What’s wrong with that? Not all apps are created equal.
Some apps need to be thrown away, deleted, upchucked, discarded, zapped, and trashed. What’s the best way to delete apps on your Mac? It depends on how much you’re willing to spend, and how thorough you want the house cleaning job to be.
Where Is Apple’s Uninstaller?
Seriously, what’s wrong with a simple rule. Every Mac app should have an uninstaller. That way, all those files that apps leave all over Kingdom Come would be deleted along with the app.
Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have an official uninstaller app. Mac users are forced to hit the open market to get rid of unwanted apps and their nefarious files.
What files? Most Mac apps litter the Mac with support files, preference files, and other odds and ends files.
For the most part, those files don’t cause a Mac user much grief. Dragging and dropping an app in the Mac’s Trash works. The app gets deleted. But not all those support files.
For that you need another app. For better or worse, here are six apps that delete apps and most of their offspring files.
AppCleaner is free. It’s drag and drop, too. Drag and app onto AppCleaner and it does the delete for you. And, it searches for related support and preference files and will delete them, too. Sometimes.
For a few dollars, TrashMe does the same thing. It’ll trash any Mac app, any Dashboard Widget, any Plugin or any Mac Preference Pane with all the subtlety of drag and drop (including support files). Sometimes.
For a little more money there’s AppDelete and for a little less money there’s AppDelete Lite. Drag and drop is the rule of the day. It deletes extra files, Widgets, Preferences, Plugins, Bundles, Screensavers, and apps. It also works in the background and has an orphan feature to find files that other app deleters might not find. Sometimes.
Oh, and it also empties the Trash even when there are files in there that don’t like to be deleted.
Priced in the midrange is iTrash. It’s drag and drop, runs in the background, keeps a history of what it finds and deletes, and lists all installed apps, Widgets, Preference Panes on all your Mac’s disk drives. And, it finds all those extra files that other deleters don’t. Sometimes.
The coolest icon award goes to the app deleter with the best sound effects. AppZapper is also drag and drop, lists files that might be related, and gives you the satisfaction you hard earned money deserves with a neato zapping sound when you click the Zap! button.
Our absolute favorite app deleter is also the most expensive. But it has a few hidden secrets to justify the price tag. CleanApp also deletes apps and Widgets and Preference Panes and other leftover files with a mere drag and drop motion.
But CleanApp has a behind-the-scenes, background logging service which watches every Mac app you install, and records where that app stores files (preferences, support files, caches, etc.). So, when the time comes to delete the app, CleanApp knows where all the cruft is stored, and gives you an option to delete that, too.
It also captures information from users about which additional files that users allow to be deleted, and gives you that option, too. That makes CleanApp more thorough that most other app deleters, and the one to use if you’re serious about cleaning cruft from your Mac.