IDG The Mojave Dock with recents apps. The Dock shows the three recent apps that you’ve used; if a recently-used app already has a home in the Dock, it doesn’t appear in the recents section. You can also remove recent files from Apple apps like Text Edit and Pages. Click the File menu. Choose “Open recent.” Select Clear Menu. Some-third party apps offer similar features, so if you want to clear recent files in an app, start with the File menu and look for an option to open recent files. There should also be an option to clear them. In this video, we show you how to remove recently used apps from your Macbook Dock. At the time this video, the default setting for the macOS is to leave recently used application icons in your dock.

One of the most basic computer functions — deleting files and folders — is also one of the most essential. If you never get rid of anything, soon enough all those extra gigabytes will take a toll on your Mac’s processing power, RAM, and hard drive, not to mention your digital life will resemble a dreadful episode of Hoarders.

So deleting files is good and healthy. But how do you do that? Most people right-click on what they need gone and choose Move to Trash from the menu or use the File option in the menu bar. Others employ the ⌘ + Delete shortcut, which works across the system (even within dialog windows). Experts, however, often find themselves defaulting to the command line delete directory feature. Let’s see how and why you should learn it too.

How to remove directory with Terminal

Since macOS is a Unix-based system, nearly all system tasks you do every day with the help of its graphic interface can also be performed via the command line tool called Terminal.

Why delete file command line feature is important

With regards to delete file or delete folder command line functionality, Terminal lets you:

  • Effortlessly erase one or multiple files, folders, and apps, bypassing any error messages you can get when you go the traditional route.
  • Remove files from Trash, including ones you can’t delete by simply emptying the trash.
  • Get rid of files that are invisible to you within Finder (usually system or root files, for example, .htaccess).
  • Delete files and folders in cases when Finder is unresponsive.

Note: The Mac command line delete file feature is final and irreversible. While it lets you avoid any error messages, it also removes the files completely, without any possibility of retrieving them later on.

Tip: Delete unneeded system files on Mac

Some files are hard to delete in a normal way because they sit deeply in system folders. These are such files as logs, broken downloads, caches, remains of old apps, etc. Still, deleting them could give your Mac an extra boost — that's because they are outdated and clutter your macOS.

To dig these files out, try a free version of CleanMyMac X. Among other things, this app has an impressive System Junk detector. When you download CleanMyMac X (this free version is notarized by Apple), you need to click on System Junk.
Just take a loot at the sheer amount of files it unearthed. To delete them, click on Clean.

How to use delete file command line feature

Removing files from your Mac forever using Terminal is deceptively simple: just use the rm command followed by the name of the file. Here’s how it works in practice:

  1. Launch Terminal from your Utilities folder in Applications.
  2. Check which directory you’re in by typing ls -la
  3. Then navigate down a directory with cd [directoryname] or up a directory with cd ../
  4. When you’re in the same directory as the file you want to delete, type rm [filename.extension]
  5. If you want to delete multiple files at once, list them all, but make sure there’s a space between each one.
  6. Press Enter to execute the command.

Now all the files you specified after rm are gone for good. Navigate directories in your Mac and repeat the process as many times as you want.

Surprised there was no confirmation before your files were deleted? Luckily there’s a way to add one as a safeguard for not deleting the wrong file by accident. Just use -i after the rm but before the first filename, like this: rm -i [filename.extension]. Terminal will then ask you whether you’re sure you want to delete the file. Reply y or yes followed by Enter and the file will be gone. This also works for multiple files, but you’ll have to confirm the removal of each one separately.

How To Remove Unwanted Apps On Mac

How to make command line delete directory

Surprisingly, you can’t delete a folder using the rm command because it has its own: rmdir.

Otherwise, rmdir works exactly the same as rm:

Completely Remove Apps From Mac

  1. Navigate to the appropriate directory using Terminal.
  2. Type rmdir [directoryname]
  3. Hit Enter.

Sadly, you can’t use the -i hack when you’re deleting folders, so be extra careful!

