How to Uninstall a Mac Antivirus App

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How to Uninstall a Mac Antivirus App

How to Uninstall a Mac Antivirus App

If you’re testing out antivirus apps for your Mac, installed one and don’t want it anymore, or otherwise have to remove an antivirus from an OS X computer, this article will help you with doing so.

The single most common complaint about Mac cleaners and antivirus apps is that they are difficult or even impossible to uninstall. This is because antivirus apps and cleaning apps access the kernel or core of your computer, and the automatic drag and drop deletion process doesn’t clean up all of those files. When you install an antivirus program, you will see things like “installing scripts”, these are placed in different parts of your computer, and will remain when you remove the program.

We will go over how to uninstall an antivirus on Mac by manually and using the free software app CCleaner.

Manually Removing Antivirus Files

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Step 1: Drag and drop your antivirus app from the applications folder to the trash.

Step 2: If an uninstaller opens, run that.

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Step 3You may have hidden files on your system. Hidden files are used to authenticate and run your application, and won’t show up in the Finder. To access these files, go to Applications, Utilities, and then open Terminal. 

Type (or Paste)  ” defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES ” 

Hit Return/Enter

Hold Command/Option down and left click on the Finder icon in your bottom menu bar. 

Hit “Relaunch”

Step 4: Search for folders from your application. Delete these folders. Keep in mind that some will be hidden in subfolders. Don’t delete anything not clearly labelled as your antivirus or the antivirus company.

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Step 5: Open a Finder Window, Select “GO” from the Top Menu Bar, and Type in ~/Library/ (some of this should auto-fill). Repeat only type /Library instead.

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Step 6: Repeat under /Library/Application Support

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Step 7: Check each of these folders:

  • /Library/LaunchAgents
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons
  • /Library/PreferencePanes
  • /Library/StartupItems
  • ~/Library
  • ~/Library/Application Support
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes
  • ~/Library/StartupItems
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Kernel Extensions for Avira, they often aren’t labeled, which is why it is very important to verify each one before deleting it.

Step 8: Go to /System/Library/Extensions. Do Not Delete Anything. Look for files that come from your antivirus or Mac cleaner. If you’ve ever wondered why some applications like MacKeeper are difficult to uninstall, the secret lies here, in Kernel Extensions. These extensions are hidden from the Finder, and therefore are very difficult to uninstall if you don’t know they are there. Essentially, if you do this, you can completely uninstall MacKeeper, Norton, and other difficult to remove apps. You’re looking for things like SymEvent.kext, AVGLCH.kext, etc. Copy these files and drag and drop them to your desktop. Delete them from the Kernel Extensions Library, and then restart your computer. If you have issues, then immediately restore those files. For safety, try googling any extensions you want to remove to make sure they’re associated with the app you’re removing. If you’re certain, go ahead and delete them. 

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Step 9: Go to Utilities, Select Terminal, Type or Paste ” defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO ”

Your antivirus app is fully uninstalled.

Using the Uninstaller

Some antivirus apps have built in uninstallers that work to help you remove as many of the remaining files as is possible. These are located in different places on different apps, but might not remove all of the files.

Using CCleaner 

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If you haven’t installed CCleaner before, it is a free computer cleaning program with a variety of features that can clean cookies, help control startup programs, and remove all files when you uninstall a program. While not necessary, it can save you a lot of time, and it’s free. It’s also one of the best and oldest programs of its caliber, and has more than a 10 year history on Windows. You can download it from

Step 1: Open CCleaner

Step 2: Select the “Tools” tab and go to “Uninstall”

Step 3: Wait for your apps to load

Step 4: Find the App you want to uninstall. Some won’t give you privileges to uninstall them through CCleaner. In that case, simply run the Uninstaller for the app. It may also still be open or updating in the background. In the latter case, if you can’t use “Force Quit”, go to “Applications” – “Utilities” and then open Activity Monitor. Select the app on the list of open applications and click the small X in the upper left hand corner.

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Step 5: Go to “Cleaner” on the CCleaner Menu, and select “Applications”

Step 6: Select “yes” when the box pops up.

Step 7: Wait

Step 8: Repeat Under Mac OS

Step 9: You may have hidden kernel files on the computer, check step 8 of the manual process.


Most programs without Kernel access will easily uninstall completely using their own uninstaller, C Cleaner, or by checking the library and deleting the files you find there. In either case, it’s important that you check what you’re deleting, make sure it belongs to the app you uninstalled, and maybe make a backup of your computer before making changes if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.

If you have a specific case and neither of these methods is working, comment your issue and we’ll try to help. Or, click here to learn more about how to uninstall apps on Mac.

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About The Author
Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don't judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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