Macos – Do I need to bother about correctly uninstalling Mac software


I'm a recent switcher from Windows. Uninstalling programs correctly is a big deal on that platform because of the crap that gets left everywhere if you don't.

On the Mac I've noticed the majority of programs can be dragged into the Applications folder to install and then trashed if no longer needed. However some also have an uninstall program (and I never remember which ones).

This lack of consistency and the presence of free (donationware) software such as AppCleaner to manage it suggests that uninstalling programs is also an issue with Mac OS X.

Is this correct and if so, what is the best way to manage it?

Best Answer

For most Mac software, using AppCleaner and or AppZapper is sufficient - it removes the software, as well as the preferences, your customization, etc. Dragging the software to the trash bin is also good enough - as the left-behind preferences will not affect anything but disk space. In fact, you might want to keep those preferences in case you decide to re-use the software in the future.

The tricky software to watch out for are usually those huge, complicated programs, which embed kext extensions, or pepper the system with files all over. For example, VMWare, Parallels, Adobe CS3, etc. For these category of software, try to use the official uninstaller as much as possible.