How to remove Snapz Pro in macOS Sierra

The app for taking screenshots has an issue with macOS Sierra.

While I’m not sure of the installed base of Snapz Pro, to judge by the email I’ve received and Twitter comments about it since macOS Sierra shipped, a reasonable number of people installed it at some point in the past, as previous releases don’t interact well with Sierra. Coupled with this, the removal instructions on Ambrosia Software’s Web site, a firm that isn’t releasing new software, but continues to put out compatibility upgrades of Snapz Pro, refers to a 2012 uninstaller app that no longer helps.

The Snapz Pro app lets you grab a picture of your screen, which is useful when writing articles and books explaining technology, creating a presentation or tutorial in a company or school to show the steps to carry out, or trying to help a friend or relative understand which button to click. The app is much loved because it appeared way back when it was hard to grab rectangles and elements from your screen, like just a menu or a window or a selection.

grab mac icon

The Grab Mac utility can be found in Applications > Utilities.

Apple’s built-in tools have caught up a fair amount. Command-Shift-3 has long let you make a screenshot of your entire display; Command-Shift-4 came later, and let you drag a selection. (Press Command-Shift-4 and then press the spacebar, and you can move the cursor around to capture any window on a display: it highlights when the cursor is over it and you click the mouse to capture it.) The Grab app in Applications > Utilities extends these options even further.

A lot of people who once required Snapz Pro or a competitor no longer have the need or rely on Apple’s built-in tools. But because of the hooks these apps had to insert to work, they can remain dug into your system. (If you’re looking for a replacement, check out Capto, which Macworld reviewed in July 2016.)

A maintenance update for Sierra is due out shortly (possibly by the time you read this), and installing it will overwrite the not-quite-compatible version. But if you’d simply like to remove Snapz Pro, I received some instructions from its long-time lead developer that should help.

The first step requires removing a kernel extension, and you need to use the Terminal app.

  1. Launch Terminal.
  2. Copy this text as a single line:
    sudo kextunload -b com.AmbrosiaSW.AudioSupport
  3. Paste it into the Terminal window and Press Return.
  4. Enter your administrative password at the prompt.

If the “unload” operation succeeds, you shouldn’t see any response. If you see an error that says “(kernel) Kext com.AmbrosiaSW.AudioSupport not found for unload request,” the extension wasn’t loaded, and you don’t need to re-do those steps.

In the Users & Groups system preference pane, select each account in turn and click Login Items. If you see Snapz Pro in the list, select it and click the minus (-) button. (You will have to click the lock icon at lower left and enter an administrative password to proceed.)

There are now four items left to remove. For the first three, you can use the Finder feature Go > Go To Folder to enter the folder name (up to the final “/“) to reach the file, like /Library/Extensions/. To delete the files, you will likely have to enter your administrative password each time you try to place the file into the trash.

  • /Library/Extensions/AmbrosiaAudioSuport.kext
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.ambrosiasw.ambrosiaaudiosupporthelper.daemon.plist
  • ~/Library/Containers/com.ambrosiasw.snapz-pro-x
  • Snapz Pro from the Applications folder

That should take care of the problem. One thing Microsoft got right in early versions of Windows was a requirement (seemingly generally honored) that software that was installed had to also include an uninstaller. Would that Apple had put the same guideline in place!

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