What are the private var folders in the library

Hello all,

Glad to be joining this exciting community. I have my first question I would like to to pose to the power user community:

Recently, I deleted a bunch of apps using a third party software, app cleaner. Pretty solid. What I noticed when it searched my Mac for all the files that it needed to remove, it found some files in a folder in my library labeled as private/var. The final folder in the path was actually the C folder. As I saw this folder I became worried that I was actually deleting a folder/files that were important to the core MacOS. So… my question is, does anyone know what these folders are? Is is safe to delete these files? Also, does anyone have a sure fire way to delete software from your Mac so that all the pesky, hidden files are also removed?


I certainly wouldn’t recommend deleting all files in private/var!! Lots of important stuff in there. Without knowing the entire path, it’s impossible to know what this app was trying to delete and whether it is ok to delete.


Ditto on not removing anything in private/var or /System or /Library. And I’d be careful in the ~/Library (your user library folder) as well.

As far as deleting hidden files, I don’t know of a way to ensure that every single file of an app is deleted. Some apps create files after they are run. When deleting, I would err on the side of caution. If you aren’t sure if a file is necessary, leave it.

Some apps come with uninstallers. Suggest using that when available.

Years ago, there was an app that you could run prior to installing an app; it would track every single file that was created when installing. But, as I said earlier, some apps create other files when running the app after installing it.

Maybe looking into sandboxing might be useful.

If you are a Hazel user, I found it does a good job of cleaning up after you delete a program. I’ve done my share of manual cleanup over the years using the command line. Unless the program stores a lot of data in your user/Library folder, like email, evernote, etc. most of the time the leftovers are normally small text files that you can ignore, IMO. I would recommend avoiding manual deletions, outside of your home directory, unless you are pretty familiar with a unix system. That way, if you happen to hose something up, like I may have done once or twice in the past :slight_smile: you can usually recover the data from your backup.