I've got numerous OSes installed on my Macintosh laptop for certain reasons. So I'd like to be as lightweight in my OS X as possible. What are the consequences of sudo rm -rf'ing the following application that are allegedly unmodifiable/deletable because it’s required by OS X?

I am not a photographer so I don't really need

Photos.app Maps.app "Image Capture.app" "Photo Booth.app"

For communication I use emails mainly and I much prefer mutt so I'd like to get rid of

Mail.app Messages.app Contacts.app

I use vim mainly (and atom & Xcode occasionally) so I'd also like to get rid of

TextEdit.app Notes.app "Utilities/Script Editor.app"

I also don't see myself ever using

Calculator.app Calendar.app Dashboard.app "DVD player.app" "Game Center.app" 
iBooks.app Reminders.app Stickies.app "Time Machine.app"

These are what I use OS X mainly for

  1. iOS development (sometimes)
  2. Web development: mainly to test browser compatibility
  3. Updating the firmware

So would I break anything important if I delete all the applications mentioned above?

  • The applications you've listed use about 200 MB in /Applications, so it's probably not worth the trouble anyway.
    – nohillside
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:08
  • Glad to discover a mutt user on Mac OS X ;). Great professional tool!
    – dan
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:37
  • You don't risk anything removing the exact applications you indicated. Be warned Apple Update will restore them unless you let impossible to remove empty files with the expected name.
    – dan
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't expect deleting the applications from the "/Applications" folder to break anything for you. Mostly because any part of these applications that is used by other applications will be stored in other locations like the "/Library" or "/System/Library" folder.

Having said this, I don't see any real benefit to deleting these applications. When Apple release an update for the operating system there is a good chance that it will restore a good portion of the files that you've deleted.

If you aren't using these applications the only benefit I can see to deleting these files is getting you back a little bit of hard drive space. I would recommend not deleting them from "/Applications", and just in case, I would STRONGLY recommend against deleting anything from the "/Library" or "/System/Library" folders.

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