These 11 Apps Will Help Clean Your Mac and Reclaim Storage Space

Utilities   •   Updated on Feb.10, 2022

LLike many of you, I shifted from Windows to macOS to get superior performance and smooth experience. However, I had this false idea that Mac devices don’t need cleaning or maintenance as such. Of course, that didn’t last long.

As I started using my Mac for resource-intensive tasks and more apps, it started becoming somewhat slow. It took me, however, a few months to understand why Macs also need cleaning and performance-boosting. Wondering why?

Just like Windows, macOS also generates temporary/junk files over time. Now, if you use your Mac for simple tasks like web browsing or checking email, this won’t be a problem. However, if you are into jobs like video editing, software testing or development, the junk file can slow down your Mac.

The other problem is that these files may take up a lot of space from your Mac. Of course, this isn’t ideal for your Mac storage, either. As you keep installing and using more apps, you have to face space crunch on your MacBook, iMac, or iMac Pro.

And, this is why we have to take a few steps to clean your Mac and optimize it for performance.

First, let’s have a background

Starting with macOS Sierra, Apple offers an elegant space-clearing solution feature called 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 it 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 content like duplicates, old email attachments, and downloads. It helps you to automatically examine these — and delete them or move them to iCloud. As a result, you get more free space on your hard drive, but several gigabytes of cloud storage taken up, which you could’ve used for other things.

Also, extra iCloud storage space from Apple isn’t cheap. Once you cross the 5GB limit, you have to pay Apple a monthly fee. This could be anywhere between a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. And, trust me, it’s way easy to cross the limit if you use multiple devices from Apple.

Do you know what’s even worse? This method doesn’t sound practical for those with a subpar connection at home/office. What if you stored something important on iCloud and cannot download it because you do not have an internet connection?

Mac clean and productivity

Personally speaking, I didn’t find Optimized Storage as an appropriate solution for me. I’m sure many of you can relate, mainly if you deal with a lot of data.

And, this is where dedicated Mac cleanup and performance tune-up software come in. Here’s how they work:

  • Dedicated tools to clean Mac help you to free up space on your Mac. Because this works better than what we saw in Optimized Storage, you can get more free space.
  • Deleting junk and temporary files from your Mac can speed up the machine. You can enjoy a smooth macOS experience without messing with important macOS files. This also contributes toa better multitasking experience, among other things.
  • Speed-booster apps for Mac will help you with sensitive tasks like RAM boost, cache clearing, and Disk Permission management. A dedicated tool helps you in dealing with these confusing tasks. The best part is that you can unleash the real power of your Mac.
  • Most Mac maintenance tools often come with Security modules that scan your Mac for potential threats. So, you can easily remove adware and other dangerous elements with ease. This provides a safer, secure experience on and off the web.
  • You don’t have to pay for this extra storage space, since you are making the best out of your existing Mac. This is, of course, better than getting a portable SSD/HDD or iCloud upgrades. You also ensure better speed here.

Here’s what I think.

When you’re a professional, you may not have enough time to keep track of storage space and the speed of your Mac. Instead, you need a quick and easy way to deal with everything. In the end, everyone wants the first fastest Mac.

Well, this article we have chosen 11 Mac cleaner software and performance tune-up tools that checked the most important boxes.

Best options for quick disk cleanup

Disk Diet

Disk Diet is a tool that automatically scans your Mac’s storage drive and cleans it by deleting all trash files. You don’t have to do a thing. The app will automatically look through the cache and the drive to keep it clean and optimized.

The UI is minimal, and you don’t even have a clear breakdown of the storage space. But, it’s perfect for beginners and is perfect if you don’t have a lot of time to go through all the trash files and delete them one by one.

It features a one-click disk cleanup, and you can clean all the trash by just clicking the “Diet” button.

Disk Diet is a paid Mac app with a price tag of $9. It also offers a limited free trial version that helps you clear 500 MB of trash files. Disk Diet requires a macOS version of 10.11 or newer and is also compatible with Big Sur and Monterey.

Disk Doctor Pro

Disk Doctor is developed in the UK and was awarded the ‘Mac Gem’ award by MacWorld in 2013. The app focuses on disk cleanup only. It scans and removes application caches, browser logs, iTunes temp caches, and other unnecessary files from your hard drive. The interface is straightforward and professional, as well as easy to use.

The limitation of Disk Doctor is that the utility is designed to work only with your Mac’s boot volume. You can’t scan an external volume and free up disk space on it. Similarly, you miss features like app uninstaller and cache manager. On the bright side, you get an interactive way to manage different elements and remove them with ease.

Disk Doctor Pro could use a few improvements and additional features, but at its current price of just $9.99, it’s worth having around.

