Delete GarageBand, iMovie, & iPhoto If Unused to Free Up Disk Space in OS X

Jan 2, 2014 - 10 Comments

Delete Garageband, iMovie, and iPhoto from Mac OS X

The wide variety of default iApps which come preinstalled on most Macs these days are all great applications, but if you don’t actually use them, they just take up disk space. Case in point are Garageband, iMovie, and iPhoto, three fantastic apps for making music, editing videos, and managing photos, but if you never use these apps then it may make sense to uninstall them, which can free up 5GB+ of disk space in the process. While 5GB may not sound like much for users with a huge 1TB internal disk drive, those running lower capacity SSD’s may find that 5GB of space better used for something else than unused apps.

Important: Only do this if you know for certain that you do not use these apps. Start a Time Machine backup of the Mac before beginning. Deleting iMovie, Garageband, and iPhoto will uninstall the apps completely from OS X. Depending on the Mac model, it may also make them impossible to reinstall without paying the full price for the newest version through the Mac App Store. Thus, only remove these apps if you are absolutely positive you do not use them, will not use them, and have no use for them. Do not delete iPhoto if you use it to manage your photos, or you may lose access to your photo albums in the process.

It’s worth mentioning that deleting these apps can be handled slightly differently in each version of OS X, with OS X Mavericks bundling the majority of the app components within the app container which greatly simplifies uninstalling, while prior versions of OS X scattered the application components through different folders. Regardless, we’ll cover the two methods of uninstalling the default apps.

Manually Deleting Garageband, iPhoto, & iMovie

Manually removing files is also fairly easy, and with OS X Mavericks it’s sufficient to uninstall any apps in general. For this, we’ll obviously focus on the trio of default iApps that aren’t getting used on a users Mac:

  1. From the Finder, head to the /Applications/ folder
  2. Locate “GarageBand”, “iMovie”, and “iPhoto”, and drag each to the Trash (or select them and hit Command+Delete to send them to Trash) – confirm the deletion by entering an admin password
  3. Garageband, iPhoto, and iMovie in Applications folder

  4. Head to the Trash, confirm it’s those three apps and not any others, then choose “Empty” to clear out the space

Delete iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie

As mentioned, with OS X Mavericks this should be sufficient to clean out the extra space, and you’ll typically recover 5GB or more of disk capacity simply by selecting and deleting those three apps. However, prior versions of OS X may require an additional step or two to clear out the associated files:

  1. From the Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to summon Go To Folder, then enter the following file path:
  2. /Library/Application Support/GarageBand/

  3. Select and delete all files in the “/Library/Application Support/GarageBand/” directory
  4. Empty the Trash again to clear out the space, typically 1.5GB to 3GB of files

If the directory exists and you use Get Info about that directory, you’ll see it’s total file size:

GarageBand extras in Application Support folder

If the above method seems overly complex, you can also rely on the excellent AppCleaner tool we have covered before to handle the file removal for you.

Uninstalling Garageband, iPhoto, iMovie with AppCleaner

AppCleaner is a free third party app that removes apps and all associated files, which can simplify the uninstall process on older versions of OS X. We mentioned this in our must-have Mac utility list, so if you already have it you won’t need to download it again.

  1. Get AppCleaner if you don’t have it yet and launch the app
  2. Go to /Applications/ and select Garageband, iMovie, and iPhoto, then drag and drop them into AppCleaner’s Dock icon
  3. Select each app, then choose “Delete” to uninstall them through AppCleaner
  4. Uninstall Garageband, iMovie, and iPhoto with AppCleaner

  5. When finished, quit out of AppCleaner

The advantage to using AppCleaner is that it will typically remove the assorted files that come with iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband, like the sample instruments and sound files, video tutorials, and other components stored around the OS X file system. You can do this manually, AppCleaner just tends to make it easier. Versions of OS X prior to Mavericks may want to check out the manual removal process anyway to make sure the large “Application Support” folder for Garageband is removed as well, since it can easily take up 2GB alone.

That should be it. You’ll have successfully uninstalled Garageband and it’s associated files, iMovie, and iPhoto, and have some more disk space available as a result.

Going a bit further, advanced users who never use iTunes to sync iOS devices or manage their music can also uninstall that to save some more disk space, or even Safari, Mail, Photo Booth, and remove other default apps, but it requires Terminal access and should not be done without a compelling reason.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

10 Comments

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  1. Austrian says:

    On the screenshot which shows how to empty the trash, how can I group the items (eg. October; 2012 …) like you?

  2. Guy Einy says:

    Hi, speaking of free space, in the screenshot it shows Chrome as weighing 800MB
    That almost definitely means it has in it some old versions it keeps up for backup and forgets to delete.
    “Show Package Contents” to get to them.
    You’re welcome.

  3. sanjay says:

    Thank, but another app I would l like to remove is Game Center. Doesn’t seem to be possible to delete it. Any idea how to get rid of it. I’m not a gamer.

  4. Theo Vosse says:

    I also have a /Library/Audio/Apple Loops directory. If you don’t have Garagaband, you can deleted it as well. It is around 4.5Gb.

  5. Johannes says:

    HI, so how do I re-install those apps then?

  6. zer0x says:

    “/Library/Application Support/GarageBand/”
    Whether I should retain GarageBand folder itself after deleted its contents?

  7. Tom says:

    WARNING: If you notice your mac being slow and generally not being right, it is most likely because of apps that need updating.

    iMovie was in the app store needing a update for the past couple of weeks, but I did not download it. During that time my mac was acting slow and silly.

    NOTE:: ===>> UPDATE the apps or remove them completely.

    ccleaner,fix permissions,etc all that stuff will NOT fix it.

    Just update EVERYTHING in the app store or Uninstall them.

  8. Dana says:

    Can i remove just the garage band and iMovie? i will never use those, but i love iPhoto.

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