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Peter Franks

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 9, 2011
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I'm curious, when I try and remove apps to make room on drive, these removal tools claim to find all files. Always used AppCleaner, and it was OK, but it never found all. I don't really care that much if the unfound files don't use much room, but shouldn't they be able to.
Do any of them? Also tried one called EasyFind which found a few more that AppCleaner didn't, but then the other day I saw a load of files for Brave browser, which neither of them found, wallet and loads of other things. Neither found that folder and more. So question really is why can't any of those apps find all these folders and files. It wasn't even called a different name, it's clearly part of Brave browser?
 
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NoBoMac

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Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
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Somewhat educated guess... not as simple as it seems to be.

On Mac with Xcode installed (it's also available on other OSes) is a command called "strings". As name implies, will dump a list of strings found in an executable file. These removal programs will do something similar: get all the strings in an executable, see if can find pathnames among the strings, and mark those for removal.

Where problems are when you might have "dynamic" pathnames. For example, there might be a string in the file "/Library/Preferences/ProgToDelete". Is this the system Library or is this part of the pathname that is being built dynamically by creating a string that combines the $HOME (or maybe a app preference/option for setting a "UserStoreLocation") value with the path found? Some might try checking both locations, others might take it literally (better be safe than sorry tactic).

Along the line of safe vs sorry, don't want to get too aggressive with deletions. An example of that is the ~/Library/Application Support/Google folder. Say a string is for Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome: mark Chrome folder for delete, but does the eraser program developer want to try to figure out if the whole Google folder can be deleted at that point or just be done with it with Chrome at this point (as all Google programs save add things there)? And for programs that might have a deep folder structure, how far back up the tree do you go safely? And do you really want to trust the end-user to know what they can/cannot delete and handle accordingly?

Or pathnames might not even be in the executable: stuff buried in preference file(s) (or dot-files even), so now need to parse those and make educated choices?
 

Peter Franks

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 9, 2011
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Thank you for that. I’ll have a look at Find Any File.

Brave was just an example, but if a browser that is presumed pretty standard can hide folders and files from those quite popular apps, I thought was surprising. The library stuff you mention is supposedly what they call hidden files. I’m so not up on this stuff and it’s a miracle I saw a Brave folder that I assumed was removed. It didn’t even remove the icon in the dock. So if I understand this correctly you’re saying that if it was a folder for something like a Chrome app, it may also be relevant to other Google stuff, if you have any other Google related downloads.

Thank you both for the response.

Reason for removal was it didn't work on Sierra. Is there a legit download for older version of the browser?
 
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apostolosdt

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2021
262
229
In my experience, a single removal app won’t do a perfect job and which combo of apps will is not that easy to determine. What I do is think twice or more before I install a new program. Obvious and simplistic, I know, but saves me from trouble.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,498
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App Cleaner works fine for the vast majority of applications.

But sometimes, bits and pieces can still get left behind.

In that case, search for them manually, with Find Any File or EasyFind.
 

Peter Franks

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 9, 2011
2,045
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App Cleaner works fine for the vast majority of applications.

But sometimes, bits and pieces can still get left behind.

In that case, search for them manually, with Find Any File or EasyFind.

Thanks. Tried one of those. They all miss something.

Is hippo still OK for older versions of Brave to download these days? Not used them for years. Safari is lousy in Sierra so Brave was the best bet.
 

Brian33

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2008
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USA (Virginia)
Is hippo still OK for older versions of Brave to download these days? Not used them for years. Safari is lousy in Sierra so Brave was the best bet.
Using an older browser with un-patched vulnerabilities is risky, IMHO. I wouldn't use the Sierra version of Safari -- there must be many, many security vulnerabilities in that old version.

You mentioned the latest version of Brave wouldn't work on Sierra. I would recommend Firefox for use on an old macOS. The latest version of Firefox still supports macOS 10.12 (Sierra)! So it will have the latest security fixes in it. (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/112.0/system-requirements/)
 

Peter Franks

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 9, 2011
2,045
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Using an older browser with un-patched vulnerabilities is risky, IMHO. I wouldn't use the Sierra version of Safari -- there must be many, many security vulnerabilities in that old version.

You mentioned the latest version of Brave wouldn't work on Sierra. I would recommend Firefox for use on an old macOS. The latest version of Firefox still supports macOS 10.12 (Sierra)! So it will have the latest security fixes in it. (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/112.0/system-requirements/)
I've found Safari awful for many years on Snow Leopard/Sierra etc, and let a hell of a lot of malware in, more than any other browser. Never seen the attraction but not aware how far it's come these days, other than on iOS. I can't use it at all now. Been using Chrome and Brave which was decent, but both fan annoyances, (why does it need so many 'helper/renderers' in resources)and the one I never got on with was Firefox, which funnily enough I've been using for the last few days. Not ideal, but as you say, it still updates regularly even on Sierra. Every time I go back in to Firefox there is always an update waiting. Thanks for that. I am using it again now.
 
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Peter Franks

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 9, 2011
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Your best bet is the vendors' uninstall utility, then Appcleaner. As per post #3 lots of complications trying to do it manually.
You definitely have to be a lot more knowledgeable than I am. It only came up because Sierra was incompatible with the Brave browser and wouldn't open, so I got rid, and then a while later I see loads of files related to it after using AppCleaner.

My curiosity was peaked, hence the post. Appreciate all your help. It certainly is an eye opener to know you really have to dig deep to get rid of stuff. I remember the 'uninstalls' that used to come with apps in the old days, they also left cr@p afterwards. Not much has changed eh
 

apostolosdt

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2021
262
229
I'm just wondering, though. As macOS is a Unix-based operating system, won't terminal clean commands do anything? I admit, I never dig much when I run "clean", "autoclean", or "autoremove" in Debian, but that's because I'm not a Unix/Linux expert, just a common user. Other members here should know better, I guess.
 

bogdanw

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2009
5,727
2,756
I'm just wondering, though. As macOS is a Unix-based operating system, won't terminal clean commands do anything? I admit, I never dig much when I run "clean", "autoclean", or "autoremove" in Debian, but that's because I'm not a Unix/Linux expert, just a common user. Other members here should know better, I guess.
Those options are for packages installed with apt-get install.
The equivalent on macOS would be packages/apps installed with Homebrew, MacPorts or other package manager.
That’s not the case with macOS apps that are installed from the App Store or simply dragged&dropped from a dmg.
 
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Toutou

macrumors 65816
Jan 6, 2015
1,080
1,575
Prague, Czech Republic
As macOS is a Unix-based operating system, won't terminal clean commands do anything? I admit, I never dig much when I run "clean", "autoclean", or "autoremove" in Debian
As you can probably tell from the commands you use to run these tools (like "apt clean" or maybe "apt-get autoremove"), these are part of the APT package manager, and they do tasks related to its own housekeeping (they do things like cleaning the local caches of downloaded packages or removing packages that were installed as dependencies of other packages). They don't touch files created by any apps installed as packages (via APT). And surprisingly, even if you uninstall an app installed via APT (using "apt remove" or "apt purge"), it still doesn't remove almost anything created by the app, especially if the app uses a hidden directory inside the user directory to store its data (which many apps do).

On the other hand, most files left by uninstalled apps on all operating systems are tiny files with configuration, user profiles and similar data. Usually it's not worth it going after them. Contrary to popular belief, they don't slow the machine down, nor do they cause the OS to misbehave.
 
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