Removing TextEdit from OS X Mavericks

I have pretty strong feelings about the OS X app, TextEdit: I do not like it. It is not useful to me, I do not like text and rich text editors in the same application, and I never want to use it. I never want to accidentally open it. Any time it is opened, it is wasted time and added frustration.

If you like using it, this tip is not for you!

But if you want to delete it, you’ll notice that OS X Mavericks gives you this error if you try and delete it (or some other apps, like Chess and Stickies) from the Finder:

Screen Shot 2014 03 13 at 5 13 59 PM

Mavericks, I am still the boss of you.

Open up Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and paste this command into it:

sudo rm -rf /Applications/

You’ll be prompted for your password; this is the password that belongs to your admin account on your Mac. Type it in, hit the enter key, and TextEdit should be vanquished. The next time you update OS X, it might reinstall it.

My preferred text editor on OS X is TextWrangler. It’s free and amazing.


  1. Yes, completely agree. I don’t think I ever once needed or wanted TextEdit but that doesn’t stop it always finding ways to launch itself. Thanks for help in killing it dead.

    TextWrangler is great but apparently all the cool kids are using now.

  2. Sadly this doesn’t seem to work on El Crapitan…

    “Operation not permitted”


  3. It appears this doesn’t work on macOS Sierra (10.12). Terminal outputs “Operation not permitted” for each file.

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