Locate and trash old applications in Snow Leopard

Macworld Australia Staff
3 October, 2012
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Macworld Australia reader Chas Hamilton has an issue locating and removing old applications in OS X Snow Leopard, he says:

My Applications folder contains hundreds of old apps that I never use. I came up with the clever idea of sorting them by the date I last opened them so that I could throw out out any unwanted applicationss.

I’m running Snow Leopard, and when I open my Applications folder in List or Cover Flow views and choose View > Show View Options, the option to order files by Last Opened is greyed out. Is there some way to make it active?

Apple disabled that option in Snow Leopard – as you’ve seen, although it exists, it’s greyed out. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Open the Applications folder and press Command-F. In the resulting search window, click the ‘Applications’ button at the top of the window so you’re searching that folder.

Configure the pop-up menus at the top of the window to read ‘Last Opened Date Is Before MM/DD/2010′ (enter a month and day starting the time period you wish to define).

Click the plus-sign button (+) to create another condition. Configure this one to read Kind Is Application. (You do this because your Applications folder may contain not only applications, but other varieties of files – help and documentation files, for example – that you haven’t opened in the last few years.)

The resulting list should contain only those applications you haven’t used in the last two years.

Use Snow Leopard's Find feature to locate applications you're no longer using.


It’s possible that you won’t see a Last Opened column in this list. If that’s the case, press Command-J to bring up the View Options window. In this window, enable the Last Opened option (which in this particular instance actually does work). With this column visible, you can then sort the list by date, making it easy to locate those applications you haven’t turned to for anything lately.

Naturally, before you toss out any of these less-favoured applications, you’ll want to examine them carefully so you don’t accidentally discard something you anticipate needing someday.

Note that if you’re running Lion or Mountain Lion, this isn’t an issue. While Apple seemed content to leave the option greyed out in Snow Leopard, it thought better of that move with Lion: It renamed the option Date Last Opened and enabled it.

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