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There are some preinstalled apps that came with my laptop that I know I wil never ever use.

Apps like "Notes", "Stickies", "Game Center", etc.. that were preinstalled in my Macbook Pro are apps that I don't plan on ever using and it's taking up too much space in my Application Folder.

Are there any ways to remove them? Please note that I have already tried dragging it to the Trash bin, but it won't even go to the Trash bin. It' just stuck in my computer forever.

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  • 9
    Even if I bought your "too much space" characterization, a clean Mountain Lion install uses 944 MB once you have updated to 10.8.2. The three you mention take less space than three songs from iTunes that take 9 minutes to play through. If you just don't want to see the apps, and not break updates, just set the hidden bit and they will "disappear". cd /Applications; sudo chflags hidden Notes.app Stickies.app Game\ Center.app For the curious - here is the full list of apps sorted by size on 10.8.2. You can delete them with the rm command but hiding is safer for updates.
    – bmike
    Sep 27, 2012 at 16:52
  • @bmike 8 years later, do we have a single instance of a Mac update failing due to deleted default apps? Nov 22, 2020 at 20:57
  • Dozens happen at work each year @JonathanReez mostly people are foiled though and the update just erases their attempt to swim against the tide. We apply combo updates or reinstall the entire OS to fix most of the dozens of failures with little drama other than low time. I can’t wait for Big Sur and sealed systems so people have less leverage to break work machines. Home computers, have at it of course :-)
    – bmike
    Nov 22, 2020 at 21:20
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    @bmike thanks! Could you add an answer with a more specific example? I.e. "User X deleted Chess.app and the Catalina update failed as a result". Nov 23, 2020 at 0:36

6 Answers 6

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Current versions of both suggested apps (AppCleaner, CleanMyMac X) no longer offer deletion of the apps preinstalled with MacOS (as tested on MacOS Catalina/10.15 in 2020). The answer below was originally written in 2012.

At one time or another I have deleted a whole bunch of the standard issue programs that I knew I wouldn't use. I prefer not to have them wasting my space, however little it may be. Also, I use a Mac Mini as a media centre, changing the standard hdd for an ssd, so space is at a premium.

Appcleaner is one app that I have used for several years to tidy stuff up. Never had a single issue with deleting Stickies, Notes, Bootcamp Assistant, Audio Midi Setup, RAID, Podcast, etc, etc. Appcleaner preferences should be set up to delete "protected" apps and then will delete the app and all the other files (plists, etc.) that go with it.

Another app, CleanMyMac, does the same, but will also do a more general clearout of caches, etc. Both recommended...

Good luck!

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  • You take em out, and the next system update is liable to reinstall them. I leave them alone, unless they do something specific to irritate me. Aug 24, 2019 at 0:16
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I strongly recommend against removing standard applications:

  • Most of them need hardly any space at all (the three mentioned in the question need 14 MBytes together)
  • An upcoming OS X version may expect them to be there
  • There is no easy way to get them back once you removed them
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  • It takes up space in my app folder and I cannot find anyway to get rid of them
    – Lemon
    Sep 24, 2012 at 18:58
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    chflags hidden Notes.app :-) But maybe you are better of with pulling the most used applications into the Dock and using Spotlight to access the others by name.
    – nohillside
    Sep 24, 2012 at 18:59
  • 8 years later, do we have a single instance of a Mac update failing due to deleted default apps? Nov 22, 2020 at 20:56
  • We have breakage all the time at work due to this @JonathanReez and Apple has doubled down on sealed system, signed apps and frameworks, authenticated-root and more. I understand the need for some to tinker, but for most, this answer is quite the best policy IMO.
    – bmike
    Mar 21, 2021 at 21:32
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Mac OS X includes various components that it expects to find as part of the operating system. Some of these live in /System or /Library, but some required parts of the operating system live in /Applications. While you might think it is harmless to delete, say, Chess.app, and there is a good likelihood that you can delete it without adverse side effects, a future update to the operating system or a third-party program might rely on its presence for functionality. Once deleted, re-intsalling applications that are OS components is rather challenging.

