11/30/11

MacMost Now 638: Uninstalling Apps In Mac OS X Lion

Uninstalling apps is easy in Mac OS X Lion. If you have purchased an app in the Mac App Store, you can use Launchpad to quickly remove them. Otherwise, you can still use the basic techniques of simply dragging an application to the trash, or running its uninstaller program.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take another look at uninstalling applications on the Mac. So way back in episode 157 I showed you how to uninstall applications on the Mac. Now things have changed a little bit with Lion and the Mac app store, so I wanted to take another look. Now in Lion we've got launchpad. When you run launchpad you get this list of all your applications. Now if you're a power user you may not use launchpad. You may stick to the dock using spotlight to launch applications. But launchpad does allow you to uninstall applications. But only applications which you installed with the Mac app store. So for instance, I'm going to click and hold on any app here. Click and hold, and they will all start to jiggle. Now I get the little x button at the upper left hand corner of any icon of an app that I've installed in the Mac app store. Apps that I've installed in other ways – maybe I've had them before, or if I installed them from optical disks, or download them directly from third parties, I don't have that x. But if I want to uninstall one of these applications, like here's skitch which is just installed, I can just hit the x button and it asks if I'm sure I want to delete and it will remove it. And that's how you do an uninstall using things you've installed from the Mac app store. Now for other applications you can still follow the standard procedures that you did before hand. For instance many applications come with uninstaller. Like for instance here is Flash, the programming environment, and I can see that there's an uninstaller right there on the folder. You can also check to see if the installer itself has an uninstall function. That's pretty common. And in other cases you would simply drag and drop an application file or folder from your applications folder to the trash. And that's the easiest way to get rid of it. Rarely do you have an application that actually stores a whole bunch of data elsewhere. This happens sometimes with games, happens sometimes with big media things, like say Garage Band stores a lot of music files. In these cases you pretty much know what you're getting into because you know there's a lot of external stuff, and an uninstaller will take care of it. But sometimes there's these little preference files that are left in the preferences folder. You can see the previous episode. But they're so tiny that it's really not worth getting rid of. You just leave them there. You have tens of thousands of files in Mac OS 10, so a little preference file here and there is not going to make any difference. Kind of like stopping your car on the highway to pick up a penny on the side of the road. Some applications even have an uninstall function built right into them inside one of the menus. And if it's a particularly tricky program to uninstall what you would do is go to the website for that program and usually in their support sections there's information about how to uninstall the app. Sometimes they have an uninstaller you can download, sometimes they just point you in the right direction, other times they contain a complete list of all the things that you need to remove to completely uninstall that app. So there you go, use launchpad to remove programs you install with Mac app store and if not look for an uninstaller. Look maybe for the installer to see if there's an uninstaller function. Consider just dragging and dropping the application to the trash which will work in most cases. And as a last resort go to the website for help. So some people like to use third party app removal applications but I don't see the point to installing an application remove another one. If you just know these simple things you can remove them on your own. You don't need to install anything else. So I help you found this useful. Till next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

9 Responses to “MacMost Now 638: Uninstalling Apps In Mac OS X Lion”

  1. Antrim says:

    Nice. Didn’t know about the Launchpad method.

  2. Alex says:

    Launchpad sucks. It’s much easier to launch apps if you put your Apps Folder in the Dock (and you can subfolder it into, say, Communications, Text, Media etc). This way it’s: one click on the App folder icon in the Dock > navigate through alphabetical list to your app > release the button. With Launchpad it’s: Launch the Launchpad > stare at the array of icons (I have a lot) > page through them till you find the app you need > double-click it. Way more time and effort.

    That’s why I want to remove Launchpad itself. I already deleted the app from the Applications folder (removing “locked” flag first). But now, even though I deleted the app, I still get the Launchpad desktop when I press F4.

    Any advice?

    • You don’t want to delete LaunchPad. It does more than just launch applications. For instance, you use it to uninstall apps you buy in the Mac App Store. So you definitely don’t want it gone. There’s a reason it is locked.
      There are many ways to launch applications in OS X, and you don’t need to use or like them all. But don’t try to rip out part of OS X just because it is not your preferred method. Just don’t use it.
      I rarely use the Dock, in fact. I prefer to launch things from Spotlight Menu.
      Not sure what state your install of OS X is in now that you have removed it from the Applications folder, but it still runs when you press F4. But I wouldn’t try to do any further damage by digging any deeper.

      • Alex says:

        MAS apps can be easily uninstalled without Launchpad. So, what else does it do, except taking up resources? My policy has always been – if the program is not used, uninstall it. iPhoto, iMovie, iChat, Mail, Chess, even App Store – they are all gone (even though they were all locked), the system works fine, and I’m happy using 3rd-party alternatives. There is NO reason they should be locked. No system is perfect for EVERYBODY and there should be a way to customize it.

        • I wouldn’t say it takes up any resources. But it is a part of OS X. It is your Mac, you can do what you want. But I would not recommend to anyone to uninstall it, or iPhoto, Mail, and especially not the App Store. What will happen the first time you want a piece of 3rd-party software that is only available in the App Store?

    • Gonad says:

      Don’t press F4

  3. Ralph Huskey says:

    Hi, Gary,
    Thanks for the video. My wife recently downloaded Wondershare Video Converter (it’s a trial version but doesn’t say so when I search for it), version 2.6.1 and I’ve tried everything you’ve suggested but just cannot get this program off of my MacBook Pro. I purchased this laptop in August, so I have the most recent version of OS Lion.

    Thank you for your time, Gary,

    Ralph

  4. Mike says:

    Thanks for this. I didn’t know about the Launchpad method of uninstalling. I really like Launchpad, I can understand people not liking change though. I embrace it though, got to move with the times :)

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