Best Mac Cleaner Apps to Use In 2023
Utilities • Updated on March 14, 2023
Editor’s note: We regularly look over this guide, with new updates being added for freshness and comprehensiveness.
In 2023, it is unsurprising that Mac notebooks and desktops become slower. While macOS is better than Windows in many aspects, Apple’s best OS is not free from system junk and temporary files. So, if you use your Mac for intensive tasks like development, software testing, video editing, or research, you may get a slight problem: running low on space.
Fortunately, we came across this dilemma a lot earlier than you did, and we have figured out these best Mac cleaner apps you can use to speed up your Mac in 2023.
Let’s explore the built-in options
You may already know that macOS does not have a built-in cleaning utility. However, every Mac ships with a utility to help you manage storage.
If you have a Mac running macOS Sierra or later, you can find a utility named Storage Settings. You can open it by going to System Preferences > General > Storage. This utility makes it easy to understand what takes up your Mac’s storage space and helps you remove bulky elements. It can also help you optimize your iCloud storage space.
But the fun ends there. The Storage Settings utility does not do anything about removing junk/residual files from your Mac. So, if you were to rely on macOS alone, you would have to remove system junk manually.
As you can guess, it is hectic and unsafe for most people. And we never recommend messing with the macOS system files. This is where dedicated Mac cleaner apps enter the stage. These apps are designed not to cause system-level issues while removing junk files, unwanted apps, residual files, etc.
Now that you know why a dedicated Mac cleaner makes a difference, let’s explore the best options you have out there.
Best Mac cleaner apps in 2023: our top picks
- CleanMyMac X (best overall)
- MacKeeper (best for security)
- DaisyDisk (best for cheap)
#1 CleanMyMac X (best overall)
CleanMyMac X has been our go-to Mac cleaning app for years, and we love recommending this app to our readers. But it does not stop us from objectively reviewing what this Mac cleaner can do. And after testing the latest version of CleanMyMac X, we believe it deserves this top position.
What we loved
To keep things as simple as possible, CleanMyMac X contains everything you need to revive your Mac and keep it that way. We are talking about a combination of system junk cleaning, anti-malware protection, and speed optimization. So, it checks all the boxes you expect from the best Mac cleaner app.
On the Cleanup side, you get dedicated cleaners for System Junk, Mail Attachments, and Trash Bins. These utilities ensure that residual/junk files do not take up your Mac’s storage space. Finally, when we come to the Protection aspect, you get malware removal and privacy enhancement utilities.
CleanMyMac X also packs dedicated utilities to deal with speed optimization and maintenance. They do a lot of tasks that can take you hours if done manually. You can restore your Mac to the best state possible with a single click. We also loved the dedicated tools for uninstalling and updating your installed apps.
The cleaning app also takes care of large files on your system. For instance, you can use the Space Lens option to see how your Mac’s storage space is used. Similarly, the Large & Old Files utility will help you eliminate unused/huge files from the Mac. Finally, the Shredder utility comes in handy while deleting confidential data.
The best part is that all these utilities work hand in hand. For instance, you can use the app’s smart assistant to carry out all these tasks. Moreover, if you do not want to keep the fully-fledged app open, a simple menu-bar app of CleanMyMac X will give you timely updates.
What could be better
While we love how comprehensive CleanMyMac X is, we cannot say it is perfect. For instance, the malware removal utility cannot replace a fully-fledged anti-malware program. So, it is an area where we would like to see some improvement.
It is also true that CleanMyMac X can be a little expensive for some people. It would be nice if the developers could decrease the price to an extent. On the bright side, you can get the CleanMyMac X app as a part of the Setapp subscription, which means you spend only a fraction of the amount.
CleanMyMac X uses a freemium model, where you can try the app before unlocking all features. So, when you go premium, you can find plans starting at $34.95 per Mac. CleanMyMac X also offers multiple discount options for students.
Read our full CleanMyMac X review here.
#2 MacKeeper (best for security)
If you want versatile cleaning features along with security protection, you might want to check out MacKeeper. In many ways, MacKeeper is similar to CleanMyMac X, but some of its features make it suitable for this position on this list.
What we loved
MacKeeper checks almost all boxes when considering the features you need for cleaning and protecting your Mac. For instance, you can easily quit memory-conscious apps and remove system junk files. It also has a malware-scanning utility that works just fine.
This app does a great job of helping you stay away from annoying things like adware and pop-ups. And it goes a step further by monitoring potential data leaks. But, again, it is a feature we do not see on Mac cleaners. You also get a built-in VPN, which does an incredible job.
