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MacOS X – How to remove pre-installed applications

MacOS X – How to remove pre-installed applications
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MacOS X Lion (and other MacOS versions up to MacOS X El Capitan) come with few preinstalled applications like “Chess”, but you cannot remove/uninstall them the conventional way …

A waste of diskspace when you don’t really need the application (especially when you’re running low on space on your snappy SSD drive) …

A short article on how to remove these guys …




Can’t remove that Application?

When you try to uninstall some of the pre-installed applications – “Chess” or “GarageBand” for example – by dragging it to the trash will make your Mac prevent you from doing so and a message makes clear that the application cannot be modified or deleted because it’s required by Mac OS X
In this example (Chess) nonsense of course …

Apple most likely locked these files to prevent newbies from deleting them by accident.

So how can we remove such a space waster …?

System Integrity Protection with El Capitan (10.1) and higher … 

One of the visitors of Tweaking4All (Abbey) discovered that these tricks no longer work under El Capitan, and probably will not work under newer MacOS X (or: macOS) versions due to the new “System Integrity Protection” which prevents users from deleting certain files, even when you’re system administrator or use sudo.

A work around would be by temporary disabling System Integrity Protection, but I advise against doing that.

If you really know what you’re doing, try these steps to disable SIP:

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Before OS X starts up, hold down Command-R and keep it held down until you see an Apple icon and a progress bar.
    Release both keys. This boots you into Recovery.
  3. From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
  4. At the prompt type exactly the following and then press Return: csrutil disable
  5. Terminal should display a message that SIP was disabled.
  6. From the  menu, select Restart.

 

After removing the unwanted applications, you can re-enable SIP by following the above steps, and using csrutil enable  instead.

 

Option 1 – Change the access rights and drag it to the trash

The easiest option, I think, is to change the access rights in the Finder.

The biggest advantage over the 2nd option is that the file ends up in the Trash and you can actually put it back if needed.

  1. Right click (or CTRL + left click) the application you’d like to delete (“Chess” in this example).
  2. From the menu select the option “Get Info“.

    MacOS X - Right Click the file and select the "Get Info" option

    MacOS X – Right Click the file and select the “Get Info” option

  3. A window with additional file info will open, and at the bottom you will find a section called “Sharing & Permissions” – here you will see that the “rights” for “everyone” is set to “Read Only“, which we want to change to “Read & Write“.- Click the pad-lock in the lower right corner to unlock it – your password will be asked, enter it.- Set the rights next to “everyone” to “Read & Write“.Optionally click the pad-lock again to lock it.

    MacOS X - Sharing & Permissions settings

    MacOS X – Sharing & Permissions settings

  4. You can now close this window and finally drag the application to the Trash.

Option 2 – Terminal to the Rescue …?

A seemingly much easier and more permanent way to do this is by using the Terminal.

CAUTION 

The selected application will be deleted PERMANENTLY – so you will NOT find it in the trash! 

  1. Open a Terminal window (goto “Applications” → “Utilities” and double click “Terminal“).
  2. Type the following (there is a space after “rf”! DO NOT press ENTER).
    
    
    sudo rm -rf
  3. Next drag the icon of the application from your “Applications” folder onto the Terminal window.

    MacOS X - Drag and drop the icon onto the Terminal Window

    MacOS X – Drag and drop the icon onto the Terminal Window

  4. You will now see the text change in your Terminal window to:
    
    
    sudo rm -rf /Applications/Chess.app
  5. Press the ENTER key, your password will be asked, enter it and press the ENTER key again and you application is deleted …

 

WARNING – BE CAREFUL! 

The use of SUDO and the RM command can be a very dangerous combination.SUDO for one brings the execution of the following command to Administrator level (ie. “root” level) – not much will stop you from doing crazy stuff.

RM -RF is the shell command for a recursive (R) forced (F) removing of a file or folder.
Recursive means: wax everything in that folder as well (folders and files)!

This is all there is to it?

Well, with some applications it is, with some it’s not.

Some applications store settings and additional files for example elsewhere on your harddrive; “GarageBand” which stores plenty of audio files in a “hidden” location (app. 100 Mb on my computer anyway). The “hidden” location of those files, for “GarageBand”, can be found here:


/Library/Audio/Apple Loops/Apple/Apple Loops for GarageBand

Feel free to delete those.

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Comments


There are 4 comments. You can read them below.
You can post your own comments by using the form below, or reply to existing comments by using the "Reply" button.

  • Aug 19, 2015 - 12:51 PM - anne Comment Link

    thank you ! i had an addiction with this chess game, and now i got rid of it

    Reply

    anne

  • Sep 2, 2016 - 9:22 PM - Abbey Comment Link

    Hi, I’m having trouble with both these options in el capitan. The terminal option comes up with 30+ text inserts saying that this operation is not permitted. Same as trying to change the access rights. I am the admin of the computer I am trying to do this with if it helps!

    Reply

    Abbey

    • Sep 3, 2016 - 7:43 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      Hi Abbey,

      thank you for reporting this issue with El Capitan.
      I just tested this on my Mac (also El Capitan) and can confirm that this does no longer work as of El Capitan.

      The new “System Integrity Protection” seems to prevent us from deleting useless applications.
      System Integrity Protection however can be disabled, but I would not recommend going that route.

      Follow these steps to disable SIP, only do this if you’re 100% sure what you’re doing!

      – Restart your Mac.
      – Before OS X starts up, hold down Command-R and keep it held down until you see an Apple icon and a progress bar.
        Release both kets. This boots you into Recovery.

      – From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
      – At the prompt type exactly the following and then press Return: csrutil disable
      – 
      Terminal should display a message that SIP was disabled.
      – From the  menu, select Restart.

      Remove the applications you want to remove and when done, re-enable System Integrity Protection by repeating the previous steps, however instead of “csrutil disable”, use csrutil enable instead.

      Reply

      hans



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