The only use I ever had for iTunes was updating and syncing my iDevices, but since the introduction of over-the-air updates and iCloud, I no longer have that need.

My question therefore is if I can safely remove iTunes from my Mac? Or are there other applications that depend on iTunes being available?


  • Are you using a Mac or Windows? – Michiel Apr 2 '12 at 10:04
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    @Michiel “Can I safely uninstall iTunes from my Mac?” I’d think he’s using a Mac ;) – Mathias Bynens Apr 2 '12 at 10:08
  • Why remove it? What if you want to reset your iOS device to factory settings? – Mathias Bynens Apr 2 '12 at 10:09
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    @MathiasBynens, Ok, I won the award of the stupidest comment of the week :-) – Michiel Apr 2 '12 at 10:11
  • If you're STILL having difficulties completely removing iTunes 11 and reverting back to iTunes 10.7, then check this out... discussions.apple.com/message/20625974#20625974 – user37001 Dec 20 '12 at 15:06

In order to uninstall iTunes, you need to delete (drag to the Trash) a lot of items:

  • The application's icon.
  • /Home/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iTunes....plist (a lot of files) and drag them to the Trash.
  • Look in /Library/ folder for an iTunes folder and if you find one drag it to the Trash.
  • Look in /Home/Library/ folder for an iTunes folder and drag it to the Trash.
  • Last, in /Home/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ folder look for two files with names com.apple.nnnnnnn.plist and drag them to the Trash.

Open Activity Monitor (Utilities folder) and in the process list look for iTunesHelper. Select it, then click on Quit Process icon. Quit or Force Quit the process. Now open the Accounts preference pane, click on Login Items tab, look for the iTunesHelper entry and select it, then click the "-" button and remove it from the list.

Empty the Trash. This should fully remove iTunes and its associated files/folders.

You can find all the information on this page.

But, there is no harm in deleting iTunes, except other iLife apps (iMovie, iPhoto,...) won't be able to get music out of the iTunes library for compiling their things (movies, slideshows,...)

So I'm seriously wondering why you want to delete iTunes at all. My advice is to leave it as it is and just ignore it.
You won't do any harm by it if you just leave iTunes there.

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    Thanks! I'm only considering removing it because it keeps opening whenever I use the media control buttons on my keyboard. I could use some hack to get rid of that annoying behavior, but I got curious if there was any harm in simply removing iTunes. – erik.brannstrom Apr 2 '12 at 13:11
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    On macOS Sierra, step #1 now gives: “iTunes” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by macOS. :( – Don McCurdy Nov 22 '16 at 16:34
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    I would like to remove it because it often asks me to update my system because iTunes has a new version. I could not care less. – Juan Mendes Mar 24 '17 at 12:06
  • @DonMcCurdy you have to set the Read&Write permission first. Click "Get Info" on the iTunes icon, scroll to the bottom and set "Read & Write" permission for "everyone" under "Sharing & Permissions". Then you can delete iTunes without any problem. – Dart Dega Nov 12 '17 at 7:24
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    @DonMcCurdy You need to use the terminal; sudo rm -r "/Applications/iTunes.app". SIP needs to be disabled in El Capitan or newer. BTW, I have been doing this on all my machines for a decade and have never experienced ill effects. – Wowfunhappy Oct 8 '18 at 13:38

If you don't use it, you are welcome to remove it. However consider that the ability to backup/install/upgrade etc over USB is going to be considerably faster than doing everything via iCloud. Particularly for a restore, using an iTunes backup will be much faster and get your device back in a single step, whereas using iCloud backups will perform a staged recovery, pulling back your options and settings etc, then pulling each app directly from the App Store, which will likely not only be very slow (certainly in comparison) but may also leave you with a large bandwidth hit if you are on a limited connection.

The idea of the over-the-air capabilities are to support people who do not have or wish to use a computer in order to be able to use their iOS device. It's just another option, but it shouldn't necessarily be seen as the only or the preferable option.

Frankly, for the space it takes up, I would consider leaving it installed, but you won't harm anything by removing it, and a re-install is simple enough should you change your mind.

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  • This was a great reply as well, but I accepted Michiel's answer because it also contained detailed instructions. I also wrote a comment on that answer explaining why I asked the question. Thanks! – erik.brannstrom Apr 2 '12 at 13:12
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    No problem, @michiel needed that to make up for the days daftest comment anyway ;) – stuffe Apr 2 '12 at 13:16

Nope. Cannot be removed. It says it is 'required by mac iOS'. It requires space and loading time. I am stalled by iTunes which i don't want. mac is overrated.

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The complete process of doing this explained here. I just tried and everything works fine so far.

But I just discovered that if you'll try this on OSX Lion it will try to download it and reinstall it if you run it from spotlight (however it will not be present in Applications):

it asks if I want to download iTunes

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  • Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone. – Daniel Dec 20 '12 at 15:10
$ cd ..
$ cd ..
$ cd Applications
$ sudo su
>>> enter password at prompt
$ rm -rf iTunes.app 
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    How can you guarantee that the Applications folder will be in that relative location for every user that tries this? Who says that the user's home directory is on the same disk as /Applications, let alone in that particular relative location? Furthermore, who even says that the shell is configured to open to the home folder for the user who tries this? Why are you suggesting that switching to the root user is preferable to sudo? What advantages does this have over any of the other methods provided? – grg May 29 '15 at 22:35
  • sudo su? then doing a recursive rm command? that just sounds dangerous – Beau Bouchard Jul 16 '15 at 18:20
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    It's not a dangerous command, it's just short-sighted. The correct version of this command is sudo rm -rf iTunes.app. If you'd feel more comfortable moving it to the Trash, run sudo mv iTunes.app ~/.Trash. This command is shortsighted because it only partially uninstalls the program. There are still "leftovers" in various directories, such as ~/Library/Preferences/. A complete uninstall must remove the app and its leftovers. TrashMe helps you do complete uninstalls, but it's not perfect. – jfmercer Aug 14 '15 at 15:36

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