Mac Uninstaller – How To & FAQ

by Guest Author on September 27, 2010

in Guest Posts, Mac

Mac Uninstaller

If you collect many Mac applications, images, large files and the like, you might be overdoing it for your Mac.  Have you checked available disk space lately? Maybe it is time that you unleash the power of Mac uninstaller.

That’s easy, I just bring it to my  trash icon and its gone, right?

Not always.

Understand that the majority of your Mac applications will have been installed on your Mac as bundles.  A bundled application, such as iTunes, has the majority of its files contained within the icon.  However, additional disk space is used for your preferences files.  These files are typically small and contain settings for your particular Mac OS and operating environment unique to your system.  In fact, keeping them allows you to re-install the application faster should you wish to do so in lieu of using your Mac uninstaller for other programs you find you don’t want anymore.

You will find your preferences files within the user’s library folder (as ~/Library/Preferences) or in the root of your hard disk’s system volume name as /Library/References.

Are there other files I need to find and delete?

Yes. There are application support files that can take up significant disk space that you may wish to remove.  While not all Mac applications have large support files, the ones that do are typically your multimedia and graphics applications such as DVD Studio Pro.

The location of application support files can be either the Application Support folder within your user name’s library folder, or ‘Application Support’ within the ‘Library’ folder.  Alternatively, select the application of interest and hold down the CTRL key for a list of menu options.  Select the Show Package Contents option to open the Finder window to view the files and folders that are part of the application.

For any application support file found, just click on it and drag it to the Trash icon. Be sure the application is not running during any Mac uninstaller activity, as this can cause stability problems.

Does an installed application have its own uninstall program?

It might.  A number of Mac applications come with an uninstaller.  To determine if  the application you wish to remove has an uninstall  program, go to the application installation file (or icon) and run it to see if there is an uninstall option.  You might otherwise use the command line to try to uninstall an application, by using the same name of the installation file with the uninstall name instead.  For example:   ‘[appname]’.

Are there Mac Uninstaller programs that work?

There are also uninstaller programs that you can buy or try to do the mac uninstaller work for you.  But be careful of which you choose as some may not remove all files to an application.  A program such as AppZapper or AppTrap does in fact look for files beyond the application executable.  You want to read reviews by other Mac users to determine that the program of interest does in fact remove all files.

Guest post by Stefi Nickson from Mac-How


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Enrique September 30, 2010 at 22:20

For the most part I was dropping the apps to the trash without making sure if they were more files links to the app. For now I’m going to do it using this command

Sourish October 2, 2010 at 12:07

looks like i need to bookmark this page for future reference when i get a mac by the end of this year … probably during christmas…

Rob McCance October 2, 2010 at 19:20

I come from the Windows world but I love my MacBook PRO.

Some things can be a little mysterious about the MAC, and the install/uninstall process is definitely one of them.

I still think it’s a lot cleaner than a windows app unistall, since this oftern times leaves your registry bloated.

Does the MAC even have a registry?

Sourish October 3, 2010 at 18:33

nope , no registry

Luis October 22, 2010 at 08:06

@Sourish, Thank God Mac doesn’t have registry 🙂

Alina June 23, 2021 at 08:07

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