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Uninstalling X11 from your Mac

You may have installed X11 on your Mac to get some obscure application working (I had done it while looking for a MUD Client) and may be looking for a way to uninstall it. Unfortunately, it’s not as intuitive as it should be, but I managed to find out just how on David Forster’s blog:

Be extremely careful when doing this, as a small typo could cause important files to be deleted and you may have to reinstall OS X! If you are at all unsure of what you are doing, back up all your important data first! I cannot accept responsibility for any loss caused by following these instructions – All I know is they worked for me.

The commands to delete everything are as follows:
sudo rm -rf /Applications/Utilities/
sudo rm -rf /private/etc/X11
sudo rm -rf /usr/X11R6
sudo rm -rf /usr/bin/open-x11
sudo rm -rf /usr/lib/X11
sudo rm -rf /Library/Receipts/X11User.pkg

These can be combined into one line as follows:
sudo rm -rf /Applications/Utilities/ /private/etc/X11 /usr/X11R6 /usr/bin/open-x11 /usr/lib/X11 /Library/Receipts/X11User.pkg

Thanks Dave, you’re a godsend! Use with care!

15 Responses to “Uninstalling X11 from your Mac”

  1. U says:

    Where do i go to use these codes? I have no idea.

  2. MacPrincess says:

    It worked!

    Thanks so much! =)

  3. Wildimaging says:

    Thank you that was driving me nuts.

    I would suggest a cut and paste of your code into terminal, to avoid poosible errors.

    Again thanks

  4. David Kane says:

    I have been trying for ages to(fully) remove of X11 so I can re-install it.

    This worked 🙂

  5. Rodger Castle says:

    BE CAREFUL with this!! My wife just wiped her /private/ folder .. ALL OF IT with a mistype of this. She was using Opera and it split the ‘/private/etc/X11’ line so it removed her ENTIRE /private folder (which is way bad). If you don’t know what this command does, find someone that does so they can verify it for you.

  6. Owen says:

    @Rodger: Thanks for the warning. It needs to be heeded!

    USE WITH CARE! If you mistype this, you’ll end up with unpredictable results!

  7. lowell says:

    i don’t like end-users playing around in a shell, specifically because of situations like rodger’s.

    your readers can take the safe route and make the finder display hidden files. then just delete the folders through the finder; you’ll need to type in your password a few times, but you can’t have it all.

    also, if you do end up in a situation like rodger’s wife, keep your system and put in your install dvd. extract say, the /private/etc folder with pacificist and tell it to ‘install to default’. boom. fixed. most stuff in there doesn’t change from when mac os x was installed; that’s what the hidden files in your ~/ directory are for.

  8. lowell says:

    * i meant to say, keep your system up.

    don’t shut down or reboot until after you do the above.

  9. art says:

    i just wanted to reinstall apples x11 and i see it’s incomplete!
    one of your lines has deleted a file, that can’t be reinstalled, cause i’m using leopard!

    i guess it’s one of those:



    so if anyone can help me, sending me a backup of these files or anything else, i’d be so gratefull!


  10. grizzle says:

    I typed the code and when I tried to reinstall X11 (downloaded from Apple website) and it told me that there was a newer version of X11 on my computer (Mac OSX v10.5.8) but I can’t find the application anywhere.

  11. entro says:

    I’m on 10.5.8 also and get the same error message as grizzle. Solutions?

  12. Ryan says:

    I’m putting this down and my terminal pops up with ‘Password:’, and it won’t allow me to type in the password, it doesn’t register the keys I’m typing. Any solutions?

  13. myyrdin says:

    The terminal register your keys. But it isn’t displayed to you. So after typing your password, just hit enter and it will work.

  14. walt h says:

    after i did this i did read the memos. I still have an X11 icon and it seems to be open. I accidentlly upgraded to yosemete. Lately I have been gunshy about any upgrades. I HAD TO DO IT ON MY OTHER MACHINE TO JB my iphone. You see I have an iphone 4 with unlimited data and I dont wanna lose it. So I went to Maverick. real piece of junk. I despise the new itunes. How do you drag and drop?O just dont get it. SO im messing around with my MBP which is happily on Snow Kitty and all of a sudden it starts upgrading to yosemite. I swear i didnt ask it to. SO i wann use GIMP. NO DICE W/O x10. So I keep tring to go to x11. UNCOOPERTIVE. Sorry about caps. So I TRIED YOUR THING ABOVE. Can I ever turn it off?

  15. tai youtube says:

    I typed the code and when I tried to reinstall X11 (downloaded from Apple website) and it told me that there was a newer version of X11 on my computer (Mac OSX v10.5.8) but I can’t find the application anywhere.

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