I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a sucker for a Mac app with a cool icon. How about five Mac apps that do the same thing, each with a cool icon?
If you try out different Mac apps and just drag them to the trash when you’re done, you’re missing a bunch of leave-behind files that need to be deleted. Here are five apps that delete more than the app—two have a hidden secret.
Mac Apps Are Messy Tenants
The only way to improve something is through change. That’s why we continue to scour the internet for new Mac apps. Those Mac apps you decide to throw away leave a cluttered mess behind.
So, how can you delete the apps and delete their left-behind messes?
What messes? For reasons I do not full understand or appreciate, most Mac apps don’t come with an uninstaller. Most apps move in to your Mac with a bunch of extra files that are not always easy to find. Some are found in your Mac’s Preferences folder. Where are they?
Others are placed in the Application Support folder. Others might be scattered here and there, but usually stay where they’re stored when you delete the app you don’t want. Regardless, here are five apps that delete your Mac’s apps, one with a very nice secret.
#5 – AppZapper – If you want a great icon and neat zapping sound, AppZapper is it. Drag a Mac app to the AppZapper floating window and zap it. Most, but not all, files associated with the app get deleted.
#4 – Amnesia – What if you accidentally delete an app or an associated file that you really truly need? Amnesia not only deletes apps and their files, but also archives them just in case you need them again. Amnesia’s Untouchables list warns you against deleting a special app.
#3 – AppCleaner – Mac apps sometimes leave files in places other than Application Support and preferences. AppCleaner scours your Mac’s hard disk drive to find other files that would get left behind. Move an app to your Mac’s trash can and AppCleaner can delete it and other files properly. Or, just drag and drop an app onto AppCleaner and it finds related files to delete. You can even protect favorite apps from being trashed accidentally.
#2 – AppDelete – AppDelete has improved. It’s faster, hides in the background, runs in both 64-bit and 32-bit mode, deletes apps, preference panes, Widgets, plugins, nearly anything associated with a Mac app.
It finds files that the app leaves behind, whether invisible, visible or hidden automatically. Delete apps via drag and drop, and AppDelete deletes the app and associated files.
#1 – CleanApp – This is my favorite app delete app. CleanApp hides in the background and watches your Mac’s apps so it knows where it litters files and folders. This secret Logging Service is wonderful because it knows what to throw away when you delete an app. It all goes out with the trash. Apps, files, folders, Preference Panes, Preferences, Widgets, Screensavers. Plus, you get to examine what is ready to be trashed before it gets trashed.
The Secret Feature
I found something interesting with AppDelete and CleanApp. With many Mac apps they effectively extend the trial period. Some Mac apps give you a 14-day or 30-day trial period to try out the features. When the trial period ends, the app no longer functions. That’s because the app placed a hidden secret file somewhere on your Mac that dated and started the trial period.
AppDelete and CleanApp often throw away that hidden secret file when the app is deleted, which means you can reinstall the app and start the trial period over. It doesn’t work for all trial apps, but it works for many, which effectively extends the trial period for the app indefinitely.
In the absence of an official app uninstaller, these Mac apps, and others, are a good way to get rid of unwanted apps and their files. Caveat emptor. You get what you pay for. The better apps have extra layers of safeguards built in so you won’t delete Mac system files, or other files which your Mac needs to keep running.