Showdown: AppZapper vs. AppDelete

What’s in a name? Well, as you can probably tell, both of these apps “zap” apps you don’t want anymore. You thought that deleting an app was as simple as throwing it into the trash? Welcome to the world of application reference files. These nasties get left behind by every app when it is first run. After a while, these little guys build up. Preferences, plugins, etc all are in these files. The best way to get rid of every file related to an app you want to delete is to use an app “zapper”/deleter. This showdown is dedicated to two apps that have recently been in the spotlight, AppZapper ($15) and AppDelete (freeware). If you want a detailed review of AppDelete, take a look at a previous post on MacApper here.


Just A Note: I created a test “app” called “” and a fake preference file named “com.macapper.demofile.plist”.


Take command of your unused apps
When I dragged my demo app to AppZapper, it displayed a window with the two files associated with, the preference file and the app itself. From here, you can uncheck any file that you don’t want “zapped”, which is a great feature. All I had to do was press “Zap” and boom, those two files were in the trash. A cool feature of this app is that it makes a zapping noise when you click Zap. This app also has an awesome user interface (UI), which is a plus.


This app may not have the great user interface that AppZapper has, but it still does the job. When I dragged my demo app to the AppDelete icon, it displayed a simple window asking if I want to delete all of the related files of Notice that you cannot choose what files you want to delete and what files you want to keep. After pressing Ok, my files were moved to the trash without a sound, literally.


Other useful features
If you click on the genie lamp icon on the bottom-left of the “Drag The App You Want to Delete Here” window, it displays a list of all the apps you have installed, and you can check off which ones you want to delete. If you click on the lighting bolt tab next to the genie lamp, you can choose a widget/preference pane/ipod updater/screensaver/plugin that you want to zap. Very useful!

Puts all of the deleted items in a folder in the Trash labeled “AppDelete” plus the name of the app contained in the folder.

The Verdict
AppZapper wins by a large margin. With it’s awesome user interface and sound effects, AppZapper is the deleter of choice. Of course, if you are a) strapped for cash or b) cheap, then AppDelete does the job very well. I use AppDelete because I am to cheap :) Go grab a 5-Zap trial of AppZapper here. Enjoy zapping!


45 Responses to “Showdown: AppZapper vs. AppDelete”

  1. Edward Scherf on March 1st, 2007 8:08 am

    AppZapper is hands down the uninstaller of choice for me. It’s well worth the small cost of $12.95. AppZapper was really the first application if it’s kind to do what it does and the developers did an amazing job with it, so I didn’t mind shelling out the small amount of cash to help/thank them for their troubles. Plus you get free updates for life, so ya can’t go wrong there :P

  2. Bill I on March 1st, 2007 8:19 am

    For the next app-zapping showdown, you might compare AppZapper to CleanApp. It’s $10 and would make a better comparison to AppZapper than AppDelete, I think.

    Here’s a link:

  3. Tom Markiewicz on March 1st, 2007 9:20 am

    I agree. I think you compared the wrong two apps. I did a side by side comparison on AppZapper vs. CleanApp last night and found CleanApp to be the clean winner. My main criteria? CleanApp was finding related files on numerous apps that AppZapper was missing.

  4. loranger on March 1st, 2007 9:49 am

    FYI, uApp ( does the job too, without any sounds, but with the same approach as AppZapper.
    I think you should give it a try : It’s free.

  5. Alec Feld on March 1st, 2007 9:53 am

    You can’t really compare two small apps like these.

    If you’re going to do a comparison between apps, at least do a nice, researched one that really shows a large comparison of apps out there, not just a showdown between two zappers.

    Sorry, this isn’t really much of an article.

  6. Jon Kantro on March 1st, 2007 9:57 am

    Why not compare the cleaning apps people previously mentioned the appzapper and appdelete entries? That’s simple common sense.

  7. maeks84 on March 1st, 2007 11:04 am

    Are these uninstaller apps just searching for files with the name of the deleted app in them? Or are they looking something else that tells what files are associated with the app?

  8. Mark on March 1st, 2007 11:47 am
  9. Indraneel on March 1st, 2007 3:06 pm

    i’ve heard great things about appdelete

  10. Indraneel on March 1st, 2007 3:07 pm

    oops i meant appzapper, my bad

  11. Yohannes Wijaya on March 1st, 2007 3:31 pm

    @David, you forgot to mention in your article 2 missing great features in appzapper. 1) you can undo app that has been zapped w/ cmd+z and 2) you can also zapp app by right-clicking on the target app -> Automator -> Zap!, a huge time saving feature.

