Unlike Windows, where programs have their own uninstaller, uninstalling a Mac app is usually as simple as dragging its icon from the Applications folder to the trash can. But some stubborn Mac software can be tricky to uninstall. Here’s how to uninstall Mac apps permanently – a process that will help free up space on your Mac and can also speed it up.
Why uninstalling programs on a Mac is different from uninstalling on Windows
On Windows, programs must be installed using special installation wizards and, more importantly, must be uninstalled using the same mechanisms.
Sloppy work on the part of Microsoft initially allowed software developers to install many fragmented parts of their program anywhere on the C: boot drive. Apart from the system security issues this can create, it also makes removing executable programs in Windows a routine that only automated programs can usually do.
But on a Mac, things are a little different. When Apple released Mac OS X in 2001, it retained the Unix way of separating system files from the user’s workspace.
Thus, programs are usually stored in the / Applications directory, and the user’s preferences for how that application can be configured are stored in ~ / Library / Preferences. In addition, some required support files can be stored in ~ / Library / Application Support and / Library / Application Support. And that’s almost all.
The applications themselves that reside in the Applications folder (although they may be stored elsewhere …) are actually packages of many files packed together. As far as the user is concerned, you just need to double-click the application’s icon – or click once for the shortcut that is stored in the Dock – and the application will launch using all the resources it needs stored in the application package and elsewhere.
This means that to uninstall an app on macOS, you just need to drag the app to the trash can. There is no apparent need to do anything else … at least in most cases.
If you are not starting the Mac with an administrator account, you will also be prompted for an administrator password to uninstall the application.
How to uninstall a Mac app using Launchpad
To uninstall a program from MacOs, just take a few simple steps:
1. Open Launchpad. This can be done through the Dock, through the program folder, or you can pinch your thumb and three fingers on the trackpad.
2. Press and hold the Option (⌥) key, or press the program icon for a couple of seconds.
An (X)-in-a-circle icon will appear in the upper left corner of the pictogram, press it.
3. Click the icon next to the program and confirm the action by clicking the “Remove” button. The program will be removed.
If the icon is not displayed, the programs may not have been downloaded from the App Store, and you will need to use the Finder to remove them.