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I've got a lot of Apple applications on my Macbook which I never use (Photos Facetime, iBooks, iMovie, iTunes, etc.). They just clutter up my application folder and I want to get rid of them. This doesn't seem to be as easy as I think it should be though.

When I right-click an application in the applications folder and select "move to trash" it says the applications are needed for the correct working of OSX, which I highly doubt.

In my terminal I went to the Applications folder (/Users/kramer65/Applications), but a simple ls only shows me Chromium Apps.localized.

Does anybody know how I can remove these iApplications, or at least hide them from my Applications view? All tips are welcome!

  • 3
    The applications folder is not /Users/kramer65/Applications but /Applications – Mark Aug 25 '15 at 10:52
  • It seems that app cleaner can no longer remove the protected apple apps in El Capitan. Other suggestions? – ajm_from_sea May 28 '16 at 16:08
  • Don't do it. Even if it's possible, it's likely to make upgrades difficult. Use Launchpad or the Dock to quickly find your apps. – JW. May 28 '16 at 22:01
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You can use AppCleaner to do it, although you first need to uncheck [] Protect default apps in its General Preferences.

AppCleaner Preferences

enter image description here

AppCleaner showing deleting the Chess.app, which will work the same for other Apple installed Apps providing the preference mentioned is unchecked.

enter image description here

  • This seemed like the perfect tip, but to my surprise I see a Search button on the place where they advertise a Delete button.. :S – kramer65 Aug 25 '15 at 12:21
  • @kramer65, your comment makes no sense, to me anyway, so I've just updated my answer with some images of AppCleaner's Preferences and deleting a default app. – user3439894 Aug 25 '15 at 12:38
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You can hide files from the UI using chflags command. Assuming you want to hide iBooks app, start your terminal app do the following:

$ cd /Applications/
$ sudo chflags hidden iBooks.app

And you are almost done. Start finder app and in Applications folder you won't see iBooks app. But it's still in visible in the Applications Dock folder. You have to restart Dock app, so the last step is to:

$ killall -1 Dock

and you are done!

You won't see the hidden app in the Dock or Finder. It will be visibile to you from the terminal when used ls shell command.

Quick note, to unhide app just use the following command:

$ cd /Applications/
$ sudo chflags nohidden iBooks.app

Notice the nohidden flag. Previously we used hidden

  • 1
    Seemed like a clever way to do it, but it doesn't work on my MacBook Pro with El Capitan. I only get this error message: chflags: Chess.app: Operation not permitted – Bjarte Aune Olsen Jul 17 '16 at 22:54
  • 1
    This will not work as of El Capitan without disabling SIP. You're not allowed to touch the pack-in apps by default. – Mikey T.K. Mar 17 '17 at 17:14
  • I haven't rebooted yet - but after I've hidden firefox with chflags, it still shows up if I use Spotlight, and type an 'f'. Not so hidden, then! – Mark Vickers Oct 10 '17 at 6:04
  • If you want to hide apps from launchpad (Cached apps, which flags were changed), you should use this command: $ defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true; killall Dock – om2c0de May 30 at 15:51
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I'd been wondering about this as well. I have my App folder in the side dock which gives me an unwieldy list of names longer than the screen heigth. The solution I tried attacks the problem from another angle.

Instead of cleaning out the App folder, I made a new folder and put in alias's of just the programs I use. You can then drag the folder off to your sidebar and dock and remove the App folder.

This way you still have the App folder in case you have a burning desire to play chess, but in routine use you never have to see it.

enter image description here

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  • Simple solution that solved the problem without any worries that I might break my system by deleting system apps. – Bjarte Aune Olsen Jul 17 '16 at 22:55
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Easy – rename it. You have to put a dot before the filename of the app (or any file for that matter). This hides the app (or file) from being viewed in the folder, but it will still be present there.

You won't have permission to do this to the OS X default apps normally. But we'll use root for that.

So fire up the Terminal app, and type:

sudo mv /Applications/hideme.app /Applications/.hideme.app

…where hideme.app represents the name of the app that you're trying to hide. You can do the reverse (i.e. un-hide the app/file) by using the same command as above, but this time just put the dot in the first path-to-file, rather than the second directory path.

To address your final issue (about where the Applications are kept), they aren't kept in your home directory's Applications folder, but rather in the System Applications folder.

Your Home Directory: /Users/yourusername/ or ~/

OS X Home Directory: /

And there is an Applications folder in both of them. Any installed apps go to the OS X Applications folder.

So when you're dealing with anything in the System Directory, use / and when you're dealing with anything in your own home directory, use ~/ and you should be good.

  • and what about updates via appstore? most probably moving app dir will break them... – pelotasplus Aug 25 '15 at 13:09
  • @pelotasplus "...They just clutter up my application folder and I want to get rid of them..." If what he says is true (which wouldn't make much sense if his desires aren't deemed as true, in this context), then anything that happens to the apps that he hides is meaningless, because he doesn't care, just as he stated. Sure, changing the Application name will prevent it from being able to update, but it won't 'break' it (whatever that's supposed to mean). – Jack of all Spades Aug 25 '15 at 13:27

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