How to Install and Uninstall Software on a Mac

install great software on your Mac

If you’ve ever come across a great deal on Macintosh software on the Web, you might feel frustrated once you have it—how do you install it? But, one of the best things about using a Mac is how easy it is to install software. And removing most software packages is just as easy.

Macintosh computers use a disk image or .dmg files for installing software. Sometimes you will come across a package or .pkg file, and sometimes these files are compressed into a Zip file (.zip). And all applications are stored in the Applications folder.

How to Install Macintosh Software

1. Download an application from the Internet. Mac installation files are named .dmg, .pkg, or .zip.

look for .zip, .pkg, or .dmg files

2. Double click on the file to open it. If it’s a zip file, this will unpack the zip automatically into its own folder. If it’s not a zip file, skip to the next step. Once the zip file has been unpacked, navigate to that folder, where you will find a .dmg or .pkg file.

Find the folder after you double click

MORE: Best Mac Apps 2014

3. Double click on the .dmg or .pkg file to start the installation.

Package files will lead you through the steps

4. Follow the instructions on the screen to install the software. Most .pkg files will do all the work for you, but sometimes with .dmg files, you will need to drag the app to the applications folder. Your application is now installed.

dmg files prompt you to move the file to the Applications folder

5. Delete the downloaded file once you’re done.

don't forget to delete the folder too if there is one

How to Uninstall Macintosh Software

Uninstalling an application from your Mac is even easier. Drag the application from your Applications folder to the trash. If you want you can empty the trash to clear the deleted application from your hard drive completely.

drag the application to the trash

Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin has been building websites since 1995, and teaching others how to do it since 1997. She's written several books on the topic, and is probably working on another one right now. And she does it all on her beloved iMac and sometimes her MacBook Air.
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  1. Kurt Says:

    I’m researching Apple products (impressed with the 13″ Air) but mostly focusing on the Operating System. Installing and uninstalling apps are one of the key (headaches) aspects of a modern OS (it’s a shame that something as simple as uninstalling an app can cause the OS and its’ user so much grief).

    For some of us looking to switch over from Windows and the constant hunting for program breadcrumbs (registry, odd folder locations spread anywhere on the system), how does Mac OS handle this?

    From what I’ve read elsewhere, the uninstall method isn’t 100% effective. There might be a few places (not many) where one needs to look to erase all setting/config and other program left-overs.

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