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How can I delete Apple OS X application such as Photos, iPhoto, and others that I never use?

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@grgarside: El Capitan and later won't let you just rm the default apps, they're protected. – grgarside 11 mins ago

That's because of El Capitan's System Integrity Protection System (SIPS), which prevents even Root from making (potentially harmful) changes to the system. A fine idea in principle, apart from the fact that it stops you doing a lot of things whose "integrity" to the system is spurious –such as changing the speech bubble colour in Messages, or deleting pointless Apple apps you never use.

You can disable SIPS by booting into Recovery (Hold down Command+R at startup) and then using Utilities > Terminal issue the following command:

csrutil disable

and then rebooting.

Normal God-like power will now be restored to root and you're free to delete Apple bloatware. To re-enable SIPS, the corresponding command from recovery is:

csrutil enable

However - and it's a big "However!" - with SIPS re-enabled again, OSX will silently restore any system apps you deleted. I found this out when I disabled SIPS, removed iTunes, re-enabled SIPS and found iTunes back in my Applications folder a few days later.

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NOTE: the following only works if System Integrity Protection (SIP) is disabled. Follow the steps here to disable SIP.

You can delete them, but this isn't recommended - and they'll get restored with the next update. Finder will inform you that "(application).app is required for OS X and should not be deleted".


If you're insistent on deletion, run the following command from Terminal:

rm -rf /path/to/application

substituting /path/to/application with the path to the application you'd like to delete.


Instead of deleting these applications, however, I would recommend copying them elsewhere first in case you ever need them again. Alternatively, renaming them from Application.app to something like Application.app.disabled should work as well, and your system should treat them as "not there".

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    El Capitan and later won't let you just rm the default apps, they're protected. – grg Jun 4 '16 at 10:46
  • @grgarside I believe that is only if SIP is enabled? – perhapsmaybeharry Jun 4 '16 at 11:02
  • Correct, which is default. – grg Jun 4 '16 at 11:02
  • @grgarside right... My answer assumed SIP was disabled. I'll correct it – perhapsmaybeharry Jun 4 '16 at 11:03
  • Three downvotes are a bit much, but it's definitely worth mentioning that. – grg Jun 4 '16 at 11:05

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