How to Uninstall Apps in OS X

How to Uninstall Apps in OS X

Range Govindan
Jan 18, 2011

If you're trying to manage the installed software on your Mac and if you're wondering on how exactly this can be done, there are some easy ways of doing so in order to get it done quickly and easily. This is a good way of maintaining your computer, as you don't want to have too many unused programs installed on your Mac.

The first thing that you need to remember is that OS X doesn't have something like the Windows Registry, so there are usually no wizards to uninstall software. There's also no 'Add and Remove Programs' available in System Preferences. From time to time, there will be shortcuts created in the Applications folder for your to click to do this for you. However, with the plethora of different apps available, we've seen that most of them will stay on your computer, even when you upgrade to a newer version of the software.

Let's take Photoshop and Microsoft Office as examples. When you upgrade, let's say from Photoshop CS3 to CS5 or from MS Office 2008 to 2011, the old versions of your programs stay installed. This is how you can get rid of these programs, without creating too much of a fuss.

First, click on the Applications folder shortcut in your Dock. If you are running OS X 10.6 and later, it should open a black screen with all of your installed Apps. Earlier versions of OS X will open the folder directly. One way or the other, you'll have to click 'Open in Finder' at the end of the list of available programs. Once you've selected these, just manually drag and drop them into the trash. If you're doing things correctly, there will be a prompt that will ask you for confirmation (your user password) in order to complete this task.

For some programs, you'll have to right-click on the icon in Finder, and select 'Show Package Content'. You'll only have to do this if the application is part of a bundle and not self-contained. Then, move the files to the trash. You can free up quite a bit of space on your hard drive if you've got a lot of programs installed. If you drag and drop the Apps directly from the first black screen when you click Apps, it won't uninstall the programs.

(Image: Flickr member Khazeth licensed for use under Creative Commons and Image: Flickr member FactoryJoe licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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