Gangmax Blog

How to Completely Remove an App from Mac

Recently I find an app on my Mac cannot work properly. Each time I open it, it gets stuck at the very beginning and refuses to show the main window. I reinstall it several times and it still doesn’t work.

I guess the root cause is that, some files used by the app are in an illegal state which makes the app cannot finish the startup process properly, and they are not removed when uninstalling the app. So the app installation cannot fix the issue.

To fix it, I have to remove the stale files manually. So I google it and find the solution from here:

  1. Remove the app from “Applications” and clean trash as normal.

  2. Clear the other directories which may contain some files used by the app. Let’s say the app name is “Quik”.

# 1. Remove the "application support" files.
rm -rf ~/Library/Application Support/Quik
# 2. Remove the ""app state" files.
ll ~/Library/Saved\ Application\ State/com.quik.Desktop.savedState
# This is a symbolic link to "~/Library/Containers/com.quik.Desktop/".
# Remove the target directory.
rm -rf ~/Library/Containers/com.quik.Desktop/
  1. Install the “Quik” app as normal.

This time the app works properly.

Note that, for different apps, different legacy files may exist. In the original post, it lists the following directories you can check:

Binary and dock icons are located in “/Applications/

Application support files are located in “~/Library/Application Support

Support Caches can be found in “/Library/Caches/“ and “~/Library/Caches

Plugins are located in “~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/

Library can be found in “~/Library/

App preferences are located in “~/Library/Preferences/

Crashes are found in “~/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter/

App saved states are located in “~/Library/Saved Application State/

I think this is a common solution when an app gets problem in starting up process while it cannot be fixed by reinstalling.