It makes no sense, but I’m one of those inveterate Mac users who collects more applications than I actually use with any regularity. I collect utilities, calculators, Poker games, photo enhancement apps, notes apps, text editors, and dozens and dozens more.
My Mincey-based collection addiction also means I’ve collected– or, at least, tried– most Mac app uninstallers. Way back in the day you could uninstall a Mac app simply by dragging it to the Trash. Those days are gone, and today’s Mac apps leave files hither and yon, so dragging an app to the Trash, then emptying the Trash, does not necessarily remove the deleted app’s support and preference files.
Uninstall Me Now
Apparently Apple doesn’t think that an uninstaller is a good thing, hence no official Mac app uninstaller in OS X or macOS Sierra. Why not? Maybe Apple doesn’t want to copy Windows, which has an uninstaller. Maybe such an uninstaller app would increase customer support issues (which increases Apple’s costs; and you know how much the company loves profits) as it could delete files users might want to keep or should not delete.
Whatever the reason, Apple’s uninstaller vacuum has created a cottage industry of Mac app uninstallers. One that I use regularly is the simply named AppCleaner. Grab an app you want to delete, drag it to AppCleaner, and it finds most of the support and preference files that match. Most. But not all. Always.
Select which files you feel can be removed safely and you’re a click away from sending them to the Mac’s Trash can (which works as a safety net; there’s still another click to remove them completely from the Mac).
What AppCleaner does not do is monitor the apps on your Mac so it knows for sure where that specific app has placed its own support files. That may or may not be a problem for you but CleanApp on your Mac does something different. It runs in the background and monitors each app and then logs where it placed certain files so they can be safely– and completely– removed.
Drag and drop still works, and CleanApp finds associated configuration preference files, documents, as well as Application Support files; mostly anything touched by the app you wish to uninstall.
The latest version is an improvement over the previous versions– one of which a few years ago was so bad I started using alternatives. The new CleanApp has tacked on a number of what could be useful features, but are not mandatory simply to delete an app. Among them is the option to run various macOS maintenance scripts, rebuild the Spotlight index, and on older Mac systems, repair the file system.
Also added a few years ago is an option which might have more significance when trying to delete all files from a Mac app. It’s called the CleanCommunity which gathers app file data from other CleanApp users to ensure that all files left behind by an app you want to delete actually are found and readied for deletion.
A version of CleanApp from a few years ago left me wanting; a strange upgrade with more bugs than utility. The latest version is worthy of a the free trial. It’s not quite as fast at finding files as AppCleaner (which is free) but more often than not, much more thorough at finding all the app’s leftover files, thanks to the background monitoring of installed applications, and the CleanCommunity file comparisons.
It also works better on new Macs which have not had many applications installed.