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How to delete MacBook apps

Not all apps are created equal

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020)
(Image: © Future)

The Mac App Store makes it simple to download new MacBook and Mac desktop apps. And yet, how many of those apps do you use regularly? Are they simply taking up space? If that's the case, the best solution might be to delete those apps to remove the clutter. 

Before rushing to uninstall apps, you should ask yourself whether it's the right thing to do. Is the app really unnecessary? How easy would it be to reinstall the app? Weigh these questions before moving forward. 

When you're ready to repopulate your Mac or MacBook Pro, here's how to use the Mac App Store.

Deleting app on macOS Big Sur

(Image credit: Future)

Uninstall apps using Finder

The easiest way to delete apps on macOS Big Sur on the best MacBook and Macs is to use Finder or Spotlight. Before doing so, make sure the app is closed. Then, locate the app in Finder or Spotlight.  

Using Finder, you're likely to find the apps in the 'Applications' folder, although you may also find them in the 'Downloads' folder or elsewhere. 

When you find the app somewhere in Finder, drag it into Trash or select the app and choose File > Move to Trash. When using Spotlight to find an app, press and hold the Command key while double-clicking the app. Then drag the app into Trash. 

In both cases, you might be asked for a username and password. The combination should be for an administrator account. To delete the app, choose Finder > Empty Trash.

LaunchPad on macOS Big Sur

(Image credit: Future)

Uninstall apps using LaunchPad

Alternatively, you can find and delete apps using LaunchPad. You can open LaunchPad by clicking on its icon in the Dock or opening it from your 'Applications' folder. On the trackpad, you can pinch closed with your thumb and three fingers to bring up LaunchPad. The choice is yours. 

Once in LaunchPad, you can swipe right and left with two fingers on your trackpad to find the app or use the arrows on your keyboard. If you can't find the app, use the search field at the top of the screen. Press and hold the Option key while clicking on any app until all the LaunchPad apps jiggle. 

From there, click on the 'X' on the top left of the app you wish to delete. Click 'Delete' to confirm. Once you do so, the app is deleted immediately. Apps not located in LaunchPad probably weren't installed from the Mac App Store. Use Finder to locate and delete these. 

Recover Mac apps from Mac App Store

(Image credit: Future)

Recovering deleted apps

There are different ways to recover an app that's been deleted. The way you choose largely depends on how you downloaded the app in the first place. 

Any deleted Mac app can be restored using a backup if it was saved in this matter. An example is the built-in macOS Time Machine solution. If the app was purchased or downloaded from the Mac App Store, that's another solution to recovering an app. Click on the icon in the Dock or open it from your 'Applications' folder. Use the store's search function to find the app, then click on the cloud icon next to it to redownload.

To reinstall native apps that were installed as part of macOS, you must reinstall macOS. This solution applies to apps like Safari, Music, Books, Messages, Mail, Calendar, Photos, and FaceTime.

If you want to restore a third-party app and it wasn't saved using a backup, you'll need to contact the vendor for restore directions. When you originally purchased the app, you probably also created a user account on the company's website. In most cases, you'll find app installation files after logging into your account. 

Finally, if you have an older Mac with a CD/DVD drive, you can go the disk restore route. This assumes you have the original disk to reinstall the app. 

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 14-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!