Install and uninstall apps

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by Sodium Chloride, May 30, 2019.

  1. Sodium Chloride macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2017
    With the iOS, whenever you uninstall an app, it is guaranteed that no trace of it would be left on the system. Your iOS would stay clean. You can get peace of mind that you can install and uninstall as many apps as you want without risking bogging down your system from left over apps. There is no need to do clean install unless you run out of disk space.

    Is it still the case with MacOS Mojave? If I uninstall an app, from the App Store or external sources, is it guaranteed that no trace of the app would be left on the system? Can my Mojave stays clean no matter how many apps I install or uninstall?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. gwang73 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2009
    San Francisco Area
    .plist and some cache files still remain on MacOS after the app is deleted. I use a free app called App Cleaner to fully remove any trace of the app completely.

    Also, on iOS, I'm not sure if all files are removed. If I delete an app and re-install it, the settings preferences remember how I had them set for that app.
  3. Sodium Chloride thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2017
    That is probably because your settings preference are stored in the cloud.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I don't use iCloud -- AT ALL.

    Having said that, when I need to "get rid of" an app, I use the free "AppCleaner".
    Get it here:

    Then, do this:
    1. Open AppCleaner
    2. Open your Applications folder (in the finder)
    3. Grab the app you want to delete, and "drag and drop" it into AppCleaner's window.
    4. AppCleaner will "look around" and gather up all the files related to the app.
    5. If any are "unchecked", put a check into them.
    6. Click the "remove" button, and they're ALL moved to the trash.
    7. Close AppCleaner and empty the trash.
    8. Gone!

    I'm guessing there might be a few applications that AppCleaner can't "clean out" (perhaps Adobe stuff, Microsoft stuff, etc.). Those software publishers usually make available a standalone "uninstall" utility to get rid of them.
  5. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    We need to hear from member GGJ Studios on this. In the past, it was not the case that 3rd party uninstallers removed everything. I suspect that's still true.
  6. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere

    Yes, there are. In this cases after AppCleaner I use EasyFind to clean all the leftovers manually.
  7. Honza1 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2013
    This is impossible to answer generally. Most apps can be - mostly - removed by throwing in trash and just few small files stays behind. I use AppCleaner (or similar, there are others) to clean more. But even with those, I was just few days ago cleaning applications remnants from 2010 - 2013 by manually scanning through Library and identifying various leftovers. Keep in mind, these survived 3-4 major OSX upgrades and even change of hardware...
    And then there are those applications, which come with installer which drop some supporting packages elsewhere - these basically cannot be removed completely, unless you are lucky and the author (source) has uninstaller or at least instructions. Those supporting packages cannot be found by "cleaners".
    And there are those which are installed through repositories (e.g., MacPorts). Those need to be removed using repo system used to install.
  8. Sodium Chloride, Jun 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019

    Sodium Chloride thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2017
    So, in other words, Mac OS is no better than Windows in terms of leaving traces of orphan apps everywhere after the apps have been uninstalled?

    If you do a clean install of Windows, take a note of the number of files in the hd, make a copy of the registry files and then install and uninstall Microsoft Office, compare before and after, you are going to find out that Office have left dozens upon dozens of orphan files everywhere in the Windows and Program Files directories and the registry is also bloated even though Office itself has been uninstalled.
  9. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    No comparison of macOS and Windows has been made here. The files "left behind" on a Mac are quite small, and not "everywhere".
  10. Honza1, Jun 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019

    Honza1 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2013
    There is huge positive difference on OSX compared to Windows. On OSX (macOS) these are individual, typically text, files. In few folders, in quite well known places, can be easily found by human. These can be deleted any time and easily, while OSX is running and if you do not use that app anymore, there is no chance to screw up anything useful - mainly the OS itself.
    On Windows the stuff is in cryptic place called registry. I had enough fun with registry and various cleaners... You modify registry incorrectly and can take down whole OS.

    I take OSX anytime compared to registry hell.

    edit: I should point out, that for some (obvious?) reason, the main culprit of spreading crap around OSX is - guess who? - Microsoft Office. It is not the only one, but main offender I know about. Most other OSX/macOX programs are reasonable and contain themselves into their apps and single ~/Library folder... Microsoft Office deposits its weirdly named parts in quite a few locations and is difficult to clean up correctly and completely. Hm, I wonder why?
  11. a2jack macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2013
    Been gone 6 years from windows, and forgot why I left. ha-ha.

    Now I remember ,(thanks to you guys), Registry...a2
  12. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Convenience is often the enemy. Although "convenience" tools are good, all your doing is rather than leaving traces of one app, if you wanna remove these cleaner apps at one point, you've just moves traces to another location.

    WIll you then use another 2nd cleaner to remove the 1st one? and the list goes on..

    There is no better way, than manually going into Caches folder, Application Support, and Preferences in your home folder,

    Even then, you may not have got everything, but i don't see how uninstaller apps from 3rd party developers can do any better at uninstalling quite frankly, when its up to the developer of the app in question to store pieces, and remove them

    3rd party uninstallers like Appcleaner are only looking through the same locations you would anyway.

    Best way, is if you don't want them, don't install them, then you know 100%. Apple is much better at uninstall than previous versions of Windows, but still its never perfect, and never will be because convenience aside, develops want you to always keep customization around "just in case" you install them again. So these uninstaller apps from anyone, but the developer (if they have one), may also no guarantee 100% removal anyway. but its allot better than 3rd parties i bet,

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11 May 30, 2019