According to a 2023 software habits report, an average Mac user keeps 51 apps installed, while only using 15 of them on a daily basis. What’s more is that about 10 of those apps are pre-installed macOS apps. That leaves a lot of room for desktop decluttering and getting rid of old and outdated apps, or the ones you don’t need, don’t like, and don’t use.
There’s a common misconception that removing an app from a Mac is as simple as deleting it, but that’s not entirely true — supplementary files associated with that app will remain deep in your Mac’s operating system, taking up space and becoming a potential ground for spyware.
To delete an app completely, you need to hunt all those files down on your Mac’s hard drive, which can be tedious and time-consuming, or resort to using a good uninstaller for Mac and let that software do the job for you.
So what is the best app uninstaller for Mac and how does this type of software work?
How to choose a good app uninstaller
A Mac uninstaller is a utility that automates different steps of app removal, such as finding unused apps and moving them to trash, as well as locating all files and caches that those apps have placed on your device. The best Mac uninstaller does all of the above while also featuring a neat interface and offering additional system optimization and security options.
The choice of an app remover software depends on your needs, but here are some key factors to consider:
- Effectiveness. The best Mac uninstaller for you is the one that has the right feature set for the job you need done. So take a moment to get familiar with the tools of the uninstaller software you’re considering.
- Ease of use. As with most apps we use, a good uninstaller for Mac needs to have a user-friendly interface and customization features to let you work in a way that’s most convenient for you.
- Price. Since there are many types of uninstaller software Mac, there’s also a range of prices. But consider effectiveness and ease of use first, since you’ll likely still be able to find a good app remover that suits your budget in any case.
The best Mac uninstallers
It’s easy to get lost in the number of Mac uninstaller apps out there, and the process of choosing the right one can take a while, especially if you start comparing multiple options.
Setapp is a platform of more than 240 reliable and effective apps for various use cases, uninstalling and optimizing your machine included. It’s the most efficient and practical way to find any type of software you could ever need for your Mac. Simply go into the All Apps tab on the website, type “Uninstall” in the search bar, and you’ll be presented with a list of the best Mac uninstallers, guaranteed.
Find a rundown of the top app candidates on the general market below so you can quickly and easily decide on which one is the best uninstaller for Mac in your case.
Judging by the number of features and optimization options it offers, CleanMyMac X is likely the best app installer for Mac out there. This powerful, all-in-one utility will help you declutter and speed up your Mac in no time. With CleanMyMac X you can run instant system cleanups, uninstall and update apps, remove malware, detect and erase files of any size, boost speed, and view a detailed visualization of your storage in Space Lens.
CleanMyMac X’s Applications menu has three modules: Uninstaller, Updater, and Extensions. The Uninstaller module on its own could make the best Mac app remover, not to mention all the other features this tool offers. Here you can sort apps by developer, the date it was last used or segment by categories, making it convenient to view and delete those you no longer need.
Here’s how to use this uninstaller for Mac:
- Launch CleanMyMac X
- Click on Uninstaller under Applications
- Scroll through the list of your unused apps and check mark the ones you want to remove completely
- Click Uninstall
CleanMyMac X also features a Leftovers module that discovers and offers to remove hidden files that were left behind when you uninstalled apps manually in the past.
Plus, if you’re conscious about using safe software to keep your Mac and all the information on it secure, you’d be happy to know that CleanMyMac X is notarized by Apple, which means it’s completely safe for your Mac.
Some users prefer simple, one-feature apps designed to get a single task done well. AppZapper is one of those apps. You don’t need extensive tech experience to use it: simply find the app you want to remove on your Mac, drag and drop it into AppZapper, then select leftover files you want to delete and click Zap.
There’s also a Hit List that shows apps with files taking up the most space on your hard drive, so you can select them all at once and remove them for good. And if you make a mistake, AppZapper has the option to undo your last action and bring back deleted files.
AppZapper uninstaller software Mac is compact but pretty thorough and can remove plugins, widgets, and junk files, in addition to deleting unwanted apps. Keep in mind, however, that although this Mac app remover is advertised as free, the trial version will only allow you to uninstall five apps.
