The Best Mac Cleaner Software of 2020 (and why you need one)
Utilities • Updated on Jan.1, 2020
Mac devices are normally great, you know. It has a smooth User Interface, a smoother integration and most importantly the smoothest workflow. However, there is a slight problem: storage space optimization. People are always worried about losing storage space on their macOS devices. More often than not, there are some system interventions as well.
There are many third-party macOS apps that let you get more free space on your Mac. And, CleanMyMac is one of the popular options out there. However, we wanted to test not just CleanMyMac but also other Mac cleaning software in the market.
In this article, you will find out about the best Mac cleaner software for 2020 so that you can start your new year with a bang — with your Mac ready to store more data.
Built-in optimized storage
Starting with macOS Sierra, Apple offered an elegant space-clearing solution feature, Optimized Storage.
Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra and later can save space by storing your content in the cloud and making it available on demand. To make room for more storage, it automatically saves files, photos, movies, and email attachments to the cloud.
Each file stays right where you last saved it, and downloads when you open it. Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimized versions of your photos.
This feature helps you deal with junk like duplicates, old email attachments and downloads — and automatically examines them to delete the files or move them to the cloud.
Ok cool, but why should I need 3rd-party Mac cleaning software
You can guess the first reason on your own.
Optimized Storage mainly moves the junk files to iCloud, instead of deleting them. The result of the optimization is more free space on your hard drive, but several gigabytes of cloud storage taken up, which you could’ve used for other things.
While it’s an amazing built-in feature, it doesn’t help many users who use their Mac for data intensive tasks.
It’s not possible to keep paying Apple according to the storage space taken up. As we mentioned above, Optimized Storage would only be moving your junk files to iCloud, and the iCloud space is limited. When you cross the 5GB free limit, you will have to start paying for the extra space you are getting. When you have GBs of junk data to keep on the cloud, this doesn’t make sense.
Using a Mac cleaner software, you will be able to do this without iCloud. The point is that you don’t have to spend extra money if you can find free space in your Mac itself. Apart from storage optimization and space-saving, there are some other reasons below why you need a Mac cleaner software.
- Mac cleaner software helps you remove GBs of application language data, which is often unused.
- These tools can also remove cache files on regular basis, saving a lot of space.
- System Log files are stored by System Apps that runs from the moment you boot up to OS X Desktop.
- Photos(iPhoto) Stores cache files, temporary data, backup data, photos, videos and thumbnails which takes several gigabytes in few months usage.
- iTunes Stores plenty of Media data and temporary files, settings into your Hard disk drive, whose too-small SSD is constantly on the verge of filling up.
- If you use XCode or other Development Tools, then the application stores tons of user data, application data for rendering and run time purposes.
- There are other Development junk files, such as support files, Caches, Frameworks and temporary files are stored and left.
- Your Mail Attachments from year old emails that you wanted to delete are stored locally under your Mail App.
- Your Mac can slow way down and exhibit all sorts of misbehavior if you run out of disk space entirely (or come close to it).
- If you are preparing your Mac for sale, then you will want to give it a bit of a clean before you show it off to a potential customer.
When you use a Mac cleaner software, you can take care of all these in a single click. You don’t have to worry about visiting individual directories and getting things cleaner. In short, a Mac cleaner software will help you intoxicate your Mac in every manner.
So, what makes a good Mac cleaner?
Now that you have an idea, we will soon be checking out the best Mac cleaner software for 2020 that are available for download right now. But before we do that, let’s try to figure out the elements that make a good Mac cleaner.
We used the following criteria to find the most effective tool for cleaning a Mac:
- Is the app safe to use?
- Does the software have an intuitive and easy User Interface?
- Does the app make it easy to search for junk, cache and broken files in the system?
- Does it help you make full uninstalling procedures with all the unnecessary apps, so you can remove out-of-date software and applications in the proper way.
- Can you locate duplicates and similar files named differently in your system?