The app does not hold back in terms of cleaning utilities. For instance, you get a duplicate finder and a smart uninstaller. Similarly, utilities in the Performance section come in handy when freeing up RAM or updating all your apps.
In addition, you can use the MacKeeper app to stay on top of your digital life. There are a bunch of premium services that you may want to check out. And the tech support from developers is incredible on most days.
What could be better
While we appreciate the richness of features on MacKeeper, we did notice the lack of a module or menu-bar element that keeps track of system info. So, if you want to have a graphical overview of how the system storage space is taken up, the results from the app can be a little overwhelming.
Rest assured, MacKeeper does everything it can to ensure the best condition for your Mac. And it can be a good solution if you want to make the extra effort to keep your Mac that way.
You can get the 12-month plan of MacKeeper for $7.49 per month. There is also a free version, but it does not offer many features that make MacKeeper different in the first place.
Read our full MacKeeper 2023 review for more.
#3 DaisyDisk (best for cheap)
If you need an app to clean your Mac quickly, DaisyDisk is a top choice. It works great when you want to free up space on your Mac. But it works better when you want to know why you have insufficient storage on your Mac. Compared to the Storage Settings utility, DaisyDisk presents things more clearly.
What we loved
DaisyDisk is a beautiful yet powerful disk space analyzer that scans the drives on your Mac and gives you a visual overview of what’s eating up space on your Mac. It displays files in a pinwheel-shaped disk map, letting you quickly locate and clean up large files.
You can also use the built-in QuickLook preview to see what you might want to get rid of (you can also reveal the files/folders in Finder to take a closer look). But the good part is that DaisyDisk will warn you if you are about to delete something important to the system.
DaisyDisk also understands that you may have to remove files/folders from different parts of the file system. So, there is a collection drawer to which you can add contents. Then, once you review everything, you can delete everything in a single click.
Compared to the other space analyzer tools we have tested, DaisyDisk is pretty intelligent. For example, on top of showing storage space consumption, the cleaning app also points out free and purgeable space. It means DaisyDisk can help you revive space that other cleaning apps do not even bother about.
In the long run, using DaisyDisk to clean up storage space on your Mac is a better option than most forms of storage space upgrade.
What could be better
Even though DaisyDisk does an incredible job telling us how to clean up storage space on Mac, it doesn’t go beyond that point. For instance, you do not get actionable information about issues like junk files or residual stuff from the system or third-party applications.
It would also be great if DaisyDisk were proactive about interactions with system folders. At this point, there is a higher chance of interfering with system files. It’s important to note the app does not warn you if you delete something sensitive to the system.
On the bright side, DaisyDisk does not cost much. You can purchase a single license of the app for just $9.99, which is nothing compared to what other storage upgrade solutions cost. It also offers a 7-day free trial.
Check our full DaisyDisk review for more.
Other great Mac cleaning software apps
#4 Nektony App Cleaner & Uninstaller
Sometimes, you do not need a comprehensive tool like CleanMyMac X or MacKeeper. Instead, you need a more specific choice. In those instances, you can consider App Cleaner & Uninstaller by Nektony. This app is designed to help you remove apps, system extensions, and leftover files.
App Cleaner & Uninstaller offers a few advantages of removing apps and extensions. Therefore, you get multiple sorting/filtering options in each section. For instance, in the Applications section, you can sort your apps based on size and usage.
On the other hand, when you move to Startup Programs, you can see a simple-to-edit list of apps you have set up for startup login. In the same way, you can deal with extensions and remaining files. These two features are great if you install too many apps on your Mac for work or personal use.
Honestly, we do not find anything problematic with App Cleaner & Uninstaller by Nektony. Judging it as one of the dedicated apps for removing apps, it does more than what it is supposed to.
You can either subscribe to the app for $11.95 or pay $49.95 as a one-time purchase fee. Before you do either of these, you can use the app in the free trial mode for 14 days.
#5 CCleaner Professional
For years, the standard in PC cleaner software has been CCleaner. Now, Mac users can benefit from the experience that the Piriform developers bring to the table. CCleaner Professional is quick and easy to use the program, which speeds up your Mac and secures it. Although CCleaner has a free version, there are only some basic features aimed at a faster Mac and privacy protection.
At the premium level with a price of $24.95, you have Automatic Clutter/Browser Cleaning, Duplicate/Large file Cleaning, App Uninstalling, and what they call “Bad Photos Remove Support”. These five cleaning options inside CCleaner can help you remove junk files, trash files, unused data, unwanted files, and software
Though CCleaner Professional has many helpful features, it lacks some options. For instance, it always stays as a simple tool for cleaning temporary files and internet cache.
