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How do I uninstall a program completely on a Mac?

How is the correct way to uninstall applications on Mac OS? I've noticed that almost zero of them have a Uninstall utility...

Currently I'm just Deleting the shortcuts of the dock, and removing the app files of Application folder, but I think this is not the best way, because many apps install libs on other system folders.

What is the best approach?


1 Answer 1


There is a reason for Applications not to have uninstaller in most cases. This is because they don't need one. OS X apps are generally containing all necessary libraries in the *.app package. If that's not the case, then an app should have an unistaller.
So generally speaking just deleting a shortcut from dock and removing *.app package is enough if there is no uninstaller.

On the other hand apps also need to store data like preferences, etc. These are located in Library folders (/Library and/or ~/Library). If you want to get rid of these too, your best choice is to use a 3rd party unistaller. A great example would be AppCleaner, which is free or commercial AppZapper. If you use ForkLift, it has a built-in tool for this as well. All these basically go through Library area to find all files and folders created by the app you want to delete and allow you to choose whether to delete them or not.

You may want to have a look at this thread too:
Any recommendations for a before&after software installation scanner/uninstaller?

  • Ha! I knew that I had to throw a few leftovers here and there. Thanks for sharing.
    – Pitto
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 7:53

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