- Does the app provide smart deletion? This supposes evaluating how safe it is to delete each file and whether its removal will not be felt by the user of the operation system.
- Does it clean a digital history? After the work of a good cleaner, nobody ever has the chance of determining what pages were recently opened and what information was sent or received.
- Does the app provide rich tools for organizing and maintaining the OS X system?
- Does it add the extended support of the new Apple File System (APFS)?
- Is the app available in different languages? A universal solution is usually a multi-language one so it can be used effectively in different countries and by different users.
Our pick for the best Mac cleaner app: CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac is an all-in-one cleaning software for devices running macOS. It’s developed and distributed by a company named Macpaw, which develops other utility programs as well.
However, CleanMyMac can be by far the biggest success — for all the good reasons. With the 10th anniversary edition, CleanMyMac has completed its transformation into a comprehensive cleanup, optimization, and management tool.
Why call it X? Macpaw explains：
Firstly, because this year it’s our 10th anniversary and the X is our tribute to that and the first CleanMyMac created by Oleksandr Kosovan back in 2008. Next up, we believe this version is much more than another numerical in the line — it is X times better.
Watch the video below to find out more on what this app can do for you:
What makes this software great?
CleanMyMac X ticked all of our checkmarks to become that one, much-needed cleaner software for 2020. By bringing up all the features around cleanup, privacy, security, and app management in one place, this app makes sure that you do not have to fall back to the numerous apps that single-out these operations.
Here we will look at the three factors that make this software great — the design, how it works with speeding up and cleaning up your Mac, and its ability to offer protection along with other services.
CleanMyMac X has got a lot of rounded corners, brightly-colored icons, faux transparent backgrounds, and a nice ombre effect throughout. It helps you manage your Mac without feeling like it’s rocket science.
Once you have downloaded and installed CleanMyMac X on your Mac, you will be able to see the welcome window. Here, you can start a Smart Scan to understand the basic issues with your Mac. It will let you find issues and areas of improvement.
Other than Smart Scan, CleanMyMac X is divided into five main sections that can be accessed from the sidebar — Cleanup, Protection, Applications, Speed and Files.
Each window in the menu bar tells you what the particular feature would do.
CleanMyMac X Interface consists of a CleanMyMac Assistant as well. You can access the feature by clicking the icon on the top-right portion of the window. If you cannot find a particular section, you can simply ask the Assistant. There is also a Silent Mode where the Assistant does not provide voluntary response.
Altogether, the design aspect of CleanMyMac X is top-notch. We haven’t seen many Mac cleaner UIs that make the cleaning process this easier.
Cleanup and Speedup
Cleanup and speedup are the highlighting features of CleanMyMac X. They form the core functionalities of the app and a large part of how it works revolves around them.
Unwanted files on your Mac tend to clog up the disk space and slow down your device. CleanMyMac X, with a single click, performs a thorough scan of your disk. It searches for a variety of files, including duplicates, and helps you clear them one by one — all with the click of a button.
It also helps you clean those unneeded files such as the outdated caches, broken downloads, logs, and useless localizations. You can also use it to remove tons of clutter that lurks in apps such as iTunes, Mail, Photos, and save gigabytes of those large hidden files that are generally unnoticeable.
Depending on the various needs, you can choose from the five available options. System Junk Scan takes care of the junk files in your Mac. User cache files, log files and old updates etc. will be detected by CleanMyMac X. All this information is smart-selected and you can remove them without any fear about system crashes.
Photo Junk does two things mainly. First, it would optimize the photograph library you have in your Mac. In the second part, it would remove local iCloud cache files as well. Thanks to smart-select, CleanMyMac X will not tamper your important photographs.
Mail Attachments is a great feature if you use native mail clients on your Mac. There is a chance that email attachments are taking up so much space. This feature of CleanMyMac X would remove all the attachments while optimizing the whole data storage section.
iTunes Junk is perhaps the most important feature in CleanMyMac X Cleanup section. This will remove junk files related to the iTunes application, such as device backups, old updates, copies of iOS apps etc. You would also get rid of broken downloaded files, which may be taking up space.
