve shared some alternative ways to uninstall apps on your Mac.

1. Use Finder to Uninstall Apps on Mac

Using Finder to uninstall apps on your Mac is the most commonly used method. It’s particularly handy for apps that don’t come with their own uninstallers. Just find the Applications folder on your Mac, select the app you want to remove, and drag it to the Bin.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Finder to uninstall apps on your Mac:

  1. Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
click finder in your dock
  1. Open the Applications folder from the left sidebar.
click applications in the left sidebar of finder
  1. Scroll through the list of apps in the Applications folder until you find the app you want to uninstall.
  2. Click the app icon and drag it to the Bin icon in the Dock. Alternatively, right-click the app icon and select Move to Bin.
right click an application and select move to bin
  1. After dragging the app to the Bin, right-click the Bin icon in the Dock and select Empty Bin.
right click the bin and select empty bin
  1. Restart your Mac to ensure that all changes are applied.

2. Use Launchpad to Uninstall Apps on Mac

Using Launchpad to uninstall apps on your Mac is another user-friendly option. With Launchpad, you can easily delete any app you downloaded from the App Store.

Here’s how to use Launchpad to uninstall apps on your MacBook:

  1. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, or use the Mac keyboard shortcut key: F4.
click the launchpad icon in the dock
  1. Scroll through the list of apps in Launchpad until you find the app you want to uninstall.
all apps in launchpad
  1. Click and hold the app icon until it starts shaking, and an X icon appears on the top-left corner of the app icon. Click the X icon to delete the app.
click the x icon to delete the app in launchpad
  1. A pop-up window will ask you to confirm if you want to delete the app. Tap the Delete button to confirm, and it will move the app to the Bin.
tap the delete button to confirm
  1. After deleting the app, right-click the Bin icon in the Dock and select Empty Bin.
right click the bin and select empty bin
  1. Restart your Mac to ensure that all changes are applied.

3. Use the App’s Native Uninstaller

Whenever I have to uninstall an app on my Mac that I downloaded from the web, I always check first if it has its native uninstaller. Most internet-downloaded apps do. Using the native uninstaller is super helpful as it deletes the app with its associated files.

Here’s how to remove applications using their native uninstaller:

  1. Find the application you’d like to uninstall in your Applications folder.
  2. Right-click or control-click the app’s icon and select Show Package Contents from the drop-down menu.
right click the app and select show package contents
  1. Look at all the files inside the package and locate a file named [the app name] Uninstaller or something similar.
  2. Double-click the Uninstaller file and follow the instructions given by an uninstall wizard that pops up (if there are none, the program has now been uninstalled).
  3. Once finished, don’t forget to empty the Trash on your Mac to ensure all associated files are removed from your hard drive.
right click the bin and select empty bin

4. Delete App Leftovers to Completely Uninstall an App on Your Mac

If you prefer not to use a third-party tool, you can manually search for leftover files. To delete app leftovers and completely uninstall an app on your Mac, follow the steps below:

Remember, manually searching for and deleting app leftovers can be risky if you’re not familiar with the system files. It’s easy to accidentally delete important files, so if you’re unsure, I suggest you use MacKeeper.

  1. Open Finder and navigate to the Library folder. To do this, click Go in the menu bar while holding the Option ⌥ key and select Library.
click library under go in the context menu
  1. Look for any folders or files related to the app you uninstalled. Common locations include the following:
    • ~/Library/Application Support
    • ~/Library/Preferences
    • ~/Library/Caches
  2. Carefully delete any files or folders that are associated with the app. Be cautious not to delete system files or files related to other apps.

5. Use Terminal to Uninstall Apps on Mac

Using Terminal to uninstall apps on my Mac is a method I reserve for certain situations, especially when other methods don’t seem to do the job thoroughly. It’s a bit more technical, but it gives me a lot of control over the uninstallation process.

Only use Terminal to uninstall apps on your Mac if you can’t uninstall them through the usual methods. If you don’t use proper commands, it may mess up the settings of your Mac.

Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
launch terminal from utilities
  1. Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo uninstall file://
type sudo uninstall file in terminal
  1. Now, open the Applications folder in Finder and drag the app you want to delete to Terminal. It will automatically paste the app path. Then, press Enter.
drag an app icon from applications to terminal to automatically paste the app path
  1. Enter your Mac admin password and press Enter.
type your password in terminal
  1. The app will be successfully deleted. You can restart your Mac to ensure all changes are applied.

What If You Can’t Uninstall an App on Mac

Deleting apps on a Mac that won’t delete can be a bit tricky, but there are several methods you can try. Below, I’ve shared the ones I’ve tried.

1. Force Quit the App First

Sometimes, you’re unable to delete an app because it’s open. So, first Force Quit the app, then try uninstalling it again. Here’s how:

    1. Press Command ⌘ + Option ⌥ + Esc to bring up the Force Quit window.
    macbook pro option command esc
    1. Select an app in the window and click Force Quit.
    force quit any processes that are causing problems
    1. Next, open the Finder and navigate to the Applications folder.
    click applications in the left sidebar of finder
    1. Find the app you want to delete.
    2. Right-click the app, select Move to Bin, or drag the app to the Bin.
    right click an application and select move to bin

      2. Check for a Dedicated Uninstaller

      Some apps come with their own uninstallers. Check the app’s folder in the Applications directory to see if there’s an uninstaller tool. If there is, use it to remove the app.

      3. Boot into Safe Mode

      Sometimes starting your Mac in Safe Mode can help delete stubborn apps. Restart your Mac and hold down the Shift ⇧ key until you see the Apple logo. Once in Safe Mode, try deleting the app using the Finder method.

      4. Use a Third-Party Uninstaller

      There are various third-party apps available that can help with stubborn app deletions, such as MacKeeper, AppCleaner, CleanMyMac, etc. These tools can help remove apps along with their associated files.

      Uninstall Apps on Mac Like a Pro

      Now that you know how to uninstall apps on your Mac, you may want to learn other ways to keep your Mac clean and organized. Here are a few tips:

      Frequently Asked Questions

      1. How do I uninstall an app on Mac?

        You can uninstall an app on Mac using different methods. The easiest way to uninstall an app on Mac is to drag it from the Applications folder to the Bin. Then, right-click the Bin icon and select Empty Bin to delete the app permanently.

      2. How do I remove leftover files and folders after uninstalling an app?

        You can remove leftover files and folders after uninstalling an app using a third-party app like MacKeeper. Alternatively, you can manually search for leftover files and delete them, but it is a time-consuming process and may not deliver the best results.

      3. How do I prevent an app from automatically opening when I start up my Mac?

        To prevent an app from automatically opening when you start up your Mac, go to System Settings > General > Login Items. Here, select the app you want to disable from launching at startup and click the small – (minus) button under the list. This will remove the app from login items on your Mac, preventing it from launching at startup.

      Hashir Ibrahim

      Author

      I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

      Ojash

      Reviewer

      Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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