How to uninstall web browsers on a Mac

5 min read

Knowing how to delete a web browser correctly is essential when it comes to keeping your Mac optimized. 

Some of our best-loved and most popular browsers accumulate masses of cache, cookies, and temporary files, taking up valuable disk space and sometimes slowing down our devices.

In this article, I'll walk you through the steps needed to uninstall Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. Let's go.

How to delete a browser on a Mac

So, you want to know how to uninstall a browser on your Mac. Well, there are two ways. Manually, which will require you to uninstall the browser, then locate all of its support files and digital leftovers stored on your disk and remove them.

Or there's the automatic way — by using a trusted third-party removal tool. Whatever your preference, I'll walk you through both methods.

How to uninstall a browser: Chrome

When removing Chrome manually, there are a few steps involved, so I'll break this down.

Step one: Erase your browsing data

When you uninstall Chrome from your Mac, your browsing data will also be removed, but if you're still syncing to Google servers, your data could still be stored, so it's wise first to clear your browsing data. Here's how:

How to erase browsing data

  1. Open Chrome and click the three-dot menu top right.

  2. Press More Tools > Clear Browsing Data.

  3. Press All Time from the dropdown and then select the data you want to erase.

  4. Finally, press Clear Data.

Step two: Uninstall Chrome

Now it's time to remove the Chrome applications. Here's how:

How to remove the Chrome applications

  1. Open Finder > Applications and locate the Google Chrome app.

  2. Drag it to your Trash and empty the Trash afterward.

Step three: Remove stored information

The app may be gone, but all the data stored on your Mac certainly isn't. This is the kind of information that consumes valuable space unnecessarily. Here's how to remove it:

Stored information rremoval

  1. Open Finder, press Go from the top menu, and choose Go To Folder.
  2. Paste the below pathway and press Go:
    ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome
  3. Select all the folders located here and drag them to your Trash.
  4. Finally, Empty your Trash once again.

It's common for some service files, including launch agents and cache, to remain on your Mac. Even after following these steps, removing browsers manually can be challenging.

If you want to eradicate all traces entirely, then you'll need to use a dedicated uninstaller tool, such as Apple notarized CleanMyMac X. If you haven't already, download the free version here.

The Uninstaller module has been cleverly developed to erase the contents of an application, including all those hard-to-reach related files and folders. If you want to remove the app manually, it's absolutely OK. Just remember to check for leftover data by using the Uninstaller module and its Leftovers tool that comes with CleanMyMac X.
How to delete a web browser the smart way:

All apps selected in the Uninstaller module of CMMX

  1. Launch the application and go to Uninstaller in the sidebar.

  2. Press View All Applications.

  3. Locate Chrome in the list, select it and press Uninstall.

Yes, seriously, that's it, how simple!

How to uninstall Safari

It may come as a surprise to some, but since El Capitan 10.11, native Mac apps, including Safari, are protected against removal and modification by SIP (System Integrity Protection).

Although it's not widely recommended for the novice Mac user, there is, like most things, a workaround using Terminal. But considering the amount of space it'll save, I think it's not worth it.

Here's how to uninstall Safari with Terminal:

Step one: Disable SIP

  1. Launch your Mac in recovery mode. Depending on your device, the method varies. Find out here from Apple.
  2. Once your Mac is booted up in recovery mode, from the top menu bar, press Utilities > Terminal.
  3. Enter the below command in the Terminal window:
    csrutil disable
  4. Press Enter to disable your SIP.
  5. Restart your device.

      Step two: Uninstall Safari

      1. Open Terminal via a spotlight search (Command > Terminal).                  
      2. Enter the below command: 
        sudo mount -uw /System/Applications
      3. Press Enter and input your password when prompted.
      4. You now have read and written permission. Enter the below command:
        cd /Applications/
      5. Press Enter to see the Applications directory, then input the below command to erase Safari, and press Enter: 
        sudo rm -rf Safari.app/

        Make sure you enable your SIP once again. Follow the steps in step one above, this time entering csrutil enable into Terminal.

        Safari reset selected in the Uninstaller module in CMMX

        As you can see, this is complicated and not for the novice. Instead, I would use CleanMyMac X to remove Safari's associated files and folders. Way easier, in my opinion. To do it, first, go to CleanMyMac X > Preferences from the menu bar > Ignore List > Uninstaller > uncheck Ignore system applications and close the app. Now, launch the app once again and go to Uninstaller, choose Safari from the list, and press Reset instead of Uninstall.

        How to uninstall Firefox

        Just like with Chrome, there are a few steps involved in removing Firefox manually. Let's take a look.

        Step one: Remove browsing data

        Browsing data removal

        1. Open Firefox and select History from the top menu.

        2. Press Clear Recent History.

        3. Select your preferences and press OK.

        Step two: Delete the application

        1. Open Finder > Applications.

        2. Locate the app and drag it to your Trash and empty it afterward.

        Step three: Remove associated files

        1. Open Finder, then from the top menu, press Go > Go to Folder.

        2. Type the below pathways:

          ~/Library/Caches/Firefox
          ~/Library/Caches/Mozilla

        3. Remove all contents to your Trash and then empty your Trash.

            Again, this is so much easier with the app I mentioned earlier in the article — no need for all the steps; instead, just a few simple clicks.

            How to remove associated files

            How to uninstall Opera

            You guessed it, a couple of steps are involved to uninstall Opera manually.

            Step one: Uninstall the app

            How to uninstall Opera

            1. Open Finder > Applications.

            2. Drag the Opera icon to your Trash and empty it afterward.

            Step two: Delete app leftovers

            1. Open Finder and select Go > Go to Folder from the top menu.

            2. Type this command: ~/Library

            3. Locate the Cache folder and remove the below subfolder:
              com.operasoftware.Opera

            4. Send all files and folders to your Trash and empty it afterward.

                Again, this is so much faster and more efficient using the Uninstaller module from CleanMyMac X.
                Now you know How to uninstall web browsers on Mac.

                Follow us
                Blog FAQ

                MacPaw uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy. Click here to learn more.