Want to remove an application from your Mac? No problem: the conventional wisdom is to simply open the Application folder and drag the program folder to the trash: job done. Trouble is, very few apps limit themselves to installing everything into a single folder, and these days, such an approach basically leaves files and folders scattered all over your hard drive.
An emerging subset of utilities is the application cleaner tool: instead of dragging the application folder to the trash, you launch this tool first, then drag the program folder on to its window instead. Hey presto, said program quickly searches common folders on your hard drive to list most (if not all) additional files associated with that program, enabling you to delete the lot with one click.
AppCleaner is one such tool – its biggest selling point over similar products is that it's freeware, so you can now keep your hard drive that bit cleaner without having to pay a penny for the privilege. It's as simple to use as already described – either drop the app on to the icon, or choose Applications, Widgets or Others to select specific items from a list (allowing you to delete multiple items at once). By default all items are selected – either untick individual entries or use the Options menu to deselect specific types.
Once done, click Delete and the selected files are dumped in the trash. Open the Preferences menu and you'll see a SmartDelete option – switch this on, and the program will leap into action whenever you drag an application folder to the trash, saving you the bother of launching it first. You can also switch off protection for default and currently running apps too from here.
In terms of results, the program wasn't as thorough as AppDelete, a commercial program, but it found plenty of additional files that make it a preferable choice to simply relying on deleting the application folder manually.