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Is it safe to uninstall stock OS X applications that I do not use? They're really just taking up space on my Applications list (and my SSD). The applications I'm eyeing for deletion are:

  • Front Row
  • iDVD
  • Image Capture
  • iMovie
  • Mail
  • Photo Booth
  • Stickies
  • Textedit

Does OS X malfunction if these stock applications are uninstalled?

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Great question, but Image Capture and TextEdit can be more useful than you are giving them credit for. At the same time, if you are in need of more disk space and are looking to these apps to make room, then I would say there are more than likely files you have created you might not need anymore that would be served just as well on an external drive (if you even need them at all). –  Philip Regan Sep 20 '11 at 16:03
    
In Windows, there's WindirStat open source application that scans the harddrive and give you A LOT of information about the files stored in volume(s). I bet there's a similar application in Apple's ecosystem - which you can use to determine the real space eaters of HD space... –  Fabricio Araujo Sep 20 '11 at 18:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Yes, technically, you can, but you shouldn't.

Reasons you shouldn't:

  1. Apple will sometimes update the applications in minor OS upgrades. As the rest of the application isn't there, you end up with only the files that were changed.
  2. What if you decide you need them in the future? You'll have to reinstall the OS.
  3. On Snow Leopard and later, the apps you mention take up almost no space - Mail is a measly 77 megs.

If you do decide to delete them, it's easy: drag them to the Trash or hit Command-delete just like any other file. Do make a backup before you delete things, and do also test the apps you delete or trim right away. You want the Mac to crash now while you remember what you deleted.

Be hesitant to delete Image Capture or TextEdit. The former controls scanning and importing pictures from any device and the latter is called for in some cases if you need to edit a system file. I'd also say leave Mail around - especially if you ever will set up a guest account and let someone use your Mac for a short amount of time.

You probably won't hose up too much with the rest. I should mention again that this is very much discouraged because it breaks the system that tracks what software was installed. Software installed by Apple gets recorded in a receipts database, and these receipts don't contemplate a partial uninstallation and you are gambling that there isn't a connection between these apps and others you may need later.

Why not look elsewhere to save some space? You can and should look in /Library/Application Support and delete some of the iDVD loops and Audio Loops for GarageBand. Also, compare the size of all the apps you intend to clean out and compare it to one music video or a few songs in iTunes. You probably can find much better targets to free up substantial space rather than getting rid of some essential system utilities that take up little to no space in reality.

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1  
Thank you for the detailed answer! You've sort of confirmed what I was thinking - that deleting these was possible but ill-advised. I'll follow your advice. –  Thaliant Sep 20 '11 at 20:48
    
@Thaliant - You can certainly remove the bigger ones, but be warned, apple's update process is stupid, and will place updates for the removed applications in your /Applications folder anyways. It's not that big a deal (you just have to delete the new, patched files), but it is annoying. –  Fake Name Oct 24 '11 at 3:52

If you're trying to save space by deleting these; don't. It's hardly any space and who knows what any possible complications might be. A few harmless ways to slim down the size of applications on you're boot drive.

Monolingual is a free application that let's you delete unused language support and architectures. Since most apps are still "universal," you'll find that just by deleting the powerPC version of the code you'll save between 1-4GB, plus around 500Mb from the language packs.

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Yes you can. I suggest using AppCleaner

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