App Cleaner & Uninstaller
Another one of the best Mac uninstallers supporting multiple tasks is App Cleaner & Uninstaller, which stands out for the range of scans and operations it can perform. This uninstaller software Mac has a more extensive and organized interface giving you additional options like managing extensions and startup programs, apart from simply deleting an app and its remaining files.
To completely remove an app with App Cleaner & Uninstaller you need to go into its Applications tab, choose the app you want to remove, and click Uninstall.
You can also view your apps listed by the amount of disk storage they occupy and if you’re uninstalling apps to free up space on your Mac, App Cleaner & Uninstaller will conveniently show how much space will be reclaimed after removing selected apps.
Note that this app comes at a cost, and the free trial version only functions as a scanner to help you locate files associated with unwanted apps.
One of the main reasons Hazel is deemed as the good app uninstaller for Mac by some is its expanded ability to organize and clean folders according to the rules set by the user. This function opens a range of possibilities to create condition-based rules that automate certain actions on your Mac to help with file organization, renaming, archiving, and generally keeping your desktop clean.
Hazel’s App Sweep feature automatically searches for support files when you delete an app and gives you the option to get rid of them as well. Plus, this uninstaller for Mac lets you set special rules for your Trash folder to make sure those files don’t keep taking up space on your drive for too long.
While Hazel’s rule-based interface can be very effective, some users may find it a bit complicated and not complete, especially if all you need is a simple app remover, as this utility lacks some features for identifying and comparing unused apps.
If the price is on top of your priority list when trying to find the best uninstaller for Mac, AppCleaner is the right one for you. This app remover is absolutely free and has a similar, straightforward interface as AppZapper with one major focus: to get rid of unwanted apps and files on your Mac.
To do this, just launch the app, open Applications, find and select the apps you want to uninstall, and click Search at the bottom. Now checkmark all the files on the screen and click Delete. The unwanted app, along with its files should be gone from your Mac.
There’s also a neat option to enable SmartDelete in AppCleaner’s Preferences, which allows it to automatically find and delete associated files when you drag any app to Trash.
AppCleaner has one serious downfall though –- the fact that this Mac uninstaller doesn’t offer protection from malware, so you can’t be completely sure that it’s safe for your Mac.
Does Mac have an uninstaller?
The short answer to this is “no.” In case you’re looking for ways to declutter your apps without the help of a professional Mac app remover, you can use the native macOS way of deleting an app.
First, you’ll have to either use the Launchpad or Finder to locate the app you want to get rid of, drag it to Trash, and then empty that folder.
Be mindful, however, that this action won’t remove hidden files associated with the app. Meanwhile those remaining files will keep taking up precious disk space and can also become the source of malware. To remove those hidden app files, you need to dig deeper into the operating system by following these steps:
- Open Finder and select Go
- Hold down the Option key and select Library
- Find the file or folder associated with the app you deleted
- Drag that file or folder to Trash, then empty it
Note: The Library houses files and folders macOS and third-party apps need to operate, so don’t delete files or folders from the Library if you’re not sure what they are.
As you can tell, the process of uninstalling an app on Mac is convoluted, and if you don’t know exactly which leftover files to delete, this way of removing apps poses a risk of deleting necessary files. That’s why sometimes it’s better to use one of the best Mac uninstallers mentioned above.
Find the most helpful uninstaller software Mac
While most Mac uninstallers and app removers have similar functionality, few of them have a clean, user-friendly interface combined with a robust toolkit and the ability to perform cleaning and optimization tasks for Mac that go beyond a simple app deletion process. CleanMyMac X is one of the few utilities of that kind.
Another reliable tool that can come in handy during app uninstalling is Disk Drill, which helps find all the hidden folders associated with the app you no longer need and remove them from your Mac.
Both these apps — CleanMyMac X and Disk Drill — are a part of Setapp's platform that offers more than 240 utilities for Mac and iOS, created by professionals for every kind of user. Setapp has a seven-day free trial that you can enjoy and check out the best uninstallers for Mac, as well as other types of apps that can help improve your life and the life of your devices!