Beginning Mac: Application Install/Uninstall

When I first switched from Windows to OSX one thing that I initially didn’t really understand was how to install/uninstall applications. Obviously it is second nature now, but hopefully the information below will help a new switcher.


On Windows when you download an application it is generally a .exe file. It is sometimes compressed in to a .zip file.

dmg file On OS X, a large majority of applications that you download will be in .dmg format. .dmg stands for “disk image” and it basically functions like a hard drive. DMG files can be mounted and ejected just like a regular hard drive. The purpose of the .dmg file is for compression. It can greatly reduce the size of the file you are downloading.

App Window

When you download this DMG file you simply double-click on it to mount/open it. Generally you will just see the application that you’d like to install. You then drag the application to your Applications folder.

Drive After you’ve moved the application file to your Applications folder you then eject the “drive” the DMG created from your desktop to the trash can in the dock. This does not delete the DMG file, it just un-mounts it. Since you have installed the application, you no longer need the DMG file. Drag the DMG file to the trash to delete the DMG file itself.

And that’s it! It’s really less complicated that it may seem and after you’ve done it a couple of times you won’t even think twice about it. To launch the application you installed, just go to your Application folder and double-click on it.


So that snazzy application that you installed a few days ago has lost its luster and you realized you just don’t need it.

Uninstalling an application on OS X is even easier than installing it.

Simply go to your Applications folder, find the application you no longer need and drag it to your trash can in the dock. And that’s it!

Advanced Uninstall

Some purists here will argue that isn’t really “it” when it comes to uninstall an application and to an extent, they are correct. The majority of applications install small preference and configuration files elsewhere on your Mac. The files are so small that they don’t really have an impact on computer performance or your storage space, but should you want to keep your computer as clean as possible there are applications you can use to completely rid your computer of all traces of an application.

Here are a couple worth checking out:


Checkout the screencast below that covers the basics of installing and uninstalling an application.


Comments have been disabled for this post