How to Delete Apps on Mac that Won’t Delete

If you have got some stubborn apps that won’t delete on your Mac, you might probably wonder how to go about deleting those apps from your Mac computer. This guide offers several methods to let you get rid of those apps.

By Joy Taylor | Last Updated: Feb. 19, 2021

I’m running macOS High Sierra and today when I try to delete the Backup and Sync app I see the following error – can’t be moved to Trash because some of its extensions are in use.

An App Can't Be Moved to Trash from Mac

An App Can’t Be Moved to Trash from Mac

Uninstalling apps on a Mac is easier than many other computer platforms.

However, there are times when you find that you cannot delete apps on your Mac as the above user said. If this happens to you, you will probably want to find why your apps will not delete and what you can do to fix this problem. Keep reading this post and delete an app from Mac that won’t delete.

Also Read: How to Fix iMac Screen Goes Black >

Why Can’t I Delete Apps on Mac?

There are many reasons you cannot get rid of an app from your Mac. If pinpointing the exact cause of the issue is not possible, your issue might be due to one of the following reasons.

Reason 1. The App is Running

One of the common reasons you cannot delete an app on your Mac is that your app is running. You might have launched the app but you forgot to exit it before proceeding to delete it. The app does not have to be in the focus to not delete; it could be running in the background and preventing its deletion.

Reason 2. It is a System App

If you use Mac’s default app uninstallation method, you should know that this method does not let you delete system Mac apps. These apps are basically the ones that came preloaded with your Mac. For some reason, Apple believes you should not be removing these apps and so it does not allow you to do that.

How to Delete An App from My Mac

macOS includes multiple ways to delete an app. No matter what method you use, the outcome is going to be exactly the same.

Method 1. Delete an App from the Launchpad

One of the quickest ways to delete an app on a Mac is to use the Launchpad. This is the exact same utility that you use to open various apps on your Mac. There is an option in this utility that you can use to delete any of your apps from your computer.

Just make sure you have saved your work with the app before you go ahead and start to delete it.

  1. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock to open the utility.
  2. Find the app that you want to delete from the list. If you do not see your app, use the search function at the top to find your app by its name.
  3. Once you find the app, press and hold down the Option key on your keyboard, and click the newly appeared X icon on your app.
  4. A prompt will appear asking if you really want to delete the app from your Mac. Click Delete in this prompt.

    Delete an App from the Launchpad

    Delete an App from the Launchpad

  5. Right-click the Trash icon in the Dock and select Empty Trash to remove your app for good.

Method 2. Delete an App using the Finder

The Finder is the default file manager in macOS and you can use this tool to access as well as delete apps from your Mac. You simply need to locate where your app is, and then it is just a matter of a few clicks to have that app uninstalled on your Mac computer.

  1. Open a Finder window and click Applications in the left sidebar.
  2. You will see all your installed apps. Find the app that you want to get rid of.
  3. Right-click your app and select the option that says Move to Trash. If you are asked to enter the username and password, do so to continue.

    Remove an App using the Finder

    Remove an App using the Finder

  4. When the app is removed, click the Finder menu at the top and select Empty Trash. This deletes the app from the Trash as well.

How to Delete an App from Mac That Won’t Delete

If your apps refuse to delete and you see some kind of error while trying to remove them, there are ways to get around these issues and to successfully uninstall apps on your Mac.

Method 1. Can’t Delete an App Because it’s Open

One of the reasons you have trouble deleting an app on your Mac is that your app is open. In this case, you need to ensure the app is closed before you attempt to remove it from your Mac.

Your app might even refuse to close but there is a way to get around this.

Step 1. Press the Command + Option + Esc keys on your keyboard. You can be anywhere to use this key combination on your Mac.

Step 2. You will see a box for Force Quit Applications. In this box, select the app that you have issues deleting with, and then click the Force Quit button.

Remove a Stubborn Mac App

Remove a Stubborn Mac App

Step 3. Once the app is closed, open the Launchpad, hold down the Option key, and click the X icon to delete your stubborn app.

Step 4. Make sure to empty the Trash as well so that your app is gone forever.

Method 2. How to Permanently Delete Apps with MacClean

There are times when your Mac apps will not delete even if you close your apps before trying to remove them. When this happens, one of the options you have is to use a third-party app uninstaller.

MacClean is a pretty nice choice for uninstalling sticky apps on your Mac. This app offers a dedicated app uninstaller that helps you remove your apps as well as their associated files from your computer. Besides, it cleans up various types of junk files from Mac.

Step 1. Download MacClean and launch the app on your Mac, click Cleanup Tools on the left, and select App Uninstaller on the right.

Access the App Uninstaller in MacClean

Access the App Uninstaller in MacClean

Step 2. Choose the app you would like to get rid of from the list.

Step 3. Tick all boxes on the right and click Clean in the bottom-right corner.

Select and Fully Remove Mac Apps

Select and Fully Remove Mac Apps

Step 4. Your selected app should be deleted from your Mac.

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot delete an app on your Mac, use one of the methods outlined above and you should be able to remove any app on your computer.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.

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