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How to uninstall apps in macOS

How to uninstall apps in macOS

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Floating MacBook Pro on wallpaper of Mac and Safari icons, with system preferences opened and the Monterey wallpaper.
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

We’ve all been there: you downloaded an exciting new app because you thought it might be fun — useful, even — but you didn’t end up using it, something better came out, or you’ve just gotten bored and it’s time for it to go. Never fear — uninstalling an app from macOS is a simple process that takes just a few seconds.

The process is slightly different for apps you downloaded from the internet and those you got from the App Store. Here’s how to clean out both.

Easiest way to uninstall apps

To uninstall apps you got from the App Store, you’ll need to use Launchpad.

  • Click the Launchpad icon on the dock (it’s a square with nine small squares in it ).
Launchpad with several app icons showing, a few of which have an X in the upper left corner.
Apps with an X in the corner can be deleted from the Launchpad.
  • Click and hold any app until all of the icons start shaking.
  • Find the program you want to delete, and tap the delete button (it looks like an X).

If the app you want to delete doesn’t have a delete button, then that app can’t be removed with Launchpad. If that’s the case, follow the steps below.

Second way to uninstall apps

Quite a few apps don’t let you uninstall them using Launchpad — instead, you’ll need to use Finder to get rid of them.

  • Click the Finder icon in your dock (it’s the blue square with a smiley face).
  • Click Applications on the left side of the window.
Group of app icons with menu at left including highlighted Applications.
The Applications folder holds most of your current apps.
  • Select the app you want to uninstall.
  • Drag the app to the Trash can on your dock. (If the app is in a folder, open the folder first to see if there’s an Uninstaller tool.) You can also right-click on the icon and select Move to Trash.
Finder screen for Trash.
Once you’ve found the app you want to delete, drag it to the Trash (usually found in the lower right).
  • Once the app is in the Trash, you’re done. If you want to really get rid of it (and there’s nothing else in Trash that you may need in future), then just right-click on the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Update February 12th, 2024, 4:45PM ET: This article was originally published on June 10th, 2020, and has been updated to account for changes in the OS.