Is it possible to delete any of the default apps in OS X? I suppose it is possible, but will anything break if I do?

There's some, such as Stickies, iChat, Dictionary, etc. that I either have no use for, or have replaced with my own apps that provide similar functions.

Thanks guys!

  • Unless you have a VERY good reason to remove some apps, you're more safe simply moving them elsewhere (out of sight). The space you might gain won't even justify the problems you may get if you remove something that you later need. Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 4:27

3 Answers 3


Instead of Uninstalling these apps, you could just hide them.

Doing this in Terminal:
sudo chflags hidden /Applications/Chess.app
Will hide the application from sight, but will still be there.

Here is the link for the source:


Sure, you can just delete them. When system updates are applied, though, they may "reappear" and not function as the updater may just blithely write the files, assuming the apps have not been moved or deleted.

Why delete them? They don't take up much space and you can remove them from the Dock. I don't use Dictionary or Chess either, but it's not an issue sitting there unused.

On second thought, you may not want to remove Dictionary, as there are some system-level things that get definitions, and the definitions might only be in the app bundle.

  • Ahh, thanks for the answer. I'm kind of a neat freak, and I hate my Applications stack being cluttered with things I don't use.
    – vorbb
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 1:01
  • 4
    Solve your neat issues by making an /Apps or ~/Applications or something else, and but Aliases or links from there to the few you do use. Then just ignore /Applications.
    – user588
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 2:32
  • +1 for noting that some system services run on apps, or at least on application components. Just leave them…
    – msanford
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 4:55

It's also pretty annoying to try to reinstall them if you ever do need them. Most aren't available on Apple's website or any (public) torrent trackers. You have to do something like use Pacifist to dig around .pkgs on the installation disk / image.

I've split my Applications folder into subdirectories, using a ridiculous Windows drive name-like naming scheme. The unused or rarely used bundled apps in "/Applications/B". (A = main, S = secondary, U = utilities, D = developer, N = new, O = old, T = tested, L = library.)


Solve your neat issues by making an /Apps or ~/Applications or something else, and but Aliases or links from there to the few you do use. Then just ignore /Applications.

Some dialogs for choosing applications only include things in /Applications and ~/Applications. (+ some in CoreServices.) Many apps will also nag that they can move themselves to the Applications folder on the first launch. Installers will still put things to /Applications. And aliases aren't that neat anyway...

  • On a sidenote: while moving applications should work all of the time, many developers expect them to be in certain places and thus hard code paths in their updaters (or even the application components themselves, take Microsoft Office 2008 for example; if you even rename its folder in the /Applications/ directory, Microsoft suggests re-installing the complete package afterwards!) I wouldn´t suggest moving them but to always work with Aliases to them, as @mankoff suggested, or using the Dock (I guess that´s what it´s for, after all!)
    – Asmus
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 10:52
  • I have been using those subdirectories with hundreds of apps, and haven't had any real problems. Photoshop CS5 showed this dialog: "The application has been moved, or its path has been changed. To update the product configuration, click Update.". It seems to work fine though.
    – Lri
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 3:00

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