Despite popular effusions of pseudo tech specialists, the process of uninstalling an up from a Mac goes far beyond simply relegating it to the trash bin. Just like with any other tasks there are correct, incorrect, and in-between approaches to performing the uninstallation of software on Mac OS X El Capitan. While it would be unreasonable to claim that the transferring of an app to the Trash is a completely unacceptable way of software deletion, it is situated somewhere between the two extremes of right and wrong. By emphasizing the intermediacy of the uninstallation approach, I want to tell that it works in some situations, but not all of them. Specifically, the adoption of the method would be perfectly acceptable for those Mac owners who are not worried about the lack of space on their hard drives. If a user has storage space to spare, they should not have misgivings about moving an app that is no longer needed to the Trash. If, on the other hand, a user has bumped against the physical storage limit of their drive, it’s time to reconsider their approach to the removal of unwanted apps.

The aim of the article is to guide Mac owners through the process of uninstalling the software. The piece will explain how to get rid of files and folders left behind by deleted apps as a means of freeing up additional drive space. So let’s get down to business.

Apps on Mac El Capitan

How to Uninstall Programs on Mac OS X El Captain Properly?

The simple truth is no matter how large an HDD or SSD is, a user will manage to fill it up in the blink of an eye. Giving the terrifying rate with which free gigabytes “evaporate” from a drive, it is imperative to ensure that the remaining storage space is not cluttered with junk files. To this end, it is necessary to get rid of unneeded apps as well as traces they leave behind in the system. This can be done by choosing either a manual or software route.

The manual route is associated with the tedious process of tracking and deleting individual files and folders related to an app. Taking into consideration the fact that such items are usually scattered across a hard drive, the task is time and energy consuming. Additionally, there is also the unpleasant possibility of unintentional deletion of system files, which is associated with considerable damage to the OS.

The threat can be removed by opting for the software approach to app removal. A quality uninstaller can easily remove any app without leaving as much as a single file behind. The software route will benefit novice Mac users who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of Mac OS X EL Captain directory structure. Instead of haplessly wandering around numerous directories, a member of Apple family can install a smart software that knows what to delete and what to leave untouched. Let’s take a closer look at the two methods.

Manual Method

The manual method described below is perfectly applicable not only to Mac OS X El Capitan but also to macOS High Sierra and even OS X Yosemite. To uninstall an app, do the following:

  1. Start by opening the Applications folder;
  2. Locate a necessary app;
  3. Right click on it and select the Move to Trash option from a drop-down menu;
  4. To confirm the deletion, enter the administrator’s password and username and click on the OK button;
  5. Empty the Trash.

move to trash applications

It should be noted that built-in applications cannot be removed from the system.After relegating an app to the Trash, it is necessary to find and eradicate its roots that grew in the fertile digital soil. A rule of thumb is that the longer app is used by a Mac owner, the more traces it leaves behind. For this reason, the proper removal of software necessitates targeting of the most common locations associated with binary and dock icons, support caches, plugins, preferences, crash reports, and support files. The search can be performed with the help of Spotlight. What do you need to look for? Any items that contain the name or the acronym of the app or its developer in their title.

Search for the left behind files in the following locations:

  • ~/Applications/
  • ~/Library/
  • ~/Library/Application
  • ~/Library/Caches
  • ~/Library/Preferences/
  • ~/Library/Application Support/CrashReprter/
  • ~/Library/Saved Application State/

Library Application

After locating the app-related files, right-click on them and select the Move to Trash option. Don’t forget to empty the Trash to ensure that all files are gone for good. It is important to emphasize that some apps leave behind hidden files and kernel extensions that cannot be found through a Spotlight search. Therefore, it is necessary to use Terminal to arrive at them. Unfortunately, not all Mac users are sufficiently familiar with the command line to use it as their method of choice. Therefore, it is recommended to stick to the software method of removing apps from a Mac.

Software Method

The software method is an easy way of cleaning your hard drive from unwanted apps. Simply download a cleaning utility from the Web or Apple App Store and follow installation instructions provided by the software vendor. After the installation is successfully completed, scan your system for apps and files associated with them and remove digital junk with a couple of clicks. And you’re done! Beautifully-designed and efficient cleaning utilities can turn the tedious uninstallation process into a breeze.