Mac Admin

Uninstalling Adobe Software

Indeed it’s another Adobe post! How to remove Adobe software is a question that often comes up in the #adobe channel and, as with most things, there’s a number of ways to achieve this.

Nuke and Pave

The simplest method, but the one with the most collateral damage. Simple erase and reinstall the macOS onto the device to remove the Adobe software.

This can be done through the GUI, the command line, or external installation media. I’m planning to cover these options in a little more detail soon over on the dataJAR blog.

Uninstaller Package

If you’ve ever created an Adobe deployment package within the Creative Cloud Packager (CCP) or the admin console ( your finished project will contain two packages:

  • An installation Package, and
  • An uninstallation Package

You can upload this uninstaller package into your Mac software deployment tool of choice (Munki has an ‘uninstallpkg‘ flag to pass when uploading both packages) and “install” this to remove the corresponding software. Now it’s not as precise and will remove any matches for the major version (e.g. any “Animate 2020” uninstaller will remove any version of “Animate 2020” but won’t remove “Animate CC 2019”).

More information: Adobe | Uninstall Creative Cloud products

Uninstall “All the Things” Package

If you still have access to the older Creative Cloud Packager (CCP), it’s possible to generate an “uninstall all the things” package. I’ve detailed this in a previous post here – Using Adobe Creative Cloud Packager to create an uninstaller in preparation for Adobe Creative Cloud 2019 Shared Device License deployment.

Note: CCP wasn’t designed to be used on macOS Catalina (10.15) or newer and has had some reliance on 32-bit processes. This will probably also be the case for the uninstaller packages it generates. This may limit the usefulness to you.

More information: Adobe | Uninstall Creative Cloud products (different to the above article!)

Command Line

Lastly, there is indeed the command line option. All “Hyper Drive” Adobe installers (which is almost all, if not all of them for the last few years) will also deploy the means to run a command line uninstall of the software.

The syntax for this on Mac is as follows (that’s all on one line):

"/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Desktop Common/HDBox/Setup" --uninstall=1 --sapCode=PHSP --baseVersion=17.0 --platform=osx10-64 --deleteUserPreferences=true

This is broken down into the below:

  • "/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Desktop Common/HDBox/Setup"
    • Path to the command, note the quotes due to the spaces
  • --uninstall=1
    • Provide the number 1 to the uninstall flag to specify this is to uninstall
  • --sapCode=PHSP
  • --baseVersion=17.0
    • The base, or major version, of the application you wish to target. These will never match the PR version (e.g. CC 2019) so again Adobe has a (mostly) up to date reference table here – Adobe | Applications that can be deployed without their base versions. If you’re looking for older versions of Application base versions, check out the “Previous versions” disclosure arrow further down that page.
  • --platform=osx10-64
    • This differentiates between macOS and Windows. To be honest, as you’re running this on a Mac, I’m not sure why you need to specify the platform, but best to just use this as is!
  • --deleteUserPreferences=true
    • True here will also try to remove the user’s preferences. I’d suggest setting this to ‘false‘ unless you have a specific reason to remove those settings
  • --removeAll=All
    • (Not shown above) This will uninstall all installed Adobe suite applications
  • --eulaAccepted=1
    • (Not shown above) This is an undocumented feature (thanks Foigus!) to automatically accept the EULA when removing all installed software

As you can imagine, this command will need to be ran as root, however your software deployment / script running solution can achieve this. This will also probably need some trial and error to properly get right so ensure to always test!

More information: Adobe | Deploy packages

Note: This section has been removed from the non-localised version of the page above (link here) and may be deprecated. I’m awaiting clarification on this.

Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool

Adobe provide a cleaner tool that can remove installations back to CS3. It has both a GUI application and a command line binary, but the binary will require you to create your own XML file to feed into it.

More information: Adobe | Use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool to solve installation issues


That’s it, 5 different(-ish) ways to remove Adobe software should you need to. Thanks to Foigus on the MacAdmin Slack for at least half of these suggestions!

As always, if you have any questions, queries or comments, let me know below (or @daz_wallace on Mac Admins Slack) and I’ll try to respond to and delve into as many as I can.


2 thoughts on “Uninstalling Adobe Software

  1. Is there a list of exist codes? I get 103 or 135 when I try the example above or variations (for version and sapCode). I even tried this…
    “/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Desktop Common/HDBox/Setup” –uninstall=1 –removeAll=true –platform=osx10-64 –deleteUserPreferences=true
    …hoping for a way to knock it all out at once. But no love.


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