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Computers

How to Install and Remove Apps From the Mac App Store

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Mac for Beginners.
The 5 Things You Must Know When Converting From Windows to Mac

Software used to be sold in stores and installed from discs.  Now, it's is often distributed electronically via the Mac App Store or the developer's own website. Sometimes both.

To the new Mac owner, or one coming from Windows, the concept of a disc image may be confusing. As is an App that can't be installed because … it is from an unidentified developer. Then there's the process to uninstall unwanted apps. Installing or removing software on your Mac is done a number of different ways and this tutorial will make you a master.


Objectives

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to:

  • Install and uninstall applications from the Mac App Store
  • Set up your Mac to allow third party applications
  • Install and uninstall applications from third party developers

NOTE: To make this tutorial easier to access, I will be breaking each section into its own screencast. This will play much better than one long one and hopefully make a bit more sense.


Installing and Removing Apps From the Mac App Store


How to Install and Remove Apps From the Mac App Store - part one
Apple's App Store
Apple's App Store

The App Store is a repository of applications. Some applications are free, while others have a price. It is fully curated by Apple. Individual developers can apply to have their apps listed in the store. They set the price of their app and Apple takes a 30% cut of the sales.

I'll choose an App that I want to install and click on it. Each application has its own page that gives me specific details on what the app does, screenshots, and previous user reviews.

To install the app, I simply click the install button, enter my password, and click Sign In.

Installing an App Store Application
Installing an App Store Application

After a few minutes the application has been downloaded and installed! This application can be found, as well as all the installed apps, on the Launchpad.  This can be accessed by pressing F4 on the Keyboard.  The shortcut key may be different depending on your keyboard.

Launchpad on OSX
Newly Installed Application Inside Launchpad on OS X

Removing the application is straightforward as well. Start Launchpad, then long click on the app until it begins shaking, then click the X. If you own an iPhone or iPad, this technique should feel very familiar to you.

Removing an App Store Application
Removing an App Store Application

Allowing Third-Party Software


Allowing Third-Party Software

By default, the Mac is set up to only allow applications that have been developed by Apple registered developers. This pretty much eliminates the risk of viruses or malware being installed by the average user. But it also overly restricts access to quality software whose authors simply don't want to pay Apple 30% of their gross sales or jump through the hoops of becoming an identified developer.

To demonstrate installing software from a non-identified developer it is, first, necessary to change the System Preferences to allow it.

Accessing System Preferences
Accessing System Preferences

Launch System Preferences, then choose Security and Privacy. Unlock the window to allow changes. Click on the padlock in the lower left, enter the system password, and hit Enter.

Unlocking Security and Privacy Preferences
Unlocking Security and Privacy Preferences

Once the window is unlocked, change my security preference to allow applications from anywhere to be installed. Re-lock the window by clicking the padlock again, then click back to return to System Preferences.

Setting the Allow Software to be Installed from to Anywhere
Setting the Allow Software to be Installed from to Anywhere

Now I can install any application I like regardless of its developer or origin.

Note: Only install 3rd party software that you are 1000% sure is safe! I am only demonstrating this for educational purposes. If you end up installing a virus, malware, NSA spyware, or anything else to your computer, you do so at your own risk!


Installing Applications From 3rd Party Websites


Installing Applications From 3rd Party Websites

Think of the disc images just as you would actual discs inserted into the superdrive on your Mac. They are just in pure software form instead of being burned onto a physical disc.

3rd party software .dmg file after being downloaded
3rd party software .dmg file after being downloaded

To install software from the disc image,download it from its website, then double click the image file to open it. Then drag the software located inside to the Applications folder. This completes the installation.

Installing the 3rd party software
Installing the 3rd party software

To uninstall the app that was just installed, go to Finder, then the Applications folder, then find the app and drag it to the trash can. That uninstalls the application.

Uninstalling the 3rd party software
Uninstalling the 3rd party software

NOTE: Once the actual software from the disc image has been installed, eject that disc image just as you would a physical installation disc.


Conclusion

Knowing how to add and remove software from your Mac is a key step towards mastering the operating system. I have shown you the very best ways to install and remove applications.

You have a plethora of options to explore.  Enjoy!

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