App of the Week: AppCleaner

This week we’ve been talking about security and how to prevent malware from getting on your computer. But what if it already has? Apple had provided a set of instruction on how to remove MacDefender, but if we’ve learned anything from Windows malware, it’s that it will do everything to make sure you don’t get rid of it. Is there a better way to get rid of such software, or even just software you don’t want any more? Enter AppCleaner from FreeMacSoft.

The idea behind AppCleaner is that it finds all the pieces, folders, etc. that a program

AppCleaner window
creates so that it can all be deleted. Most people drag software they don’t want to Mac’s Trash to uninstall, and for some software this is ok. But a lot of software can leave stuff behind; for normal software, it can just take up hard drive space, but for malware, it could mean the malware reinstalling itself over an over, like 2 teenage girls who will always restart an argument over the Twilight books.

Fortunately AppCleaner is simple and does the searching for you. Once you open AppCleaner, all you have to do is drag the software into AppCleaner, and AppCleaner finds the program and all its pieces-parts to be deleted, which it can then send to the Trash. You can also mass delete apps, as well as browser plugins (Flash Player, Java, etc.) and Dashboard widgets all from within the app.

Perhaps you have certain apps that you don’t want to delete. Open AppCleaner’s preferences, and drag apps in that you want to keep on your system. Then if you accidentally drag or select one of these applications, Appcleaner gives you a popup window telling you that these apps are protected. You can also set it to “Smart Delete”, which means that when you want to uninstall an app on your Mac, you don’t have to open AppCleaner. Just drag it to the Trash like you’re used to, and AppCleaner will automatically search and put the other files in the trash for you. One less step to worry about.

When it comes to uninstalling malware, nothing beats prevention and a vigilant eye (or reinstalling the operating system), and AppCleaner isn’t necessarily designed to remove malware. But it certainly has that potential, along with the power to remove any other software you just don’t want. You can download it here: And if you have any apps you’d like me to review, or comments you’d like to make, comment below, email me at, or tweet me at Twitter (see the Twitter button up top!). And don’t forget my Youtube videos (the Youtube button up top as well). Thanks


  1. I downloaded AppCleaner, but it won’t open on my computer because it says no application can open it. Has this happened to you before? Or do you know which application I would need to download to open up AppCleaner?

    • What version of OSX are you using? Are you actually clicking on the application or a file within the app? If you’re actually clicking on the app and it’s saying this, then that means your system has a problem. In that case, I would recommend running a permissions repair from the built-in Disk Utility and see if that fixes the problem. If that doesn’t work, you might have to use your Mac Install discs to repair the system. Also try installing another app, like Firefox or Chrome and see if that causes the same problem, which means my suspicions are correct. If you don’t have this problem with installing another app, then it’s clearly the app; you might simply have a bad copy of AppCleaner. Please let me know the results of these tests and if they fix the problem.

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