A couple of days ago I wrote a noob’s guide to installing applications. Its was well received by many and one question which seemed to appear a lot was how to uninstall applications. Clearly people are having trouble with this. This post will hopefully clear up your worries.
There are two methods in which to uninstall applications. The normal way, and the not so normal application way. They both are very easy to complete and it really doesn’t take much to do.
The normal method in uninstalling, is to drag the application or folder to the trash. That is it. No uninstallers to use. Drag and drop. Your application is gone. You can of course drag it back out of the trash if you want to reinstall it. This method sadly isn’t with out its pit falls. It also doesn’t work on a PC, which I have sadly tried.
The Best Method
The problem with uninstalling applications by drag and drop is, preferences, cache files, and other erroneous files that are left behind. Every time you run an application it will create a preference file, sometimes a cache file and every so often other files on your hard drive. As well as this it may place these files in multiple locations. These files are definitely not uninstalled when you drag and drop the app out of applications. Although it may be useful to have if you reinstall the application, most of the time you don’t need them. This is where AppZapper comes in.
AppZapper, featured in my Top 100 must have apps, it is an application that searches your entire hard drive for those files mentioned and enables you to delete them. A good, deep, uninstall. It simple to install and run and a lot quicker than using spotlight.
To totally rid your computer of the application in question, you launch AppZapper and you will be greeted with a drop box interface. These drop box panes will be very common if you go through a lot of applications. Mac’s have a lot of drag and drop features and people seem to capitalize on this when they design their applications.
Notice that when the application has worked some of its magic you will be presented with a list of files. I think the application search your hard drive using the spotlight engine, finding all of the files it needs. You can then pick and choose which files you want to get rid of. Hit the zap button when you are done and poof the files are gone.
It is really a powerful tool. With out AppZapper there would be hundreds of files on my computer just sitting there not being used, taking up space. I definitely recommend it if you do a lot of uninstalling. By the way, turn the volume up on your computer to the max when you want to zap your first application, scared the living daylights out of me on the first zap. I wonder what happens if you try to zap AppZapper?
Update: If you try to zap AppZapper not a lot happens. I was expecting a huge explosion of binary carnage. It just says you can’t zap open or safe applications. As AppZapper is open it doesn’t work. Good programming, but not very interesting if you are in a bored mood.
Update 2: You can turn off the setting to stop uninstallion of applications that are open. Not a lot happens if you try to uninstall AppZapper. It just deletes the application and all the referencing files. The program must be running from memory.