I have some issue with a Mac OS application that I got from the App Store. The support suggested to uninstall the app and install it again. My question is: Is there any way this can help?

There is a separation of programs and user data in MacOS, so uninstalling the program and reinstalling it should be no-op in total. Is it?

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It should be. It won't delete any of your documents, but you might want to back up these locations, if they exist:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.whatever.appname.plist
  • ~/Library/Application Support/AppName

You almost certainly don't need to do this--I don't know what exactly the App Store uninstall process does--but it doesn't hurt to be safe.

Update: Due to sandboxing, you won't find anything in either of these locations. (All apps from the App Store are sandboxed, but apps you get somewhere else probably aren't.) You should look here instead:

  • ~/Library/Containers/com.whatever.appname
  • You're right, Mac App Store apps are sandboxed so you won't find anything in either of those locations – grg Oct 20 '17 at 20:28
  • and uninstalling won't touch anything under ~/Library/Containers/... right? – Thomas Oct 23 '17 at 18:23
  • It probably won't, but I don't know for sure. That's why I suggested backing it up, just in case. Of course, if you haven't changed anything to do with the app since your last Time Machine backup, you're already covered. – SilverWolf Oct 23 '17 at 19:24
  • I've tried it. No changes to that location during uninstall. – Thomas Oct 24 '17 at 5:30

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