How to uninstall App Store apps from the command line

MacAppStoreIconXThe App Store offers a quick way to find and install applications on your Mac, but Apple does not have an interface for removing any of the programs you have added. While the App Store downloads applications, you must resort to methods other than the App Store program for removing your purchases.

The first approach for removing programs is the most intuitive and commonly used, which is to simply go to the Applications folder, drag the unwanted program to the Trash, and then empty the trash; however, this will only remove the application file and not any other resources it may set up.

To fully uninstall your App Store apps, you can use the “uninstall” command in the Terminal, which is a relatively undocumented program but will allow you to fully remove programs on several conditions:

  1. The programs must have been installed by the App Store
  2. You must run this command as an administrator
  3. You must be logged in to run this command (it invokes graphical interface elements)

With these in mind, for an application you wish to uninstall, open the Terminal and follow these steps:

  1. Type “sudo uninstall file://”
  2. Drag the desired application from the Applications folder to the Terminal window

When you perform these two steps, you should end up with a command that looks like the following (note there are three slashes in the file designation, with no space between them). In this case, removing the iAntivirus program from Symantec, which is out of date and for which Symantec has dropped support:

sudo uninstall file:///Applications/

When you run this, the uninstall command will determine if the app can be uninstalled in this manner, and then show the progress of the uninstall before dropping you back at the command line. When finished, your app and all components of it should be fully removed from your system.

App uninstall using the Terminal in OS X

When run, the uninstall command will show a progress output as it removes the targeted App Store program.

Again this command is available as an option to use as an alternative to simply dragging programs to the trash to remove them. While for most intents and purposes the difference here is minimal, using the command guarantees a thorough uninstall.

5 thoughts on “How to uninstall App Store apps from the command line

  1. Ryoichi Morita

    I use Launchpad to remove apps from App Store. It’s quick and easy but I never checked if it will also remove all files associated with the app.

  2. Ian

    Does it delete everything that is associated with the apps since I usually find files from long deleted apps still taking up room on my HD?

  3. lloyd smith

    The accessory program AppZapper from pre-10.6 still works fine for me. Gives you a window with all the items that will be removed. When Apple made the move to 10.7, it would have been nice if they had included a simple way to harmlessly delete PowerPC apps and their supporting files.
    Still alive at:

  4. Me In LA

    Oddly, not a single app from the App Store will uninstall this way. Fallback methods are recommended before you just start yellling. Three “l’s” for fun. :)


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