One of my favorite utilities for cleaning up the Windows PCs my clients bring to me, Piriform’s CCleaner, has come to the Mac. CCleaner for Mac has been in beta for a while, but the final version of the utility was released on January 30.
The app adds cleaning capabilities for Safari, Google Chrome, Opera and Firefox. The final release for Mac offers cookie management, allowing you to choose to keep all of your cookies, some cookies for persistent logins, or (by default) clear all of your cookies.
The utility also includes features to repair the permissions on your filesystem, wipe free space and clean Chrome’s omnibox.
The app uses the typical install process of dragging the icon to an alias of the Applications folder. This makes installation quick and easy, in keeping with the tradition of app installation on the Mac. CCleaner is not available from the Mac App Store, since it needs more access to the Mac’s file system than a sandboxed Mac App Store app is allowed.
Installing CCleaner is quick and easy
CCleaner for Mac will run on any Mac with OS X 10.5 or higher. For the purposes of this review, I tested the app on OS X 10.6.8 and OS X 10.7.2.
CCleaner offers a number of features that will help keep your Mac clean and optimized. When the app is first opened, it shows cleaning options for OS X itself. The app will clean Safari’s Internet cache, history, cookies, and download history. The app will also empty the trash and clear out a number of caches and log files. You can pick and choose which items to clean by deselecting individual items’ checkboxes. Once you have the settings you want, click Analyze, and CCleaner will work for a few moments. After it finishes analyzing your Mac, it will show how many files will be deleted, and how much disk space will be recovered.
CCleaner’s Mac OS X Cleaner Tab
Similarly, if you click the Applications tab, CCleaner will display options for other web browsers (such as Firefox, Chrome, etc.), as well as checkboxes to clean temporary files for other applications installed on your Mac (such as iMovie, iTunes, Microsoft Office, and so forth.) If you want to clean these applications in addition to OS X itself, you must click Analyze and Clean from the Applications tab.
CCleaner’s Applications Cleaner Tab
Other than cleaning temporary files, CCleaner for Mac also provides quick access to a number of system untilities from within the app. You can choose an Uninstaller, which you can use to remove apps you no longer use, a Repair Permissions interface, and an Erase Free Space tool. The Repair Permissions tool works just like Repair Permissions from Disk Utility. Erase Free Space gives you the option to write over empty space on your hard drive by zeroing out the space, performing a 7-pass wipe, or performing a 35-pass wipe.
CCleaner for Mac Tools
Finally, CCleaner for Mac allows you to drill down into your cookies, choosing which cookies should be erased and which should be kept. If you know about cookies, and which ones you might use on a daily basis (such as the one that holds your authentication to Google, for example), this is a very useful set of options. By carefully choosing which cookies to erase, you can clear out the clutter left behind by web pages, but not have to re-type your username and password to log into Facebook.
The app runs well now, after a rough period just after the product’s launch. Piriform responds quickly to bugs, once users let the developers know about those bugs. CCleaner for Mac brings a variety of important system optimization utilities into one application, and provides a clean user interface for accessing those tools and utilities.
The app, like all of Piriform’s software for home computers, is available as a free download. There are no banner advertisements within the software, no nag screens asking for donations, and no crippled features. Everything you see in the app is available for use, absolutely free.
Since Piriform is new to the Mac, they’ve had some difficulties getting their software to run reliably on the Mac. When CCleaner for Mac first came out of beta, the app would run on some Macs, but completely freeze on others. For example, the app would run perfectly fine on my Mac mini at home, but hang when I tried to launch it on my work iMac (both running 10.6.8). After roughly a week, though, Piriform had a new release that seems to have alleviated those problems.
As of now, there is absolutely no documentation for CCleaner for Mac. Piriform has a documentation page for CCleaner, but it is applicable primarily to the Windows version. The software doesn’t tell what files it’s going to delete, so I have been reluctant to allow it to clean my Applications. I can see, from the Analysis Results, that CCleaner would delete roughly 153 MB of files from iTunes, but I don’t know exactly what files it would delete. Unfortunately, my attempts to get clarification on this have been unsuccessful. The app works perfectly for cleaning the cache, temporary files, and cookies of web browsers, but I’m not going to trust it with my iTunes library or Microsoft Word temporary files until someone from Piriform provides some soft of documentation for the software.