How to Delete Program on Mac: A General Guide

Greetings fellow Mac users!

Have you ever encountered a program on your Mac that you no longer use, or maybe it’s been causing issues, and you need to get rid of it? While it may seem daunting at first, deleting a program on your Mac is actually a straightforward process. In this article, we will guide you through all the necessary steps on how to delete a program on Mac to help you free up some valuable space and optimize the performance of your computer.


Step 1: Close the Program

Before you begin uninstalling the program, make sure to close it first. You cannot delete a program if it’s running. To close the program, go to the Dock, right-click on the program’s icon, and select “Quit.” Alternatively, you can also use the “Command + Q” shortcut to quit the program.

Step 2: Check for App’s File Location

To uninstall a program on Mac, you need to find the application file and delete it. Typically, applications on Mac are stored in the “Applications” folder, but some additional files may be stored in other locations. To check for the file location, follow these steps:

1. Open Finder
2. Click on “Applications” in the sidebar
3. Look for the application you want to delete
4. Right-click on the app and select “Show in Finder” from the drop-down menu

Step 3: Move Program to Trash

Once you’ve located the application file, you need to drag it to the Trash to uninstall it. There are two ways to do it:

1. Click and drag the program’s icon to the Trash icon in the Dock
2. Right-click on the program’s icon, and select “Move to Trash”

Step 4: Enter Admin Password

Deleting a program on Mac requires administrator privileges. When you try to move an application to Trash, your Mac may prompt you to enter your username and password. This request ensures that the deletion process is authorized by the user with administrative permissions.

Step 5: Empty Trash

Once you’ve moved the program to the Trash, it’s not entirely removed from your Mac yet. It’s sitting in the trash bin, taking up valuable storage space. To empty the trash, follow these steps:

1. Click and hold on the Trash icon in the Dock
2. Select “Empty Trash” from the pop-up menu
3. Alternatively, you can also right-click on the Trash and select “Empty Trash” from the drop-down menu

Step 6: Using Launchpad

If the application you want to delete is from the Mac App Store and you’ve installed it using Launchpad, then you can easily uninstall it using these simple steps:

1. Open Launchpad from the Dock
2. Click and hold on the app icon and wait for it to jiggle
3. Click on the “X” button in the upper left corner of the program’s icon
4. Click “Delete” when prompted to confirm

Step 7: Using Terminal

If you’re comfortable using the Terminal app, you can also uninstall programs on Mac using command lines. Please note that using Terminal commands to uninstall programs require you to have some technical knowledge. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open Terminal
2. Type in the command: sudo rm -rf /Applications/
3. Press “Enter”
4. Enter your admin password when prompted
5. Press “Enter” again to delete the app

Step 8: Using Third-Party Uninstaller Apps

There are many third-party uninstaller apps available on the App Store that you can use to get rid of programs on your Mac. These apps can help you uninstall apps thoroughly, including additional files and folders that are usually left behind when uninstalling apps manually. Examples of these apps are CleanMyMac X, AppCleaner, and iTrash.

Step 9: Remove App Extensions, Preferences, and Plists

Some applications may leave behind residual files, such as app extensions, preferences, and plists, even after you’ve deleted the app itself. These files can take up valuable storage space and even cause app crashes. To delete these files, you can do it manually by following these steps:

1. Open Finder
2. Click on “Go” in the menu bar
3. Select “Go to Folder…”
4. Type in “~/Library” and click “Go”
5. Look for folders with the name of the app or app developer and delete them
6. Empty the trash to permanently delete the files

Alternatively, you can use a third-party app like CleanMyMac X to remove these files automatically.

Step 10: Restart Your Mac

After you’ve uninstalled the program and deleted any residual files, it’s recommended that you restart your Mac to ensure everything works correctly.

Step 11: Check for Empty Folders

Occasionally, an empty folder of the program you uninstalled is still left in the Applications folder. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it’s still best to delete it.