    @maeks84, i suspect Yank does the latter with its proprietary “Sonar” technology. The fact that appzapper sometimes misses some associated files from zapped app probably stems from the former. As such occasionally i still need to mdfind the uninstalled app in terminal just to ensure every associated files are gone.

    @Mark, thanks for sharing Yank, I never heard about it. With its promising “Sonar” technology, the day of orphan files may be gone. Trying it now.

    There is another uninstaller app you guys might be interested to check it out:

  12. William on March 1st, 2007 4:00 pm

    I won AppZapper from Glenn Wolsey’s blog (at least I think that’s where I got it), and I love it.
    I do agree though, that I would never have bought it for the full price.

  13. Ian on March 1st, 2007 6:33 pm

    Can the OP please use standard graphics file formats for images? Tiffs are not web-happy :(

    This page doesn’t display images in Firefox.

    Please keep it to Jpeg, GIF or PNG. There really is no reason to use Tiffs – especially when they require more bandwidth :P

  14. David Aviv on March 1st, 2007 6:46 pm

    @Ian: Sorry ’bout that!

  15. Reggie on March 1st, 2007 9:56 pm

    Hi this is Reggie the Developer for AppDelete. Just want to say thanks for the blog…and I think it’s great that you decided to compare AppDelete to AppZapper. AppZapper has been around for a while and is very popular…so I appreciate it. Well just want to say feel free to contact me directly through my site if you have any questions…and look for the new version coming out soon which will include some new features and improvements.



    PS – AppDelete should make the standard “move to trash” sound when deleting. I’m not sure why it didn’t in the test here…but normally it should. :)

  16. Yohannes Wijaya on March 1st, 2007 11:53 pm

    @Reggie, any chance user can choose what files to keep/delete on the to-be-uninstall application in the future version? This is useful in a scenario where i just download the latest version of an app, still in dmg/pkg format but i dont want it to get deleted when performing uninstallation.

  17. Reggie on March 2nd, 2007 12:17 am

    Hi Yohannes! :)

    Hmmm…I know that is a popular request…and AppZapper has made that popular. Version 1.1 of AppDelete won’t have a completely re-designed interface so it might not be able to do it exactly like you’re asking. However, there will be some new features such as a Log Preview/View and of course there’s always Undo too. So it might be able to do a few new things…we’ll see…hehe. Possibly a future Version 2.0 would have a redesigned interface to allow more features.

    I’ll try to get that new version out soon…I’ll think you’ll like it! Thanks for the post and the feedback…I appreciate it! :)


  18. Chris Boulton on March 2nd, 2007 1:05 am

    Who uses TIFF files for images on the web?

    This is a poor quality “showdown” – you say that part of the reason AppZapper wins is because of the sound effects?

    Your “test” application consisted of nothing more than the app itself as well as a preferences file – come up with a better test scenario which checks for other fragmented files (plugins etc) from the application to see which application correctly removes all files.

    Oh and please, at least proof read your own articles:

    “With it's awesome” – With it is awesome would not make much sense would it? “With its awesome” would make much more sense.

    “I am to cheap” – You are to cheap, not too cheap?

  19. Yohannes Wijaya on March 2nd, 2007 3:20 am

    @Reggie, thanks for the update. one thing that i would like to suggest is probably adding quicksilver integration to appdelete, just another way of making uninstallation workflow faster n easier. Anway, keep up the good work! we’re all looking forward to your next release.

  20. Reggie on March 2nd, 2007 4:02 am

    Hi again Yohannes! :)

    Ok thanks for the tip. Yes the next version will have a “right-click” Automator workflow…and here’s a link if you’re interested about using it with Quicksilver:

    And yes the new version will be slightly different the way the windows work…so you can use it with Quicksilver no problem!!! :)

    Thanks again,


  21. Yohannes Wijaya on March 2nd, 2007 4:17 am

    @Reggie, that’s insanely great news. Cant wait for the release date. Thanks!!

  22. Reggie on March 2nd, 2007 4:30 am

    Hi again! :)

    Your welcome…I was hoping to have it out in February but you know we always want to get it done faster than we can sometimes!!! :) But it will be soon. If you click on my name here in the post it will take you to my site…I have updates on RSS if you’re interested. And if you don’t use RSS I have an updates page. You can also contact me directly on my site if you like!



