How to Completely Uninstall Applications in OS X

This brief tutorial will guide you in using AppTrap, a terrific (and free) Application uninstaller for OS X.

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

  1. Start by downloading AppTrap
  2. After the download has completed, open the .dmg file and double-click AppTrap.prefPane. It will install itself to your System Preferences and open to that window.
  3. apptrap
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  4. Click the Start AppTrap button and select Start automatically on login if you wish AppTrap to run each time you sign in to OS X.
  5. apptrap
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  6. 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.
  7. apptrap
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  8. If AppTrap correctly identified the files, leave them selected and click the Move Files button. You can de-select any files you wish to keep, and they won’t be moved to the Trash.
  9. apptrap
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  10. If you check your Trash, you’ll see that not only the Application is there, but its associated system files are as well.
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • kalbazs September 8, 2007, 2:08 pm

    Geez, Apptrap worked GREAT the first time I used it. But today I dropped Vidalia into trash and nothing. No dialog box, no nothing. Had to hunt for auxiliary files with Spotlight. Good thing I have Spotlight!

  • wildeny November 14, 2007, 12:20 am

    @kalbazs: You probably forgot to enable AppTrap before dropped Vidalia into trash. You can also set AppTrap to run at startup.

  • dave May 12, 2009, 7:45 am

    It doesnt work becaue spotlight doesnt work. In spotlight you have to manipulate the query to include system files. every time you search for something. there is no default to always include system files so apptrap just gets what spotlight gives as a default, which is generally nothing.

  • babamac January 6, 2010, 8:57 am

    ho scaricato il programma ma non si attiva nel pannello preferenze risulta semtre inactive anche dopo aver cliccato su start… perchè?

  • BlameMe November 23, 2010, 12:51 pm

    Don’t understand why apple leaves this out… Always good to have a clean file system..

  • Confused February 4, 2011, 10:18 am

    I cant make it activate whenever i hit start ap trap it doesnt do anything

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