Have you ever wanted to delete an app from your Mac? It’s simple: just click and hold on the app icon until it starts wiggling. Then, click the X to delete it. However, what if that doesn’t work? If the X is grayed out, or do you get a Finder warning about deleting an item from the wrong folder? In those cases, there are a few other solutions. Here are three different ways to remove apps from your Mac – each with its own method for resolving those pesky “cannot be moved to trash” errors.
Launch App Zapper 2.0
App Zapper has been around since 2003 as a free program that does one thing very well delete itself. Manipulating the program is a bit complicated, but those who are adept at using Terminal commands will appreciate it – as well as the fact that you can delete multiple apps at once rather than going through the Finder to remove them one by one.
To use App Zapper, simply extract the file from the ZIP archive and launch it. For this method to work correctly, you must move your apps into a different folder before deleting them.
Once launched, select your apps one by one or in batches and hit enter to delete them. If all goes according to plan, you should see a message indicating that they have been moved to trash successfully. If there were errors associated with moving any of the files, take note of which ones they were for future reference.
Using the Terminal
Believe it or not, deleting apps from your Mac is as simple as deleting any file with the Terminal – you just have to do it properly. The secret lies in an app called “rm,” short for removal. When used to delete files, it can be pretty dangerous, but that’s exactly what we’re going to use it for here. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before proceeding since this method won’t show you error messages if something goes wrong.
First of all, cd into the directory where your target app is located (iTunes music folder or Steam folder are good examples). Then enter “rm ApplicationName.” Note that this has to be done for every single app you want to delete, but it’s very simple – and since there are no warning messages given when using “rm” you won’t know if something went wrong until after your apps are gone.
While this method is relatively safe, you run the risk of deleting other files in the directory accidentally. It’s also worth noting that App Zapper can be used while Terminal is open, so there really isn’t any need to use both. However, if your chosen solution doesn’t work or gives an error message about an “invalid argument,” simply repeat the process under Terminal with different file names until it works.
AppCleaner is a small program that does exactly what it says, deletes apps from your Mac. It’s free, lightweight, and doesn’t require access to the Terminal.
First of all, go ahead and download AppCleaner from the official website. It comes as a ZIP archive containing an EXE file – simply extract it and click on “AppCleaner” to launch the program. When you first start using AppCleaner, a separate window will appear with a list of permissions granted by Apple for each app installed on your computer. It can be helpful if you are having trouble locating an app.
In order for this method to work properly, you must have administrator privileges on your Mac. You’ll need to delete system apps. Click on the black window in AppCleaner and select “Secure Empty Trash.” This will remove all traces of your apps instead of just placing them in the trash, which means that your Mac won’t be able to launch or use them anymore (since it can’t find the files).
There are different scenarios where each method might work better than the other, but they’re all easy enough to try on their own. If there were no errors associated with deleting an app using any program you tried, then chances are you’ve removed it successfully – but if not, simply repeat the process until it’s gone.