The 2018 Best Mac Cleaner Software (and why you need one)

Utilities   •   Updated on Dec.10, 2018

Editor’s note: Macpaw are celebrating the 10th anniversary of its popular software, CleanMyMac, with the release of CleanMyMac X recently. After testing this big upgrade, we still stand by our current picks. We also include the details of this update in the guide.

Generally, reclaiming storage space on Mac is a common pain for our Mac users and should’ve been addressed long ago.

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 our review of CleanMyMac and whether you‘ve to spend money on this Mac cleaner software.

Background

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. When storage space is needed, files, photos, movies, email attachments, and other files that you seldom use are stored in the cloud automatically. 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.

The feature helps us deal with junk like duplicates, old email attachments and downloads – and automatically sifts through them to delete the files or move them to the cloud.

But, instead of deleting them, it mainly moves the junk files to iCloud. The result of the optimization is more free space on your hard drive and many-many gigabytes of cloud storage taken up.

While it’s an amazing built-in feature, it doesn’t help many heavy Mac users.

Why you need a Mac cleaner software

You can guess the first reason on your own. It’s not possible to keep paying Apple according to the storage space taken up. As we said, Optimized Storage would be moving your junk files to iCloud. As it happens, 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. Now that you have an idea, we will check out the best Mac cleaner software available right now.

CleanMyMac X is the best Mac cleaning software

We had to use a number of Mac cleaning apps in order to find the best one. In the process, however, we had to set some reference points. We had used the following criteria to find the most effective tool for cleaning a Mac.

  • 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.

After checking 20+ Mac cleaning apps out there in the market, we decided that CleanMyMac X is the best option for most people. Coming from a trusted developer like Macpaw, CleanMyMac X was a part of our preliminary list from the beginning.

What is CleanMyMac X? Why call it 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.

Macpaw developers have done a great job at making this special version of the Mac cleaning software even special. We were amazed to find such a huge number of features in this package.

What does CleanMyMac X do?

CleanMyMac X lets you clean your Mac device from every aspect. You can get rid of unwanted files, optimize performance of apps and even take care of some maintenance tasks. There are also some additional features like Software Uninstaller and Updater. Altogether, it’s a 360-Degree cleaning package for Mac.

The tool can also help you deal with optimization. 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.

This quick promo from Macpaw will showcase how-it-works:

What’s new in CleanMyMac X?

The new CleanMyMac X cares for all Macs (starting from macOS 10.10 versions).Let’s have a quick look at the top features.

  • Smart Scan lets you perform a single scan, which would understand the condition of your Mac, help you take decisions thereafter.
  • CleanMyMac Assistant is a virtual assistant for useful advices. When you perform certain actions, you will be given the right prompts
  • Malware Remover is an additional module in CleanMyMac X. This module will scan your Mac for an immense variety of malware and remove them instantly.
  • Optimization module that helps you keep your Mac snappy and performance-friendly. This module will scan your device for various agents and services that work in background.
  • 3x Faster Scans are also offered by CleanMyMac X. When compared to CleanMyMac 3, you’ll be able to finish scanning files/apps/system as quickly as possible

These features surely make CleanMyMac X one of the most comprehensive Mac cleaner software out there.

Is CleanMyMac X safe to use?

A BIG YES.

Just like its previous versions, CleanMyMac X is 100% safe to use. You don’t have to worry about threats like data theft or privacy violation. Macpaw is a trusted company when it comes to user-privacy and the essential forms of data management.

Coming to the software, CleanMyMac X does not tamper with your Mac’s core settings. There are a number of exceptions and rules to make sure that system files are not affected. Even if you try to remove these files manually, you will be notified.

Altogether, CleanMyMac X offers one of the best levels of security and privacy for Mac users.

We believe it’s something great to start with.

Our review of CleanMyMac X

So far, you have been given the perfect outline of CleanMyMac X and how it works. Now, we will move onto our hands-on review of CleanMyMac X. We have been using this software for a week on our MacBook Air, and we’ve made up some impressions already. In the following section, you will find a comprehensive yet brief review of CleanMyMac X.

