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How to Remove Unwanted Programs on a Mac

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

This guide will help you remove unwanted programs that may be causing malicious pop-ups to show up on your Mac. By doing this you can optimize your computer's performance, improve its privacy and prevent it from getting infected with malware.
macOS.

Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

If you experience things literally popping-up that appear to be some sort of program or software you've never seen before, this is likely junky software that was mistakenly or accidentally installed on your system. These types of things are generally referred to as PUPs, or "Potentially Unwanted Programs." PUPs generally tag along with other software installations, or could be something you were tricked into installing altogether. Most of these types of programs are designed to trick you into buying something you don't need, or could be potentially malicious.
MAC Defender.

1 How to Uninstall an App

Removing an app may also remove all data for that app. Make sure you have any information you need backed up before removing an app for your Mac.

To Remove an App Installed from the App Store

  1. Open the Launchpad from the dock.
    Launchpad highlighted
  2. Click and hold on an icon until all icons start to jiggle.
    Shaking icon
  3. Click the "x" on the top left of the icon you want to remove.
    X highlighted
  4. Click Delete to confirm removal.
    Delete button highlighted

To Remove All Other Apps

  1. Open the Finder from the dock.
    Finder highlighted on the dock
  2. Click on Applications on the left.
    Application highlighted
  3. Drag the app you wish to remove to the trash can.
    Drag app to the trashcan
  4. Right click on the trashcan and click Empty Trash.
    Empty Trash highlighted

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This guide will help you remove unwanted programs that may be causing malicious pop-ups to show up on your Mac. By doing this you can optimize your computer's performance, improve its privacy and prevent it from getting infected with malware.
macOS.

Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

If you experience things literally popping-up that appear to be some sort of program or software you've never seen before, this is likely junky software that was mistakenly or accidentally installed on your system. These types of things are generally referred to as PUPs, or "Potentially Unwanted Programs." PUPs generally tag along with other software installations, or could be something you were tricked into installing altogether. Most of these types of programs are designed to trick you into buying something you don't need, or could be potentially malicious.
MAC Defender.

Removing an app may also remove all data for that app. Make sure you have any information you need backed up before removing an app for your Mac.

To Remove an App Installed from the App Store

  1. Open the Launchpad from the dock.
    Launchpad highlighted
  2. Click and hold on an icon until all icons start to jiggle.
    Shaking icon
  3. Click the "x" on the top left of the icon you want to remove.
    X highlighted
  4. Click Delete to confirm removal.
    Delete button highlighted

To Remove All Other Apps

  1. Open the Finder from the dock.
    Finder highlighted on the dock
  2. Click on Applications on the left.
    Application highlighted
  3. Drag the app you wish to remove to the trash can.
    Drag app to the trashcan
  4. Right click on the trashcan and click Empty Trash.
    Empty Trash highlighted