To delete an empty folder, follow these steps:

1. Open Finder
2. Click on “Applications” in the sidebar
3. Look for the empty folder
4. Right-click on the folder and select “Move to Trash”

Step 12: De-authorize an App on the Mac App Store

If you uninstall an app that you’ve purchased and downloaded from the Mac App Store, it’s recommended that you de-authorize the app first. This step ensures that the license isn’t tied to your Mac, and you can install the app again on your new Mac or device.

To de-authorize an app, follow these steps:

1. Open the App Store
2. Click on “Store” in the menu bar
3. Select “Deauthorize This Computer”
4. Enter your Apple ID and password
5. Click “Deauthorize”


That was it! You’ve successfully deleted a program on Mac using the steps we’ve outlined above. It’s a straightforward process, but it can make a significant difference in optimizing your Mac’s performance. However, sometimes, uninstalling an app may not free up as much space as you expect, and you may still encounter issues with your computer. Here are some additional explanations on why this may happen:

Explanation 1: Hidden Files and Folders

When you uninstall an app on Mac manually, you may overlook hidden files and folders that the app created. These files can accumulate over time, taking up valuable storage space and affecting your Mac’s performance. To delete these hidden files and folders, you can follow the instructions under Step 9 or use a third-party app to remove them automatically.

Explanation 2: Preference Panes

Some apps may create preference panes in your system preferences that you need to delete manually. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

1. Open System Preferences
2. Look for the preference pane for the app
3. Right-click on it, and select “Remove Preference Pane”

Explanation 3: Anti-Virus Programs

Anti-virus programs often come with additional files that may not get deleted when you uninstall the program. To get rid of these files, follow these steps:

1. Open Finder
2. Go to the “Library” folder (Steps in Step 9)
3. Look for folders related to the anti-virus program and delete them

Tips and Tricks:

Here are some tips and tricks to help you uninstall programs on your Mac more efficiently:

Tip 1: Use a Third-Party Uninstaller

As mentioned earlier, using third-party uninstaller apps can help you get rid of programs and their residual files effectively. These apps can save you time and make the process more manageable, especially if you’re uninstalling several apps at once.

Tip 2: Check for Automatic Startup Apps

Occasionally, apps that start automatically when you log in can cause space issues on your Mac. To check and remove these apps, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar
2. Click on “System Preferences”
3. Go to “Users & Groups”
4. Select your account
5. Click on the “Login Items” tab
6. Check if there are any apps that you don’t need to start automatically and remove them from the list

Tip 3: Use Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is a built-in feature in your Mac that lets you check which apps are using up the most resources, including CPU, memory, and energy. If you suspect an app is causing issues on your Mac, you can use this tool to identify which app it is and uninstall it.

Tip 4: Check for Updates

Sometimes, a program may encounter issues because it’s outdated. Before uninstalling the app, check if there are any updates available. Updating the app may fix the issue and improve its performance.

Tip 5: Back Up Your Files

Before you delete any programs on your Mac, make sure to back up your important files, documents, and data first. You can use iCloud, Time Machine, or external storage such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive to store your files.


That wraps up our comprehensive guide on how to delete a program on Mac. We hope that this article has helped you optimize your Mac’s performance and free up valuable storage space. Remember to follow the steps carefully and always back up your important files before making any significant changes to your system.

Advantages of Deleting Programs on Mac

Deleting programs on Mac might seem like a hassle, but it can actually benefit your device in many ways. Here are some advantages of deleting programs on Mac:

1. Saves Storage Space

When you delete programs on Mac that you no longer need, you free up storage space on your device. This can improve the overall performance of your device and prevent it from slowing down.

2. Keeps Your Device Organized

Having too many programs on your Mac can make your device cluttered and disorganized. By deleting programs that you no longer need, you can keep your device organized and improve your workflow.

3. Improves Security

Some programs on Mac can pose a security risk, especially if they have not been updated or are no longer supported by the developer. By deleting these programs, you can improve the security of your device and protect your data from potential threats.

