How to Completely Uninstall Apps in macOS

This guide will take you step by step through automating the process to completely uninstall Apps in macOS.

Although this was initially published back in 2007, it has been updated to be current in 2020 with the latest version of macOS – and the software works just as well now as it did back then!

By default, when you drag Applications to the Trash to uninstall them, most of the time files are actually left behind. Typically these files aren’t very large, but over time they can add up – taking up valuable disk space. AppTrap will help you ensure that those files are deleted when you remove an Application.

  1. Start by downloading the latest version of AppTrap
  2. After the download has completed, extract the contents of the .zip file and double-click AppTrap.prefPane
  3. a Finder window with an arrow pointing to a .prefpane file

  4. Click Install when prompted.
  5. installing AppTrap in macOS

  6. The System Preferences will open to the AppTrap section. Click the Start AppTrap button and place a check in the box labelled Start automatically on login.
  7. setting AppTrap to automatically run when macOS starts

  8. If you’re using macOS Catalina (or later) proceed with step #6 below. If you’re using an earlier version of macOS, jump down to step #8.
  9. Go to the main System Preferences window, click Security & Privacy and then click the Privacy tab. From here, select the Full Disk Access item from the column on the left side of the panel. Then click the ‘lock’ icon in the bottom left corner of the screen so you can make changes. Enter your password when prompted. Finally, place a check in the box next to AppTrap.
  10. the Privacy tab of the Security and Privacy section of the macOS System Preferences

  11. Return to the AppTrap System Preference panel.
  12. the macOS System Preferences with an arrow pointing to AppTrap

  13. Click the Stop AppTrap button to stop the service, then click the Start AppTrap button to restart it.
  14. starting the AppTrap service to completely uninstall macOS Apps

  15. The next time you drag an Application to the Trash to uninstall it, a window will appear asking you if you wish to move the system files associated with it to the Trash as well. Click the small arrow on the left side of that window to view the files that AppTrap will move to the Trash. Those are files that would have remained on your Mac without AppTrap.
  16. using AppTrap to completely uninstall macOS Apps

Now that you’ve set AppTrap to completely uninstall macOS Apps when you drag them to the Trash, why not take a look at a list of Apps that are super helpful to have on your Mac.

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