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After years running macOS, I'd like to remove all clutter that it has accumulated.

Is it possible to completely reinstall macOS but keep users?

I mean, can I install a clean copy of macOS, removing all user-installed apps and all third-party files, but keeping all user folders and preferably all users too?

In other words, can I restore all folders in / to their original contents, except for /Users?

Or is this the only way: backup user folders, wipe clean, reinstall, recreate users, restore user folders?

  • It's possible that the separation of System and Data into two volumes in Catalina will allow you to do this. The System read-only volume should be untouched since installation, so you could perhaps delete Applications from the Data volume only. But I haven't tried. Other solutions may be available, depending on what you're trying to achieve by such a process. – benwiggy Nov 28 at 16:49

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