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 …?
This will not work on Catalina …
For those using macOS Catalina: This trick may no longer work.
Apple has locked down the filesystem even more, and removing pre-installed applications has become quite difficult and I can no longer recommend even doing it.
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:
- 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 keys. This boots you into Recovery.
- From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
- At the prompt type exactly the following and then press Return:
- Terminal should display a message that SIP was disabled.
- 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.
- Right click (or CTRL + left click) the application you’d like to delete (“Chess” in this example).
- From the menu select the option “Get Info“.
MacOS X – Right Click the file and select the “Get Info” option
- 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
- 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.
The selected application will be deleted PERMANENTLY – so you will NOT find it in the trash!
- Open a Terminal window (goto “Applications” → “Utilities” and double click “Terminal“).
- Type the following (there is a space after “rf”! DO NOT press ENTER).
- 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
- You will now see the text change in your Terminal window to:
sudo rm -rf /Applications/Chess.app
- 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.