Trash Bins is also a superb cleaning feature in the Cleanup section. Instead of cleaning bins from individual drives, CleanMyMac X lets you do that in a single click. You will also be able to bypass Finder errors that you may otherwise come across.
Considering all these, Cleanup section of CleanMyMac X is quite comprehensive. From our test, CleanMyMac X removing the massive amounts of unused junk. One of the best examples of this is when it scrubs the junk out of iTunes. Before reviewing CleanMyMac X, we had no idea that iTunes left so much junk scattered all over our computer. Before this turns in to a rant about iTunes, the reason that made an impression on us is that it demonstrates the level of thought put into this software. CleanMyMac is thorough.
Experts suggest that you should use both CleanMyMac X and Optimized Storage from Apple. This way, you will find enough space to store files on Mac, while moving junk stuff to available iCloud space.
Coming to the Speedup bit, the optimization part of this section helps you recognize and quit apps that take up a lot of resources. If you did not know, hung applications can keep consuming a lot of resources. CleanMyMac X will recognize such apps and quit them. This section also shows you the Login Items and Launch Agents. In short, CleanMyMac X lets you optimize how your Mac behaves when it’s booted up.
The app has a set of scripts that are designed to optimize the performance of your Mac. They can be used to make sure that your hard disk is healthy — both logically and physically. Having a healthy hard disk is crucial for the apps as it helps them perform well. It even indexes your Spotlight database so that your searches work more quickly.
Maintenance part of CleanMyMac X section is even better. In a single click, you can improve the performance of drives, eliminate application errors and improve search performance. Indeed, CleanMyMac X does a lot of things in the background. The tool will show you a bunch of options like Cleaning RAM, Flush DNS Cache and Reindex Spotlight. Select the ones you need and hit the ‘Run’ button. You’re all good to go.
We really loved these features, mainly because we had a snappier Mac experience after using them.
Protection and More
Of course, your Mac needs protection. Understanding this, Macpaw has added some security and privacy-oriented features in the latest CleanMyMac X.
Malware Removal is the biggest feature in this sector. With this, you will be able to scan your Mac device to find possible threats like viruses, adware, spyware etc. CleanMyMac X is using trusted malware databases to recognize the threats. The database is regularly updated as well. Of course, we couldn’t find any malware in our device, but you should give it a try. It’s quite unscientific to say that Macs cannot get malware. So, as something that can protect your Mac from further trouble, this feature is just awesome for CleanMyMac X.
Privacy is yet another useful section in the CleanMyMac X Protection section. You will be able to deal with many aspects of digital privacy here. For instance, CleanMyMac X will remove browsing traces, such as your browsing history and autofill data.
Chat data from apps like Skype and Messages will also be taken care of by the powerful engines. In the results, CleanMyMac X actually lets you go deep into every app and see what can be used to trace you — and remove them all.
CleanMyMac X even scans your system for vulnerabilities and hazards like adware, viruses, spyware, and cryptocurrency miners. These can mine your data and send out sensitive information. With CleanMyMac X at work, you can be assured that none of these hazards hinder the performance of your machine along with your privacy.
If you ask us, Protection section of CleanMyMac X offers you the much-needed peace of mind.
On the application management front, the app offers you the option to uninstall and update apps.
Uninstaller in CleanMyMac X not only shows your applications but also helps you uninstall them effectively. Instead of checking out individual apps, CleanMyMac X will list the apps based on name or size. You can also filter apps based on categories like Store, Vendor and Usage nature. At the end of the day, you can select as many apps you want and uninstall them completely. CleanMyMac X makes sure that the apps are removed from your system 100%.
Updater does exactly what you thought it’d do from the name. It lists the updates available for the apps you have installed on the device. Compared to the App Store or official websites, data is represented in an easy-to-use manner. You can hit the Update button to update the apps individually.