DaisyDisk

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 trash. Once you’ve browsed through and collected things you don’t need, a single click clears them out. DaisyDisk is available for just $9.99 from the Mac App Store as well as from their website (standalone edition). The standalone version from their site offers some additional features since it is not bound by Apple’s sandboxing rules.

We like DaisyDisk’s design with its circular visualizations! But it’s important to note that DaisyDisk does not warn you if you delete something sensitive to the system. So, please use DaisyDisk carefully.

Best options for deep clean & optimization

CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is the most feature-rich app on the list. It can help you clean your storage drive, protect your Mac, optimize the performance, uninstall apps, and a whole lot more. It also has a one-click smart scan tool that instantly scans through your storage drive and cleans unwanted files or trash.

Unlike other cleaning/optimizing software, CleanMyMac X focuses on an issue-by-issue basis. Instead of listing hundreds of different things that could slow down your computer, it digs deep into each problem you’re having and tell you exactly how to fix it. It also uses cloud computing technology to deliver updates as needed — no need to worry about installing new updates every few weeks.

Related: How to Use CleanMyMac X? Is It Safe? (Beginner’s Guide)

I love the simple interface with all the tools listed on the left panel. However, I did expect it to be a lot faster. My initial scan took around 10 minutes, which was boring, but it did pick out a lot of trash or old files that I didn’t need.

So, if you need a feature-rich app with a clean UI that will help you eliminate all problems on your Mac, then CleanMyMac X is the way to go.

You can get for free with a trial version or upgrade to the pro version of CleanMyMac X, beginning at $34.95. However, this high price is worth it as the features it offers are amazing. It works on macOS 10.10 and later, including macOS Monterey, and it also offers native support for Macs running the latest Apple M1 chips.

MacBooster

Not as feature-rich as CleanMyMac X, MacBooster is still a great app with a lot of tools that help keep your Mac clean and optimized. It has tools to help you clean your system by finding duplicates, deleting large files, uninstalling applications, and even protecting your Mac from viruses and malware.

The Privacy Protection tool also erases all temporary files in the system’s cache folder to ensure that it can recover no data from the computer after a reboot. So, malware and viruses don’t even stand a chance.

It has a similar interface to CleanMyMac X with all the tools listed on the left panel. It also has a one-click scan and removal tool that can help you clean system junk, scan for viruses, and turbo boost your system by cleaning background apps or services.

You can try it for free with a 14-day trial period, and after that, it will require $2.49/month for the premium subscription. It also works on macOS Monterey and supports the latest M1 chips.

Sensei

The last feature-rich Mac app that you should be using. Sensei claims as ‘the next generation Mac performance tool’, it comes with a tonne of features and a minimal UI that makes it an awesome tool to use. I love the clean aesthetic, and it also provides you with pinwheel graphs right on the home screen.

This program for Mac gives you a full, safe system scan for viruses, spyware, and other threats to your computer security. The program is easy, intuitive, and user-friendly. Plus, it’s always learning from your inputs, so it gets better and more efficient at washing your Mac as you use it.

It helps you monitor your battery, RAM, graphics, CPU, and all the essential components right on the dashboard, and it can help you optimize your Mac’s performance with just a single click.

The program allows users to sort through files on their computers to separate personal data from business data. So, if you want to have great control over your Mac, then Sensei is a great tool to use.

Sensei is available for macOS 10.15 Catalina and later. You can try it out for free with a trial version or get it for a yearly subscription for $29 or the Lifetime license for $59. However, you won’t be able to use it on older Macs, and the status bar only works on macOS 11.3 or later.

Best options for removing duplicates/big files

CCleaner Professional

CCleaner is an easy-to-use system optimization program for Mac. It offers tools to remove junk and performance slowdowns that can quickly accumulate in any computer. It also provides options to help prevent your computer from becoming cluttered in the first place. With CCleaner, you get straightforward controls with a redesigned interface to keep everything easy to use.

CCleaner free version allows you to clutter and junk files, find duplicate and large files and uninstalls redundant apps. At the premium level with a price of $29.95, you will have the ability to clean web browsers or Trash or ‘Bin’ folder automatically, and even organize your photo libraries by finding bad, blurry, or identical-looking photos and removing them.

You can try CCleaner for free with a trial version or upgrade to the premium level for $29.95. The app now fully prepared for the latest version of macOS, Monterey and ready for Apple M1-based machines.

Intego Mac Washing Machine X9

Intego Mac Washing Machine X9 does all the work for you: You just put your Mac into the Washing Machine, press a button, and leave for the day. When you get home, your Mac will be squeaky clean!

This application market as a “revolutionary laundry program” that will “revolutionize the way you wash your clothes”. It allows you to do laundry on your computer. Here are some of the features of this new software:

  • It can scan your computer’s hard drive and external drives to see if they are infected. Once the cleaning process completes, the program updates its virus database automatically so it can continue protecting your devices against future threats.
  • It comes with an advanced privacy cleaner that allows you to remove all traces of your online activities from the computer, which includes uninstalled applications, browser histories, and other files that it can use to track your online movements.

