Completely Delete Apps On Mac OS X With TrashMe

Uninstalling an application on Mac OS X is as easy as dragging and dropping the application icon into the trash. But as you install and remove apps, each one of them leaves behind certain files on your system, containing application data, settings, cookies and temporary files. These files tend to clog up space on your hard drive and make your system slow.

TrashMe is a freeware app that can automate this process by finding all the files associated with an application that will become useless once the application is removed from your system. You can then delete those files from your system with 1 click.

Apart from this basic functionality, an interesting feature in TrashMe is the ability to search and delete ‘Orphan’ files. ‘Orphan’ files refer to the application data/temporary files of applications that have already been deleted, in the past, from your system. This is a terribly difficult process to do manually, and I think TrashMe does a pretty good job of finding orphan files and removing them.

TrashMe also protects important system applications, applications that are currently running, or apps that you have protected manually, from being deleted. In the rare case that you accidentally deleted an application from your system, you can ‘put it back’ to its original folder with 1 click, this feature is supported via the ‘put-back’ from Trash feature that was introduced in Snow Leopard.

Another handy feature is the ability to mass-delete Dashboard widgets, PrefPanes, or installed Internet plug-ins. All these categories are neatly arranged into lists from which you can mark selectively, or all at once. The UI is completely native to OS X, so the application blends well in your work environment.

Users who don’t want to go through the hassle of opening up TrashMe everytime they want to remove an application can enable ‘Smart Mode’, which automatically removes all related files when you move an application to the Trash. To enable ‘Smart Mode’, go to the detection page in preferences, and click ‘Enable’.

This, however, is not recommended, because you might want to install an application again after deleting it, and keeping its settings stored on your system might be a good idea, in particular cases of games or web browsers.

Minimum requirements for TrashMe is Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I don’t know why they do not support 10.5 Leopard, as it could easily be done without the ‘put-back’ feature. Just over 1 MB in size, this app is pretty lightweight. During testing, it occupied around 35-40 MB of memory, however this number should vary according to the number of apps/widgets/prefpanes you have installed on your system.

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