Can I uninstall iTunes and Safari
January 20, 2012 6:53 PM   Subscribe

How can I uninstall iTunes and Safari, and would doing so break anything else?

I'd like to completely uninstall iTunes and Safari. I tried dragging the app to the trash, but OS X says they can't be modified because they're required by the OS (Lion, btw).

So I guess the first thing I'm wondering is whether or not the OS actually needs these two programs for anything. I'm worried that maybe something like Steam uses Safari (I suspect this because Steam won't play Flash video and when I click their link to install it, Safari opens).

Assuming there's no real reason for me to keep these (and other included programs), how would I go about deleting them?

If you're wondering why I want to uninstall them, I a) never use them, b) can't seem to get them to stop requesting I update, c) don't like having useless programs clutter my Applications list, and d) sometimes hit the play/pause/ff/rew buttons by accident and iTunes opens.
posted by VoteBrian to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From previous experience with a mac / a quick google / having hacked around in osx, not possible in the conventional sense. You can probably find ways to hack or break parts of the app, or the icons themselves, but they both contain some core tech that OSX expects to find there either now, or in future, or during upgrades / software installs.

There's lots of stuff in OSX you will never use but you're better off just chilling out and ignoring them. Even, at a complete best case, you gouge most of it out now, you're creating a situation where a future upgrade will probably nuke your system or simply restore those components. Not worth getting blindsided. Strongly recommend going for a walk to a cafe instead.
posted by chainsawpudding at 7:33 PM on January 20, 2012

Like the above poster, I strongly suggest fixing the behaviors that you find irritating. I'm sure there are Terminal commands to force them to stop checking for updates.

The keyboard behavior can be changed in system preferences: in Keyboard, check the box to force the buttons to act as F7-F9 rather than rewind, play, ffwd.

You can hide the applications by adding a period to the front of the file names, or better yet, put them in a folder somewhere else.
posted by supercres at 7:41 PM on January 20, 2012

And for the updates - when one is presented to you that you don't want to update, for whatever reason, you can select the update in Software Update and select Update->Ignore Update... from the menu and poof! It won't ask you again.

However, while you can probably safely ignore iTunes, I think Safari updates are also used to push WebKit updates, which most anything that renders HTML in OSX uses if it doesn't have its own renderer. Some of those are for speed, but some of the updates are security based. Unless if you're really pinched for bandwidth, I'd consider applying them just to have everything up to date.
posted by Kyol at 7:47 PM on January 20, 2012

Best answer: FYI: renaming Safari (to hide it in finder) requires using Terminal. Assuming everything is in the default spot, type:
sudo mv /Applications/ /Applications/
Same for iTunes.
posted by supercres at 7:53 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a folder called "More Applications" for things I seldom use, and it keeps them out of my eyeline. It's better than deleting them and finding out later that you need them.

And yes, I believe Safari's updates also patch any OS-wide "web view" such as the Finder or Spotlight previews of web content, and maybe even widgets, so best to keep it around, buried or not.
posted by rokusan at 8:00 PM on January 20, 2012

Response by poster: Kyol:
Telling OSX to ignore updates does not work... at all. It's iTunes and Safari that keep showing up. iTunes even has a preference for "Check for new software updates automatically" which I made sure was unchecked, but it keeps showing up.

Awesome, thanks. I can't believe I didn't think to make the .app hidden. I like this solution. However, the play/pause/ff/rew fix won't really work for me as I think I prefer having the volume buttons more easily accessible.

What is it about asking to uninstall software that would lead you to believe I'm not calm or that I need to go for a walk? These are repeated annoyances, and I decided now was a good time to address the problem.

Thanks. I thought about putting them in a separate folder, but I figured this was more than just an applications list issue, so why not try to get rid of the source instead of masking the symptoms. From what people are saying, it looks like masking the symptoms is my best option.
posted by VoteBrian at 8:12 PM on January 20, 2012

It was a little bit light hearted but also, I've never, ever found pursuing this kind of thing to be productive. I've been there with respect to spending a few hours trying to drill out little annoyances in an operating system or software, I guess these days I just question: what's the return on investment with respect to your time?