You can try it for free with a trial version, but if you need the full functionality, then you can get it for $55.99 for a year. It is compatible with macOS 10.12 – macOS 12.0 and also runs on the M1 hardware.

Best free options

OnyX

Macs are great. But they’re not easy to use, and for some of us, they’re downright tricky. That’s why OnyX is a set of software tools that makes it easier to use your Mac computer. OnyX is a free program for Mac that solves many problems you might encounter on your computer, including being unable to read or write to hard drives and having trouble with permissions.

OnyX will be safely used to clean up your hard drive and help you remember things like passwords, what web browser you use, and where you put your photos. The program supports an eye on your RAM, disk space, and processor. If any of these start to slip, OnyX will let you know so you can perform simple tasks to fix the issue before it gets worse.

Onyx can be downloaded for free, and there is a specific version of OnyX for each major version of macOS.

AppCleaner

AppCleaner is a free, open-source app for Mac that will help you remove apps that you no longer want. AppCleaner is for people who have a problem with their computer’s speed due to having lots of apps on their computer and can’t find the one they need.

It comes with various features and options, allowing users to pick which apps to keep and which ones to delete. It offers a simple and easy-to-use interface that makes it easy for users to find the specific app they want to delete.

AppCleaner can free up space on your hard drive by removing any unnecessary files that are left behind by an uninstalled app. You can also quickly scan your Mac for all the small files from an app to know what you have and what you don’t.

You can use AppCleaner for free, and the latest version works across all macOS devices running High Sierra or higher.

Clean-Me

Clean Me is the easiest way to keep your Mac running smoothly by removing unnecessary files and applications, clearing out your browsing history, and ensuring your font library is always up-to-date. Clean Me works by scanning your machine for personal info and then deleting it, using advanced algorithms to ensure no trace of you remains.

You can even set a timer for how long you want the scan to take so that you don’t have to worry about it slowing down your computer too much.

It has a lightweight, easy-to-use interface with a sleek design that’s intuitive for any user to navigate. The “Analyse” button helps you scan through everything, and the “Clean” button cleans all the trash. It’s as simple as that.

The latest Clean-Me version supports the latest macOS version and runs on Macs running Catalina (10.15.x) or higher. Clean-Me is a free app, and you wouldn’t need to pay a penny.

Tips on choosing a Mac cleaner

Before you dive right in and get a cleaner app for your Mac, make sure to check if they have the following feature set:

Easy to Use. The app should have a minimal and clean UI so that you can get accustomed to it easily.

Compatible with your Mac. Most cleaner apps are compatible with most macOS versions but if you have an old Mac, then make sure to check if the app supports the OS.

Has a one-click clean tool. Sometimes you don’t want to dive deep into cleaning and just want to clear some space. This is where the one-click tool comes in, as it helps delete large trash files and clear some space immediately.

Offers individual file checks. You should also look for an app that helps you get in and clean files one by one. Yes, it would take time, but it is the most effective way of getting your storage drive as clean as possible.

Displays the storage space. This is a giver, but you should also consider an app that displays all your storage allocation right on the home screen. This would help you quickly analyze your storage drive and clean it effectively.

Additional tips to clean your Mac further

Now that you have the best cleaner apps on the internet and have cleaned most of the junk off your Mac, you can follow this section and remove and maintain your storage drive much more effectively.

Tip 1: You should always go through your storage drive, look for any file you don’t want or need, and delete it as it’s just wasting your precious storage space.

Tip 2: Try to store files on iCloud or use online streaming services so that you don’t store unnecessary media such as songs, TV shows, or movies.

Tip 3: Remove any old or unused applications or games that you won’t be using anytime soon as it just creates clutter.

Tip 4: Make sure to keep your “Downloads” folder as clean and optimized as possible.

In closing

Now, you’ve a handful of Mac cleaning software to choose from, with different customization that can help you accomplish your goals.

  • If you want a lightweight application that will help clean your disk quickly and effectively, then Disk Diet is for you. It comes for $9.
  • If you crave extensive features and want the most control over your Mac performance, then CleanMyMac X is the way to go. It comes at $34.95.
  • If you have a lot of duplicate files that you want to remove, then CCleaner is what you need. It cleans away all the large and duplicate files and costs a total of $29.95 for the pro version.
  • Well, this selection is for everyone under a strict budget or looking for a free app. OnyX is the best pick, and it won’t cost you a penny.

Make sure you have a backup of your files before cleaning your Mac. This will help you be extra careful and will keep you protected if anything goes wrong. You should also double-check everything you’re deleting, as it will help keep all your essential data safe.

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