Another thing to keep in mind is that rmdir only deletes the directory, but can’t delete any files or folders located within that directory.

To delete a folder with everything in it, you need to use rm -r followed by the folder’s name. Using -i to create a warning here is possible and done like this: rm -ir [foldername].

When it’s too difficult to find a folder or file via Terminal, but you can detect them in Finder, simply drag and drop the file onto the Terminal window to generate its path.

Delete large and old folders using CleanMyMac X

As it happens with folders, they are easy to mess up and lose track of. That's why many apps provide an alternative interface for searching and deleting files which is more flexible than the Finder. For example, using CleanMyMac X (the app we've mentioned above) you can find massive folders that might have been evading you. You also can filter them by file type and other criteria.
The latest released version of this tool looks like this:

This app by developer MacPaw is available for a free download here. Using this app, files are removed for good, and as far as we know, it's irreversible.

Other ways to delete files and folders on Mac

The shortcut combination

We are sure you know how to drag to your files to the Trash. But here is an alternative way which deletes files at once, bypassing the Trash. There’s one less step involved (you don’t have to empty the bin). And you cannot reverse this action.
Select a file, and press [Option + + Delete]

Delete hidden folders on Mac

Some folders on your Mac are made invisible to protect them from accidental deletion. They are system and support files you would ignore most of the time. But what if a folder seems empty but still takes up space? You can apply another shortcut combination to highlight these unseen objects. Then, you can delete them at your own risk.
To highlight hidden folders: [Press Shift + + . dot key]
This best works if you open some system folder, like Library

Again, delete these folders only if you are sure what they are.

That was how to remove files and folders on your Mac, shown in multiple ways. Want to know more? Explore our blog for a whole universe of Mac tips!

There often comes a time when you just don’t need to keep an app around. It may be old and unsupported – or maybe you just don’t use it anymore and don’t have a need to keep it around. If that sounds like you, we’ll show you exactly how to uninstall apps on Mac.

Uninstall Mac Applications

Get the best uninstallers to delete any application on your Mac.

With macOS Catalina and later, there are plenty of great reasons to delete apps. If an app is 32-bit, it has to go. Apple made the decision to discontinue support for 32-bit binaries with macOS Catalina, and many app developers didn’t retrofit their apps to be 64-bit as Apple requested. Old 32-bit apps no longer work on macOS.

How To Remove Mac Application

Some apps may just be unnecessary. If you have apps for managing photos or your music library, you may find the new Photos app that comes with macOS or the new Music app do a great job, so the old software you’d been using is redundant. It’s gotta go!

Whatever the case, there are quick and easy ways to delete apps from your Mac. We’ll walk you through it!

One thing to know is deleting an app isn’t the same as uninstalling it. There are two ways to delete apps, though: Finder, and Launchpad.

How to delete apps on Mac using Launchpad

In Launchpad, you can pressing and holding the app's icon to bring up the wiggly app management feature. Like iOS, app icons start to shake in-place, which allows you to move them around. Third-party apps also have a small ‘x’ icon on the top right of the icon in this mode, which allows you to delete them.

Another way to delete apps is from Finder. There, you simply select the app, then right-click and select ‘delete.’ In either Finder or Launchpad, you can drag app icons to the trash bin to delete the apps.

(If you’re on an older version of macOS – or OS X, for the much older versions – and managing apps via iTunes, the process is similar. Select the app, right-click, and select ‘Move to Trash.’)

Remove apps with the Finder

Remember when we told you deleting and uninstalling weren’t the same? Deleting is the first step in the process; Apple wants you to do more work!

The completely uninstall an app, follow the instructions for deleting an app above. Then head to your library folder from Finder:

  • Open Finder
  • Select ‘Go’ from menu
  • Hold down ‘option’ key on keyboard; you should see a new option for ‘Library’
  • While holding down the option key, select ‘Library’

A word of caution before you proceed: DO NOT delete files if you’re not sure what they do. Apple hides the Library for a reason: most people shouldn’t go poking through it and deleting files haphazardly. If you don’t know what a file or folder is for, leave it alone.