MacBooster from IObit is a powerful Mac maintenance tool for cleaning up Mac computers and offers proper functionality for its class. MacBooster and Mackeeper have quite similar functionality, offering users several cleaning options and tools: system cleanup, finding duplicates, deleting large files, uninstalling applications, protecting your Mac from virus and malware, etc.
Start by clicking Clean and Boost, for example, and four sections – Internet Security, System Cleanup, System Optimization, and Disk Clean – are scanned for errors, threats, and redundant files. After a quick review, you can simply click the Fix button and proceed. We also liked MacBooster’s performance boost tool, which shuts down low-level services to speed up your Mac further.
MacBooster gives the 14-day trial a whirl, but the trial version of this app can only complete the preliminary steps of each function. After that, it requires a $2.49/month subscription.
#7 Cleaner One Pro
Cleaner One Pro (formerly known as Dr. Cleaner) does many things that DaisyDisk does not, but you need to make some compromises. So, if you need more than quick cleaning, you may consider this app.
Because it is the Pro version of Dr. Cleaner, a popular app from Trend Micro, you can expect advanced control over your Mac. It deals with other elements like big files, duplicates, app manager, etc. You also get to decide what you remove from the Mac. It is better than clicking a single button and worrying about what the app may delete.
Even though we love the quick cleanup, it does not quite cut it for advanced users. For instance, you need to use an app like Finder to understand where your most enormous files are located. Then, it simply lists the files matching the criteria.
You can purchase Cleaner One Pro for $19.99 from the official website or download it from Mac App Store for free.
The Sensei app for Mac combines a powerful system monitoring tool and an all-in-one cleaning and optimization solution. It is also great that Cindori, the developer, does a great job updating the app for the latest Mac desktops and notebooks.
When you get started with Sensei, it provides a comprehensive overview of your Mac. Depending on your machine, you can track the overall status of the SSD, RAM, CPU, GPU, and battery.
More importantly, Sensei presents every critical piece of data simply. So, for instance, when you want to check the temperature of different system parts, you can see it in simple graphs. And if you want to keep an eye on what is happening with your Mac, you can keep the Sensei Monitor on your menu bar.
Although the cleaning options with Sensei are pretty comprehensive, you do not get many options for scheduling or notifications. It means you must keep an eye on where the RAM and disk usage are, for instance.
Similarly, you cannot run this app on a Mac running a version older than macOS Catalina. So, if you plan to revive a considerably old Mac, you need something like CleanMyMac X.
You can download Sensei for free from the official website and use it for 14 days as a part of the free trial. After that, it costs you $29 per year or $59 (regular) per license, which you can use on up to three Macs.
OnyX is a small and free utility that can verify your Mac’s startup disk, run a variety of system scripts for cleaning tasks manually and rebuilding your Mac. The developer offers specific OnyX versions for every major version of macOS. When a new version of macOS comes out, you have to revisit the OnyX site and grab the latest release. Every version is free and very small. So, you don’t waste space.
It’s handy for deleting caches, removing redundant and excessive files and folders, rebuilding databases and indexes, and making your machine run more smoothly and with added disk space. Just be careful playing with these settings. They’re helpful and can improve your Mac’s performance, but if you don’t know what a given setting is supposed to do, you’re probably best off not changing it.
We think it’s excellent for tech-savvy and experienced Mac users to take significantly more time to get around and find what you need, then learn how to use it, but the result pays.
Questions you may have
Are Mac cleaner apps safe to use?
While we cannot talk about all Mac cleaner apps out there, the Mac cleaning software we have recommended on this list are 100% safe to use. We have personally tested these apps and have been using them for months, if not years. So, you do not have to worry about security while choosing any of these apps.
What is the best free Mac cleaner?
You have a number of options when you need a free Mac cleaning software, including Onyx, CCleaner Free for Mac, App Cleaner, and Disk Doctor. You can also use the Storage Optimization feature on macOS. But we think Onyx remains the best free Mac cleaner if you do not want to pay.
As you can see, these 9 Mac cleaners can help your Mac in different ways. And all of them allow you to keep your Mac running the best way possible. However, depending on your needs and technical expertise, you may need only one.
For instance, CleanMyMac X remains the best choice for most people. The comprehensive cleaning app has what it takes to keep your Mac clean and optimized. In addition, you do not have to worry about mechanic tasks thanks to scheduling options.
On the other hand, if you want more security protection, you may want to go for MacKeeper. Other options like DaisyDisk and Nektony App Cleaner & Uninstaller are great options if you are specific about the features you need in a cleaning app.
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