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How to Uninstall Programs on a Mac

How to Uninstall Programs on a Mac

This article will tell you the methods to cleanly uninstall programs from your Mac. It is a very simple task, and there are a few different methods that you can employ for carrying out the same.
Rahul Thadani
Learning how to uninstall an unwanted or old program on the Mac is a very simple task, but it is something that tends to confuse many first time users. Removing programs from a Windows based machine requires you to go to the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel and then select the program that you wish to uninstall. But in a Mac, the process is different.
People who adore Mac, absolutely swear by it, and one of the primary reasons for this is the simplicity of carrying out such tasks. Uninstalling programs is one such task, and there are two different ways in which you can achieve this. You must remember that there are two kinds of programs that will be present on your Mac - bundled programs and unbundled programs.
The bundled programs can be removed very quickly because all their bundled files are in one single location. The unbundled ones will require some extra manual work of removing preferences, saved data, and other such files. If you fail to remove these other files, they will take up unnecessary space on your hard drive and create a clutter in the future.
The Process
As mentioned earlier, there are two methods for removing programs and applications from your Mac.
Method # 1
There are a few steps involved in this method and it is more suitable for bundled programs. Since all the additional files of such programs are in the same location, it is easier to get rid of them all at the same time. Here are the steps for the same.
  • Double-click on the 'Macintosh HD' button on the desktop. You will see all the contents on hard drive in the form of Applications, System, and Library.
  • Double click on the 'Applications' icon. This will show you all the applications and programs that are installed on your machine.
  • Click on the applications that you wish to remove and drag them to the Trash Bin on your desktop. This will successfully uninstall them.
  • Alternatively, you can press the Ctrl button when you are reviewing the list of applications. Click on the 'Move to Trash' option and then select the applications that you wish to uninstall.
Please note that if you are using this method to uninstall unbundled applications, then you will need to go to their individual folders and move all those files to the Trash bin separately. Leaving these files on the hard drive is not advisable.
Method # 2
The other method is to use some third party application or tool to remove the applications that you wish to uninstall. This method is more suitable for unbundled programs, as these tools remove all associated files and data. Most of them work in a similar fashion to the Add/Remove Program option on Windows based system. You just view all the applications that are on your machine (bundled and unbundled) and then you proceed to remove them from a common and easy-to-use interface. You can even use the Search feature on these tools to find all the associated files and then remove them easily. Here are some recommended tools that you can make use of:
  • AppCleaner Uninstaller Software
  • AppZapper Uninstaller Software
  • AppTrap Uninstaller Software
  • Mac OSX Uninstaller
When you are choosing one of these tools, you must carry out enough research to see if you need a freeware or a paid software. Freeware offers lesser features, but it's good enough for average users. The paid software applications also have free trial versions which are good as well. Some people also claim that, it is better to leave associated files of uninstalled applications (like the preferences and other settings) on your machine, so that these can be used if you re-install the application in the future. This is a smart thing to do only if the associated files take up negligible space.
You can also check out the installer program for the application, since some of them also come preloaded with an Uninstall function. If this option does not exist, above mentioned methods will be useful to you.