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MacPaw’s CleanMyMac X Review

If the name MacPaw sounds familiar to you, it should. They’re the folks behind a host of great Mac applications like The Unarchiver (I use it daily), the killer duplicate file finder Gemini 2, and CleanMyMac 3, the app that seems to do it all when thinking about eliminating crap that collects on your Mac.

The latest in their software lineup just dropped–a new version of CleanMyMac, and it’s pretty dang good. I wanted to take a few minutes to go over it and share some of my thoughts.

Editorial Note: I was invited to beta test the latest version of CleanMyMac, so my review is based on that version of their software alone.

When I first received the email that a new version of CleanMyMac was on its way, I couldn’t help but wonder if the world needed something like this. After spending some time with it, I think I have an answer.

CleanMyMac X comes with an array of options for purging the cruft that’s collecting on your computer. I can hear people saying now that with disks as large as they are, there’s no need for any of this! You might be right, though not everyone has massive disks and you’d be surprised how much can collect in the back corners of your operating system after several years of botched removals of apps, all those Docker containers that collect dust, etc.

The first stop for most folks is Smart Scan. This is the easy mode. If you’d rather just click a thing and be done with it, Smart Scan fits the bill perfectly. It’ll work through the Cleanup, Protection, and Speed tasks automatically and behave as if you said yes to everything each task offers. For those that like a bit more control, I recommend staying away from this option and working your way down the list, instead. Hit the Run button and you’ll be done in a few moments.

Cleanup

Those that are curious will inevitably want to stop at each entry on the list, especially System Junk. This is the same task as the first 1/3 of Smart Scan. You can opt to go with the defaults or hit Review Details to get a clearer, more detailed picture of what’s on the chopping block and exempt items as needed. On my list I have a few options unchecked because of personal preferences, but you’re free to be as selective (or not) as you want. In my case, I don’t want to drop the only disk image it found that I haven’t touched in a long time. It’s a copy of a photo CD from a waterproof camera we brought with us on vacation to the Caribbean last year. I’d be better off moving that disk image off my machine altogether to save that space.

Depending on what’s most important to you, the amount fo space that’s recovered will vary greatly. Even if you only remove one thing, it’s good to know where some of your storage is being used.

CleanMyMac X offers up the ability to optimize your Photos library, as well. I couldn’t really test out this feature because I keep my photo library under control using a technique that involves putting it within a small .sparsebundle image. Photos.app manages the library based on how much disk space it has access to. Keeping the image small keeps my photo library small.

If you’re nerdy like I am in managing your photo library, this’ll wipe out all the cached full copies of photos and limit your library to small versions that are good for previewing. You’re always free to re-download full copies from iCloud later.

Note: Keep in mind that if your Mac is set to keep all the originals, don’t play around with this or you could end up losing photos.

If you have large email or iTunes archives, those options might be of use, though they weren’t entirely applicable to me, either (I use Spotify). The Trash Bin option is pretty straight forward but with a twist. Each drive on a mac has its own Trash. If the OS ever loses track of what’s in any of them, they can sit there collecting byte dust and take up space.

Protection

While they’re not as prone as Windows-based machines are, Macs can get viruses, too. If you find yourself in need of some viral remediation, you’ll find a process for that in CleanMyMac X.

Best case scenario, you see something like this:

The Privacy task is pretty self-explanatory. It clears your cookies and browser caches, autofills, etc. These are things you can do from within the browser so there’s nothing especially groundbreaking, here. It’ll also purge your chat logs, too.

Speed

These tasks are all things you can do elsewhere, though it might not be clear exactly how one would go about it so it’s nice there’re all in one place. I found myself needing to re-index spotlight a couple times because searching for an app brought up a document that referenced the app before the app itself. Re-indexing seemed to clear that up but as with just about everything computers, YMMV.

Applications

The Uninstaller is a nice feature to have. Sometimes, just dragging an app to the trash doesn’t clean up stuff in crazy alternative locations. CleanMyMac X touts a full purge of anything related to that app and even lets you see only the apps you’ve never used or are old and may soon be unsupported altogether.

From the Updater pane, you can work through applications and update them on the fly. This triggers the update process within the app. It’s not immediately clear how it knows or how it triggers–I’ll update this review when and if I learn. It’s pretty straight forward in how it works, though I couldn’t get it to update a couple apps. I suspect that’s an issue on my end rather than with the app itself given its hands-off approach to facilitating these updates.

Files

Last, CleanMyMac X allows you peruse your drives for the fattiest of files and permanently delete ones you’re not going to miss. Ironically enough, the top entry on my list was my iMovie Library. You can filter the list down by kind, size, and how long it’s been since you touched them. All helpful options.

So the question that’s on your mind: do you need this app? On the surface and as my initial response, I say yes, though consider what you’d actually want out of it before diving in. Some of its features might not serve your needs, specifically. They definitely don’t apply to me but they still serve their place in the ecosystem nonetheless. If you need an app that’s great for dumping cruft, uninstalling apps for real, and having a good spot for sweeping through app updates, I’d say absolutely buy it. If that’s not on your wish list, you’ll find other tools available for less that can just as well meet your needs.

Let’s talk pricing. CleanMyMac X access is available in three forms: yearly and lifetime and something cool I will share in a moment. I’m in firmly in the “buy it once” camp if I can help it so I’m going to personally recommend snagging the lifetime access for $89.95. If that seems a bit steep, MacPaw offers it up on a yearly basis for $39.95, as well. It’s available in the Mac Paw store starting September 5th. If that’s not your style, CleanMyMac X is a part of the Setapp application bundle that gives you access to literally a hundred awesome Mac apps for $10/month. If lifetime access isn’t in the budget this month and $10 is much easier to handle, consider that option, instead. Plus, for that same $10, you’ll land a load of other great apps.

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography