Mac apps to help you uninstall software completely in macOS

Two apps for the Apple Mac to help you uninstall apps properly including all their associated files.

Dragging apps to the Trash on the Mac will remove an app, but it will not remove all of its associated files. They remain on the disk adding to the junk and clutter. These tools can delete them.

Uninstalling software on the Apple Mac is more complicated than it appears. Although the obvious thing to do is to drag an app to the Trash, this is actually a bad idea.

Some apps come with uninstallers, see How to uninstall Mac software properly and remove all traces, and if one is available for an app you should use it. If no uninstaller is provided, you should then use an uninstaller utility.

Here are two uninstallers that can be found in the Mac App Store.

Uninstaller-OS Cleaner

Uninstaller-OS Cleaner is a free app in the Mac App Store for removing apps and all their associated files. It has a dark theme, which makes it stand out, although if you have the dark menu bar and dock option set in System Preferences, it will fit right in!

The big Scan button on the home screen scans the Applications folder and your home folder for apps and their files.

Delete Apps uninstaller app for the Apple Mac

The apps are listed in the sidebar and selecting an app displays its files in the main part of the window. It lists the binaries, preferences, supporting files, logs, user data, login items and application scripts.

At the right hand side of each item found is a magnifying glass and clicking it opens Finder with the item selected. This is useful for finding the location of files.

Select an app, click the big Uninstall button and all the associated files are deleted, but the app is not. This is because apps are protected and the app does not have permission to delete it. You must click a button to open Finder and manually delete the app itself.

This is a bit annoying, although deleting all the files except the app does have the side effect of resetting it like new. That might be useful if an app is misbehaving. As an uninstaller though, it is good, but not quite perfect.

App: Uninstaller-OS Cleaner
Price: Free
By: Lio Kun
Size: 3.4MB
macOS: 10.9 or later
Verdict: Does an OK job, but not quite perfect.

 

Delete Apps: Uninstaller

Delete Apps: Uninstaller is another free app in the Mac App Store that aims to help you remove all traces of an app. It has a clean and simple interface and is very easy to use.

It scans the home folder and applications folder and displays a list of apps. This can be sorted in different ways, such as by name or size, ascending or descending.

On the right is the disk space occupied by the app and its files, and a Details button shows a panel that lists each file and folder associated with the App. Any or all associated files can be selected for removal and Ctrl+clicking them opens Finder with the item selected if you want to view it or modify it.

Uninstaller-OS Cleaner for the Apple Mac

At the top of the window is the amount of free disk space, the amount to be freed by uninstalling apps, and the new free disk space.

Select one or more apps and clicking Next will delete them. Well, not quite. Only the associated files are really deleted and because the app lacks permission to remove an app from the Applications folder, you are required to do this yourself. Delete Apps will open Finder for you, so it is not a difficult task, but it is still a bit irritating.

App: Delete Apps: Uninstaller
Price: Free
By: FIPLAB Ltd
Size: 4.9MB
macOS 10.7 or later
Verdict: The app is OK, but could be better.

 

The best uninstaller app for the Mac

If the same app is selected for removal in both uninstallers, the list of files found can be compared. They often listed exactly the same files, but occasionally one app would find an extra file that the other missed.

Unfortunately, neither of these two apps beat my favourite uninstaller, AppCleaner. The problem is that apps in the Mac App Store are limited because of strict rules imposed by Apple.

This results in an incomplete list of files associated with an app being uninstalled, and also the app itself cannot be removed. AppCleaner is not in the Mac App Store and does not have to play by Apple’s rules. It finds more files and removes them all.

This is a good example of how the Mac App Store limits app functionality and uninstaller apps in the store are less effective than apps outside of the store.

 

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