I'd like to uninstall and reinstall my Books app on my MacBook Pro. Before I delete the app, I'd like to ensure that I'll be able to download it again. The App Store doesn't seem to list the Books app.

On iOS, what I'm trying to do is possible: for a while now you've been able to uninstall preinstalled apps and redownload them to reinstall them. Is this not possible with macOS apps?

  • I'd think of another way to save space. The OS will fight you all the way on this. You not only have to disable SIP but on Big Sur you also need to know how to rebuild the encrypted boot cache or it won't boot. The built-in apps are not available anywhere other than in the OS installer. Picking them out with Pacifist will be as bad as trying to delete them in the first place. Any OS update is also likely to just put them back again, meaning you have to go through it again after every update.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 7:50
  • 1
    What are you actually trying to accomplish here? If you're trying to reset an application's state (preferences, saved data, etc), those aren't stored in the app itself, so deleting the app won't remove them (and they can be removed without touching the app itself... if you can find them). Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 8:33
  • Are you worried your app is corrupted? If it runs, it's not corrupted. Apps in macOS are protected by code signing. Corrupted apps (including virus- or other malware-infected apps) can't pass the code signing check at launch, and thus won't run.
    – Spiff
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 11:34
  • @GordonDavisson I’m trying to reset my Books app because I’ve been running into a nasty bug with it and I’d like to rule out the app being the problem. superuser.com/q/1669597/1443305 Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 12:33
  • This really makes it an XY Problem The issue is with the Word document, not the converters or Books. Try copy paste the entire Word doc to a new file - that can shake up some of its confusion. Word will believe anything it's told, even if that data is internally inconsistent. Other apps will choke on it.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, according to this article, it should be possible. It is just not as trivial as it is on iOS. You need another Mac with the same OS-version, or an installation medium in order to copy the desired app to your Mac. Spoken in windows terms, the .app file is the installer and the programme at the same time, you just need to place it back in the location it belongs. Although I would not recommend deleting system apps as they sometimes are needed in the background to perform certain tasks. And if you try this, do make a backup before! It is almost always way easier to recover a recent backup than to do a clean install of the entire OS.

  • That linked article is a decade old at least & many things have changed since.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 7:46

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