How to delete and uninstall apps on a MacBook


How to delete and uninstall apps on a MacBook

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This guide will show you how to delete and uninstall apps on a MacBook. The process of uninstalling applications on a MacBook is, for the most part, quite a simple and direct task. However, there can be moments where it may not be as intuitive or easy as one might think, particularly when dealing with certain types of software that come equipped with their own distinct uninstallation procedures. The task can become even more complex if these applications have spread out their associated files across the system.

Thus, it’s important to understand the nuances and variations in the process of uninstalling applications from your Mac, in order to ensure a clean, efficient removal without leaving behind residual data or files. This detailed guide has been specifically curated to offer a meticulous, step-by-step approach to assist you in comprehending and implementing the process of deleting and uninstalling applications on your Mac. It’s designed to empower you with knowledge and provide practical strategies, making the seemingly complex task of app removal a breeze.

1. Deleting Apps from the Applications Folder

  1. Open the Applications folder: There are several ways to do this. You can use Finder by clicking on the Finder icon in your dock and selecting “Applications” from the sidebar. Alternatively, you can also open the Applications folder by using the Go menu on the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  2. Find the application you wish to uninstall: Scroll through your applications until you find the one you want to delete.
  3. Drag the application to the Trash: Click and hold the application icon, then drag it over to the Trash icon in your dock and release.
  4. Empty the Trash: Right-click on the Trash icon and select “Empty Trash”. This will delete all items in the Trash, permanently removing the application from your Mac. Make sure there’s nothing else in the Trash that you want to keep before doing this.
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2. Deleting Apps from the Launchpad

  1. Open Launchpad: This can be done by clicking on the rocket icon in your dock. If you don’t see the Launchpad icon, you can also open it by using the F4 key (or the key with the Launchpad icon) on your keyboard.
  2. Find the application you wish to uninstall: You can scroll through your applications by swiping left or right on your trackpad or by clicking on the dots at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Delete the application: Click and hold on to the application until all the icons start to jiggle. If the app can be deleted, an ‘X’ will appear in the upper left corner of the icon. Click the ‘X’, then click “Delete” in the confirmation dialog that appears.
  4. Stop the jiggle: Once you’re done, you can stop the icons from jiggling by clicking anywhere on the screen outside of the icons, or by pressing the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

3. Using Third-Party Uninstaller

Sometimes, simply deleting an app by dragging it to the Trash or deleting it from the Launchpad doesn’t completely remove all files associated with the app. For such cases, you can use a third-party uninstaller, like AppCleaner or CleanMyMac.

  1. Download and install a third-party uninstaller: You can download a third-party uninstaller from the developer’s website. Be sure to download software only from trusted developers and websites.
  2. Open the uninstaller: Once the software is installed, open it from your Applications folder.
  3. Choose the application you wish to uninstall: The uninstaller will typically display a list of all the applications installed on your Mac. Select the one you want to uninstall.
  4. Uninstall the application: The uninstaller will find all the files associated with the application, allowing you to delete everything with a single click. Confirm the deletion to completely uninstall the app.
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What About Built-In Apps?

Please note that macOS doesn’t allow you to delete built-in apps, like Safari or Mail. Deleting these could cause other system functions to behave unexpectedly. Therefore, it’s best to leave these apps installed, even if you don’t use them.


There are several ways to delete and uninstall apps on a Mac, each with its own strengths. You can use the basic yet effective drag-and-drop method to move unwanted apps to the Trash, or you can opt for the more interactive Launchpad with its intuitive user interface. For a more thorough cleansing of unwanted software and associated residual files, third-party uninstallers, such as AppCleaner or CleanMyMac, can be employed for a comprehensive cleanup.

Regardless of the method you choose, always ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you are deleting. Some apps may have shared files with other applications, and removing these could impact the functionality of other software. In addition, it’s important to note that some applications come with their own uninstaller utilities, which are designed to effectively remove all components related to the app from your Mac. Always check for such utilities before manually deleting apps.

Also, keep in mind that macOS restricts you from deleting built-in apps, like Safari or Mail, to maintain system stability. Even if these apps are not part of your regular usage, they contribute to the macOS ecosystem and their deletion could lead to unexpected results.

Lastly, never rush through the uninstallation process. Take your time to confirm that you are uninstalling the correct app and that you’ve saved any necessary information related to it. Careful consideration can save you from potential complications down the line.

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By adhering to this guide, you should have no trouble maintaining a clean and organized application directory on your Mac. Deleting and uninstalling apps needn’t be a daunting task and, with these tips and tricks in your toolkit, you’re well-equipped to keep your Mac running smoothly and efficiently. You can find out more information over at Apple’s website.

Image Credit: Austin Poon

Filed Under: Apple, Guides, Laptops

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