System Preferences for OS X Yosemite app icon full size

Some third-party apps you install on your Mac might nest custom panes within OS X’s System Preferences, mostly those distributed outside the Mac App Store due to sandboxing requirements. Uninstalling such an app automatically removes the underlying pane from System Preferences but not always, leaving you scratching your head.

Case in point: Tuxera’s MacFUSE, a dynamically loadable kernel extension.

I needed to mount files to an NTFS-formatted drive the other day so I installed MacFUSE. After removing the app a few days later using its own uninstaller, I noticed its pane in System Preferences was left intact. Should that happen to you, here’s how you can safely remove stubborn System Preferences panes from your Mac.

I should point out that the method outlined below is to be used only if uninstalling an app through A) OS X’s Launchpad, B) by trashing its icon in the Applications folder and C) by running its uninstaller (if present) doesn’t yield desired results.

OS X El Capitan remove System Preferences pane Mac screenshot 002

As you can see above, System Preferences on my MacBook Air show MAcFUSE’s pane even though the app itself has long been uninstalled from my machine.

How to remove unwanted System Preferences pane from your Mac

Step 1: Launch System Preferences on your Mac.

Step 2: Located a pane you want to remove and Control-click it.

Step 3: A menu should pop-up, offering the option to removal option. You might be asked to type in an administrator password to continue.

OS X El Capitan remove System Preferences pane Mac screenshot 001

As the screenshots above and below attest, I was able to successfully remove MacFUSE’s misbehaving pane from System Preferences.

OS X El Capitan remove System Preferences pane Mac screenshot 003

You cannot manually remove Apple’s stock panes from System Preferences.

See also:

Not sure how to do certain things on your Mac or iOS device? Let us know at help@iDownloadBlog.com and one of our future tutorials might address your problem.

  • Hi

    cool, thanks for all the tips

  • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

    good tip. keep them coming.. great work IDB !!

  • Ian Weir

    You could also manually delete them if you don’t mind venturing into

    /Users/username/Library/PreferencePanes

    Macintosh HD/Library/PreferencePanes

  • Chris

    For me it’s Control-click, typo?

    • Tich

      Agreed. Its also control-click for me.

    • Nolan I.

      Yeah, command-click does nothing.

      It’s also “right click” if you have the feature turned on, but I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t.

  • iDude

    i’ve had the same issue before on the same app and no idea back then how to remove the preference icon it left. If i remember correctly, it had an uninstaller included so i just reinstalled and uninstalled it using its own uninstaller – problem solved!

  • Gary T

    The timing of this was perfect as I needed to remove MenuMeters and had no idea how. Never needed to remove a preference pane before. As Chris stated earlier it’s Control rather than Command to get the removal menu.

  • You can’t remove System Preferences, but you can hidem them by opening System Preferences, then selecting the ‘Customize’ option in the ‘View’ menu

  • I was losing hair pouring over the system files thinking it was some set of advanced steps to remove items from the list and all I had to do was CTRL click? lol sheesh…..Thanks for the article it really helped. One question though – does this method remove the icon only? Are there still files that exist on my computer somewhere? Please advise. Thanks again.