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I need to remove one of the pre-installed applications (Safari in my case) from a macOS Sierra system. Yet simply deleting the app, installing 3rd party "cleaning" software or any attempts to delete it via the terminal remain unsuccessful. I found out that since Mac OS 10.11 apple features so called 'System Integrity Protection', that basically forbidds its users to modify or uninstall 'system relevant applications'.

So how can I remove a pre-installed application on such a system?

PS: I already know that this may be a bad idea in regard of future upgrades. Nevertheless let's just assume I'm willing to take the risk and am just looking for ways to get this done.

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    I really think, if you need a specific solution to a specific problem... then you're going to have to tell us what it is. Otherwise we can do no more than offer suggestions, each of which is then rejected for another non-specific reason. As already pointed out, removing Safari doesn't remove networking capability. Also, if the user is also admin [which is why I presume you rejected Parental Controls] they can just undo anything you do.
    – Tetsujin
    May 2, 2017 at 7:27
  • Removing/disabling Safari will not prevent a user from downloading Chrome or Firefox using curl or a short python script, or using w3 mode in Emacs, or using an USB stick with Safari.app on it, or some other means of accessing the web. Not even switching to Linux will prevent this from happening.
    – nohillside
    May 2, 2017 at 9:01
  • I've rewritten your question to focus more on the problem of removing pre-installed applications on Sierra.
    – nohillside
    May 2, 2017 at 9:20
  • useless apps like Automator.app, Chess.app, Mail.app (and others) are under SIP control as well... macos is annoying lately.
    – user59610
    Jan 26, 2018 at 2:06

2 Answers 2

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You technically can remove Safari by weakening your system's security protections and disabling SIP.

Again: Do not do it!

Steps:

  1. Reboot on the recovery partition (hold cmd-R while rebooting until the Apple logo appears)
  2. Open the Terminal from the Utilities menu
  3. Type csrutil disable
  4. Reboot
  5. You should now able to remove Safari (if the Finder does not let you do it, use the Terminal and type sudo rm -fr /Applications/Safari.app)
  6. I'd highly recommend you reactivate SIP then by rebooting and typing csrutil enable (it won't reinstall Safari)
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  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Frizlab
    May 2, 2017 at 8:32
  • Answer edited to match the changes I've made to the question.
    – nohillside
    May 2, 2017 at 11:18
  • I revisited the comment and it's solutions works like a charm (even with the current OS version).
    – Hendrik
    Aug 24, 2018 at 9:15
  • @Hendrik You should still not do it though ;-)
    – Frizlab
    Aug 24, 2018 at 21:43
  • @Frizlab May I ask, Even if we reenable SIP, why are you recommending not to do it?
    – Porcupine
    May 18, 2022 at 21:14
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If you must disable SIP within macOS Sierra, here are the steps involved:

  1. Startup (or restart) your Mac
  2. Immediately hold down the commandR keys to boot into recovery
  3. Click the Utilities menu and select Terminal
  4. Type csrutil disable and press return
  5. Close the Terminal app
  6. Select Restart.... from the  menu

NOTE

  • I really do not recommend you keep SIP disabled. To switch on (or re-activate) SIP, repeat the above steps, except that at Step 4 use csrutil enable instead of csrutil disable.
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  • Thank you for your reply. Disableing SIP works as you describe, yet I'm still not able to remove Safari :(
    – Hendrik
    May 2, 2017 at 7:13
  • Answer edited to match the changes I've made to the question.
    – nohillside
    May 2, 2017 at 11:17
  • Booting from a spare startup drive is often helpful in situations like this. May 2, 2017 at 17:55

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