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How to Completely Uninstall an App on Your Mac

Removing old apps that you aren’t using anymore can help you keep your Mac running like new. This is especially important if you have a malicious app that is causing your problems. Here are several ways to uninstall apps on your Mac, and how to completely remove any of the program’s orphan files.

How to Uninstall Apps on a Mac Using Trash

One of the easiest ways to uninstall an app on your Mac is by dragging it from the Applications folder to the Trash in your Dock. Then right-click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

  1. Open a new Finder window on your Mac. You can do this by clicking the half-gray, half-blue face icon in your Dock. 
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  2. Then click Applications on the left panel. You can also open the Applications folder by pressing the Command + Shift + A keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    How to Uninstall Apps On Your Mac
  3. Next, click and drag an app on top of the Trash icon in your Dock. 
    How to Uninstall Apps On Your Mac
  4. Finally, right-click the Trash bin and select Empty TrashIf you are using a trackpad, you can do this by pressing the Control key while you click on the Trash icon.
How to Uninstall Apps On Your Mac

Note: Only the app itself will be uninstalled by dragging it to the trash. While the orphan files that would be left behind are usually tiny, some of them can contain malicious software.

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How to Uninstall Apps On a Mac Using 3rd-Party Uninstallers

If you want to completely uninstall an app on your Mac, including any orphan files, you can use a 3rd-party uninstaller like App Cleaner. Just download, install, and launch the app. Then drag an app into the AppCleanerwindow and click Remove.

 Note: To make things easier, these steps apply to the AppCleaner program, but there are lots of other 3rd-party uninstallers available.

  1. Go to the AppCleaner website and download the app. AppCleaner is a totally free app. You can download it by clicking on the version that is compatible with your macOS
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  2. .Then open the downloaded file. You can find the installer in your Downloads folder. If you want to keep the app, drag it into your Applications folder.
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  3. Then drag an app to the uninstaller’s window. It will take a moment to scan all files associated with the app.
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  4. Finally, click the Remove or Delete button. You can select which files and folders that you want the app to delete by checking the boxes to the left of each file.   
How to Uninstall Apps On Your Mac

How to Uninstall Apps on a Mac Using an App Uninstaller

Some apps come with their own uninstallers. It is recommended that you use the uninstaller tool that came with the application in order to make the uninstallation process safer.

  1. Open a Finder window. You can also open a new Finder window by clicking on the desktop and pressing the Command + N keys.
  2. Click Applications in the left sidebar. 
  3. Open the folder of the application that you want to uninstall. If the app is not in a folder, it probably doesn’t have an uninstaller.
  4. Double-click on the app’s uninstaller tool. 
  5. Follow the instructions for removing the app. 

How to Uninstall on a Mac Using the Launchpad

To uninstall apps you downloaded from the App Store, open the Launchpad app in your Applications folder. Then click and hold the app you want to uninstall. Finally, click the “X” that appears and select Delete to confirm.

  1. Open Launchpad app on your Mac. If you don’t see this app in your Dock, you can open it from your Applications folder.
  2. Then locate the application that you want to uninstall. 
  3. Next, click and hold the app icon. After a few seconds, the icon will start to shake, and an X will appear in the top-left corner. 
  4. Then click on the “X” that appears. 
    How to Uninstall Apps On Your Mac
  5. Finally, select Delete to confirm.
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If you are still not able to uninstall certain apps on your Mac, it might be a virus. Check out our guide on how to remove malware from your Mac to find out more.

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Updated on June 1, 2021

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