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How to Completely Remove Apps from OS X

August 16, 2016

If you no longer need an app, navigate to the Applications folder and drag its icon to the Trash. Unfortunately, traditional drag-and-drop trashing does not remove all components of the application from your system. When you drag an icon to the Trash, its preferences and logs are still buried in Library folders. Some apps leave behind plenty of files that take up a lot of space on your startup disk.

    Most likely you’ll find an uninstallation guide at the manufacturer’s official website. Sometimes a program has its own uninstaller. Users may also remove application leftovers manually. There are usually two locations where apps store their files - user’s Library and system Library. Removing program components from these locations completes the uninstallation process.

  1. You should start from navigating to folders in the system and user’s Library. Look for any folder or file that contains the name of the application or vendor.

  2. Use the Command-Shift-G key combination, paste the following paths, and explore them thoroughly:    

  • /Library

  • /Library/Application Support

  • /Library/Preferences - in this folder users should look for .plist documents containing the names of the application or vendor.

  • /Library/LaunchAgents

  • /Library/LaunchDaemons

  • /Library/PreferencePanes

  • /Library/StartupItems

As a rule, apps do not use Launch Agents, Daemons, or StartupItems folders, but in some cases a program puts there files that control the background process activities.

What’s next? Examine the user’s Library folder. Application leftovers may be buried in these folders:

  • ~/Library

  • ~/Library/Application Support

  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents

  • ~/Library/Preferences

  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes

  • ~/Library/StartupItems

These locations are places where you should look for program files. When you move the leftovers to the Trash, empty it. That is all you need to do.

Unfortunately, manual removal is always a time-consuming task. It requires your patience. Luckily, iDoctor has a good uninstaller feature that looks for leftovers and lets you remove them with a single click. This tool is called App Unistaller. The tool is easy to use and will save your time and efforts.

  1. Run a scan first. You’ll see a list of apps and leftovers that are stored on your machine.

  2. Select the items that you no longer need and click Remove. You’ll be prompted to type your admin password. This should save your time and do the trick.

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