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Mac is famous for their “drag and drop” installation/uninstallation process. Most of the time, the term “installing an app” simply means copying the app into the Applications folder (or anywhere you want the app to be). And likewise, uninstalling an app means simply deleting it from the computer – something that you should never, ever do in Windows.
Even though most Mac apps are stand-alone software (the files required for them to work are compiled into the app itself), some of them do leave a few preferences and configuration files behind after dragging the app to Trash. These files won’t affect the operation of the system and most of them are small in size. However, you can sometimes find a large unused chunks of files (such as saved data files from games) that will occupy a huge portion of your hard drive space.
To really swipe everything clean, you’ll need the help of an uninstaller. Here are three free alternatives for Mac.
AppCleaner is an uninstaller for Mac which will allow users to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps. It will search your Mac for every file distributed by other applications.
To use it, just drop an application onto the AppCleaner window. It will find the related files, list everything down and let the user delete them. Users can also choose applications, widgets and other items (mostly plugins) to uninstall.
AppCleaner has the ability to prevent certain important apps from being deleted accidentally. Users can add any application to the list of their favorite apps in the Preferences.There’s also SmartDelete – the option to delete an app properly when it’s moved it to trash.
Jackson also listed AppCleaner in his list of Free Alternatives to 10 Popular Commercial Mac Apps.
AppTrap is like a watchdog for the Trash. It will wait until the user deletes an app, then it will pop a dialogue up, asking if all associated files should be trashed together with the application, allowing for a more complete clean-up of the system.
This uninstaller resides in System Preferences as a preference pane.It’s inactive by default. Upon installation, the user needs to activate it. There’s also an option to automatically start this app on login.
AppTrap is no longer being maintained or developed but still works fine under Leopard.
DesInstaller is a simple tool that reads the receipts generated when you install a “.pkg” file with Apple’s Installer. User can opt to remove every file installed by a package, even if it has been modified, and/or archived.
No matter which uninstaller you use, please always double-check the list of associated files to be deleted. Sometimes the app will make mistakenly include unrelated file(s) to the list.
To be sure, you can also confirm the files you’re about to delete by looking inside the Trash before emptying it.
Do you use uninstallers for Mac or you only depend on Trash? Do you have other alternatives? Share using the comments section below.