AppCleaner: The Best Free Uninstaller App For Mac

Justin Pot 09-01-2014

Leave no crap behind. AppCleaner is a free uninstaller for Mac that searches for and lets you delete all the settings, caches and other junk files programs you delete that would otherwise remain.


We recently outlined the best free uninstallers for Windows 3 Best Third-Party Uninstallers & Why You Need Them To uninstall a Windows program, you can’t just hit 'Delete’ -- you need to run the software’s uninstaller. Unfortunately, the 'Uninstall a program’ option in the Windows Control Panel does not always completely remove it... Read More . Uninstalling apps in Windows, as it turns out, leaves a lot of crap behind – and the standard methods of uninstallation don’t do anything about that.

Happily, Macs aren’t poorly designed like that, right? Wrong.

Incomplete Uninstalls

Whether you drag an application to the trash or delete it in the launchpad, programs you uninstall from your Mac leave stuff behind. This could be considered a good thing by some – your settings are saved, and will be there waiting for you should you even decide to re-install the software.

Sometimes you simply want those files to be gone, though. You might simply want a program to be gone forever. You might want to delete the preferences, because you’re pretty sure you broke something. Or you might want a reset on your “limited free trial”, because you’re sneaky. Whatever your need, AppCleaner can do that job.

When we we last outlined free uninstallers that prevent obsolete files from piling up 3 Free Uninstallers to Clean Up Obsolete Files [Mac] Read More , we included AppCleaner


Clean That Crap Up

Start up AppCleaner and you’ll see an empty window, onto which you can drag and drop apps:


Drag an app here and you will see its supporting files, and have the option to delete them. If you’d prefer, you can also click Applications to see a list of software in your Applications folder. Check off the programs you’d like to delete all at once:



Click the Search button at the bottom and you’ll see a list of files create by the program in question. Pick which of these you want to delete, then click Delete at bottom:


You don’t necessarily need to delete the app itself: you could simply delete all settings associated with it. And deleting files isn’t the only potential use: you could also use this to simply find out what files a given program has created, and how much space they’re taking up.

But most people are probably using this to delete software. If you do decide to delete, you’ll need to authorize doing so by typing your login password:



The program isn’t limited to apps, there’s also a page for widgets. Most widgets in the long-neglected Dashboard have some kind of settings – and those are all stored somewhere. There’s also the Others screen. This includes browser plugins, such as Silverlight, and preference panes.


Go ahead and delete anything you’re sure you don’t need, but be aware that some websites and services you use may rely on the things you find here.


Smart Delete

Want to delete excess crap without opening an app? Consider the Smart Delete option, which you’ll find under Preferences in the menu bar:


Click this and you’ll see a popup every time you decide to delete an application:


Choose whether your want to delete the supplementary files and you’re done. Convenient, right? There’s no option to turn off this popup, and that’s probably for the better: as opposed to automatic file deletion, this ensures that you won’t lose settings you wanted to keep.


Deleting the files left behind by software can delete files on your Mac you weren’t even aware of leaving behind, but it’s not the only way. If space is still a concern I recently outlined a few space saving tips for your Mac Startup Disk Nearly Full? 6 Space-Saving Tips For Critically Encumbered Macs Whether you're wondering if your full drive is affecting performance or just want some extra room, a few simple steps can free up a lot of space. It's a good idea to leave between five... Read More , so check that out if you’re curious.

Questions about AppCleaner? Want to recommend something like AppZapper instead, perhaps? You’ll just have to use the comments, which last time I checked are found below.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 27, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I would suggest App Cleaner by Nektony. Better UI, UX and free

  2. John
    May 5, 2014 at 3:45 am

    CMM is crapware..

  3. Dave R
    January 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Same here I use CleanMyMac which is quite good.

  4. Christopher Grant
    January 9, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Curious how this stacks up against CleanMyMac which I've been using for a couple years. It's a paid app of course but does more and is a little slicker.

    • Douglas Bushey
      January 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      For free? Maybe it has a chance, CleanMyMac I've also used for years, It's way beyond the scope of this app since it takes care of temp files and unneeded languages. Though if you ever drop CleanMyMac (or never owned it) Use this app AND Ccleaner for mac, the 2 free together do what CleanMyMac does and at a price that can't be beat (free).