Completely removing apps

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by virginblue4, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    I have a late 2012 iMac (my first ever mac) and I love it. The only thing I haven't worked out is how to completely remove an app downloaded from the app store.

    Is there a way to do it without installing another app?

    Thanks :D
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #2
    Most app store apps are self contained and have data that goes into a container if it's sandboxed. Open your launchpad and hold Option (alt). Click the X. That will get rid of the .app– which is generally all that's really needed. Though if you want to totally clear your system of that apps content:

    First check ~/Library/Containers (~ - is your username) for the apps files. (Do this by going to Finder and holding Option (Alt) and clicking Go in the menu bar at the top and choose "Library"

    If it's not there, check
    • ~/Library/Application Support
    • ~/Library/Preferences
    • /Library/Application Support
    • /Library/Preferences

    There's a few other folders.

    Alternatively,
    To fully remove an apps trace from your computer try this:
    • Open Finder
    • Go to Applications
    • In the search bar at the top right type the name of your application
    • Make sure "This Mac" is the search target
    • Choose the + icon
    • Click the "Kind" drop down menu and choose System Files (or other -> search for System Files)
    • Choose "Are Included" in the right drop down menu
    • This will bring up files related to that app.

    Or you could try AppZapper.
     
  3. macrumors 603

    justperry

    #3
    Searching the disk with the Apps name most likely will find most files, and then there are a few places to check for leftovers.

    /Library/Application Support
    /Library/LaunchAgents
    /Library/LaunchDeamons
    /Library/Preferences
    /Library/StartupItems
    /Users/****/Library/Application Support
    /Users/****/Library/LaunchAgents
    /Users/****/Library/LaunchDeamons
    /Users/****/Library/Preferences
    /Users/****/Library/StartupItems

    Where **** is your User name

    Some, very few, will also install kernel extension in

    /System/Library/Extensions

    If they are not need they won't load at startup, so it's only taking space

    If you are knowing a Kext is 100% sure to belong to an App you want to remove then delete it, beware, you must know for sure otherwise your system might not startup the next time you reboot or startup.
     
  4. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    In most cases, app removal software doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this and this. If you just want to delete the app, drag the .app file to the trash. No other software needed. If you want to completely remove all associated files/folders, no removal apps will do the job.

    The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #5
    Understood, but no method is completely thorough. Apps will store files without the apps name in the file name, most prominent in /var/ folders. Many suggestions were made for deleting files related to apps, but AppZapper will take care of a few as well. The most important is LaunchAgents / StartupItems / LaunchDaemons and the .app.
     
  6. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    AppZapper and similar apps will not find anything that the Finder method won't find. Even if the app name doesn't appear in the file name, it frequently appears within the content of the file and will be found via the Finder search method. You can also search for files installed at the same time that the app was installed. It is extremely rare that the Finder method will not find all the associated files.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #7
    My whole point is no method is 100% perfect. Most apps do not create all files on first launch, and many have been rebranded– so the name is not in the contents. Files can be created each day. Files will always be left behind.
     
  8. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    We're not talking about user files created with apps. We're talking about files related to the app's operation. The Finder method finds all such files in the vast majority of cases. In the rare cases that it doesn't (usually when an app has its own installer/uninstaller), apps like AppZapper will do no better.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #9
    I wasn't talking about user made files. Apps operation files are created on a daily basis as well. Activity Monitor's open files and ports will verify this.
     
  10. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    Post an example of such a file that the Finder method wouldn't locate.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #11
    VMWare Fusion leaves dozens of files in /var/ that the Finder method does not locate. Using the Finder method left about 50+ files in the /var/ folders including some in the db folder. This will happen with a lot of apps that use very idiotic naming schemes. Skype leaves quite a few as well, but I cannot recall the name.

    Most of these apps store things depending on user configurations, which is why even the installer by the developer won't work for all files. A computer will fill up with unnecessary files. It won't kill anyone to leave them though.

    Please don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing that the Finder method is bad, nor that any software does the job better. I'm just saying that no method will ever clear all files. It isn't really a big deal to leave some behind. I don't want to argue against the methods that I've stated above (and you as well), as this may just add unnecessary worry to the OP.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #12
    Have you checked to see if "VMWare" or "Fusion" appears in the content of such files? If so, they would be located. If not, a search for "VM" as a variation of "VMWare" will locate such files. Even VMWare's own instructions for manually uninstalling Fusion doesn't mention the /var folder. I don't know if their uninstall app catches those or not.

    I agree there are a few instances where some components may not share any variation of the app's name or the developer's name, but those are relatively rare. In the vast majority of cases, the Finder method finds everything. It certainly is more effective than any app such as AppZapper.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    MasterHowl

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    North of England
  14. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Before you get happy about removing things that you don't understand, you should do a quick Google search. If you do so, then this is what you will find.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #15
    Except I do understand it. It belongs to VMWare and can be removed. A quick Google Search brings me to a lot of VMWare postings. This is what I found.

    I agree completely. Sorry if it sounded as though I was arguing in defense of AppZapper. Newfound knowledge for me is always a positive thing.
     
  16. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #16
    Read post #4.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #17
    Thanks, I used this method and it worked great! :D

    Thanks :D

    Thanks, however, I stated that I did not want to use another app to delete apps.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, ON
    #18
    That's fantastic to hear. Isn't it so much more relieving having a squeaky clean Mac?
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    MasterHowl

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    North of England
    #19
    wow soz
     

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