Review: CleanMyMac

CleanMyMac is designed to keep your Macintosh lean and mean. (February 12th, 2010)

CleanMyMac removes unneeded files to save you some hard drive space. It uninstalls applications more thoroughly than you can do by simply dragging the application to the Trash and cleans out cache and log files.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: MacPaw

Price: $14.95 and up.

The Good

  • Nice user interface.
    Informative function descriptions.
    Progress bar for each item.
    Updateable Ignore List.

The Bad

  • Expensive.
    May not be necessary for newer Mac owners.

In the crowded Macintosh software utility category comes a new application, CleanMyMac, designed to keep your machine lean and mean. This well-designed application helps you remove unnecessary files that fill up your hard drive. It comes with good help for the new user and it does what it says quickly and easily. The question is whether any of us really need this kind of application anymore.

CleanMyMac is a beautiful application. The interface looks right at home on Mac OS X because it is designed with the brushed metal theme and its clean, minimalist approach to the layout.


Main Window

When you click one of the functions on the left, a drawer slides out on the right and tells you the exact function of that particular option. That's more informative than the normal little tool tip pop-ups and should go a long way in helping you decide which options to choose. When the program runs a progress bar appears next to each function.


Univeral Binaries Drawer Help

You can choose which options to run via the main window or set defaults in the Preferences pane. The Preferences pane three tabs, General, Advanced, and Updates, should cover all of your customization needs.

The General tab contains a set of check boxes for you to set items to scan by default. It also lets you set language translations to keep by default, with English already chosen.


Preferences General Tab

The Advanced tab consists of two settings; the first lets you toggle on or off Secure Erase. This means that any files the application deletes are overwritten three times so that they are unrecoverable by any specialty software. This is a security feature, so if you're cleaning high-level, high-security Macs, go ahead and enable this feature. Most of us can leave it turned off. Be warned, Secure Erase adds to your run time because it takes more time to overwrite files three times.


Preferences Advanced Tab

The second setting enables the most useful feature of CleanMyMac, the application uninstaller. When you check the box labeled "Enable Automatic Application Uninstaller," every time you delete an application by dragging it to the Trash, CleanMyMac launches, scans the application's files, and displays a list of all the other files associated with that application so that you may delete them also. This nice feature also works well.

The Updates tab includes a setting for how often the application phones home to check for an update and an Ignore List.


Preferences Updates Tab

The Ignore List lets you set a list of applications and files to leave in place, which you can share with other CleanMyMac users. For example, some applications do not respond well if you muck around with their files. So, you can tell the application which ones to leave alone, and the CleanMyMac community can chime in with their suggestions of which ones to leave alone also. Again, for the small savings in disk space, I recommend you leave them all untouched.

Testing the App

When you check for Caches and Log files, the results show up on the right side of the window. You can view the file list by checking the down arrow and uncheck any files you want to keep. This attention to detail further enhances the usefulness of CleanMyMac.


Log Files Results

Space You Save

I set the application to scan, but not remove Language Translations, Universal Binaries, or Development Junk. This is the first issue I have with this and other applications of its kind; they just don't save enough hard drive space. Language Translations are simply all the supported languages that an application can use for its menus, buttons, and other interface items. In other words, they allow this application to be used all over the world and not just by English speaking Mac users. On my iMac, these other files amounted to 2.85 GB in size.

Universal Binaries are files left over from when applications had to be able to run on both PowerPC Macs and Intel Macs. On my iMac, these amounted to 1.24GB in size. Development Junk are all the files that the software developers include in the applications that help them to troubleshoot, debug, and report issues with their software. On my iMac, these amounted to 351.27MB in size. Combined that is just shy of 4.5GB of hard disk space that I could reclaim by telling CleanMyMac to remove those files.

Here's the problem, sometimes removing those files causes a problem with the applications and they no longer run properly or occasionally won't run at all.

5 years ago when hard drive space wasn't as plentiful as it is today, it might be worth the risk to reclaim 4.5GB of storage space. Today, with a 500GB hard drive costing less than $60, it is just not worth the risk to gain a few gigabytes of disk space, unless you're on a machine with limited disk space.

CleanMyMac removes unneeded files to save you some hard drive space and it uninstalls applications more thoroughly than you can do by simply dragging the application to the Trash. The well-written application does all of this well. If you really feel the need to reclaim some hard drive space or if you just want to remove every trace of an application when you delete it then CleanMyMac will certainly do the job for you.

There are several other applications that do the same thing though and many of them are free, while CleanMyMac has a tiered pricing structure. A Single User license ranges from $14.95 for six months to $29.95 for a Lifetime. A two-user license is $49.95 and a five-user license is $74.95.

Other Similar Apps

Monolingual, XSlimmer, and iCleanLanguage also pare down your Universal Binaries, get rid of Development Junk, and strip out all those extra Language Translation files. AppZapper, AppCleaner, CleanApp, AppTrasher, AppTrap and help you do a more thorough job of deleting an application by identifying and deleting all associated files that the application installed.


I question the need for applications of this sort, but I can easily recommend this one if you feel the need to clean up your Mac. CleanMyMac runs on all PowerPC and Intel Macs running OS X 10.4.11 or higher and is Snow Leopard compatible. Ilene adds that her PPC Mac stalls and slows down when its huge cache files are not removed regularly. CleanMyMac solves that problem nicely.


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