Deleting an application by simply dragging it into the Trash bin does not remove everything. Left behind are preferences, logs, plist files, caches, and sometimes even the PKG or DMG installer. These left over files are usually small and are left behind so if you ever re-install the application later after deleting it, it can simply pick up your preferences, ect and set itself up the way you previously had it set up. However if you never plan on re-installing the application or just want to keep your Mac clean and tidy there are a few great apps for deleting all traces of an application.
My go to application for fully uninstalling applications from my Mac is AppCleaner. It allows you to drag-n-drop applications into its window or select from a list of the currently installed applications. AppCleaner also lets you fully uninstall Widgets, Safari plugins as well as preference panes in System Preferences (only the ones you’ve installed yourself).
It’s my personal favourite application for uninstalling simply because, its lightweight, very fast, makes uninstalling incredibly easy, looks good and has always worked without a hitch for me. Oh, and did I mention this great little app is also FREE?
There are other applications that watch the Trash bin and upon spotting an application being dragged in it will automatically open and ask if you’d like to fully uninstall it. AppCleaner does not have this feature. AppZapper has this function, however it costs money.
Clicking on one of the applications that you’d like to uninstall, then clicking the Search button will bring up all the preferences, logs, plist files, caches ect. AppCleaner will show you the location, name and size of the extra files that would normally be left behind. As you can see from the image, the extra content is less than 1MB in size (so small you wouldn’t even normally notice it).
I checked another application (ClamXav) and it was planning on leaving behind 41MB in a folder located in my ~Library folder. After a while all these left behind files could start to bog down the system and actually amount to quite a lot of unnecessarily wasted space.
Another tip I feel I should pass along is if you have an application thats started to randomly act up or crash, and nothing you do fixes the issue, it may work to fully uninstall and re-install the application. Fully uninstalling with AppCleaner or AppZapper will delete these files, upon which you can re-install the application which will install a fresh copy of the preference file and plist file. If you do this however, make sure its an application you don’t mind setting back up from scratch. If you’re unsure make a backup first.
Download AppCleaner – Free
Download AppZapper Trial – Not Free