When you switch over from a Windows-based system to a Mac OS X system, the add/remove process is not the same. Whether you are a first time Mac user or a well experienced Mac user, the uninstalling process can be very easy. Most applications only take a simple drag and drop into the trash bin. However, doing this does not completely uninstall the application on your Mac. That’s why it is important that you understand the complete process when deleting an application on your Mac.

Simple Drag And Click May Not Be The Only Way To Delete Those Unwanted Applications Off Of Your Mac

Macs come with two different types of application that may be installed. The first program is called a non-bundle. A non-bundle application cannot be uninstalled just with the simple drag and drop into the trash bin. You will have to do more manual work and clean up the left behind settings and other small files that are connected to the application. Examples of a non-bundle application are Garageband and DVD Studio Pro. These are much larger files and they will have extra files that will need to be manually deleted.

The other application is called a bundle. A bundle application can be removed from your Mac with a simple drag and drop in the trash bin. A couple examples of bundled applications are Safari and iTunes. These applications can be found in the Finder folder. If you have other application you want to remove, you can check to see if they are a bundle application. To check, control click (or right click) on the application icon and you will see “Show Package Contents”.

Before you will be able to remove the application from your Mac, you will need to remove the application from the dock and make sure you are not presently running the application. To remove the application from the dock, you can drag the applications icon up from the dock and release it. You will see a puff of smoke animation. This will delete the icon shortcut on the dock, but not the application itself or any of the support files.

Using Finder To Completely Remove Application Bundles and Its Additional Files

To make sure you successfully remove an application and make sure all of its associated files are deleted, you should manually do the deletion. To manually delete an application, you will want to follow the following simple steps.

  • Make sure the application you want to remove is not running. Then launch Activity Monitor and change “My Process” at the top to “All Process”
  • Launch Finder and then search for the name of the application. Search under “File Name” for better results
  • Click the + button to add criteria to your search
  • Click “Don’t Include” and then change it to “Include”
  • Then you will want to sort by name, kind and date to identify different components of the application
  • Delete all the files and folders they are related to the application
  • A reboot might be necessary to completely remove some apps
  • Empty your trash bin

Application To Use To Speed Up The Deletion Process

If you are looking into using third party uninstallers, you will need to know they do not completely uninstall applications and remove all the files and folders that are associated. A great third party application you can use is AppCleaner. AppCleaner is a freeware that can only be used on Mac OS X. Many other applications will only delete the smaller files, but leave other files lingering behind. It is always better to remove any application you want delete manually yourself with the above process. This will ensure that all of the files have been properly deleted off of your Mac.

50 Melisse Deering


Melisse Deering is a trained Mac expert as well as a passionate Mac user. She quickly realized the significance of Mac’s user friendliness and advanced features, motivating her to become an avid user and sequentially an expert.