How do you uninstall software on a Mac?

wayneholbrook

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2010
243
13
Miami Florida
Do you just throw the app in the trash and does it get rid of all the hidden files as well?

A lot of apps or software does not come with a un-install.

Any info would be very helpful
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
I just drag to trash, but I also frequently use MacKeeper to tidy my machine up http://www.windowstomac.net/2011/09/08/clean-up-time-a-review-of-mackeeper/
MacKeeper is not really needed, but if you want to use it, then go with it.
I stay away from such software, especially as its pop up ads are annoying and often found on shady websites, which I regularly have to browse to get my fix at old and otherwise unavailable TV episodes.
MacKeeper is for me the same as CleanMyMac:
One app that I would not recommend, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere, is CleanMyMac. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
75
Solon, OH

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,721
1,820
yes just delete the application file. easy peasy
That works most of the time. You can often find most of the leftover files via a quick search. Occasionally uninstalling something properly will require a script, but that's not common. It's usually if you're working with beta versions that you run into complications.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
AppCleaner. Started using it recently. searches for all application files, moves to trash fast. It's cool, really suggest it. I got Clean my mac too, but for uninstalling apps this is the easiest fastest method.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
AppCleaner. Started using it recently. searches for all application files, moves to trash fast. It's cool, really suggest it. I got Clean my mac too, but for uninstalling apps this is the easiest fastest method.
AppCleaner does not find all files.
I just tested a few of these, using Skype.app as the file to be deleted.

AppZapper found 4 items
AppCleaner found 6 items
AppDelete found 9 items
EasyFind found 16 items
Finder found 17 items
And CleanMyMac: cleaned too much

Using the guide I linked to in the first reply tells one, that no additional software is needed to delete an application, unless one is lazy and finds installing an application to uninstall applications easier than using Finder.
 
Last edited:

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
For me for Skype.app

Appcleaner - 11 files
Clean my mac - 10 files

vlc.app

same as for Skype.app for me app cleaner is the winner here.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
I got too many file with Skype in the name, being an employee and all but for vlc: 12 files with finder.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
I got too many file with Skype in the name, being an employee and all but for vlc: 12 files with finder.
That is not a really good comparison, as you left out VLC in your earlier post.
And in the end, it is your computer, do with it what you want, using AppCleaner does not damage it, though CleanMyMac might.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
m8 i said vlc had same results as Skype 11 with app cleaner, 10 with cleanmymac :) Sorry if i wasn't clear.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
758
AppCleaner does not find all files.
Fixed that for you. :)
m8 i said vlc had same results as Skype 11 with app cleaner, 10 with cleanmymac :) Sorry if i wasn't clear.
In my tests, Finder found all 17 files. AppCleaner only found 6 of those. Even if it finds 11 on your system, it's still not finding all files. Neither will CleanMyMac. No uninstall app will find and remove all associated app files consistently. Only the manual method consistently finds all the files.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,626
291
Sadly, uninstalling files on a Mac is one of the biggest hassles and I'm shocked it has never really received that much attention. Simply dragging the application into the trash is laughably naive. Many small files, preference files and such, are left behind. One Herculean task is trying to delete Microsoft (who, btw, are just as bad with uninstalling files) Office; there are like 15 steps to get it done.

I use a combination of AppCleaner and Squirrel Finder to find and delete all traces of an app.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
758
Sadly, uninstalling files on a Mac is one of the biggest hassles and I'm shocked it has never really received that much attention. Simply dragging the application into the trash is laughably naive. Many small files, preference files and such, are left behind. One Herculean task is trying to delete Microsoft (who, btw, are just as bad with uninstalling files) Office; there are like 15 steps to get it done.

I use a combination of AppCleaner and Squirrel Finder to find and delete all traces of an app.
It really doesn't have to be a hassle. Dragging an app to the trash is sufficient to remove the app in most cases. With few exceptions, the files left behind typically only take up space and don't affect performance at all.

If maximizing disk space is the goal, AppCleaner and other similar apps don't do the job. They all leave stuff behind, frequently taking up more space than the files they remove. The manual method simsaladimbamba posted will work quite effectively in all but the rarest of cases, and only takes a minute or so to complete. It works just as well with Microsoft Office as with other apps.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
Let's be honest we do not install 10 applications per day! :)

Also if any application leaves a few kb behind it won't make you happier if it found it and deleted it. As said the only thing all those apps don't find are some settings files small in size. For me the Appcleaner + Cleanmy mac suffice.

What would be nice is an app to go through application support directory and delete those folders not belonging to any installed app.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
758
For me the Appcleaner + Cleanmy mac suffice.
It's your Mac, so you can use what you like, but I would recommend that anyone with CleanMyMac uninstall it. There have been too many reports of problems with it.
What would be nice is an app to go through application support directory and delete those folders not belonging to any installed app.
That's exactly what the manual deletion method does, so you don't end up with "orphaned" folders.
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
What would be nice is an app to go through application support directory and delete those folders not belonging to any installed app.
What would be improvement? If those folders there take up valuable space (from 10 MB to several GB), you will probably know, from which application they are, and you would already have found them. If they only take a MB or three (if ever), then there is no real reason, unless one to three MB are a life saver.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
Agree with both of you :) As for cleanmymac i just basically clean cache with it, not really uninstall anything.

And yup its your mac and freedom of choice :p I don't remove apps that often.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
758
Agree with both of you :) As for cleanmymac i just basically clean cache with it, not really uninstall anything.
A safer alternative for cache cleaning is Onyx, which has a great reputation. Even then, it's not necessary. You really don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space. It will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space.

Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software.
 

meget

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2011
51
0
My goal is never to make it run faster. Usual cpu usage doesn't go over 40% anyways. on average its 14-20% :) So all is fine.

I will check out onyx.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,721
1,820
A safer alternative for cache cleaning is Onyx, which has a great reputation. Even then, it's not necessary. You really don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space. It will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space.

Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software.
One of the nice things about Onyx is that it can ensure that the cron scripts are actually run. You can take care of a number of housekeeping features with a couple button clicks. I like it. Macs and Windows can both go relatively maintenance free these days, but running basic stuff like that can help just a bit. I haven't had much in the way of spyware/malware problems in Windows these day. In OSX I run Onyx and Disk Warrior.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
758
One of the nice things about Onyx is that it can ensure that the cron scripts are actually run. You can take care of a number of housekeeping features with a couple button clicks. I like it. Macs and Windows can both go relatively maintenance free these days, but running basic stuff like that can help just a bit. I haven't had much in the way of spyware/malware problems in Windows these day. In OSX I run Onyx and Disk Warrior.
The Mac maintenance scripts run without any user or 3rd party app intervention. You can install Maintidget which will tell you when the scripts last ran, as well as force them to run. If you don't do anything, you'll see that they run anyway. If your Mac is shut down or asleep when they're scheduled to run, they automatically run the next time your Mac is on.