An Easier Way to Delete Apex Classes From Production

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When attempting to delete Apex Classes & Triggers from Production, you can be faced with a number of issues. This is due to the fact you cannot modify Apex code directly in production.

Within this article, I will go through a lightweight, and flexible solution, that enables you to delete Apex classes and triggers from production. Quickly, and easily.

The Problem

The most common approach to deleting Apex classes and triggers in a Salesforce production environment is to leverage either the IDE or the Migration tool. These tools have a number of downsides, namely.

  • The IDE is very ‘heavyweight’ and is known for being quite buggy sometimes and unpleasant to use.
  • They have a number of dependencies (a compatible version of Java, different IDE version etc)
  • Connectivity to Salesforce via the IDE may be an issue
  • The migration tool (ANT) can take some time to learn how to use properly.

Apex classes and triggers cannot be deleted from a Salesforce production declaratively, unlike in sandbox orgs. This is because security for Apex in Salesforce production orgs is greatly increased. So how can one delete Apex classes and triggers from a production org without having to go through the inconvenience and time consuming effort of installing, testing and learning how to properly use these tools?

The answer can be to use Notepad text editor and the super lightweight and easy to use Workbench suite. Using these tools, deleting Apex classes and triggers from Salesforce production is a breeze. Because Workbench is web-based and text editors are already pre-installed and super easy to use, there’s no time spent on downloading, installing or testing the IDE or Migration tool (ANT).

The Solution

Let’s say that you have a Salesforce production org that has two Apex classes that need to be deleted.

  1. To achieve this via Workbench, create a folder on your desktop. I will call my folder ‘deleteClasses’.
  2. Then go to Notepad (or another text editor) and copy and paste the below and save as the file with ‘package.xml’ and ‘All files (*.*)’.
<!--?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?-->
<package xmlns="">

3. Then create a new file in Notepad (or another text editor) and copy the below into it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package xmlns="">

Replace SomeClass with the name of your class that you wish to delete. If you have two classes that need to be deleted at the same time, you can simply add another <members> row into the file with the name of the other class, for example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package xmlns="">

4. Save this file name as destructiveChanges.xml (note the capital ‘C’ in ‘changes’). Make sure the file is saved as ‘All files (*.*)’. More information on destructive changes can be found here.


5. Now there are two files in your folder. Open the folder, select both the XML files, right-click and select ‘Send To > Compressed Folder’. Keeping the default name of ‘package’ for the folder is fine.


6. You are now setup to deploy the destructiveChanges.xml file to Salesforce. To do this, go to Workbench and login with your credentials. It is recommended that you login to a Sandbox instance before you deploy the file to production.

7.  Select Migration > Deploy.

8. Click ‘Browse’ and select the .zip package file. Then check ‘Rollback on Error’, ‘Single Package’, and select Test Level with ‘RunLocalTests’. More information on the Test Level can be found here.


9. Finally, select ‘Next’ and then you will notice that the success or error results will be displayed in Workbench once the deployment process has been completed.

This is a very easy way to delete Apex classes and can be very handy if you need a lightweight tool to do the job.

60 thoughts on “An Easier Way to Delete Apex Classes From Production

  1. Here is another way to do it using IDE like IDE or MavensMate:

    1. IDE should be installed.
    2. Connect to the Sandbox Instance using the IDE and find the class or trigger that you want to delete.
    3. Open the matching .xml file, and change the Status XML tag from Active to Deleted.
    4. Or to disable the trigger change it to Inactive.
    Note: Apex class Status can only be changed to “Active” or “Deleted,” not “Inactive”.
    5. Save the file.
    6. Select the two files (Code and XML) using “Ctrl-click,” and then right-click on one of them.
    7. Select | Deploy to server.
    8. Provide your credentials for the Production org and follow the steps.


    1. Hi Joey.. I have tried above steps for UAT sandbox, after changing to Active state to “deleted” sate in meta data I can save the file, then next step I don’t option to Deploy to server/save to server.
      Please help me here.


      1. Actually solved it, by using workbench, I didn’t select RunLocalTest but selected RunSpecifiedTest from the Test Level drop down, then chose the test class that I was deleting.

  2. I have come across very simplified tool Metaforce, it can be installed as plugin in chrome.
    User interface is very simplified for deleting metadata.

  3. Hi Joey.. I came across your points, at 7th point I’m getting only “ > show in salesforce web ” this option. Pls help me out, its urgent.

    Vinod Kumar

    1. When deleting triggers the destructiveChanges.xml file needs to contain

  4. Thank you for this helpful tutorial. I’m trying to delete a trigger. I’ve uploaded the zip file but the deployment failed because of some failed tests. Any clue how to bypass that and delete the trigger anyway?

  5. Hi Sir, I have tried to delete the classes from my Sandbox by following the steps as mentioned above (by using Workbench tool). Now how can I delete the same classes from my Production org ?
    Please assist me.

  6. Thank you so much for this! I needed to delete two apex classes and was struggling mightily with the Force. come IDE but this worked like a dream.

  7. Man!!!! You are a true genius. I just found this after spending enormous unsuccessful hours in IDE. This is a life saver. I successfully deleted classes from Production without any issue.

    Thank you so much!!!!!

  8. I wish to convey my respect for your kind-heartedness for folks that have the need for guidance on the question. Your special commitment to getting the message all-around ended up being unbelievably valuable and have in most cases made workers like me to reach their dreams. This warm and helpful guideline indicates so much to me and extremely more to my mates. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  9. Love this article. Quick question, when deleting apex classes and triggers in production do you have to run the tests at all? Can you choose to not run any tests?