You express your concern for removing the programs as connected to the fact that they "take up space" in the /Applications folder. This could mean either they consume disk space, or they take up visual space when you list the directory.

As far as disk space is concerned, on most installations of Mac OS X, space in /Applications is the same as space in any other directory: space on the primary system drive. While these applications do indeed take up a non-zero amount of space, relative to the size of the operating system, the space saved by removing them is fairly trivial, while the risk of side effects is slightly less trivial

If visual space is the concern, however, you can make these programs disappear while leaving them in place in case the system needs them. At a terminal prompt, you will need to type

  sudo chflags hidden /Applications/Stickies.app

(for Stickies, for instance; substitute the name of any other program you wish to hide).

The sudo part of the command runs the command with administrative privileges (necessary to modify system files). chflags hidden tells the system to mark these files as "hidden files" that will still be present on disk, but not appear in Finder windows. Finally, /Applications/Sitckies.app is the path to the application you want to hide.

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  • The Change Flags Method works prior to El Capitan due to the SIP feature meant to provide more security. Unless you have a dedicated recovery drive it seems that even booting into recovery mode and using: csrutil disable will return as unrecognized. You must have Recovery Partition locally on disk. Otherwise there is no easy way with El Capitan. App Cleaner is the way to go. Dec 8, 2015 at 8:17
  • 8 years later, do we have a single instance of a Mac update failing due to deleted default apps? Nov 22, 2020 at 20:56
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    This no longer works in Catalina: ❯ sudo chflags hidden /System/Applications/Stickies.app chflags: /System/Applications/Stickies.app: Operation not permitted Dec 24, 2020 at 21:01
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The original question was posted before the days of System Integrity Protection (SIP), so this address SIP enabled versions of macOS thru the current macOS Mojave...

Not that I recommend deleting pre-installed Apple applications; however, if that's what you're wanting to do, then make sure you have a current Time Machine backup. Then reboot1 your Mac to its Recovery HD and then in Terminal from macOS Recovery you can simply use the following example command:

rm -r /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Applications/Chess.app
  • Note: If Macintosh HD is not the name of your primary startup volume, then modify as appropriate.

There is no real need to disable SIP or reboot back to normal mode to make the changes, etc.

The following clipped screenshot of Terminal running from macOS Recovery shows though a series of commands the above command can work as is and the information presented is accurate.

You'll see that:

  • SIP is enabled.
  • /Applications is not the appropriate target directory.
  • Changing directory to /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Applications is not necessary but done here to facilitate the other commands used to show relevant information.
  • You can see the permissions and ACLs on e.g. Chess.app, yet it is sill deleted.

Terminal from macOS Recovery

Note that from macOS Recovery those permissions and ACLs are ignored and why a protected App can be directly deleted without disabling SIP and doing the reboot-dance as has been suggested in the past.

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  • My answer deleted and yours upvoted, although a screenshot of text hurts my eyes... ;-)
    – Fabby
    Aug 27, 2019 at 21:59
  • In Big Sur, these applications are now in /System. I tried removing an app from /System/Applications, but it came back... Mar 26, 2021 at 20:09
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In general, you can remove applications simply by dragging them to the Trash (and emptying the Trash). In this case, you can't remove them because they are part of the core OS. Hence error message in Finder (Mountain Lion):

"Stickies" can't be modified or deleted because it's required by Mac OS X.

You can almost certainly remove the core application from the command line, but I wouldn't recommend it:

rm -rf /Applications/Stickies.app
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  • First thing I tried, couldn't even get it into the trash bin
    – Lemon
    Sep 24, 2012 at 18:41
  • You're right, this must have changed in Mac OS X since I last tried it (to prevent people from doing precisely that to system applications). I updated my answer accordingly.
    – lid
    Sep 24, 2012 at 18:46
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Right click on the application, then go to get info. There change the sharing & permissions to read & write for everyone. Then you can delete the application.

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