MacMost Now 157: Uninstalling Applications on Mac OS X

Sometimes removing an application isn't as easy as dragging the application to the trash. Learn how to find the files that are left behind and clean up after an uninstall.



Show Notes:
Place to look for application files:
Library folder, both in your user folder and at the hard drive level.
Library > Application Support folders.
Library > Preferences folder, look for com.developer.application.plist files, files and folders with the application name.
Search for the application name to find aliases and other files.
Remove the application from the Dock if it is there.

Some software that will help you uninstall applications. Some of these just help you with uninstalls, while others have other functions as well.
AppTrap (free)
AppZapper ($12.95)
AppDelete (free)
SuperPop ($15)
CleanApp ($13)
Hazel ($21.95)

Comments: 42 Responses to “MacMost Now 157: Uninstalling Applications on Mac OS X”

    11 years ago

    There’s also a freeware like AppZapper version : http://www.freemacsoft.net/AppCleaner/

      Ken
      8 years ago

      Well I tried all the free ones posted here and there is only one free now App Trap, App Delete is now downloadable but there is a button to buy it so I think it’s now only a trial version. and the link that Martin, posted here takes me to a page that say’s forbidden You do not have permission to access this document.

        8 years ago

        Watch the video. The idea I try to get across is that you don’t need any of those apps.

          John
          8 years ago

          I just installed osx lion on my iMac. I didn’t know that Quicken, AppleWorks6, and Kodak easy share are no longer supported.
          I need Quicken for my checking account info. Can I uninstall
          Lion and expect those applications to be usable again? I am
          definitely not computer savvy.

            8 years ago

            A better option is to upgrade to software that is supported, rather than old versions that are no longer supported by the developer. Quicken Essentials and Quicken Online (Mint too) are supported. Lots of other software too. iWork apps are supported by AppleWorks is very very old and not.

              John
              8 years ago

              Ok, but I need the information on quicken for tax purposes.
              How do I recover that information?

                8 years ago

                Don’t know. Try calling the Intuit and ask.

    Crowe
    11 years ago

    Thanks for this information…I’m a Mac Newbie (switch from a PC about 5 months ago) and this helped me understand the uninstalling concept on a Mac. Also, thanks for the links to the uninstaller apps…I’ll go check them out.

    Carlos Rivera
    11 years ago

    Excelent podcast / topic. Of the above mentioned apps which one will search your system and remove any orphaned files that were left behind when an application removal was already done by dragging the application to the trash.

      Calvinator
      9 years ago

      @Carlos R… If you can’t find all the files, try reinstalling the ‘offending’ program and THEN use the software to remove it (and its associated files.)

    11 years ago

    Carlos: Not sure off-hand. You’ll have to check out their Web sites to see.

    Bigo
    11 years ago

    You can add ForkLift to the list http://binarynights.com.
    It has a so called “Delete App” function which does this.

    ignacio
    11 years ago

    excelent. thanks for your time i learned from you thanks

    Michael Sweeney
    10 years ago

    how to get rid of facebook on my ibook G4 10-4-11?????? I don’t even have a facebook account but am still inundated w/their requests and my icon is a facebook icon, and I rec’v updates etc. from facebook ??????

    Richard
    9 years ago

    Nice video Gary, very helpful.

    Calvinator
    9 years ago

    @Carlos R… If you can’t find all the files, try reinstalling the ‘offending’ program and THEN use the software to remove it (and its associated files.)

    Marius
    9 years ago

    Hi,

    I want to safe clean my trash, and it keeps coming something like: It cannot be done, fail code 8003.
    In my trash I also have the old version from Time Machine. That I could never delete…. Any suggestions ?

      9 years ago

      From what I hear, that problem happens if you try to use the Finder to delete files from your Time Machine backup. That really messes up Time Machine and your trash, both. I hear that you basically need to re-install Snow Leopard (over your existing OS, no need to delete any of your data). Then start a Time Machine backup from scratch. But I’m not sure. You may want a second opinion on that as I’m just relaying information I found elsewhere.

    Will
    9 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    I had a Tom Tom and its applications on my computer, now i have a Garmin and trying o remove all traces of Tom Tom from computer, but there seems to be a folder I can’t seem to get rid of, I have deleted everything out of the folder, but it is there on my Documents. Thanks.

      9 years ago

      Need details. Why can’t you get rid of the folder? Is there an error message? What happens when you drag it to the trash? When happens then when you try to empty the trash?

      gmcd2200
      9 years ago

      Hi guys. Here is my Unix geeky stuff coming out.

