Uninstalling An App

Discussion in 'macOS' started by krawfo, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. krawfo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #1
    I'll notice that occasionally an app has an uninstall program buried within it. Is there an easy way to know whether you can just drag an app to the trash or if you have to go thru an uninstall program to properly delete it?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    A good rule of thumb is that is an app includes an uninstaller, then its best to use that to remove the app instead of dragging and dropping.
     
  3. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #3
    This is a very effective way to completely delete an app.

    More effective than most unistallers, which frequently leave stuff behind.
     
  4. krawfo thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #4
    Thanks for the advice. Shrink - thanks for the link.
    Is it safe to assume that all my apps can be found in the app folder or is it possible that they could be scattered elsewhere?
     
  5. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #5
    You're welcome!:D

    (All credit to GGJstudios, from whom I stole the link:D)

    When you enter the name of the app in the Finder search bar, it doesn't matter where the apps are (although most, if not all, should be in your app folder).

    The only things that wouldn't show up with the Finder Search Bar entry would be widgets in Dashboard...I think!:p
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #6
    Actually, that method will find widgets, as well.
     
  7. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #7
    Darn! :(

    So close to actually giving correct tech advice.

    Some day....:p
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #8
    You did fine! I just thought you'd like to know it works for widgets, too.
     
  9. LV426 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 22, 2013
    #9
    I'm not an Apple Developer, but I would have expected that to achieve certification for inclusion on the App Store an app should fully remove itself when asked to do so. Is this not the case? Clearly, apps not on the App Store are at liberty to do what they want.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    It is not the case, and I agree with you it should be. The installation and removal of apps is an area where OS X is woefully behind Windows IMO.
     
  11. Bear macrumors G3

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    #11
    You think uninstallers on Windows actually remove everything? Most of the times they leave garbage behind.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    A properly implemented Windows uninstaller removes everything, even registry entries. And yes, an improperly implemented Windows uninstaller does not remove everything... so what's your point. Still far better than the nonexistent system we have with OS X.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #13
    If that's the case, I've never seen a single properly implemented Windows uninstaller, as every single one of the thousands of Windows apps I've seen since Windows was first introduced leaves items either on the drive or in the Registry. I've cleaned more Registries than I could possibly count, and they're always full of leftover entries from uninstalled apps. At least with OS X, a search in Finder cleans the vast majority of apps completely, without having to monkey around with a Registry.
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #14
    That has not been my experience. I have found most Windows apps uninstall properly including removal of registry entries.

    Just look at the convoluted process in your own frequent post on how to remove apps. It is just ridiculous what users have to go through in OS X to remove an app and its trimmings.

    Look, I like OS X and prefer it over Windows, but there really is no good reason Apple could not implement a good app removal process into the OS, particularly for App Store apps where Apple has full control over what is there. That was my point.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #15
    It's not convoluted. It's a simple search, including system files. The instructions are detailed because many don't know how to include sytem files in a search. It usually takes me less than 30 seconds to remove an app completely in OS X.

    I do agree that both Windows and OS X should be much better at app removal, and I believe that functionality should be built into the OS, rather than depending on an app developer to build a thororugh uninstaller.
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16
    When I said the process is convoluted, I did not intend that to be a critique of your instructions or your post (I think your post is well organized). I meant the process itself is needlessly convoluted. You have eleven steps there, and even then it might not get everything if there are files that are not named anything similar to the app name. The method in your post is the best we have for now, but it should not be the case.

    You should be able to open a System Pref pane with a list of installed apps and click once to remove.
     
  17. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    #17
    Wow, that's bad. Makes this page seem a little disingenuous! Or at least, not the whole picture.
     
  18. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

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    May 24, 2009
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #19
    If you elect to use such apps, be aware that 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:
     
  20. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

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    May 24, 2009
    #20
    Yes, I am aware that sometimes there is a little debris left. One also has to be smart when using any tool as AppCleaner has tried to take more than it should. When I was getting rid of 1Password after converting to 1Password 4, it tried to take 1Password 4's app support folder in the library folder.

    But AppCleaner does better than some and is better than ONLY deleting the app itself.

    Thanks,

     
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #21
    AppCleaner leaves more than just a little debris. If you read the links I posted and the results of testing, you'll see it can leave behind much more than it deletes. It's one of the least effective of such apps.
    If a user isn't advanced enough to recognize what shouldn't be deleted, the safest bet is to drag the app to the trash and not try deleting anything else. Neither an uninstaller app nor the manual Finder method should be used by a novice.
    Actually, of all the apps I tested, only AppZapper was less effective than AppCleaner. All the other apps tested did a better job. It's simply not a good app, but if you prefer to use it, that's your call. At least other readers of this thread are now informed that it isn't recommended.
     
  22. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    #22
    Merry Christmas.

    What about this article? It was also the first article in a Google search when searching for "app uninstaller mac".

    http://lifehacker.com/5828738/the-best-app-uninstaller-for-mac

    The app is AppCleaner.

    AppZapper was mentioned (very favorably) but in 2011 it was $13 for AppZapper and AppCleaner was free when I first obtained it.

     
  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #23
    Read the links I've already posted in post #19. Those two apps were the worst-performing of all the apps tested. If you want to use such apps, go ahead. Just be aware that ALL such uninstaller apps leave files behind, sometimes much larger than the ones deleted.
     

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