The Ultimate Guide to Deleting Mac Apps with Leftover Files [Free]

Cannot delete an app from your Mac? Or you want to fully remove some programs along with the leftover files? Read this article to get apps property removed from your Mac.

Problem: I bought a 128G MacBook in 2013. It worked well without any storage problems in the beginning years. But recently, I found the Mac disk space was always full although I’ve moved almost all my photos, videos, and documents to the iCloud.

Apps Take Almost Up To 50GB on My Mac
Apps Take Almost Up To 50GB on My Mac

Mac storage usage bar showed the apps are almost taking up to 50GB. I have no choice but to look for ways to uninstall rarely-used and unwanted apps to slim down my computer for a good system healthy. As a result, I collected 4 methods that I think would be very helpful.

Method 1. Long-Click to delete Mac apps through LaunchPad

This is a way just like that of you deleting an app on the iPhone. This way is fast but it is only suitable to delete apps that you downloaded from the Mac App Store.

  1. Click LanuchPad and find the app you want to delete.

    Go to Launchpad
    Go to Launchpad

  2. Click and hold the app icon until it wiggles.
  3. Click the “X” to delete the app and confirm.

    Delete icon appears on the top-left corner after long click
    Delete icon appears on the top-left corner after a long click

Method 2. Drag-and-drop Mac apps from the Application folder to Trash

Drag-and-Drop to Trash is a people-often-used method to remove files on the Mac computer. And if you want to remove a program on a Mac, just simply drag and drop its original app file to the Trash bin from the Application folder.

Move app to Trash bin from Mac Applications folder
Move app to Trash bin from Mac Applications folder
  1. Go to the Applications folder through the Spotlight.
  2. Search the app you are going to remove
  3. Direct drag and drop it to the Trash folder
  4. Empty the Trash to permanently delete it from your Mac

Method 3. Manually Delete App Leftovers Files on Mac

Both the above ways won’t remove app leftover files like caches and preference files to fully clean the storage space of your Mac hard drive.

Where are the Mac app leftovers?

Mac app leftover files stores in Library folder
Mac app leftover files stored in Library folder

Actually, while installing and using an app, its temporary files, caches, cookies, downloaded documents, or similar files may be generated into the following Mac folders, including:

  • ~/Library
  • ~/Library/Application Support
  • ~/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter
  • ~/Library/Caches
  • ~/Library/Containers
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes

And the below folders may also store the app leftover files if you installed the app using the APK installer or if the app required admin privileges when first running on Mac.

  • /Library/Extensions
  • /Library/LaunchAgents
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons
  • /Library/PreferencePanes
  • /Library/Preferences

To manually delete leftovers files on Mac, just follow the below steps,

You may mistakenly delete some important files by following this method. Please don’t attempt to delete files from the Library folder if you don’t know much about some of the system techniques.

  1. Shut down the app you are going to remove. Make sure the app stops all processes in Activity Monitor, or you may not completely remove its leftovers.
  2. Go to each of the above folders we mentioned above
  3. Search the name of the app to find its leftovers.
  4. Drag and drop all the leftover files to the Trash Bin and empty them.

Method 4. Use Third-Party Mac App Uninstaller

Some free Mac app uninstallers will help you easily pick out the old/large programs with leftover files to have a quick and complete erase. Besides, it will be safer than the way of manually deleting.

Some of these third-party apps will provide you with an easy-to-use interface, with which you can drag an app to know all its related files. And you can easily remove all your selected files with 1 click.

Can’t delete the app because it is open? Get solution!

Sometimes you may get an error saying “Can’t delete the app because It is Open“. Actually, this means the app process is still running in the background so you can’t remove it. To fix this problem, you should go to the Activity Monitor to stop the process.

  1. Use Spotlight to search Activity Monitor.
  2. Select the CPU tap and find the app that you can’t delete.
  3. Double-click the app and then quit it.
  4. If it pops up a window asking you whether to force quit, just force quit it.
  5. Now you can delete the app successfully.

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