written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 8/30/2011
Uninstalling iTunes and the files associated with the iTunes application is not as easy as it first appears. Here's how to remove iTunes and all files associated with it.
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There are several reasons a Mac OS X user would want to uninstall iTunes. These reasons can range from a user preferring to use another media application to correcting problems with an iTunes install. Below you will find clear, concise, step-by-step instructions that will allow you to manually uninstall iTunes and the preference files associated with it.
The first steps you will want to take when manually removing iTunes is to make sure the application is not running, navigate to your Applications folder and drag the iTunes.app to the trash. This will remove the main iTunes executable file.
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Stop the iTunes Helper and Remove It from Your Startup Applications
As I mentioned above the next step in your quest to manually uninstall iTunes is to stop the iTunes Helper process and then make sure it doesn't run at startup. To do this you will want to access your activity monitor which can be located in the utilities folder (/Applications/Utilities). Once loaded the activity monitor allows you to bring up a list of running processes, locate the iTunes Helper process, highlight it and hit quit process. When asked to confirm simply hit quit. This will stop the iTunes Helper process for the current session, next we'll want to ensure it doesn't load the next time you boot your Mac.
To remove the iTunes Helper from your list of startup programs you will want to access your account details. Your account preferences can be found by going to system preferences > view > account. Once your account is loaded simply click login items, locate iTunes Helper and click the "-" sign to remove it. The iTunes Helper app will no longer load when you reboot your Mac and login to your Mac account.
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Reboot and Verify
As a last step to manually removing iTunes you will want to reboot your Mac and make sure the above steps were done properly. Reboot your Mac, login to your account, open the activity monitor and verify that the iTunes Helper app is not running. If you do not see the iTunes Helper app listed you did the above steps properly and you are now iTunes free.
While this has removed the iTunes application there are still some configuration files that are left behind. If you would like to clean up these leftover files please keep reading.
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Remove iTunes Files
The following directories and files can be removed following the manual removal of iTunes:
Lastly, navigate to the ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ directory and remove any files beginning with com.apple.iTunes and that should do it.
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As you can see there is a bit more to removing iTunes from your Mac then simply dragging it to the trash. Overall this is still a very easy and safe process and can come in handy should you have problems with your current iTunes install that a reinstall (over the existing iTunes) has not solved. This process will not remove any items that were in your iTunes library, only the main iTunes executable and preference files.