4. Makes Updating Easier

When you have too many programs on your Mac, it can be difficult to keep track of updates and ensure that all your programs are up-to-date. By deleting programs that you no longer need, you can make it easier to manage updates and keep your device running smoothly.

5. Increases Battery Life

Having too many programs running in the background can drain your Mac’s battery faster. By deleting unnecessary programs, you can improve your device’s battery life and prolong its lifespan.

Disadvantages of Deleting Programs on Mac

While deleting programs on Mac has its advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

1. It Can Be Time-Consuming

Deleting programs on Mac can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have a lot of programs to delete. This can be frustrating if you need to free up storage space quickly.

2. It Can Cause Compatibility Issues

Deleting certain programs on Mac can cause compatibility issues with other programs on your device. This can result in software conflicts and errors that can be difficult to troubleshoot.

3. It Can Affect Your Workflow

Deleting programs on Mac that you use frequently can disrupt your workflow and make it difficult to complete certain tasks. It is important to only delete programs that you no longer need or use.

4. It Can Be Difficult to Reinstall Programs

If you decide to reinstall a program that you have deleted, it can be difficult to find and download the program again. This can be frustrating if you need the program urgently.

5. It Can Result in Data Loss

If you accidentally delete a program on Mac that contains important data, you may experience data loss. It is important to back up your data regularly and double-check before deleting any programs.


1. Do I really need to delete programs on my Mac?

It is recommended to delete programs that are no longer in use to free up space on your Mac and keep it running efficiently.

2. How can I locate the program I want to delete?

You can search for the program in your Applications folder or use the Spotlight feature to locate it.

3. What is the proper way to uninstall a program on a Mac?

You can uninstall a program on a Mac by dragging it from the Applications folder to the Trash Bin. However, some programs may have associated files that need to be deleted manually.

4. Can I delete pre-installed programs on my Mac?

Pre-installed programs that came with your Mac are usually essential for its functionality and should not be deleted. However, some may be unused and can be safely deleted.

5. How can I tell if a program is safe to delete?

You can determine if a program is safe to delete by researching its purpose and functionality. It is also recommended to back up any important data before deleting any program.

6. Can I reinstall a program I deleted?

Yes, you can reinstall a program you previously deleted from the App Store or by downloading it from the developer’s website.

7. How can I delete a program that’s currently running?

You cannot delete a program that’s currently running. You need to quit the program first before proceeding with the deletion process.

8. Will deleting programs affect other programs on my Mac?

Deleting programs should not affect other programs on your Mac as long as you do not delete any necessary files or components.

9. Do deleted programs still take up storage space?

No, deleted programs do not take up storage space. However, associated files or components may still occupy disk space.

10. Can I delete multiple programs at once?

Yes, you can select and delete multiple programs simultaneously from the Applications folder.

11. Can I delete a program without administrator permission?

You need administrative permission to delete programs on a Mac. If you’re not logged in as an administrator, you will need to enter the administrator’s username and password to proceed.

12. Why can’t I move some programs to the Trash?

Some programs may have protection against deletion or may be currently in use, preventing them from being moved to the Trash. You may need to quit the program or change its settings to enable deletion.

13. Is there a way to completely remove all traces of a program from my Mac?

Yes, you can use third-party uninstaller software to completely remove all traces of a program from your Mac, including associated files and components.


Deleting programs on a Mac might seem like a daunting task at first, but it is actually quite simple. There are multiple ways to go about deleting programs, including dragging the program to the trash, using a program uninstaller, or using the Terminal. It is important to note that when deleting programs, it is best to do so from the Applications folder to ensure that all files associated with the program are deleted. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily delete unwanted programs from your Mac and free up space.


We hope that this article has been helpful in guiding you through the process of deleting programs on your Mac. Remember, it’s important to regularly clear out old programs or files that are no longer necessary to help optimize your computer’s performance. If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Apple support team. Thank you for reading, and until next time, happy computing!