For the most part, it’s easy to uninstall applications in Mac OS X. You simply drag the application icon from the Applications folder into the Trash. Life doesn’t get much easier than that.
However, some programs also come with support and preference files, which are generally placed in the Library in Application Support and Preferences respectively – these get left behind when you drag applications to the Trash.
The general belief is that these files are small, and harmless, and don’t get in the way, so there’s no need for the kind of complex uninstall system that beleaguers Windows users. But there’s no denying that the OS X system is messy and, in enough numbers, files left behind will eventually slow down your Mac.
This program offers one of the easiest solutions to completely get rid of a program. Simply drag the program icon into the AppZapper window and you’ll be presented with a list of all files associated with it. Click on the Zap button and all checked files are moved to the Trash (with a startling zap sound). If you want to keep a particular file or folder for any reason – for example, in case you ever decide to reinstall the application – uncheck the item before zapping it. You’ll notice that no documents are deleted, or even made available for deletion, by AppZapper. So there’s little chance you’ll accidentally delete personal data; the closest thing would be application preferences. Still, a similar utility, CleanApp, can archive uninstalled files just in case you make a mistake and need to reinstall later – we’d like to see such functionality added to AppZapper.
We should add a word of warning (one that applies to any uninstall utility) here: be very careful with applications that share resources – especially programs that are part of larger software packages (such as Adobe’s range). You may accidentally delete files that are needed by other applications.
If you’d like to do some serious spring cleaning, AppZapper’s ZapGenie lists all applications on your hard drive, along with location, version number and how long it’s been since they were last used. You can then select multiple applications to zap in one go.
Not everyone will need a utility like AppZapper, but if you’ve downloaded a lot of virtual crud over the years, or frequently try out programs, AppZapper makes it easy to quickly rid your computer of unwanted bits and pieces.