How to Install and Uninstall Software on a Mac

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If you've ever come across a great deal on Macintosh software on the Web, you might feel frustrated once you have it—how do you install it? But, one of the best things about using a Mac is how easy it is to install software. And removing most software packages is just as easy.

Macintosh computers use a disk image or .dmg files for installing software. Sometimes you will come across a package or .pkg file, and sometimes these files are compressed into a Zip file (.zip). And all applications are stored in the Applications folder.

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How to Install Macintosh Software

1. Double-click the application file you've downloaded from the Internet. If you get an error message that says the program "can't be opened because it wasn't downloaded from the Mac App Store," right-click the downloaded file and select Open. 

Mac installation files are named .dmg, .pkg, or .zip. If it’s a zip file, this will unpack the zip automatically into its own folder. If it’s not a zip file, skip to the next step. Once the zip file has been unpacked, navigate to that folder, where you will find a .dmg or .pkg file.

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2. Follow the instructions. 

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MORE: Best Mac Apps 2014

3. Drag the application to the Applications folder. Most .pkg files will do all the work for you, but sometimes with .dmg files, you will need to drag the app to the applications folder. Your application is now installed.


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4. Delete the downloaded file once you’re done.

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How to Uninstall Programs Purchased from the Mac App Store

If you want to uninstall an app you downloaded from the Mac App Store, Apple provides an easy way.

1. Press F4 to bring up Launchpad view, and click and hold on an app. Icons will begin to jiggle and any programs you can uninstall from here will have an X in their top left corner.

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2. Click the X in the top right corner of an app.3 2624681458754652

3. Select Delete.

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The program is uninstalled.

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How to Uninstall Macintosh Software the Quick Way

Uninstalling an application downloaded from other sites is even easier.

1. Drag the application from your Applications folder to the trash. If prompted, enter your password and click OK. This doesn't erase the tiny preference files that applications place in your system, so continue below to learn how to thoroughly uninstall a program.

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How to Uninstall Macintosh Software the Thorough Way


Before you start, download and install AppCleaner.

1. Open AppCleaner and click the Finder icon.

How to Install and Uninstall Software on a Mac

2. Click Applications in the left menu.1 2624681458754650

3. Drag an application into AppCleaner.

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4. Click Remove.3 26246814587546505. Enter your password and click OK.

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The program has been uninstalled.
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Author Bio
Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin,
Jennifer Kyrnin has been building websites since 1995, and teaching others how to do it since 1997. She's written several books on the topic, and is probably working on another one right now. And she does it all on her beloved iMac and sometimes her MacBook Air.
Jennifer Kyrnin, on
Add a comment
  • Warren Bakley Says:

    Please get off of the RIGHT or LEFT CLUCK stuff. It doesn't exist anymore on MACs.

  • Varun Gupta Says:

    , actually I need to know is there any other way to install any third party App (which is not available on App Store) on Mac OS X. Particularly m talking about Office 2016. Why it doesn't load as fast like Apps Numbers, Pages in the same way. Please answer! Thanks...

  • Kurt Says:

    I'm researching Apple products (impressed with the 13" Air) but mostly focusing on the Operating System. Installing and uninstalling apps are one of the key (headaches) aspects of a modern OS (it's a shame that something as simple as uninstalling an app can cause the OS and its' user so much grief).

    For some of us looking to switch over from Windows and the constant hunting for program breadcrumbs (registry, odd folder locations spread anywhere on the system), how does Mac OS handle this?

    From what I've read elsewhere, the uninstall method isn't 100% effective. There might be a few places (not many) where one needs to look to erase all setting/config and other program left-overs.

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