How to Uninstall iTunes

The iTunes application offers everything from music libraries to e-radio services, but even it isn't a product of truly-universal appeal. Although removing it is one of the few cases where macOS fans have a more troublesome time than Windows users, it's possible, regardless of the operating system. Users who are sure it's worth ditching shouldn't pause to remove iTunes from their hard drives and reclaim the space for other purposes.

Before continuing, note that removing the local iTunes software will not delete your account. It also will not remove library music files. These guidelines hold regardless of the OS (Windows, macOS, etc.).

Windows users can remove iTunes through the Start menu interface or the Control Panel. The Control Panel can be more comfortable for users who lose track of their installed programs and shortcuts. For this method, input 'Add or remove programs' into the taskbar's search field and click the top result. The 'applications & features' section of the Control Panel provides an alphabetized list of all installed software. Scroll down to iTunes, click it and click the Uninstall button.

Some users find it faster using the Start menu. Click Start and scroll down the right side of the menu through each shortcut. Find the iTunes shortcut and right-click it for a different way of accessing the Uninstall option.

Note that during the uninstall routine, which may take some time, the UAC or User Account Control may appear. The UAC prevents unauthorized entities from removing or adding software or making threatening system changes. Users who see this prompt can click 'yes' to continue through the uninstallation and, if desirable, change the conditions for UAC prompts afterward.

Since iTunes is the default music player for macOS, users of that operating system require a little more hoop-jumping. Begin by disabling the SIP or System Integrity Protection feature. To disable SIP, reboot and use the Ctrl+R keyboard combination to go into recovery mode. Open the terminal (under Utilities) and type this command:

csrutil disable

This instruction turns off SIP. Reboot again and log into an account with admin privileges. Open the Terminal application (in Utilities, a sub-section of Applications), and enter the following commands, pressing enter after each:


sudo rm-rf iTunes.application/

iTunes should uninstall after the second command. Afterward, experts highly recommend that users re-enable System Integrity Protection. Follow the same procedure for deactivating it, but with the following command, instead:

csrutil enable

While these steps are more arduous than removing third-party programs is considerable, some users prefer tight and unrelenting control over their systems. It's worth the trouble of an extra reboot or two for those who want to customize macOS, with or without iTunes.

Users deleting iTunes for storage space reasons should also consider deleting, or trimming down, the music libraries that the program leaves behind after the uninstall routine. Music files – especially high-quality ones – are some of the larger data formats and can take up considerable hard drive space. As a rule, users who use up-to-date hardware reasonably and curate their downloads responsibly shouldn't have to resort to removing system-bundled programs like iTunes for reserving HD space or other concerns.

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