How to Completely Uninstall Programs on Mac

You can uninstall programs on your Mac by dragging them from the Applications folder to the Bin. You can also uninstall them from the Launchpad or use the built-in uninstaller. Alternatively, you can use third-party Mac cleaner apps like AppCleaner or CleanMyMac for uninstalling multiple programs at once.

Hi, I’m Devansh. Since becoming a Mac user in 2017, I’ve uninstalled many programs to free up disk space. In this article, I’ll show you several different methods to uninstall programs and their residual files.

If you want to uninstall programs on your Mac but don’t know how to do it properly, keep reading!

Method #1: via Applications Folder

  • Best to use when: you want to quickly remove some applications.

Open Finder and click Applications in the sidebar. Locate the program you wish to uninstall (ensure it’s not running), click and hold it, and drag and drop it into the Bin.

Unfortunately, uninstalling programs with this method isn’t a one-and-done process. The program’s residual files, like support documents and system files, still stay back on your Mac.

These usually don’t amount to much, but to delete them, open Finder, click Go in the Menu bar, and Go to Folder. Paste “~/Library/Application Support” and “~/Library/Caches” into the box and press Enter. Delete all files associated with the program you uninstalled.

(Here, you can find all the associated files that come along with the apps you want to delete)
(Here, you can find and remove the app caches)

Once done, right-click the Bin and select Empty Bin.

Method #2: Launchpad

  • Best for: deleting apps you downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Open Launchpad by clicking its icon in the Dock or pinch closed with your thumb and three fingers on the trackpad.

Locate the program you want to uninstall and click and hold its icon until it starts to jiggle. Click the “x” on it and confirm the uninstallation by clicking Delete in the pop-up window.

In addition, you can also take steps to delete residual files left behind by the program, as discussed above.

Method #3: Built-in Uninstaller

  • Best to use for: completely removing big programs that have their own uninstallers. Normally you are unable to completely uninstall them using other methods.

Some apps may not be easily removed due to reasons like software crashes or errors. In this case, you can perform a quick search on Google: “uninstaller for [name of the app]”, most likely you’ll find relevant uninstaller or uninstallation instructions provided by the official developer.

For example, the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app comes with a built-in uninstaller that ensures a proper removal process.

To use it, open the program’s folder in Applications and look for an uninstaller file. If you can’t find it, check the developer’s website or manual.

Double-click the uninstaller and follow the onscreen instructions to remove the program from your Mac. With this method, you don’t need to delete residual files manually since the uninstaller takes care of it all.

Method #4: Third-Party Uninstaller Apps

  • Best for: deleting multiple apps and their residual files simultaneously.

If you don’t want to follow the steps necessary for the manual uninstallation of programs, you can download uninstaller apps to do the hard work for you. With these apps, you just need to specify which programs you want to uninstall, and they’ll do it for you. The best free option is AppCleaner.

You can also try some paid Mac cleaning software like CleanMyMac and BuhoCleaner for additional features like deleting duplicate and junk files. These apps provide a good solution to optimize your Mac’s performance, declutter storage space, and ensure a smooth user experience.


Here are some common questions about uninstalling programs on your Mac.

How Do You Uninstall a Program That Won’t Uninstall?

You can put your Mac into Safe Mode and retry. Safe Mode turns off certain startup items and makes it simpler to uninstall programs. Check this support page for steps to activate Safe Mode for Intel- and Apple silicon-based Macs.

How to Uninstall a Program on Mac Using Terminal?

Type the command “sudo uninstall file://” and drag the program you want to uninstall into Terminal. Next, press Enter and enter your administrator password to complete the uninstallation. Maintain caution when doing this.

Does Reinstalling macOS Delete Programs?

No. According to Apple, reinstalling macOS with Recovery Mode doesn’t delete installed programs and personal data. However, you should still back up your important files before performing a reinstallation as a precautionary measure.


In general, there are four ways to uninstall programs on your Mac: Applications folder, Launchpad, and built-in uninstaller. And to avoid manually finding and deleting residual files, you can use third-party uninstaller apps.

You might prefer the simplicity of dragging and dropping programs into the Bin or the intuitiveness of third-party uninstallers. In any case, I hope you found the right method in this article!

Do you have further questions about uninstalling programs on your Mac? Let me know in the comments.

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  • Adam

    I have uninstalled an app as guided but still it is showing in the list, what can be the reason for that?

  • Elsa

    Great tips, thank you!

  • Bob Foss

    I’m a low-tech 70+ year old and I try to keep my iMac clean of files and programs I’ll never use. My only real app love is iTunes which I’ve more or less mastered, though it takes awhile to figure out the artwork enhancement, etc.

    I’m trying to get rid of the Remote Desktop Mgt app forced on me by Apple, and am forced to update this program I’ll never use, unless I want to look at the red ball icons on the App Store icon in the Dock.

    I’ve tried deleting manually but a message comes up and says this program is required my Mac OS (I have the latest Sierra OS). I’m reluctant to try an uninstaller that might not be able to remove it or damage my computer. Any ideas? Thank you so much.