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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Installing and uninstalling applications


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bobtomay

 
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Any suggestions are definitely welcomed.
(Note for the OS X experts out there, yes I full well understand some of the terms are not "technically" correct. This post is only to provide the new windows switcher a feel - most of whom just want to know how to do it.)


For those coming to OS X from Windows, the installation and removal of applications can be a little confusing at first, especially when there are several methods, typically determined by the developer of the application. Since this is asked so often, finally decided to provide a small tutorial, and hopefully this will bring you up to speed pretty quickly.

I'll be dealing here strictly with apps downloaded from the web.

With most apps for OS X, what you will be downloading is typically a .dmg file. This is a disk image and can be considered similar to what you have in windows when you have a software application CD in your hand.

Installing
After you download an app, head for your Downloads folder and click on the file.

You'll then have the dmg open up and you may see a hard drive icon on your desktop similar to these:



Not all of them will be as fancy as these two and that icon represents the CD you're use to seeing.

You will also have a separate window open up that has the actual application itself. What's in that window can vary a great deal.

Installation Method One - Drag and Drop

With this method, you are simply going to drag the icon from the window and drop it into your Applications folder.


Some of them will have nothing inside that window except the icon of the app itself, like this:



Just grab the icon, drag and drop it onto the Applications icon in the dock or you can open a separate Finder window and drop it there.


The Onyx install window is actually not nearly so plain, and many will look similar to it and tell you what to do.



In both of the above examples, you just drag and drop the app icon onto your Applications icon in the Dock. If you have removed the Applications icon from the Dock, then you'll need to open a Finder window and drag it into Applications there.

Some of them will save you a little trouble and they'll actually have a shortcut (or Alias) to the Applications folder right there in the window for you like Firefox.



In this case, just drag the app icon right across within the window and drop it onto the Applications folder shortcut they've provided for you.

Once you have dragged it into your Applications folder, close the window and you can then delete the dmg file. You do not need it any longer. To delete the file, you can right click on the drive icon still on your desktop and select Eject "Firefox" same as you would eject that CD in Windows.



Or you can drag the icon to the trash to eject it. Then open your Downloads folder and you can delete the downloaded file.

One thing to note:
With all of the above examples, you can actually open and run the app without installing it. If you simply double click on the app icon within that window, you'll discover the app will open and run even though you have not installed it onto your machine. This is a great way to run new apps that you just want to check out before you install them.

Last edited by bobtomay; 07-26-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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Installation Method Two - Installer

Some applications are not simple drag and drop. Fortunately, these are pretty limited to some applications such as MS Office, System tweaking type apps and a few others that need to install files into the system folders on your Mac.. They'll download the same and the dmg file will open up the same. But, in the window will be a .pkg file instead of the app itself. This is a package file and it is similar to the .exe installation files in Windows. They'll typically look like this one:



With these pkg files, you'll double click on them and it will open up and run through an installer program similar to what you're use to in Windows.
Most of these are going to ask you for your master password. If you've purposely downloaded a specific app that you know what it is, then you're safe giving it your password. NOTE: If you ever have something open up on your dekstop and you are not sure what it is - do not give it your password.

Once you have it installed, sadly, you are not done yet.
Before you eject the dmg and delete the download you really need to find out, how do you uninstall this app.
Please read on in the Now for those apps that had their own installer, section below.

Last edited by bobtomay; 11-30-2013 at 06:31 AM.
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bobtomay

 
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Uninstalling

With all of those "Drag and Drop" apps, just head to your Applications folder; grab the app, then drag and drop it into the Trashcan. Easy enough - it's gone.

Before you ask, yes it does leave behind a file or two. These are primarily a preference file. They're called .plist files in OS X.

These files are not stored in the system folders (or registry - since there is no registry) like they are in Windows. They do not affect the startup speed of the OS, they are not loaded when the OS starts up, nor in fact, do they do anything to slow down the running of your machine that you're use to in that other OS. They are so small as to be insignificant related to the amount of space on drives today. For everyone new to OS X, I recommend and you really can just simply ignore their existence.

