App Addict
July 10th, 2024

App Cleaner vs. Pear Cleaner

Mac Apps

Unlike Windows.macOS does not have a built in uninstall utility. Occasionally some complex apps might come with a built-in uninstaller, but for the most part, you are on your own. It used to be that you could just delete the application from the Finder and be done with it, but as applications have grown in size and complexity, their support files have grown too and your ~/Library and ~/Library/Application support folder may have many files with sizes into the gigabytes that need to be deleted along with their apps. Luckily for Mac users there are two excellent free uninstall applications to choose from.

App Cleaner

App Cleaner
App Cleaner

App Cleaner from FreeMacSoftware is the more bare bones app of the two. Its user interface is a simple window where you drag and drop an application you want to uninstall. App Cleaner quickly analyzes the app, identifies its supporting files and lists them giving you the opportunity to deselect anything you might want to keep (like a plist file in case you want to save your preferences to reinstall the app later). Then you click a button, authenticate and the process is quickly over. App Cleaner's secret super power is Smart Delete. SmartDelete detects when apps are trashed manually or by other programs and will automatically find and offer to remove related files. In the security and privacy settings, App Cleaner required full disk access.

The app can be downloaded from the developer's web site.  It was last updated in July of 2023.

Pear Cleaner

Pear Cleaner
Pear Cleaner


Pear Cleaner, by Indy Developer Alin Lupascuhas, has a more detailed user interface. It lists all of the applications installed on your computer alphabetically or by size and gives you their file size. If you click on an app, it gives you more information such as the required processor type. Like App Cleaner, it also lists all the individual files and folders it identifies for deletion and gives you a chance to deselect any of the before clicking the uninstall button. It identifies any progressive web apps you may have installed as well as any iOS apps running on your silicon Mac. Pear Cleaner can scan your computer for leftover files from old uninstalls. In my case, it was unable to find any, probably because I have practiced good computer hygiene since I got the machine.

Pear Cleaner has some extra features. It can identify when a file was installed via Homebrew and update your Homebrew files upon uninstallation. It also has a Finder extension to allow you to uninstall applications right from the finder even if Pear Cleaner is closed. like App Cleaner, it has a feature, it calls Sentinel Monitor, to remove leftover files immediately if an app is trashed manually. Pear Cleaner requires full disk access, accessibility access and automation permission. You can skin the app and choose whether to have it from from the dock, menu bar or both. The app is updated often, almost too often, as I get tired of continuously downloading new versions manually, the only update method.

It can be downloaded from the developer's GutHub page.

My choice

I use App Cleaner. In testing, it consistently identified files and folders missed by Pear Cleaner and the feature that is most important to me is complete uninstallation. Although it does not have a Finder Extension, you can still right-click on applications and choose Open With > App Cleaner to open it and uninstall an application.