Completely Removing Apps from Your Mac: An A to Z Guide

So you want to uninstall some unused apps from your Mac? Great idea! Clearing out unused apps saves storage space, speeds up your Mac, and improves security.

But deleting apps the normal way isn‘t enough – hidden files and old settings hang around. You need to fully and permanently remove everything related to unused programs.

Not to worry! This guide has you covered with 8 proven uninstall methods, from quick drag and delete to special cleaner utilities for maximum deletion.

I‘ll walk you through exactly how to use each method for any Mac app, Plus expert tricks to really clear out all hidden traces.

Follow these uninstall steps from start to finish and you‘ll reclaim gigs of space while enjoying a faster, more secure Mac. Now let‘s dig in and clean up those apps!

Overview: Key Steps for Complete App Removal

Here‘s a quick overview of the key methods we‘ll cover to completely uninstall apps on your Mac:

  1. Use Launchpad – Mac‘s built-in GUI uninstaller.
  2. Delete via the App Store – Remove any downloaded App Store programs.
  3. Drag and drop apps to Trash – Deletes main program file but not hidden items.
  4. Employ an uninstall utility – Scanner apps find and delete all traces of an app.
  5. Access hidden files in Finder – Delete manually leftover support files/data.
  6. Leverage Terminal commands – Advanced approach for total app eradication.
  7. Perform post-uninstall cleaning – Maintenance scripts and malware tools ensure apps stay deleted.

Now let‘s explore each method in-depth. Buckle up for everything you need to know for permanent Mac app removal!

Launchpad: Built-In Mac App Uninstaller

MacOS includes Launchpad for simple graphical app uninstalling. While basic compared to other methods, it‘s a good first step:

  1. Click the Launchpad icon your Mac‘s dock or open it via a Finder window sidebar.

  2. Locate the app want to remove.
    Tip: search with the bar at the top to easily find it.

  3. Right click or control-click the app icon and select Delete.

    Delete app via Launchpad

  4. Confirm deletion in the pop-up prompt.

This removes the main program file, but other traces remain in hidden folders. So additionally:

  1. Open Trash and right click > Empty Trash to delete the app‘s main file permanently.

By itself, Launchpad leaves fragments that take up precious storage. So utilize other methods too for a cleaner result.

Uninstalled apps using Launchpad last year:

AppSizeSpace Freed Up
Angry Birds32 MB0.03 GB
iTunes U156 MB0.15 GB
Total188 MB0.18 GB

Uninstall Basic App Store Apps

For apps downloaded via the App Store, Apple provides an integrated uninstall option:

  1. Open the App Store and click your account icon at the bottom.

  2. Choose View Information.

  3. Select Manage next to the app you wish to remove.

  4. Click Delete or Delete App and confirm your choice.

    Delete iOS app from account

Follow up by emptying the Trash to complete the standard uninstall process.

This works great for basic apps. Again however, hidden support folders often remain untouched in dusty corners of your system. Time to clean those out!

Drag and Drop Apps to Trash

On Windows, just sending an app to Recycle Bin removes it permanently when emptied. MacOS differs – you must also delete associated hidden files manually. But first:

  1. Open a new Finder window, select Applications in the sidebar.

  2. Find the unwanted app and right click or control-click on it.

  3. Choose Move to Trash from the menu.

    Drag app file to Trash

  4. Next open the Trash and right or control-click inside it.

  5. Select Empty Trash.

This deletes the main app file but leaves all associated data and hidden files behind. Time to break out the power tools!

Employ an Uninstaller App

Dedicated uninstallers have one purpose: completely deleting everything related to the apps you specify: preferences, caches, databases, saved states – gone!

They automatically scan all user files plus system areas like /Library, find any trace of your condemned app, and banish them from your Mac forever.

Here are three top uninstaller apps:

AppPriceOS SupportEase of Use
AppCleanerFreemacOS 10.7+★★★★☆
CleanMyMac X$40/yearmacOS 10.10+★★★☆☆
AppDeleteFree; Pro $20macOS 10.9+★★★★★

To securely erase apps with these powerful tools:

  1. Install and open your selected uninstaller.

  2. Drag-and-drop the condemned app onto its interface.

  3. Review detected files – delete caches if okay, preserve important docs.

  4. Click Delete or Uninstall. Gone! All remnants banished!

    AppDelete uninstall flow

It‘s foolproof. Uninstallers work fast, protect your data, free up space, and boost speed after slowing install/reinstall cycles. Give one a download and wave bye to your unused apps!

Access Hidden Files with Finder

Even robust uninstallers can occasionally miss scraps. For utmost removal assurance, delete hidden files manually with Finder:

On any Mac running macOS or OS X:

  1. Open a new Finder window.

  2. Press Command+Shift+. together to toggle Show hidden files on/off.

  3. Browse to ~/Library for user files or /Library for system files.

    Navigate to hidden user Library

  4. Delete remaining items for your uninstalled app.

  5. Toggle Show hidden files off again when finished.

This gives full control to remove each last trace of those stubborn apps that overstay their welcome.

Eliminate Leftover Traces in Terminal

Brave enough for Terminal command line removal? With great power comes great responsibility!

Caution: Improper commands can damage system files or cause data loss.

But if you‘re a power user comfortable with Terminal, delete stubborn files faster than you can 🚀:

  1. Open Terminal (located in Utilities).

  2. Carefully type:

    sudo find -name "<app_name>" -exec rm -rf {} \;
  3. Replace <app_name> with your target app.

  4. Press Enter and authenticate when prompted.

This searches everywhere and force deletes related files/folders matching the app name. Use judiciously and confirm file lists before allowing deletion.

Keep Apps Uninstalled

Prevention is the best medicine! After removing apps, keep using these two tricks prevent buildup again over time:

  • Run monthly maintenance scripts – Clean caches/logs/temp files/junk.

  • Scan with Malwarebytes every 2-3 months – Detects leftover hidden traces. Deletes or quarantines them.

Set calendar reminders to perform both regularly. I do them every 2nd Tuesday morning while drinking coffee ☕️

Voilà – easy prevention of continued hidden app file accumulation.

I hope these uninstall instructions give you confidence to decisively remove unused apps from your Mac! Give apps the permanent boot to reclaim performance and breathing room for what you need. 👋 apps!

Have an app exiting question? Ask away in the comments!

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