Clean My Mac X is now released, this review is very obsolete. We suggest reading our review of CleanMyMac X as well.
There are rave reviews all over the internet about CleanMyMac 2, but the question is, are these reviews really unbiased and are the claims that CleanMyMac will speed up your Mac really accurate?
Cleaning up the disk space on your Mac is extremely unlikely to speed it up. Various review sites talk about more space on your hard drive means more time for your processor to do the things you want it to. This is utter nonsense. More space on your hard drive does not speed up your processor. More space on your hard drive allows you to install more apps, movies, music etc. It doesn’t speed your Mac up though.
What can speed up your Mac is removing unused background processes that you may have installed to test out and then forgot you had there. These processes running in the background do take up processor time and removing them can free up your processor for things you want to do. And Clean My Mac 2 gives you the opportunity to check old software that you haven’t used in a long time and remove it if you no longer want it.
So with that cleared up (cos it irritates me insanely!) let’s look objectively at what Clean My Mac 2 can do for you. I’m going to start with the parts of the application I find most useful, rather than going through the parts in the order they’re presented in the application. The most useful feature for me is the ‘Large and Old Files’ section of Clean My Mac 2. I run my Macbook Pro on a Samsung SSD 840 drive which gives me outstanding performance (and I highly recommend this drive if you want to speed up your Mac by an order of magnitude!) but it’s considerably smaller than the original drive the MacBook had in it. So space is of a premium! This feature lets me look at the biggest files on the drive and decide if I still really need them.
And the best part is, even if you have the free version which has some significant limits on how much data it will delete – you can actually just right click over the item in the list and ‘Reveal In Finder’ and delete it manually. It’s MUCH easier to buy the full version and have it simply delete them for you, but if you’re still on the trial version, removing them through Finder is a possibility.
Getting rid of those large, unwanted files on your hard drive means you don’t have to go out and buy external storage so quickly and have a coffee – or a beer – with the money instead. That’s got to be worth it already. But note, it won’t speed your mac up! It just saves you having to upgrade your drive.
One pointless and somewhat irritating feature though is the little popup (shown on the right here) that comes up when your trash folder gets large… It says that Clean My Mac can empty the trash now… How pointless, I can empty my own trash with a quick right click over the icon!
The next feature that shows great promise, both in terms of freeing up hard drive space and potentially assisting with speeding up your mac (and this is one of only 2 areas in the app that could speed up your mac). This is because some of those applications may well be running things in the background that are taking up processor time without your knowledge. So, this is where the Uninstaller menu comes in. This part of the Clean My Mac application lists all the different installed applications on your mac, and shows when you last opened them and how big they are. You can then select whichever applications you no longer use and press the big remove button at the bottom of the screen and CleanMyMac 2 will remove those apps – and their saved preferences and other files associated with the application, freeing up disk space and (if the app is running things in the background or has installed OS hooks) potentially speeding up your Mac too.
The next part of CleanMyMac I like to use occasionally – even if only to keep my eye on what’s happening with my Mac – is the Extensions Manager. This is an area of your Mac that without something like CleanMyMac you would probably never even know existed. Software applications that you install on to your Mac can install extensions into various parts of the operating system, such as the Contacts app, Finder plugins, Internet plugins, Safari plugins etc. These plugins take up space and can slow down the application into which they’re hooked. Of course, if they’re still serving a purpose for you then you’d accept that they’ll take up space and potentially speed. But if you haven’t used these plugins for ages, and forgot they were there, then this part of the CleanMyMac app can be priceless. For example, I discovered an OpenIE plugin in my Safari (why do I care about opening Internet Explorer from Safari, especially since to do so requires opening up Parallels Desktop) and I discovered an EndNote plugin in my Spotlight search. Back when I was a student and had assignments and lectures notes stored in EndNote this was a valuable thing for me. Now it’s just taking up space – AND without CleanMyMac I have no idea how to remove it!
The final area of the program I want to look at is one I rarely use, although it’s handy for novice users, I tend to keep my system reasonably clean where I can (apart from the bits I’ve mentioned above!) but the system cleanup does have some advantages. Notably, the ability to remove the extraneous language files that you may well never use unless your Mac is intended to be used by multiple people all of whom speak different languages. I strongly advise NOT removing the ‘user cache’ files – Apple’s OSX takes care of keeping these clean and relevant for you and removing them may actually slow your mac down rather than speed it up.
In this review, as you can see from the screenshots, I’m looking at the trial version. Buying the full version unlocks the ability for CleanMyMac to remove multiple applications and cleanup cleanly without the need to switch to Finder to manually remove things. I find the trial extremely limiting and think MacPaw would be better off offering a time limited demo. I suspect their reasoning is that some people would do one cleanup with their time limited trial and would never look at it again. That isn’t the way this software should work. It needs to be run every month or so, or maybe every 6 months for best effect. Particularly if you’re installing software to trial (like I do!) and then removing it again regularly. The cruft that gets left behind needs cleaning up regularly. So from a trial perspective, the best way to trial this software would be to have a full run available for 15 days or so and then for it to become limited. But as it is, I’m heading to the MacPaw store to buy my copy, for a shade under $40 it’s well worth it, just so I don’t have to buy another external drive to store my apps on!
So, the answer to the question everyone wants to know:
Will MacPaw CleanMyMac 2 speed up my Mac? Possibly – but unlikely to be noticeable.
Will MacPaw CleanMyMac free up space I didn’t even know was missing? Absolutely. And that in itself saves you upgrading hardware, meaning it has to be worth it.
For more information visit the Developers website at http://macpaw.com/cleanmymac
Positives: Nice Interface, Finds hidden cruft you didn’t know exists, runs automatically.
Negatives: Free trial is quite limited, removing system caches files can slow things down instead of speeding them up.
Trial Available: Yes, limited
Price: US $39.95