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6 Tools to Correctly and Fully Delete Apps from the Mac

June 22, 2009

Have you ever deleted an application from your Mac by simply dragging it to the trash? It turns out there’s more to most applications than what you see in the “Applications” folder. Many apps spread system files all over your hard drive that can be a pain to track down. This means when you simply throw an app in the trash, you’re leaving behind associated content that unnecessarily eats up space on your Mac.

Fortunately, there are several third party solutions that save you the work of hunting down and deleting all these stranded files. Here’s a quick rundown of six of them, let us know which ones you use!



Amnesia is a feature rich solution that uninstalls applications, screen savers, dashboard widgets and preferences panes and their associated system files. It also comes with a built-in backup function that lets you restore any files that you may have deleted accidentally and lets you create a list of “Untouchables” that the application will warn you about before deleting.

Amnesia features a drag and drop interface as well as the option to view all installed applications, widgets, etc. in a list within the application.

Price: $9.95
Developer: Koingosw
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later



AppCleaner is one of the best uninstall solutions out there. Simple drag and drop interface will take care of applications, widgets, plugins, and preferences along with their associated files with a smooth rotating cube animation.

Turning the SmartDelete option on will allow you to simply drag applications to the trash to receive an option to eliminate all associated files. Additional features include built-in lists to sort through your apps, automatic updates, and a customizable protected applications list. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Price: Free
Developer: Free Mac Soft
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later



Though not as refined as AppCleaner, AppDelete is a great utility that effortlessly deletes applications, widgets, plugins, and preferences and any associated files. Drag and drop or select from list, hidden file support, auto detect apps thrown in the trash (if AppDelete is open), history logs, and undo delete.

Price: $5
Developer: Reggie Ashworth
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later



AppTrap seeks to be a seamless solution for deleting apps in OS X. Instead of a standalone application, AppTrap is a preference panel that runs in the background. When you throw away an app, you get a simple dialogue asking if you want to delete the associated system files as well. If you’re looking for full integration and minimal effort, this is your best bet.

Price: Free
Developer: Markus Magnuson
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later



AppZapper “zaps” your applications into oblivion with an easy to use drag and drop interface. After dragging an app to the window, you’ll see a list of associated files. Simply uncheck any you wish to keep and hit the zap button. Additional features include a log of all zapped files and the ability to keep certain apps safe from zapping. The best feature? It plays a (very) cool laser sound effect when you delete an app.

Price: $12.95
Developer: Austin Sarner and Brian Ball
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later


CleanApp 3

CleanApp is by far the most advanced uninstall application I found. As soon as you open CleanApp it begins searching your Mac for applications, preference panes, and archives. It then organizes these files into searchable, categorized lists.

Like the other apps listed above, you can drag and drop an unwanted application into the interface and delete it along with any associated system files. If “logging” is turned on, CleanApp will track any new files created by a given app and include those in the delete menu along with the system files.

DeleteApp has several other options for keeping your Mac clean as well. It can analyze a specified directory for disk usage statistics, identify old files (those that haven’t been used in a while) on your Mac that you might not need, search for bulky cache files, and eliminate unnecessary language files and universal binaries from a specified application.

CleanApp even comes with a handy dashboard widget with similar functionality. Finally, CleanApp gives you the option to archive any deleted apps in case you wish to reinstall them at a later time.

Price: $13
Developer: Synium Software
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later


If you like lots of features and don’t mind dropping a few bucks, I recommend CleanApp. It goes way beyond simply deleting apps to an all-in-one way to keep you Mac trim and tidy.

If you’re looking for functional and free, I recommend AppCleaner. It’s a great app that runs smoothly and gets the job done whether you prefer to drag apps into the interface or straight to the trash can.

Two additional applications that you might want to check out are uApp and Yank. uApp is no longer in development and Yank isn’t yet compatible with Leopard. For these reasons I did not include them in the above list.


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