The 2018 Best Mac Cleaner Software (and why you need one)
Utilities • Updated on Aug 6, 2018
Generally, getting more free space on Mac is a common pain for our Mac users and should’ve been addressed long ago.
The application people have been recommending for years to solve this problem is CleanMyMac. And, yes, it is the best Mac cleaner software.
But first, we took a deep dive into the all-purpose cleaning and maintenance app to see how its features stack up against other software, to determine whether it’s worth the money. The short version: it is.
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.
While this is an amazing thing to have built-in, it doesn’t quite get the job done for many heavy Mac users.
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, it also has all these kinds of junk files and instead of deleting them, it mainly moves them into iCloud. The result of the optimization is more free space on your hard drive and many-many gigabytes of cloud storage taken up. It’s not perfect yet.
Why you need a Mac cleaner software
So you can pay monthly to move staff to the Cloud storage and keep it active. Apple obviously pushes its own paid cloud storage. The company provides 5GB of free iCloud Drive storage per Apple ID, you need cost more to take full advantage of Optimized Storage, and moving to the iCloud doesn’t mean sorting stuff out.
Further, there are still some reasons why you need a Mac cleaning software program that does more than just optimizing storage.
- Did you know that each application you download and install stores Gigabytes of Language data that you never use?
- System Cache files are periodically and automatically rebuild, that space savings you achieve by deleting caches will soon disappear.
- 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.
You may rummage through your system folders and try to delete the files manually, but that is unsafe and inefficient.
You may get a larger disk(as in, with more storage capacity). While the speed boosts that a SSD bring cannot be denied, the per-gigabyte price on SSDs is higher than that of spinning disks.
So, you should approach a dedicated Mac cleaner software – with the right expectations (and a bit of circumspection) – to easily detoxing the unwanted things from the operating system.
CleanMyMac 3 is the best Mac cleaning software
Like always, when we sat down to look at apps, a list of review criteria was developed that we would consider for each app.
- Is the app beautifully designed with an easy to understand 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 testing several popular apps, pondering the implications of the various cleaning models, and thinking about features and qualities, we settled on CleanMyMac 3 as the best overall cleaning software for Mac.
What is CleanMyMac 3?
CleanMyMac 3 is a Mac cleaning tool from Macpaw. It will help you find and remove gigabytes of unnecessary junk you don’t need, uninstall unwanted apps (including all those pesky, scattered files), and perform other useful maintenance tasks.
CleanMyMac 3 app perfectly complements Optimized Storage from Apple. When equipped with both, you get maximum free space and you can be sure every corner of your Mac is junk-free. While Apple’s Optimized Storage works for system applications, CleanMyMac is doing more and optimizes the whole Mac.
Is CleanMyMac safe to use?
Yes, it is. CleanMyMac 3 has the Safety Database which is an enormous list of operational rules and exceptions. This gigantic list prevents even the smallest of Mac cleaning mishaps. CleanMyMac 3 refers to this database when cleaning your Mac.
Besides, CleanMyMac 3 uses safety notifications for anyone who decides to manually clean their Mac. These notifications warn you of which files are critical to your Mac’s health before you delete them.
Our review about the CleanMyMac 3
CleanMyMac 3 is all-in-one Mac cleaner that removes apps, data, and gigabytes of unnecessary junk. The app includes a number of functions which can be categorized into three sections:
Clearning: Clean your Mac hard drive by removing gigabytes of system junk and trash.
Utilities: Maintain your Mac with a set of small utilities.
Health Monitoring: Monitor the health of your Mac with key alerts and notifications.
Let’s get down to each specific section.
This is the core of CleanMyMac 3. MacPaw claims that CleanMyMac 3 “removes gigabytes of junk in just two clicks,” so we put this to the test.
Note: before running any cleaning tool, you should make sure that all of your important data is backed up, just in case.
And sure enough, after installation, after two clicks it had freed up almost ten gigabytes of assorted detritus off of our SSD.
Here it comes the feature we like most: Smart Cleanup．
This Smart Clean-Up performs a full scan of your computer to find all of the possible issues with your Mac and show your files that are safe to be removed as easily as possible.
Over the long term, this is the feature that you will use the most often because it allows you to optimize storage and memory usage with minimal effort.
In our MacBook Air, it found 35.88GB of files ready for cleanup.
