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Review: Clean My Mac

Never given your hard disk a spring clean? CleanMyMac will do the job for you (£9.50/$14.95)

Key Features

• Clears unwanted files

• Optimises universal binaries

• Removes useless languages

Learn more…

It goes without saying that any Mac slowly fills with errant files. Over the course of weeks, months and years there’s a build up of unused language installations, old preferences files, universal binaries and caches. The user won’t even know about these unwanted files, but there will be hints: the system may take longer to boot, slow down for long periods of time and programs may pause for no reason at all. If that’s ever happened to you, then CleanMyMac can help. It’s an all-in-one utility that scans for useless files, details them for examination, and deletes them if prompted. It also has a few clever background features that make staying on top of junk files much easier. A native application for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs, CleanMyMac can be downloaded for free from the Mac Paw website. Using the free version, you can scan your Mac and remove up to 200MB of junk files. But for doing a thorough clean you’ll need to purchase a licence. There are two options available: a six-month licence for £9.50/$14.95, or a lifetime licence for £19/$29.95. These both include access to all future versions of the program, plus customer support. Once installed the program is easy to use and self-explanatory. A Scan button in the bottom-left corner automatically tasks the program with scanning a machine, with live results appearing in six categories: Caches, Logs, Language Files, Universal Binaries, System Junk and Trashes. Each category is detailed for the user to examine, and for those who don’t understand what the categories mean (such as what a cache file is), the program helpfully details everything in layman’s terms. We’ve detailed four of the categories below to get you started. There’s a two year old iMac that resides in the iCreate offices. It’s used daily for a wide range of tasks, including the creation of our cover disc. Needless to say, it’s long overdue a good cleaning. We booted it up and scanned it with CleanMyMac. The process took a

little over ten minutes – quite reasonable considering the machine had never been cleaned – and presented us with 4.34GB of junk files that could be deleted; the largest being 2.05GB of caches and 1.49GB of universal binaries. Clearing errant files is a simple task of checking the relevant boxes and clicking the Remove button. When removing files (or ‘cleaning’, as the app prefers to call it), the program displays live data in the main window of the interface. Cleaning can take a while, especially if a large number of files are being removed. It took a little over 65 seconds to delete 6GB of cache files on our test machine – substantially longer than simply emptying the Trash. Besides scanning when promoted, CleanMyMac has a few clever features built-in that help to keep a Mac in top- form. The program includes a helper file that always runs in the background, looking for elements of the hard disk that need a spring clean. When the Trash has over 3GB of files in it, CleanMyMac prompts the user with a helpful notice, and offers to clean some of the older files to save hard disk space. When a USB stick is inserted into a Mac, the application automatically scans the stick and prompts the user with a pop-up window detailing how much junk files are present.
All it takes is a click of the OK button, and the USB stick is cleaned. We saved 70MB on a USB stick without even asking CleanMyMac to examine it. These might sound like obtrusive prompts that get in the way of everyday tasks, but the pop-ups are infrequent (we experienced two in a working day) and they give the impression that the program is hard at work keeping files in order. The helper file uses little processing power, with no impact on the CPU and only 2.15MB of memory used up – but if the user prefers for background monitoring to not take place, then these features can be disabled from the main application. Digging into the Preferences window reveals several advanced features that are not enabled by default. First up is the ability to securely erase files from the Trash. This action physically overwrites any deleted files three times, ensuring there’s no possible way to retrieve deleted data by specialist software or professionals. There’s also an application uninstaller option that, when enabled, launches CleanMyMac when an application is dragged from the Applications window to the Trash. The application uninstaller will then scan the application and find all of its dependent files to ensure the program is fully deleted. Anyone who has ever deleted an app to later find preferences folders tucked away will certainly appreciate this handy feature. CleanMyMac is a substantial app that does a thorough job of cleaning unwanted files from your Mac. It’s packed with features that are easy to understand and, even though it removes files that are buried deep within the hard disk, there’s never any sense that things may go wrong – which is often the case when cleaning a Windows machine.
If you have a Mac that hasn’t had a spring clean in quite some time, then CleanMyMac may very well give it a slight speed boost. At the very least, you’ll reclaim a substantial amount of hard disk space. We highly recommend giving it a try.