      Pull up a terminal (for the case of Tom Tom)
      {{you can change the Tom with whatever main part of the file name is used that you think will be a directory.}}
      and type this ==> find / -name ‘*Tom*’ -print 2>/dev/null

      Once you have been shown the directory name or files yo udo not need.. type this ==> sudo \rm -R

      Be careful with that one. you can if you are not sure.. cream your computer.. but.. if you know about RM and are confident.. no problemo.. you can remove all annoying parts of a program that you were unable to remove. and or find.

      Cheers

    Graham
    9 years ago

    thanks for this. do you actually use any of the third party uninstall apps?
    whats best from your list?

      9 years ago

      No, I don’t use any of them. I follow what I talk about in this episode.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8 years ago

    Yes like gmcd2200 says, I was advised to use Terminal, but this was way over my head. I just could not empty the trash,messages like- thats in use- error code. I Googled for the answer. It came up with quite a few,but there was one. It was called SuperEmptyTrash it worked straight away and it can delete items from your USB Pen,and it`s safe. You can see what you are deleting. Even the uninstalled applications you do not have to go through all the procedures.

    Juan
    8 years ago

    Hey i’m sorry I want to use the new feature i learned with you but i want to delete the package contents that i still have (from my past deleted apps) could you tell me the name of the app that deletes the old package content please thanks for all tutorials.

      8 years ago

      Not sure what you mean. Typically an app IS a package. If you delete the app, you are deleting the package.

    Juan
    8 years ago

    So if I delete the application the package is erased too?

      8 years ago

      The application IS the package. Unless you are asking about something else. Perhaps you aren’t understanding what the “package” is? What do you think it is?

    Robert
    8 years ago

    I use App Cleaner, it is free. I find it works very well.

    Rodney MAROIS
    8 years ago

    I have K9 web protection the dog barks when a site is blocked for adult content I may want to delete this off my system how do I do so thanks I am on mac G five flat screen unit

    Freddie
    8 years ago

    Applications started showing up like Growel, Akamai and Vision Cue cs4. Where did they come from and how can I be sure which applications I can delete?

      8 years ago

      Growl and Akamai are often installed by other apps. You must have missed it when they told you that you were going to get them too. Growl adds notification functionality to some apps. Akamai is download functionality. Not sure about that other one. But you have some software somewhere that you recently installed that uses them. Remove them if you like, but you may be crippling and disabling other software. Think about what you have recently installed and investigate from there.

    Alice
    8 years ago

    I’ve gone through the steps of uninstalling the program (AutoCAD) as noted above, yet I am having trouble with the new version of CAD I am trying to install! When I first tried to install AutoCAD it said it cannot do it because there is already an existing version. So I went ahead and uninstalled it (following all the tips in the video) including checking for stuff hidden in other user profiles. It allowed me to install the New Version, however, when I try to use the app I still get the water stamp that was created by the educational version previously installed (the one I am trying to delete!!!). This is a NEW file I am creating with the “New non-educational” version, but it somehow picks up remnants of the old version installed. Any suggestions?

      8 years ago

      Alice, I would contact AutoCAD support. They would be the only ones to know what it triggering the watermark.

    Zlara
    8 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    I downloaded trial version of inlet and after uninstalling it in my mac top bar I still have a symbol of pen . When clicking on it the drop down menu says “Write Anywhere, Show Ink Window, Ink Preferences”.

    Do you know how I could delete that symbol?

    Thank you,
    Zlara

    I

    Thank you

      8 years ago

      The toolbar icon should have been removed when you uninstalled. I’d contact the developer and ask them about that.

    suz
    8 years ago

    hi Gary, thanks for the info, i have learned a great deal, however after hunting down the app’s contents everywhere you suggested in the vid, my trash still won’t empty it says “Impossible because « MacKeeper Helper » is being used and other such messages. I have searched high and low in my libraries both on hard drive and in my user folder and have installed AppTrap – but that did nothing even when I threw another old app away – no pop up boxes asking me if i wanted to delete the associated contents. Any thoughts? Meanwhile i’ll just watch your vid again and then restart my mac. Hmmm.

      7 years ago

      So you are trying to uninstall Mac Keeper? Is there an uninstaller? Do they have an uninstall process listed on their site? You’ll probably need to properly uninstall it to get rid of it.

    Anastasios
    7 years ago

    hi i would like to ask how can i uninstall imovie on a mac without losing my data!
    because i want to install it again due to some difficulties i have with the program!

      7 years ago

      Depends. If you bought it from the Mac App Store (or got it with a recent new Mac) then you can use LaunchPad to delete it, and then the App Store to re-install it. But that might delete your data — probably not. So just back up, as you are doing anyway, right?
      Otherwise, perhaps try something less drastic. Like removing your iMovie preferences file so it resets your iMovie preferences.

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