    1. Kim, tests have to be run in Production, but if you have test classes directed directly at the apex class to be deleted, you can specify to only run that test class.

  10. Thanks David,

    So I have a scenario where we have to delete apex classes, triggers, and test classes. They all depend on each other. When I opt to run local tests it fails but when I choose not to run tests at all it’s successful. Can I choose not to run local tests when deploying to prod ?

  11. Pure gold! Have been trying to delete old/unused classes and triggers without luck. This guide worked perfectly. Definitely recommend running in a test environment to ensure all goes well; and then altering issues as they arise. Thanks!

  12. I have used these steps before with no problem, but when trying to use this today, I am getting a “Bad file:Content is not allowed in prolog.” error when it is trying to perform the delete through workbench.

    Anyone know how to correct? The only difference in my files from what is specified in the blog is the Class Name.

    1. So, to close a loop here. It appears that this no longer works on Mac (not sure why) but using the same files and everything it worked just fine on a PC.

      At least I have a workaround!

  13. Hi, I’ve created my for a trigger and a class that I would like deleted. When I run it in the Workbench, I’m not getting any errors, but the trigger or the class are not being deleted.
    In the tree that appears below the results section on Workbench, Success = true, but Deleted = false
    Can anyone offer any suggestions?

  14. I’m trying this on my macbook and there is no all files option when saving it from textedit app but there is a file type Word 2003 XML Document (XML) so I used that because I assume the file just needs to be XML.

    However I got this error from the workbench. Anyone know what this means:
    Bad file:Element {urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office}DocumentProperties invalid at this location in type Package


      1. Just ran into this as well. The mac text editor adds formatting info to the XML file. I downloaded another plain text editor then opened my XML and the code was unrecognizable. There is also a problem with the mac zip files, stuff is added and Workbench will say “package.xml not found”. I found an article to work around that and Workbench said it deployed successfully but the Apex classes were still there. I gave up on using the mac and used my personal laptop at home.

  15. Usually I never comment any post but you saved me a whole lot of time with this one! I spent a frew hours with Eclipse trying to delete one class but I was unsuccessful… this was simple, fast and effective!
    Thank you!

  16. Hi Is there any way to Delete a class or Trigger in Production with running Specified tests(“Run specifed Tests”) and not running all the Local tests.

    1. Sandeep, try You can specify tests with destructive deploy quite easily. I discovered the tool after spending too much time with ants and change sets. I am using their free tier at the moment and just love it.

  17. Oh My GOD! What were those developers THINKING? This is A MESS! Doesn’t salesforce see it for themselves these are no enterprise-worthy solution? A PROD environment should NEVER tell the administrator what not and what not to do. A better approach would be to allow ALL actions for admins but simply store deleted classes somewhere so in case of error they can be put back at the click of a button. Not all this bloody mess. I get upset about it honestly. It’s a lazy company’s solution.

  18. This is awesome. Took 5 min to delete a trigger. I plan on setting up a new dev environment now that Mavensmate is no longer available but that will take me a while to build out and really needed something quick and painless.

  19. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!!! We were stuck trying to uninstall Rootstock and Financial Force from one of our clients’ org. This solution worked perfectly for out problem.

  20. What would the name be for a Visualforce page? Would is be ApexPage? I realize I can manually delete a Visualforce page in PROD. However, I have to deploy the deletion of the page with the deletion of the controller and test class because they reference the page.

  21. So i tried something like this….and funnily enough it doesnt work. That Licence_Allocation_Transaction_Test test class, for some reason runs…even though i’m deleting it….w



  22. I’m so close…. this was SO much better than anything else I found. Very clear steps with screenshots. Thank you!
    I’m trying to delete an apex class. I was able to do it in the sandbox but it fails when I try it this way. Any suggestions?

  23. Fantastic article!
    I have a lengthy process to delete an unmanaged application which involves several apex classes & their test classes. In my sandbox, using Workbench, I’m doing exactly as the article suggests except for “Test Level”, I’m selecting “RunSpecifiedTests” and passing my test classes (which are also included in my destructiveChanges.xml file). I get a successful run however I notice that it doesn’t actually run the tests (I’ve monitored the Workbench UI & the Deployment Status in SF) although every class is successfully deleted.

    My main concern is once I get ready to run this in Production, that I’ll get an error. Has anyone noticed what I have above and has successfully removed from Production?

    Thanks in advance!

  24. Fantastic article.! Thank you so much, Andy. The steps are so easy to follow. We have a lot of obsolete apex classes/triggers which we had no way to remove them. Finally, we are on our way to do it!

  25. Very useful article Andy! Thank you very much.
    On the final step I found that using RunSpecifiedTest instead of RunlocalTests option is faster for me as I could just use a simple apex test class to speed up the process.

  26. Does anyone know if this only works on PCs? I have been working with Salesforce Support and they can get past the tests on their PC but I cannot on my mac. I keep getting this error: problem: Bad file:Element {urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office}DocumentProperties invalid at this location in type Package

  27. So extremely helpful! I had been struggling with these Salesforce limitations all day.
    To answer a few of the comments and reiterate what James Tran says above, I found when I used RunLocalTests it took longer and ran into some unrelated code coverage issues. However, because you are deleting, you don’t actually need code coverage for anything, so pick your favorite test class that has more than 75% coverage and use that with RunSpecifiedTest. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is unrelated, just needs to pass 1 test to show you ran something.

  28. Do I need to add test classes while deleting the classes , I didnt add any test classes and deleted around 100 classes in Dev and UAT by using your suggestion.

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