Those Apps You ‘Deleted’ on Your Mac Might Still Be Hanging Around

Those Apps You ‘Deleted’ on Your Mac Might Still Be Hanging Around
Photo: Siyanight, Shutterstock

Windows has a dedicated section for uninstalling apps, but Mac doesn’t. It’s supposed to be simpler on the Mac — you delete an app just like a file by dragging it to the Trash, then emptying the Trash. That works fine for many apps, but some are more difficult to uninstall because they leave their mark across multiple system folders.

The AppCleaner Mac utility is most effective way to delete most Mac apps and all their related files (it cleans out Library and preferences files, too). Still, there are some apps that won’t be fully deleted without a couple of additional steps.

Parallels VM

The Parallels VM app itself is quite easy to uninstall (simply drag the app to the Trash, then empty the trash). But what Parallels leaves behind is any VM you were running. So before you uninstall Parallels, open the app, click the Parallels icon in the menu bar, and go to the “Control Centre.” Here, right-click on the VM, choose the “Remove” option, and then click “Move to Trash.” Empty the trash to reclaim the 10GB+ of storage space.

McAfee Antivirus

To completely uninstall McAfee Antivirus, you actually need to use the official uninstaller that comes with the application — you’ll find it in the Applications folder as “McAfee Internet Security Uninstaller.” Fire up the wizard and follow the steps to fully uninstall it.

Adobe Creative Cloud apps

To uninstall apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and more, open the “Creative Cloud” app on your Mac. From the dashboard, find the app you want to uninstall, click the three-dotted Menu button, and choose the “Uninstall” button. Choose if you want to keep the settings, and then allow the uninstallation process to complete.

Next, uninstall the Creative Cloud app itself — Adobe now includes the uninstaller along with the app. Open the Finder app, go to the Adobe Creative Cloud folder, and click the “Uninstall Adobe Creative Cloud” button; follow the instructions to remove the app.

Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the stickiest Mac apps — it uses all sorts of workarounds to gain access to system-level features. Log out of Dropbox, and quit the app. Then, drag the Dropbox app to the Trash and empty the Trash (you can also use AppCleaner to delete Dropbox). Next, open the Finder app, and click Go > Go to Folder from the menu bar. Enter “/Library” and click the “Go” button. Here, delete the “DropboxHelperTools” folder.

To delete Dropbox settings, enter “~/.dropbox” in the Go to Folder window, and delete all the files in the folder.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft offers an uninstaller for Office apps on Window, but not on Mac. Instead, find the particular Office app in the Applications folder, and drag it to the Trash. To easily remove related files, use AppCleaner; to go the manual route, you can remove the files on your own from the Finder app. Click Go > Go to Folder and enter “/Library.” Here, search for and delete the following files:

  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.errorreporting
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excelcom.microsoft.netlib.shipassertprocess
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Office365ServiceV2
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Outlook
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Powerpoint
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.RMS-XPCService
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word
  • ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.ms
  • ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office
  • ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.OfficeOsfWebHost
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.errorreporting
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.Excel
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.Office365ServiceV2
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.onenote.mac
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.Powerpoint
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.Word
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Excel.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Outlook.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Powerpoint.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Word.plist

Microsoft Teams

Teams is another Microsoft app that you should take some time to completely remove. Log out of your account and quit (or force quit) the Microsoft Teams app to make sure it’s not running in the background. Drag the Microsoft Teams app icon to the Trash (and empty the Trash). Next, open the Finder app, and click Go > Go to Folder from the menu bar. Enter “/Library,” and click the “Go” button. Find and delete the following files:

  • ~/Library/Caches/com.microsoft.teams
  • ~/Library/Caches/com.microsoft.teams.shipit
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Application Cache/Cache
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/blob_storage
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Cache
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/databases
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/GPUCache
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/IndexedDB
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Local Storage
  • ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/tmp

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