The employees in my company are encouraged to get themselves the apps from App Store if they need them for a task at hand in addition to the apps pre-installed by the administrator. There seems to be no way to remove such apps when they are no longer needed.

What have I tried?

  • In App Store, in the grid of apps after clicking on my account, I tried selecting "Delete app" from the three dot menu of the app.
  • In Launchpad, I tried hitting ⌥ option key and clicking ⦻ which appears next to the app.
  • I tried going to Applications folder in Finder and choosing "Move to trash" from right-click menu.
  • I tried dragging and dropping the app from Applications in Finder and from Launchpad onto the trash bin icon in the dock.

Each time the pop-up asks to login as an administrator. I cannot satisfy it with my Mac login account or my Apple ID which I use for App Store.

I imagined that the application is installed to a place where the App Store is allowed access to, so I would be able to remove the app with the App Store in the same way that I installed it. I have no problem updating those apps manually in App Store. App Store also updates them automatically for me.

For example, here are the permissions of WhatsApp app directory:

/Applications % ls -la WhatsApp.app
total 0
drwxr-xr-x@  3 root  wheel   96  2 гру 12:08 .
drwxrwxr-x+ 28 root  admin  896  2 гру 18:08 ..
drwxr-xr-x  10 root  wheel  320  2 гру 12:08 Contents
/Applications % xattr -l WhatsApp.app 
com.apple.appstore.store_cohort: 7|date=1605871800000&sf=143492&pgtp=Software&pgid=1147396723&prpg=Search_3d742123-f66f-4798-8833-3ee76553ac1b&ctxt=Search&issrch=1
com.apple.appstore.storefront: 143492
com.apple.appstore.vendor_name: WhatsApp Inc.

I tried rm -r WhatsApp.app, but, as expected, it returns Permission denied for each file until I terminate it.

May it be possible to be able to remove the apps, which I install from App Store, on my own or there is a technical obstacle which definitely prevents me from doing it? If it is not enabled by default, may be the system administrator can enable it somehow, so that I do not need the administrator for removing those apps, without giving me unnecessary permissions?

I am under macOS Catalina version 10.15.7 (19H15).

This question is similar to another one, but in my question I am specifically interested in how to remove the app, not in why the administrative password is requested.

Please note that my display language is not English, so some text may be not precise.


1 Answer 1


It is possible a non-administrator user can remove an arbitrary folder, but not guaranteed. The permissions model will show your permissions on the folder.

Your last shows the directory is locked to everyone except the owner. You are correct you need admin to change that.

The App Store generally doesn’t drop a folder, so you might need to open a support case with someone or disclose a screen shot / output shoeing your precise setup for someone to tell your specific case.

The article above should cover your attempt to change permissions on the folder in question. Based on your information, you might need an admin user to grant you admin status or just clean things if you can not.

  • There are folders for the apps in /Applications. I added the permissions example to my question. Also, I realised that App Store updates the apps for me without any problem, so it gets write access to the app's directory somehow. Dec 4, 2020 at 13:01
  • 1
    Yes. In Unix, it’s called the set user id bit or flag. When an administrator “promotes” the App Store, that app gets admin rights to do specific admin things on behalf on non-administrators. I think you’ve got the dilemma cornered now @RomanRiabenko
    – bmike
    Dec 4, 2020 at 18:46
  • You are right. I’ve learnt that App Store cannot remove the app for me with the existing setup, but the admin should be able to change it. It would be nice to know what the admin has to do, but it’s probably beyond the scope of our exercise. I’ll just budge him to sort it Dec 6, 2020 at 22:35
  • The admin could even just make you an admin user and password and you could enter them to delete. They just need to let you know a username/password to use... @RomanRiabenko
    – bmike
    Dec 6, 2020 at 22:42

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