  23. admin on March 2nd, 2007 10:08 am

    Images fixed. Sorry about that guys ;)

  24. alej744 on March 2nd, 2007 4:45 pm

    Everyone knows AppZapper is better. :)

  25. David Aviv on March 2nd, 2007 8:44 pm

    @Chris Boulton: I used “it’s” because I am signifying that it is possesive. Oh, and I do make typos!

    @Reggie: I am very excited about an update to AppDelete! Keep ‘em coming!

    Sorry about those images :(

  26. Reggie on March 2nd, 2007 9:57 pm

    Thanks David!!! I’m working on it… :)


  27. Sherb on March 3rd, 2007 10:29 pm

    I have to say, AppZapper is the bomb :D

  28. MacApper » Blog Archive » Moving to an Intel Mac: Which Apps Do You Upgrade? on March 20th, 2007 6:00 am

    [...] that you installed but are no longer using, you should delete them, ideally with a program like AppZapper. For programs that you rely on, check to see if there’s a newer Universal release. Check at [...]

  29. Isso Mesmo! » Top 10 Aplicativos para Mac - Parte 2 on June 15th, 2007 6:46 am

    [...] é bom também mas ele não chega nem perto de fazer tudo que o AppZapper faz. Existe até uma comparação aqui, que pode ser interessante de [...]

  30. AppTrap - The Feature Apple Forgot? | MacApper on November 6th, 2007 6:00 am

    [...] and forget about and, in my opinion, its approach is more Mac-like than the similar applications, AppZapper and AppDelete, which involve running one application just to delete [...]

  31. How to Trash Your Mac Apps at on November 28th, 2007 12:45 pm

    [...] first article I found was “Showdown: AppZapper vs. AppDelete by David Aviv. I have tried both of these programs. I do agree with David that AppZapper is [...]

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  33. Redslult on January 20th, 2008 4:35 am
  34. Douglas A. Brace on March 10th, 2008 7:45 am

    I recommend using the demo version of AppZapper. When you have used up all your test “zaps” using AppDelete to uninstall AppZapper and then reinstall AppZapper.

  35. 0305293a4643 on May 11th, 2008 9:17 pm



  36. Bil on July 3rd, 2008 11:38 pm

    Hey guys, appzapper is better and I’m using it personally..and it’s free..
    Register your appzapper with:

  37. Q on September 2nd, 2008 10:50 pm

    check out AppCleaner
    its free

  38. Stuart Cairns on April 26th, 2009 8:45 pm

    Hello all,

    Thanks for the article.
    I was searching for just such a write-up, to give these apps some sort of credibility.

    And while here, I’d like to make comment on some of the previous responders . . .

    Thanks to those have provided constructive criticism, especially in the form of actual use of the products, suggestions of alternate products or suggestions for product improvements, once a developer made themselves known.

    And for those whining children, who have nothing better to do than correct spelling and grammar, or complain that there were insufficient products, or incorrect products, to provide a true “showdown” article . . . . . how about spending some time assisting the crew who produce this site?

    That way, if you see an error, or have some input, you can raise the issue with the site managers, or even fix it yourself. You know, something constructive.

    Thanks for the forum.

  39. AppKeeper on October 20th, 2009 11:02 am

    @Stuart – Well said my friend! All those who like to whine can suck it now. They can’t do anything constructive in their life anyway, so they have to keep adding their stupid comments to each and every thread they find on the net. Too bad for them, smart people read them like an open book.

  40. loranger on October 20th, 2009 11:19 am

    Since my last comment, I switched to AppTrap, a tiny free daemon which listen to app deletion and purpose you to remove the associated plist files :

  41. Justin on February 10th, 2011 6:48 pm

    What software deletes AppZapper? This garbage software interferes with real programs doing real work. I’m trying to install an ica client, and AppZapper comes up begging for money everytime I try to install. What gives?

  42. Reggie Ashworth on February 10th, 2011 8:10 pm


    This is Reggie the Developer of AppDelete. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and AppDelete has seen many changes in the meantime. You can use my app to uninstall the one giving you trouble:

    If you need further assistance just send me an email via my website and I’d be happy to assist. All the best!


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  44. Jonathan on December 19th, 2013 5:58 pm

    Since we’re keeping this article alive with comments, I’m going to put my 2 cts in. I’ve been using appdelete for a few years now and I have to say it’s been always silently running in the background and has worked without fail for me.
    I’ve had version 3 on Mavericks and thought I was in need of an upgrade so I decided to try some of the apps in side by side testing listed in the comments here. While some were decent, I feel AppDelete is more robust and I trust it more. I had better results deleting real apps with AppDelete over the the others.
    I have updated to version 4 of AppDelete and couldn’t be happier.

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