Design

A revamped User Interface is one of the best features in CleanMyMac X, you know. It’s got a lot of rounded corners, brightly-colored icons, faux transparent backgrounds, and a nice ombre effect throughout. It’s simply beautiful, and it helps everyone manage their Mac without feeling like rocket science.

Once you have downloaded and installed CleanMyMac X on your Mac, you will be able to see the Welcome Windows. As it says, you can start a Smart Scan to understand the basic issues with your Mac. It needs to be noted that you will be finding not only the issues but also the areas of potential improvement. Just hit Scan button and CleanMyMac X will be exploring your Mac device for the possible scenarios.

Apart from Smart Scan, CleanMyMac X is divided into five main sections — Cleanup, Protection, Applications, Speed and Files. We will go through these sections individually, but now, keep in mind that all these options are accessible from the sidebar. You have a way-out if you just wanted to check your Mac for some potential malware threats.

You can also go into the individual features. For instance, you will find a feature named “Trash Bins” under the Cleanup module. You can open this section if you just want to remove Trash content from your Mac in a single click. Similarly, apart from module-based clearing, CleanMyMac X lets you go deep into stuff. The best part of all these is that each window tells you what the particular feature would do.

Last but not the least, CleanMyMac X Interface consists of CleanMyMac Assistant as well. You can access the feature by clicking the icon on the top-right portion of the window. It’s a really useful feature. 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.

Functions

As we said earlier, CleanMyMac X is a super-feature-rich iteration of the cleaning tool. Compared to the old versions, you have a lot of functions to explore. To make things easy, CleanMyMac X has broken down things to five sections. We’ll have a look at all the five now.

Cleanup

This is where you intoxicate your Mac — that is, where you get rid of the unwanted stuff. Depending on the various needs, you can choose from the five available options as well.

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.

This is where you intoxicate your Mac — that is, where you get rid of the unwanted stuff. Depending on the various needs, you can choose from the five available options as well.

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.

Protection

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.

If you ask us, Protection section of CleanMyMac X offers us peace of mind.

Speed

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.

Maintenance part of CleanMyMac X section is even better. In a single click, you can improve 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.

Application management

Application Management section of CleanMyMac X can be divided into just two. Both these features, though, are just awesome.

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.

File management

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 worry about data security and files taking up space.

Availability and pricing

CleanMyMac X works on macOS 10.10 and later, including the newly released macOS Mojave.  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.

Our final take on CleanMyMac X

If you ask us, CleanMyMac X is a great addition to any Mac out there. According to our experience, we were able to save a lot of storage space and enhance performance of our MacBook Air, enormously. Considering the amount we have to pay, we believe the program is just awesome. That’s also the reason why we stick to the opinion that CleanMyMac X is the best Mac cleaner software out there right now.

Pros:
+ Beautiful interface.
+ Simple and safe cleaning.
+ A full range of cleaning options and advanced tools like an uninstaller, general maintenance, online privacy functions, etc.
+ Smart – You will be notified of important files before cleaning.
Cons:
– We wish there were better options for Disk Analysis.
– The Monitoring Menu isn’t that effective.

Download a free trial of CleanMyMac X now

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 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.

DaisyDisk 4 ($9.99)

DaisyDisk 4 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 4 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 it’s 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.

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.

AppCleaner (free)

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.

Ending words

In short, CleanMyMac X is an all-around great Mac maintenance tool for most people because it offers a great combination of useful features with a sleek interface of amazing power and beauty.

Of course, if you’re a power user, you will probably prefer to perform cleaning operations on your own via Terminal or other OS X system apps.

But if you’re a bit uncomfortable with diving into Terminal, and think about that time, and possible confusion,  CleanMyMac is about as good as you’re going to find when it comes to apps of this nature.

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.

By | 2018-12-11T07:03:56+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Utility|