We’re not big fans the Updater, but Uninstaller can be productive at times.
Just like Applications, Files section of CleanMyMac X has two features only, but both are awesome, at least for us.
Large & Old Files feature of CleanMyMac X lets you find large and old files on your Mac. Not only that, the tool will display all the files based on directory, size and access date. For instance, you can know the files you haven’t accessed for a month or so. This makes really easy to remove files, which may be consuming a lot of space from your Mac.
Shredder feature allows you to remove sensitive files with 100% confidence. For shredder option, in our opinion, it’s useful for Macs that run spinning hard disk drives (HDDs), but not for SSDs (solid-state drive), because emptying the Trash is enough to make those files unrecoverable due to the way TRIM enabled SSDs manage data.
Again, be careful with shredder option because you won’t be able to get your data back if you accidentally ‘shred’ the wrong file or folder.
Long story short, CleanMyMac X lets you stop worrying about data security and files taking up space.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
CleanMyMac X is a great app — quite an all rounder when it comes to cleaning up your Mac. However, it does stand under the radar. We’ll explain how:
If you do not use the app with precaution, you might end up losing some precious data. Yes, safety checks can prevent that, but you must keep an eye out for it. It would’ve been great if the app could make these distinctions stand out — could clearly highlight what you are going to delete, and whatnot. Something like an added layered warning for those who have a habit of clicking on options without reading around them.
Another thing that you might think of before buying the app is that there are numerous free alternatives available on the web that do what this app does — only not in such a comprehension, all-in-one unit. Besides, the alternatives that perform these individual tasks are also cheaper.
However, we don’t think these problems are deal breakers. You can make sure that you do not lose your important data by following each and every step of disk cleanup and making sure that you have your eyes on the checkmarks.
And yes! It does make sense to go for a cheaper alternative, but isn’t it nice to have all the alternatives bundled into one, offered at one price — no hassle of app conflicts, multiple scans, and more.
Availability and pricing
CleanMyMac X works on macOS 10.10 and later, including the newly released macOS Catalina. A free trial version is available for download.
Macpaw is charging $39.95 per year for a subscription to CleanMyMac, or $89.95 for a one-time purchase. You can purchase it from official website store, or get it from SetApp subscription.
Other options for consideration
This is not to say that CleanMyMac X is the only option when you need a Mac cleaner software. In fact, we’d come across some of the coolest options too. So, if you are not ready to spend on CleanMyMac X, you can try one of the following tools.
CCleaner Professional ($24.95)
For years, the standard in PC cleaner software has been CCleaner, and now Mac users can benefit from the experience that the Piriform developers bring to the table. CCleaner Professional is quick and easy to use program, which speeds up your Mac and secures it. Although CCleaner has a free version, there are only two basic features described on the website as “faster computer” and “privacy protection”. At the premium level with price $24.95 you have Automatic Browser Cleaning, Real-time Monitoring, Automatic Updating and what they call “Priority Support”.
There are 3 tabs – “Cleaner”, “tools” and “option”. These 3 ways CCleaner helps you remove junk files, trash files, unused data, unwanted files and software and many more such things which decrease mac’s performance, enabling it to run faster and smoother. It also removes cookies, browsing history and saved passwords, making your online browsing more secure, so no one can misuse your online. CCleaner cleared almost 3000 files in one go from my system. So, it is effective.
Though CCleaner Professional has many helpful features, it lacks in some things. CCleaner for Mac is beta version , it is not fully featured. Some features are missing from it which are available in the original version. CCleaner is limited to some browsers such as Safari, Firefox and chrome to delete cookies and trash files from them. Windows version of CCleaner has more features.
Intego Mac Washing Machine X9 ($29.99)
Intego Mac Washing Machine is a Mac cleaner that makes it easy to get rid of junk files that slow down your Mac.