Now for those apps that had their own installer, these are a different breed. For these apps you will almost always need an uninstaller. In almost all cases, you do not want to simply drag the app to the trash. The reason most of these apps have an installer, is because they do indeed install files into your system folders. Due to this, you will need it's uninstaller.

For the most part these apps do provide an uninstaller, although, you may have to hunt for it. Many of these type apps install themselves into a Folder rather than just an icon in the Applications folder. Inside that folder is the first place you'll want to look. Here are a couple of examples:





You'll notice that each of them has an uninstaller.pkg inside their folder. This is what you'll use to remove them from your Mac.


Certain types of apps install themselves as Preferences in OS X. Perian for example. For these, you will head into System Preferences and open the preference pane for the app. You'll find these in the Other section of System Preferences.



Once you open the Preference Pane, you should find an uninstall button there.




Then there are the annoying apps. These either have a separate uninstaller pkg in the window where you installed the original app from or they use the same installer to uninstall the app or do not even offer an uninstaller. Fortunately most of the legitimate apps do have an uninstaller.

Those apps that have an uninstaller pkg listed right there in the same window when you open the dmg to install it, make sure you drag that uninstaller to your Applications folder so that you'll have it if/when you need it.

For the rest, those that use the same installer to uninstall the app are a pitr, and if you don't find an uninstaller in the typical places above, about the best you can do is a google search "your app uninstall" to find out how to remove it. And for those apps that crossover with multiple OSs, you might want to add in your search "Mac your app uninstall".

Last edited by bobtomay; 11-30-2013 at 06:41 AM.
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Thank you! I've had my iMac since the spring after decades of experience with DOS/Windows, but I have been mighty puzzled about installing/uninstalling in Mac OS. I will go over this carefully.

Some installation panes looked munged on the iMac when I open them after a download. I will get a screenshot example and post it.
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Another nice write up Bob. Bookmarked for redirection purposes.

Cheers

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Very good and informative post.

Thanks!

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Well done, Bob! You might mention that for the OCD folks who really want to purge all those pesky little files that AppCleaner will do that for them. And it's free.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakerich View Post
Well done, Bob! You might mention that for the OCD folks who really want to purge all those pesky little files that AppCleaner will do that for them. And it's free.
I've got another spot reserved up there for those folks and all the app removal tools out there. Putting together a list of them now. Would like to do some experimentation with more of them before I post it though.

The one I use on occasion, I would never recommend to a newb.

None of them that I've tested or seen tested will remove as much as the apps own uninstaller.

Those drag and drop apps, I don't believe most folks should concern themselves with those left behind files for maybe the first year they're using OS X - or at least not until they've gotten use to moving around in it and understand at least somewhat where stuff is, what it does and what they should keep their paws off of.

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This is one way the installation windows seem "munged" on my computer. Notice the partial folder icon at the bottom of the pane. Clicking on it brings up a .trash window showing two numbered folders. Mid-2011 iMac running Lion. Or, is there a simple explanation that this switcher needs to be edumacated about?
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Try turning off 'Show hidden files' by whatever method you used to turn it on.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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Thank you!
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Great info! I learned more here than from anywhere else I have been seeking information.

This dragging apps to the trash to "uninstall" them just seems wrong!!!! Too many years on Windows only.

I was originally planning to install Windows 7 so I could run Sonar 8.5 in my recording studio. I even got the 7200 rpm HD. But now I just don't wanna do it.

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Very nice tutorial, thanks!

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Wow, Mac is just too easy and efficient. This is why I love it now, and I'm never going back to Windows.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demapples View Post
Thank you! I've had my iMac since the spring after decades of experience with DOS/Windows, but I have been mighty puzzled about installing/uninstalling in Mac OS. I will go over this carefully. Some installation panes looked munged on the iMac when I open them after a download. I will get a screenshot example and post it.
Here is an example of what I see with a lot of installation windows. Odd. This has nothing to do with Notebook of course -- I see it with most products, so it is something about my iMac I guess?
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