Library houses files and folders apps need to operate. Sometimes these files or folders are for updating an app, or managing a Safari extension. Again, Library isn’t a toy. Tread lightly!

When you find a file or folder you know doesn’t belong – and is associated with the app you deleted – you can also delete the file by right-clicking and selecting ‘Move to Trash,’ or dragging it to the trash bin.

How to close recent apps on macbook

Deleting these files completes the deletion of an app. It’s possible those files were doing things necessary for the app that you no longer want, like calling a server or tracking keystrokes. Without the app, those types of features are just spyware.

When you’re done deleting apps and associated files, go ahead and empty your trash bin.

If you’re thinking ‘wow, that all seems sort of scary,’ you’re not wrong. Even seasoned pros get nervous when digging into a computer’s Library file system. There is a better way to uninstall programs from Mac, though!

Uninstall Mac apps and delete left behind files

If the idea of deleting apps and digging into secret libraries on your Mac to remove associated files is daunting, we have a better solution.

CleanMyMacX is a best Mac utility that helps manage your apps and files, in addition to a ton of other features. For now, we’ll focus on app management.

In the CleanMyMacX menu is an ‘Applications’ section on the left pane. It has three options: Uninstaller, Updater, and Extensions. Updater lets you manage updates for apps you want to keep, and saves you the trouble of digging through the App Store just to update an app.

Extensions helps you manage Safari browser extensions, Spotlight plugins, Internet Plugins, and Preference Panes. It’s the simplest and most straightforward way to manage the add-ons some apps demand, which aren’t always caught when deleting or uninstalling an app. When you find an extension you don’t want, just select it and click the ‘Remove’ button at the bottom of the window.

To uninstall apps on Mac, go to the ‘Uninstaller’ option with CleanMyMacX. Here you’ll see apps in a variety of categories. There’s the ‘all’ category for – you guessed it – all of the apps on your Mac. There’s also a section named ‘unused,’ which shows you which apps you’re not really using often.

The ‘Leftovers’ section makes Apple’s ‘Library’ look silly. In CleanMyMacX, Leftovers automatically finds the files associates with apps you no longer have. Hovering over the file in a list brings up the ‘Show’ option, which gives you precise info on exactly what app the file is associated with. No more fumbling through Library and guessing!

There’s also a section for 32-bit apps (remember, we talked about that!) which shows every app that’s no longer supported for macOS. If you really enjoy the app, we suggest reaching out to the developer to see if they will be making it a 64-bit app. If not, go ahead and delete it; it just won’t work on your Mac.

When you’re ready to uninstall programs from your Mac, select the app in any menu you see it in and click ‘Uninstall’ at the bottom of the screen. It’s that easy!


The main goal when uninstalling an app from macOS is to get rid of it completely: files, folders, the app – everything. We’ll also note that if you plan on never using the app or service again, it’s best to request the app developer remove your profile entirely. The method for this varies, but the app or service’s website should have the answer you need.

It takes a long time to delete an app the Apple way, and it’s just not worth it. Digging through the Library is scary stuff, and one wrong move can have a ripple effect on your entire system. No thanks!

We prefer CleanMyMacX, which takes care of the heavy lifting of deleting an app, then removing associated files to completely uninstall it. With a few clicks, you completely rid yourself of an app you don’t want.

For mobile users, there’s also AnyTrans, available for iOS and Android. AnyTrans is a macOS app that lets you manage backups, apps on your device, and account or cloud content in a much cleaner interface than Apple or Google provide. It’s easy to use, and available for both Android and iOS.

Best of all, AnyTrans as well as CleanMyMacX are available free as part of a seven day trial of Setapp. In addition to these apps, you get access to dozens of other handy macOS apps!

Setapp lives on Mac and iOS. Please come back from another device.

Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.

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