How to Remove Preference Panes From Your Mac

One-click removal of user-installed preference panes

Apple allows third-party developers to add panes to the bottom row of System Preferences in Mac OS X and macOS. Early versions of OS X included the system preferences category names at the beginning of each row in the window. With the advent of OS X Mavericks, Apple removed the category names, though they retained the organization.

With the Other category at the bottom of System Preferences available to app developers as a place for their preference creations to be housed, you may find that you collect a number of preference panes as you install and try out various apps and utilities. There are a couple of ways to remove ones you no longer need.

Instructions in this article apply to all versions of Mac OS X and macOS.

How to Delete Preference Panes From System Preferences

Here's how to remove preference panes with just a click or two:

  1. Launch System Preferences by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu or clicking its icon in the Dock.

    System Preferences option in Apple menu
  2. Look at the bottom row of the System Preferences window. It holds the preference panes you can modify. All the other preferences panes are installed with the operating system and cannot be removed.

    The bottom row of preference panes in Mac System Preferences
  3. Right-click the pane you want to delete in the bottom row.

  4. Select Remove ["Name"] Preference Pane from the pop-up menu.

    Preference pane selected for removal in Mac's System Preferences

Your Mac removes the preference pane, no matter where it is on the hard drive.

How to Remove Preference Panes Manually

Knowing how to manually delete a preference pane can be helpful if the usual uninstall method fails to work, which can happen with poorly written preference panes or ones that have accidentally had their file permissions set incorrectly.

Here's where the preference panes are on your Mac and how to delete them.

  1. Click the Mac desktop to activate Finder and select File > New Finder Window from the Finder menu bar.

    Location for opening a new Finder Window from Finder menu bar

    You can also open a New Finder Window by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.

  2. In the Finder window, click the name of your computer in the Locations section of the sidebar.

    Finder sidebar with name of computer highlighted
  3. Click the Library folder to open it.

    The Mac Library folder
  4. Scroll down and select the folder called PreferencePanes to see the third-party preference panes that you can remove.

    PreferencePane folder in macOS Finder
  5. Drag any panes you don't want to the Trash or highlight them and press Delete on your keyboard.

This procedure lets you access the panes that anyone on your computer can use. If you have multiple accounts, access the folder for each user by going to Library > PreferencePanes in their home folder.

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