CleanMyMac X: Finally a Mac-Cleaning App That Doesn’t Suck!

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #302

According to its website, CleanMyMac X is:

…an all-in-one package to awesomize your Mac. It cleans megatons of junk and makes your computer run faster. Just like it did on day one.

I’m skeptical of such hyperbole and, quite frankly, I’ve never used any “clean up your Mac” app I liked enough to recommend.

CleanMyMac X Changed my Mind

MacPaw’s new CleanMyMac X is the exception to the rule. To augment its namesake feature—cleaning up accumulated cruft on your disks—it has a total of 14 different tools that can help optimize and protect your drives.

The signature feature is called Smart Scan; it scans your disk for obsolete and orphaned files, detects malware, and runs a suite of Mac maintenance scripts with a single click.

This is Smart Scan in action.
Smart Scan in action.

A recent Smart Scan of my startup disk uncovered 110.33GB of potentially unneeded files including more than 90GB of cache files for photos, music, screensavers, and websites.

Results of the Smart Scan.
Results of the Smart Scan.

Cache files are a double-edged sword. They can speed up the performance of Photos, iTunes, screensavers, websites, and many other operations. That being said, cache files can also grow to gargantuan proportions.

After the scan it organizes the files it thinks might be unneeded into five categories: System Junk, Photo Junk, iTunes Junk, Mail Attachments, and Trash Bins. Each category has a list of potentially unneeded files, each with a checkbox,

In my case, an assortment of cache files (System Junk) were using more than 10% of my 1TB drive.

Some (not all) of the
Some (not all) of the “System Junk” CleanMyMac X found on my startup disk.

I didn’t notice any effect on Photos, iTunes, or Safari’s performance after deleting the cache files, and I loved having more than 100GB of new-found free space on my boot drive.

This before (left) and after (right) shot tells the story of my 100+GB of cruft.
This before (left) and after (right) shot tells the story of my 100+GB of cruft.

But Wait! There’s More!

In addition to Smart Scan, there are several other useful tools:

  • Uninstaller uninstalls applications properly by deleting all of their related files, even files that are hidden from view.
  • Updater checks your non-App Store apps and identifies those with updates available.
  • Large and Old Files* identifies large and forgotten files and allows you to easily delete them.
  • Privacy cleans your browser history including auto-fill forms and other data saved by popular browsers.

*I used the Large and Old file scan to ferret out another 50+GB of large files and files I hadn’t seen or even thought about in years. I archived ones I wanted to save to another disk, and trashed the rest. The net result was another 50+ GB of additional free space for a grand total of more than 150GB!.

And Even More…

CleanMyMac X also includes a menu bar item that displays a ton of useful information including available disk space and memory; battery status with battery-hogging apps; size of all items in Trash; and current CPU load.

CleanMyMac X's menubar app provides lots of useful feedback.
CleanMyMac X’s menubar app provides useful stats.

While I already have most of that information in my menubar courtesy of Bjango’s iStat Menus, it may be useful to you and save you the $14.99 for iStat Menus. (I run ’em both.)

Finally, CleanMyMac X can alert you when:

  • Free disk space falls below a specified threshold.
  • Trash exceeds a specified size.
  • An application is hung in the background (i.e stopped responding).
  • Free memory (RAM) is low.

This is the first Mac “cleaner” app I actually like using and am comfortable running full-time on my daily driver Mac. But I feel obliged to say that while I’ve had no issues whatsoever with CleanMyMac X over many weeks of testing, you should absolutely, positively back up your data, back it up again,) and then test both backups before using CleanMyMac X or ANY OTHER utility that deletes data, changes files, and/or modifies system files.

I did it before running CleanMyMac X. If you’re smart you’ll do the same.

CleanMyMac X. MacPaw. One Year Subscription $39.95. One-Time Purchase $89.95. It’s also part of SetApp.

6 thoughts on “CleanMyMac X: Finally a Mac-Cleaning App That Doesn’t Suck!

  • One caution: When installing an upgrade to an application, the old version will often be sent to the trash. CleanMyMac will offer to clean out the other files associated with the app left on the computer. This would be fine if one were getting rid of the app altogether but that’s not what one wants to do. I found this out the hard way.

      1. I *think* he’s referring to MacKeeper. FWIW I am also suspicious about CleanMyMac. A couple of years ago I helped a client that had installed CleanMyMac, and it was a total mess. It had installed Launcher agents and moved files all over the place.
        I don’t know if it’s better these days, but I will give it a chance due to this article. It anything goes wrong you’ll owe me a beer Bob! 😉

      2. OK… But don’t forget what I said about backing up twice and testing the backups before using ANY utility that modifies files/folders/directories.

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