The Smart Cleanup uses what MacPaw calls a “Safety Database” — a list of items, rules, and exceptions that the company has carved out to ensure that no critical system or user files are removed — to minimize the risk of improperly deleting important data. That’s why you can click the Clean button without even reviewing smart-select items.
The Cleaning includes six sub-parts that enable you to detect and remove specific types of unneeded files.
- System Junk: removes user and system logs and caches, unneeded OS X localization files, the PowerPC code of universal binaries, and unused language files. Dashboard now shows stored data types for APFS volumes.
- Photo Junk: analyses both Photos and iPhoto library to reveal data that can be removed without harm to your images. This data includes heavy RAW originals of images, local copies of photos stored in iCloud, Faces and Photos cache.
- Mail Attachments: clears out zip files, PDF’s, signatures, company logos and other files sent to you via e-mail and stored in the hard drive. This will save you gigabytes of storage space.
- iTunes Junk: removes locally downloaded iOS apps (the apps remain on your iOS devices after being removed from your Mac), old iOS device backups, old iOS device firmware updates, and any broken iTunes downloads. Here’s our recommendation: Transfer or keep those iOS device backups in case of unexpected iPhone or iPad data loss.
- Trash Bins: empties all trash bins on your Mac, not just the main system trash that sits in the Dock. This includes external drive trashes, Photo trash, Mail trash, and any detectable app-specific trash bins.
- Large & Old Files: discovers and removes old files you may have forgotten about on your hard drive, many of which are large duplicates. You’ll want to be very careful here – just because something is old or large doesn’t mean you should delete it .
From our test, CleanMyMac 3 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, 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.
There are a number of utilities included with CleanMyMac that can help maintain the system and fix problems.
These utilities are laid out in a user-friendly and intuitive way, making the software easy to use while not losing the power and functionality that you would expect with a good Mac cleaner.
- Uninstaller: removes not only application binaries, but also any associated files that deleting just the .app file often miss.
- Maintenance: lets you run a number of scheduled and manual maintenance tasks, such as rebuilding Launch Services, reindexing Spotlight, and verifying disk permissions.
- Privacy: removes history, cache, and cookies from your installed Web browsers and chat applications.
- Extensions: displays a list of all installed extensions, widgets, and plugins, and lets you remove or disable them as desired.
- Shredder: lets you securely erase files and folders, making them unrecoverable.
So what’s our personal take on all of the above?
We’ve repeatedly found the application’s Uninstaller helpful in removing not only applications, but the various library and corresponding files that get loaded in other locations on the Mac.
Another tool that we found especially helpful is Flush DNS Cache in Maintenance module, we have had trouble visiting certain websites but after a quick run everything was working perfectly.
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.
CleanMyMac 3 features “health alerts”, which notify you when various hardware-related events occur, such as heavy memory use, high disk temperatures, failing drives, and battery problems. The feature is reflected in the CleanMyMac Menu that gives you a quick overview of how your Mac is performing.
We think the health monitoring feature is a little light. Don’t be fooled by the name, because it does not really monitor the health conditions of a Mac.
The health conditions we’re concerned about here are malware, system issues, and other related matters. We admit that these are the things that anti-virus or anti-malware does.
Availability and pricing
CleanMyMac 3 is available for Mac only. If you have a device running macOS 10.9 or later, you can use it as the cleaning tool for your Mac.
CleanMyMac 3 is priced at $39.95 per Mac ($59.95 for 2 Macs or $89.95 for 5 Macs), you may get the MacPaw Space Saving Bundle (saving 10%) for maximum cleanup.
+ Simple, scheduled 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.
– 500MB limitation on trial
– Some alerts can be irritating after a while.
Other options for consideration
There were a lot of other great Mac cleaning apps we looked at when writing this review. None of them quite measured up to CleanMyMac in terms of functionality and features, but the $39.95 price point may turn some users off. In that case, there are some alternatives worth looking at.
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 is 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”.
When you open the software, you will see tabs there. 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.
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.
After carefully testing and reviewing the above Mac cleaning apps, we believe that CleanMyMac 3 is the best utility for most people, as 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 3 is about as good as you’re going to find when it comes to apps of this nature.
And till now, around 5 million downloads have been there of this app. Reputable and big sites like TheNextWeb(TNW) and MacWorld have also recommended using CleanMyMac 3.
Download a free trial now, and you may get the MacPaw Space Saving Bundle (10% off) for maximum cleanup.