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I want to delete the pre-installed apps, like Music, Books, Siri etc. from my iMac running Catalina. How do I do this?

(NOTE: This question asks the same thing but was closed as a duplicate of this question. Annoyingly, the supposed duplicate doesn’t give an obvious answer to the question, and the original was locked can’t be answered, hence a new question. I can’t add an answer to this question either)

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  • This answer in your last linked question will work in Catalina (i.e. delete them from recovery). So would disabling SIP and remounting root rw with sudo mount -uw /. Ideally your first linked question (which this is a duplicate of) How to delete pre-installed apps on macOS Catalina would be re-opened as it's linked duplicate doesn't answer the question just explains the read only file system. We will see. – lx07 Apr 9 '20 at 6:45
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Catalina introduced changes to the way the file system files are stored, i.e. it puts them on a separate read-only APFS volume. The pre-installed apps are also found on this partition. More details can be found in this ars technica article. In short, you need a slightly different method compared to previous versions to get at those pesky pre-installed apps.

(Information taken from this reddit thread)

Boot into recovery by holding cmd + R while the system is booting

Open up terminal (found in one of the menus at the top), and type the command csrutil disable. This will turn off the SIP

Reboot into Catalina

In terminal run sudo mount -uw /

You should now be able to delete the pre-installed apps. I used AppCleaner to do this. It will let you delete them, but you'll have to click remove twice.

Boot into recovery again and in the terminal type csrutil enable to re-enable the SIP. I’m not sure if this step is necessary as some things I’ve read suggest that it is automatically re-enabled, but that’s what I did.

You should now find that the apps are gone.

Note: I have found that the apps can reappear, I suspect this might be related to updates, but I don’t know. You should always install updates, but you might have to delete these apps again after updating.

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  • You really don't save any space as you can't store anything on the boot volume where the Apps reside. Also after you go to all the trouble/hassle of doing this, macOS updates usually put them right back where they belong. I just ignore them. – Steve Chambers Apr 9 '20 at 20:08
  • Deleting things is not always about saving space. – Phill Apr 10 '20 at 10:14

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