The usual advice to remove an app from the Mac is to drag it to the Bin, but that leaves behind files, networking profiles and more. Here is how to delete a VPN in macOS Ventura and later.
Why is dragging an app to the Bin in macOS not good enough? Although it removes the app, it does not remove data files. Sometimes these are small and unimportant, but sometimes not.
For example, many data files are stored in ~/Library/Application Support and on my Mac there is a Microsoft folder which Edge browser uses and it uses 1.6 GB of storage. Dragging the app to the Bin would probably leave all that data behind, which is wasted space and clutter. Few apps use that much storage and it is an extreme case, but it is still best to clean up everything when removing apps.
A problem specific to VPNs is the networking profile that they leave behind. On old versions of macOS, it was obvious how to remove them in System Preferences > Network, but many settings and features were changed in macOS Ventura System Settings. It is less obvious how to clean up the network profiles. Let’s take a look.
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Uninstall a VPN
There is more than one way to delete a VPN app from the Mac and the first thing you should do is start the app and check all of its menus for an uninstall option. Not all Mac apps have one.
The second thing you should do is to look in all the app’s menus for an option to clear data or reset it. Not all apps have this option, but some do and it helps to clear data files.
These tools not only delete the app, they search for data files and folders and remove them all. You just tick a few checkboxes and everything is moved to the Bin.
Remove VPN network profiles
An app uninstaller does almost everything, but even they leave something behind. There are one or more entries in System Settings > VPN in macOS Ventura and later. This is different to previous versions of macOS.
VPNs that you previously used and uninstalled, even with a cleanup utility, have entries here. They will not work because the software has been removed, so why keep them? How are they removed?
To the right of each VPN is an on/off switch and an i button. Click the i on the right.
The window that is displayed can vary, but it always contains a Remove Configuration button. Click it to continue.
You are asked if you are sure you want to do this. Click the Remove button to confirm it. Repeat this procedure with all the other VPN configurations that you no longer use.
It will not do any harm to keep these VPN configurations or the data files, but keeping the Mac clean and free of junk helps is always a good idea. Ignore these things and several years on, your Mac could be suffering from an excess of junk. Keep it clean.