How to Uninstall Adobe Creative Cloud from your Mac
UPDATE: I previously had a YouTube video about this, but YouTube took it down for violating their “Harmful Content” policy. I’ve attempted to dispute this, but they have not budged. For now, please it enjoy the article.
Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite is an incredibly useful set of tools for creative professionals. Apps like Photoshop, Premiere, and Lightroom, among others, are industry standards. Despite this, there are time where you need to uninstall the Creative Cloud Suite. Perhaps you’re doing a major version upgrade that can’t be done in place, maybe there’s a problem with the entire suite or license and you have to uninstall it. The problem is that Adobe’s uninstall tools don’t actually get everything, meaning that you can reinstall and still be having the same problem because something was left behind. This guide is to walk you through how to find all the nooks and crannies where Adobe’s Creative Suite can hide. Before we begin, there are a couple of things we need to go over:
- If you are only have problems with a single Adobe app, it’s recommended you use the respective uninstaller utility in that app’s folder under Applications. If you’ve done that and it still doesn’t work, or you need to uninstall multiple apps, keep reading.
- For the sake of simplicity I only have 3 apps installed (Acrobat, Photoshop, and Illustrator). Obviously you may have a different selection of apps, and so the number and size of files may be slightly different from those shown in this tutorial. That’s to be expected, this guide should still work.
- This guide is also going off of Adobe Creative Cloud 2020. This guide should still work for other versions of Adobe, and will be updated as needed to reflect new findings or additional Adobe locations
- Adobe’s free Reader or Flash Player tools do not affect your ability to uninstall or reinstall the Creative Suite.
The first part of this tutorial will use 2 apps to help automatically uninstall Creative Cloud. The second part of this tutorial, labeled “Advanced”, will require digging into the file directories of the Mac System. If done correctly, this shouldn’t affect the performance of your system. That said, it is best to always have a backup of your system before digging in.
You can watch the video above or keep reading for text directions. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
- Make sure no Adobe apps are running in the dock.
- Sign out of the Creative Cloud app. To do this, click the Creative Cloud icon in the menubar. Then in the window that pops up, click on your profile icon in the top right corner, and hit sign out.
- Quit the Creative Cloud app: Go to the menubar and click the “Creative Cloud” name. In the drop down menu, select “Quit Creative Cloud”.
- Next, you’ll need to download and install the first of the 2 apps. This one is called AppCleaner. You can download it from freemacsoft.net/appcleaner/. Make sure to download the appropriate version for your MacOS.
- Once you’ve installed AppCleaner, launch it and click the menu view in the top right corner of the app.
- Search for Adobe in the toolbar and select any Creative Cloud apps you see. You can select multiple apps in the left pane by holding down the “Command” key on your keyboard, and clicking on each of the apps. You don’t need to uninstall either the free Adobe Reader or Flash Player apps/plugins for this.
- For each app you select, a pop-up window will appear on the right-hand side of the app, listing all of the folders AppCleaner can find. Scroll through this list and make sure all the folders and files are selected.
- Once you’ve done this, hit the “Remove” button. This will send all selected files to the trash.
- Now you will need to download and run the second app, the Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner tool for Mac. That can be found at https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/kb/cc-cleaner-tool-installation-problems.html. Open this once it has downloaded.
- In the window that pops up, double click the Cleaner Tool app, type in your Mac credentials and accept the Terms of Service to run as needed.
- Once it is open, make sure “All” is select in the top right corner of the window. Then hit “Clean All” at the bottom of the window. Confirm that you want to clear out everything
- NOTE: When you finish, “Fix Host File” will likely still remain. This is normal, you can move on.
- You have now finished the standard steps to uninstall Adobe CC on Mac. At this point, you can either reboot the machine and attempt reinstall Creative Cloud and the other apps, or you can move to the Advanced Steps.
Adobe can still leave behind folders and files even after uninstallation by their cleaner tool. This covers manual removal of files from both the System and User Library. Approach with caution and only after running the Standard steps.
- Open up a new Finder window. Then in the menubar, select “Go”, and select “Go to Folder” at the bottom of the menu.
- In the text box that appears, type in “/Library” in the box that appears (without the quotation marks).
- A new Finder window should pop up in the Library folder. In this folder, open up the “Application Support” folder, and delete the “Adobe” folder inside.
- Move back up a level either by hitting the back button in finder or by hitting “Command” and the up arrow at the same time.
- Navigate to a folder called “LaunchAgents”. These are preference files that launch Adobe services when you log into your Mac. The files should be listed in alphabetical order. Select any files with the title “com.adobe.xxx” (xxx being any text that follows afterwards), and drag them to the trash can in your dock.
- Move back up a level and open the “LaunchDaemons” folder. Like before, select any items that start with “com.adobe.xxx” from this folder, and move them to the trash can.
- Move back up a level and go to the “Preferences” folder, and delete any files that start with the “com.adobe.xxx”.
- Move back up a level and open the “PrivilegedHelperTools” folder. Remove any files that start with “com.adobe.xxx”
- We are now done with the System Library. We now need to remove the files from your user Library. This is only necessary for the primary user of the machine, who should be logged in.
- Repeat step 1 of the “Advanced” section, but this time type in “~/Library” without the quotation marks.
- NOTE: The ~ key is next to the number 1 and above the Tab key on a standard Mac keyboard
- Once the user Library is open, open the “Application Support” folder, and delete the “Adobe” folder.
- Go up a level and open the “Application Scripts” folder. Delete any folders that have “com.adobe.xxx” in the name.
- Go up a level and open up the “Containers” folder. Delete any folders found in here that contain the “com.adobe.xxx” name. Typically it is the same number as those found in Applications scripts.
- Move up a level and go to “LaunchAgents” and remove any files with the “com.adobe.xxx” name.
- Now we have a few folders remaining. These remaining folders either have Adobe folders with unusual name, files and folders not just named “Adobe” or “com.adobe.xxx”, or a combination of both files and folders
- Go up a level and go to the Caches folder. Here you will need to delete the following:
- A folder named “Adobe”
- Several folders named “com.adobe.xxx”
- Go up a level and go to the “Group Containers” folder. Here you will need to delete the following:
- A folder named “Adobe-Hub-App”
- Several folders named “com.adobe.xxx”
- Go up a level and go to the “Preferences” folder. You will need to delete the following:
- A folder named “Adobe”
- Several App preference folders typically labeled “Adobe XXX Settings (e.g. Adobe Photoshop 2020 settings).
- Folders pertaining to the specific app (e.g. Adobe InCopy)
- Several files labeled “com.adobe.xxx”
- You have finished cleaning out the Adobe folders. Empty the trash in your dock, then reboot your machine and the uninstallation is complete.