Mac OS—how to remove it all?

Hi there. I’ve had some fantastic, great problems from time to time, with libraries especially, and in line with that I have chosen to reinstall Mac OS from scratch to make sure to get rid of the old KiCad to get able to start a new KiCad Install—this takes a huge amount of time. So now I wonder how to avoid this, to skip the OS reinstall, to simply get rid of EACH AND EVERY TRACE of KiCad in Mac OS, in every folder down to ROOT level, to make it possible to install “KiCad 100% Factory Default” again. Anyone?

If you install KiCad ‘conventionally’ it gets installed to the following folders.

  1. The KiCad folder in /Applications This contains the main applications.

  2. The “kicad” folder in /Library/Application Support which contains the assets (footprints/libraries/models/templates) etc.

  3. The KiCad preferences in ~/Library/Preferences/kicad Most importantly, these include the fp-lib-table and the sym-lib-table as well as various preferences files. For 5.99, the preferences are stored separately within a ‘5.99’ directory. You need to remove the all the files in this directory to remove all the settings.

This is the standard ‘default’ installation. If you simply remove (3) the next time you run KiCad, it will run the ‘first install’ wizard and regenerate default preferences.

It is, of course, possible to set things up differently and use environmental variables to point to resources in different locations, symlink files to shared locations and multiple other tricks. You can place libraries wherever you like so you need to check the entries in the Kicad -> Preferences -> Configure paths ... menu to check there are not any assets that you have relocated that you want to remove.

You will also notice that it is possible to keep a 5.1.x installation and a 5.99 installation separate with different preferences and you need to remove the 5.99 folder if you want to reset this as well.

When you reinstall KiCad, if there is a pre-existing ‘kicad’ folder in ~/Library/Preferences, you KEEP your original preferences. This is the only directory you need to remove to reset to ‘factory fresh’. This is a common paradigm on macOS - if you have futzed up an applications setting and can’t seem to reset it or it doesn’t start, deleting the preferences is a good way of resting the app back to its ‘out of the box’ settings.


In addition and for completeness, the ~/Library/Preferences/kicad/ folder contains a scripting folder. This is used for plugins and you might want to preserve the contents between installs to keep any plugins. On a practical point, it is probably easiest for maintenance to symlink the original files into the scripting directory.

There are plans for the forthcoming v6 to have a plugin manager. At present, the scripts are in ~/Library/Preferences/kicad/5.99/scripting.

The following directories are also searched for plugins which is where the stock footprint wizards live.



Thanks John, very well explained, I will try that tomorrow… or now… just remove all kicad traces in “~/Library/Preferences” and keep the kicad libraries in “/Library/Application Support”… then download the latest nightly build and make a reinstall from there…

FWIW, lots of Mac apps leave cruft around when needing to uninstall. I usually use AppZapper ( to uninstall things on Mac. It will find all the bits and bobs around the system that we created by the app.

Thanks seth also! I have used “AppZapper” since like 5 years too, and also “App Cleaner & Uninstaller Pro”. Even though both of them i seem to still have some probs with clean install of Kicad, will try again as we speak with just removing the “~/Library/Preferences” files and then do a quick reinstall of the latest kicad build…

Wow, worked like a bottle of charm this time!