Review: CleanApp 3 Beta First Look

It may be beta, but it is a good and useful utility. (May 30th, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Synium Software

Price: $13.00 US

The Good

  • Easy to use. Inexpensive. Very helpful for application junkies. Try before you buy.

The Bad

  • You could delete important files by mistake. Widget did not work correctly.

When you install a Mac OS X program, you install a packet of files. Depending on how the program installer is set up, files and folders may go to a number of places through out your Mac's drive. If you no longer need the program, dragging the program's icon from the Applications folder to the trash does not remove all of the associated files. You may leave bits and pieces behind, such as preferences, cache or support files. If you have a 500GB hard drive, it may not be a big deal to remove the big chunks of the application and leave other pieces behind, but most Macs don't come with drives that big.

The Myth of One Program, One File

Although many programs create Installer Log Files detailing where each program piece is placed, not all programs play so nicely. These logs aren't much help when you want to remove a program though. If a utility were able to log every file you install, then when it comes time to uninstall that application, it could list all of the files that were installed originally and ask if you want to trash those items as well, it would be very handy. If that utility could perform a Spotlight search to find those files you have only used once or twice, you could use this list to delete applications that you don't really need.

That all sounds great, but what if I accidentally delete files that I really need? Wouldn't it be useful if this utility could archive the whole package, so you could save it and reinstall it later, or even back it up or burn the archive onto a CD. Such a useful utility does exist, and it is Synium Software's CleanApp 3. This very useful program is considered a beta product, but worked very well in all my tests. The only glitch I found was in the Dashboard widget, but they are working on it, as I write.

CleanApp Interface

The CleanApp 3 user interface is rather simple. Along the left side is a list of the functions including Applications, Preference Panes, Old Files, Archives, Languages, Cache Files, Logging, History, and Related Files. The window to the right changes as you select one of the functions on the left.

CleanApp 3 screen

CleanApp 3 Basic Interface

When you press the Function button, the right side gives you a drop box. After you drag and drop an application into the box, a table appears that gives you information about the application, including name, size, version, last used, and location on your hard drive. Below this is a list of the program's parts. There is a check box for deleting or archiving the application and parts. The file name for each part and its location. There is also a size notation. At the bottom right, a button lets you delete or archive the items checked. To send the application to the trash, just check mark the delete boxes and hit the Perform Selected Actions button.

CleanApp 3 screen2

CleanApp 3 Filter Winddow

Useful Utility

CleanApp3 is a very easy to use program that helps you eliminate applications and their baggage. While some of the auxiliary files can be three hundred or more Megabytes, most seem to be much smaller. Some people get over zealous about freeing up hard drive space and may delete a required file inadvertently. In addition, there may be files used jointly between applications. For example, if you delete a piece of Photoshop, you may find that your other Adobe programs won't work.

If want to remove installed applications and the files that go with them, you will find CleanApp 3 very helpful. It is especially good if you frequently download and install applications from the Internet. If the freeware application wasn't what you thought it was, you can easily delete everything that you installed. If you don't need the downloaded application now, it is handy to archive the whole package for use in the future. Priced at only $10 while in beta, this is a good utility to have around.

Editor's note: The developer has told me that in some obscure cases, the logging of installed files can hog system resources. They are addressing this problem and the expected final release date is scheduled for the third quarter of 2008. We tested version 3.0.0b7 for this article. Personally, I test a lot of software and presently have over 350 installed applications, so I don't want to wait that long to use this useful utility. It seems pretty stable to me. Thanks to Dr. Bott LLC for introducing Synium Software to us at Macworld Expo.

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Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Rick Curran


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