This app completes three separate but complementary functions. It scans for unused or obsolete files that can be deleted, it identifies duplicate files, and it lets you manage your desktop. Through the app’s intuitive interface, you can quickly access all features and have your computer running more smoothly in no time.
Overall, the app is fine. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are looking for an app that helps you organize your storage drives and removes unnecessary files.
But here is no quick-look support for files preview and the trial version of this app can only complete the preliminary steps of each function. You get to see what each phase of the scanning process looks like, but to get any real functionality you’ll have to pay $29.99 for an unrestricted license.
Macbooster 7 (start from $2.49/month)
MacBooster from IObit is a powerful Mac maintenance tool for cleaning up Mac computers, and offers good functionality for its class. MacBooster and CleanMyMac X have quite similar functionality, offering users a number of 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. You’re shown how much space will be removed or how many issues require fixing, then find yourself invited to the click the Fix button.
We really like Macbooster’s performance boost tool, which basically lets you shutdown low-level services to speed up your Mac further. If you’re a power user looking to deep-clean your Mac, give the 14-day trial a whirl, after that, it requires a $2.49/month subscription.
DaisyDisk is a beautiful yet different 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 use the built-in QuickLook preview to see what you might want to get rid of (you can also reveal in Finder to take a closer look).
There’s a collection drawer where you can stage files (or entire segments) for trashing. Once you’ve browsed through and collected things you don’t need, one click clears them out. DaisyDisk is available for just $9.99 from the Mac App Store as well as from their own website (standalone edition). The standalone edition from their own website offers some additional features since it is not bound by Apple’s sandboxing rules.
We really like DaisyDisk’s design with its circular visualizations! But it’s important to note that DaisyDisk does not warn you if you delete something that is needed for your system or even for any application. So please use DaisyDisk carefully.
Why do you let your pretty Mac get cluttered with apps? AppCleaner is a small and simple utility we’ll include it anyway, because it comes in handy when it comes time to uninstall an application and it is FREE. Sure, the Mac makes it a lot easier to get rid of unwanted software than Windows, but don’t be thoroughly cleaned — even if you’ve dragged a Mac application icon into the Trash, that doesn’t delete the Mac app’s entire footprint. Often times the app will leave behind configuration files, cache folders and other remnants that occupy disk space.
AppCleaner does a serviceable job of locating all the files associated with the app, and provides an index so you know just how much space they’re taking up. Once you’ve got them all accounted for, click the Delete button and banish them forever.
What about Dr Cleaner app?
When an app is in the Mac App Store, it means that it has been heavily vetted by Apple, and therefore we would recommend it as safe.
However, there’s one app that you should watch out for. Dr Cleaner, made by Trend Micro, was found to be stealing data from machines. It would collect data from Macs and send it to a specific address. Apple has since removed it from the store. We recommend that if you are still using it, you should stop right away as you wouldn’t want your data to be compromised.
We hope that the review of these apps helped you with making an informed decision about which app to purchase in 2020.
We do recommend CleanMyMac X above others as it offers some easy-to-use tools that can help you with freeing up space to make your Mac run smoother, while keeping it private and secure. When you run it for the first time, you’ll be surprised at the disk space it will end up saving. Besides, it’s better than a lot of other free utilities as it packs all the features in a single, intuitive user interface.
It should also be noted that CleanMyMac X is used by more than 5 Million Mac users across the globe. Just in case you didn’t know, it’s recommended by popular websites like TheNextWeb and MacWorld, which also show the trustworthiness. And, if nothing is enough, you can take our words that CleanMyMac X will speed up and secure your Mac like never before.
You can download CleanMyMac X for free from Macpaw official website.
It’s also available on Setapp.
The apps that we reviewed are quite good with managing your disk space, and when used with Mac’s default built-in Optimized Storage, they are sure to yield fruitful results.
A clean Mac is a happy Mac, and if you haven’t yet cleaned your Mac, then you will be amazed at how better it runs as you plan to further improve your workflow and productivity in 2020.