How to Delete Apps on Mac: 3 Fast Ways to Uninstall Apps

February 5, 2021 • Zachary Amos


If you’ve started to run out of space on your Mac, or if you’re holding on to apps that you no longer need, it’s probably a good idea to start deleting some apps.

Fortunately, Apple makes deleting apps on Mac easy. You can use either of these two quick methods to permanently delete apps on mac.

Delete Apps With the Trash Can

This is probably the simplest method for deleting apps on a Mac. To uninstall apps using Trash, follow these steps:

  1. Close out of the app you want to delete.
  2. Use Finder to locate the app you need to uninstall. Most apps will be in your Application folder, which you can find on the sidebar of any Finder menu.
    1. You can also use Spotlight to find the app. Simply type the name of the app into the Spotlight search bar, then press and hold the command key (⌘) while double-clicking app.
  3. Drag the app to the Trash, or select it and choose File, then Move to Trash. You may be asked for a username and password. This will be the username and password of your account or Mac’s administrator.

Now, emptying the Trash will fully remove the app from your system. To empty the Trash, simply open it and click the Empty button at the top right of the screen.

In some cases, your Mac may say that the app cannot be deleted because it is still open. This can happen even if the app appears to be closed, because some apps continue to process in the background.

To stop the app so that you can delete it, use the Application Manager on your Mac. You can find the Application Manager in the Utilities section of the Applications folder in Finder.

Delete Apps With Launchpad

You can delete apps from Launchpad.

  1. Start by clicking the Launchpad icon on your Mac’s dock. 
  2. Then, find the app you want to delete. If you can’t find the app, trying navigating left or right, or typing the app’s name into the search bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Click and hold the app until an X appears in the corner of its icon.
  4. Click delete. If asked for a username and password, enter your Mac’s username and password.

You can also drag the apps from Launchpad to the Trash. Once you empty the Trash, this will permanently delete the app.

Some apps may not have an X when clicked. These are apps that didn’t come from the app store or are required by your Mac. You may need to manually uninstall these apps, or hold on to them if they’re required system apps.

Use the App’s Uninstaller

Alternatively, if a program came with an uninstaller of its own, this program may be able to effectively remove those stray files.

If your app appears as a folder in the Applications folder in Finder, it may have an uninstaller. The uninstaller will typically have a name like App Uninstaller or Uninstall App.

Launch the uninstaller and it will guide you through the uninstall process with on-screen instructions. 

How to Delete Apps on Mac and Clear Stray Files

You can use any of these three methods to quickly delete apps on your Mac. 

Keep in mind that some files related to an app may stick around, even if you delete an app with one of these methods.  Sometimes, they’ll store files around your system — like saved documents, preferences and configuration ifo — that won’t be deleted with the .app file itself.

You may need to manually find and delete these files. App uninstallers may be more likely than other methods to catch these stray files.