I'm actually completely aligned with you in terms of this kind of thing being irritating as hell, but conversely it's the same reason I stopped using things like linux - my tweaking to actual enjoyable task ratio was about 20:1.
posted by chainsawpudding at 8:23 PM on January 20, 2012

> *(I suspect this because Steam won't play Flash video and when I click their link to install it, Safari opens)*

This could just be because Safari is your default browser. Try opening Safari, going to the Preferences, and seeing what your "Default web browser" is. If you've installed Firefox or Chrome, they should be in the list and you can select whichever.

That should fix some of Safari's random launches. See what happens when you click the Steam link after changing that.
posted by losvedir at 9:10 PM on January 20, 2012

Best answer: Oh, and as for the play/pause buttons, this discussion has some links and ideas.

One kind of interesting solution is to just have Quicktime open in the background (without a movie or an open window or anything), so it intercepts the button presses. It takes up less RAM than iTunes in an equivalent state. 143 MB for iTunes and vs. 12.5 MB for Quicktime on my computer just now.
posted by losvedir at 9:18 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: losvedir:
I guess I remembered it wrong. When I click the link to install Flash from Steam, it opens in Chrome, but says that Flash is already installed. I guess I figured that since Flash is already installed for Chrome, that Steam must be using Safari as it's browser (or at least getting its plugins from Safari).

As for the play/pause buttons solution, unless I'm missing something, keeping Quicktime open in the background (while better than having iTunes open) would still be worse than having neither open, right? I mean, I hate having to wait for iTunes to open and quitting the program, but I don't think I hit those buttons often enough to warrant keeping Quicktime open.

One cool thing I learned from that SuperUser link, though is that Shift+Option+Play works with Rdio without opening iTunes. Maybe I'll find use for those buttons after all. Thanks.
posted by VoteBrian at 10:06 PM on January 20, 2012

Best answer: Oh wow, I just went into the Rdio Preferences, and they have an option "Disable iTunes Opening" with the description, "iTunes might open when you press the Play/Pause key on your Apple Keyboard. Rdio can disable this for you. Use the restore button to enable it again."
posted by VoteBrian at 10:10 PM on January 20, 2012

It doesn't help you with your desire to uninstall Safari and iTunes, but my solution to not liking the rewind/play/fast-forward keys is to use FunctionFlip. It lets you toggle the function keys between being function keys (e.g. F7 or F12) and their special function (e.g. rewind or volume-up) on a key-by-key basis. You can still get the other option for each key by holding down the fn key. So, for example, I have the screen brightness and volume keys perform those functions by default, but unless I hold down the fn key, the keyboard backlighting and iTunes-controlling keys do those functions, but just act as F5–F9.

As for Flash, Steam, Safari, and Chrome…

WebKit is a layout engine—some of the guts of a web browser—that Apple forked from the KHTML layout engine. It's at heart of Safari as well as Chrome. OS X has WebKit installed as a framework used by Safari, as well as making it available for other programs. Updates for WebKit come bundled with the updates for Safari, which is one reason to download Safari updates even if you're not using it as your browser. Many Mac programs that aren't browsers themselves, but still display HTML content, use the WebView component from the WebKit framework.

All the browsers on OS X except Chrome (Safari, FireFox, the internal Steam browser that uses the system's WebKit) use the plugins installed at "/Library/Internet Plug-Ins", but Google has decided that (possibly because people didn't update Flash enough) Chrome should have it's own internal copy of Flash that it can keep up to date. Chrome's copy of Flash isn't shared with the rest of the system, so if you want anything other than Chrome to play Flash content, you'll need to install your own copy.
posted by JiBB at 10:33 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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