Keeping an Apple Mac running smoothly as it ages means keeping on top of maintenance tasks like uninstalling unused apps, clearing junk files, startup items and more. Use MacCleaner Pro 3. (This article contains affiliate links.)
The Mac’s disk fills over time and it accumulates unused files, left-over files from apps you removed, caches, startup items, duplicate files and more. It is one of the reasons why old Macs run more slowly than they did when they were new.
MacCleaner Pro provides a useful toolkit of features and functions for maintaining the Mac, cleaning and optimizing it. It won’t quite run like new after using it, but it can make a significant improvement to the amount of storage available on the disk and it can even boost the performance a little by removing unnecessary software.
The software costs $29.95 a year or a one-off fee of $74.95, but prices change from time to time, so check out the latest price of MacCleaner Pro at the Nektony website.
MacCleaner Pro’s sidebar is organized into three sections, so let’s look at them in turn.
Overview, clean up, speed up and manage files
The Overview is the default view when MacCleaner is run and across the top is a display of the Mac’s storage and a breakdown of how it is used. It is very similar to the display shown in macOS, but it goes further and it shows space used by duplicate files and archives, and purgeable storage.
It is also interactive and each of the colored usage blocks can be clicked. For example, click the purgeable space in the usage bar and the Clean Up tool appears with Purgeable space selected. Clicking other places in the storage bar takes you to the appropriate tool.
Clean Up lists all the caches, downloads, mail attachments, bins, duplicates and unused language files. You can see the amount of space used by them and as each one is selected, it shows the items it contains. Individual files or whole categories of files can be selected, reviewed and deleted to free up storage on the Mac’s drive.
My biggest worry with cleanup tools is accidentally deleting something I want to keep. In MacCleaner Pro it is hard to delete anything by accident and the default is to simply list items that you can delete. You must select what to delete.
Before proceeding, a review screen is displayed listing the selected items and you can double check that you really want to remove the space-wasting items. Even when you delete them, they simply go to the Mac’s Bin, where they can be recovered if necessary.
In the Speed Up section you can optimize RAM, which frees up memory by using the swap file as temporary storage. More memory becomes available for the next app you run, which can be useful and provide speed benefits. Generally, memory management is best left to macOS, but sometimes it is useful to take control yourself.
If Spotlight searches are not working as well as they should, you can reindex Spotlight. Mail can be reindexed and this can help with problems with viewing or searching for emails.
Startup apps are listed and MacCleaner goes beyond what System Settings (System Preferences) shows. You can see exactly what is loading with macOS and allow or prevent items.
The Manage Files section shows the space used by different types of files, like archives, documents, movies, pictures, applications and so on. You can select any of the categories and view the files it contains by size.
Files can be previewed if they are images, music or videos, selected and then deleted if you don’t want them.
MacCleaner Pro tools
In the Tools section is an App Cleaner & Uninstaller and this does more than you might expect. It lists the apps installed on the Mac and you can select them and remove them. It finds the app’s data files, caches and other things, and deletes them for a cleaner uninstall than simply dragging the app to the Bin.
I like the Remaining Files feature and this shows files remaining after apps have been removed by dragging to the Bin, like apps you used before you got MacCleaner Pro and dragged to the Bin. It found files from apps I used years ago that had hidden folders on the disk. Leftovers are listed, you can browse the items and then select and delete them.
The uninstaller shows browser extensions (Chrome as well as Safari), preference panes, internet plugins and more. These can be viewed, selected and deleted.
I am not sure why it is in the App Cleaner & Uninstaller, but there is an Open With section. It lists file types like png, pdf, txt, html and many more. Select a file type and a list of apps that can open it is displayed. You can then select the app you want to use to open the file type when it is clicked in Finder. It is a useful feature.
It is easier than you might think to accidentally create duplicate files on the Mac’s disk, which is a waste of space of course. Duplicate File Finder tracks down exact duplicates.It organizes them by type, such as documents, photos, videos, archives and so on, and you can see the number of duplicates of a file, their size and location on the disk. Duplicates can be selected and removed.
It not only shows exact duplicates, it can show similar files, like photos that are almost the same or have different sizes or compression. Media files can be previewed, so you can check that you are deleting the right one.
Disk Space Analyzer is the third item in the Tools section of MacCleaner Pro and it scans the disk and it shows the contents as a text listing and a graphic image. Move the pointer over the colored sectors in the image and it displays the folder or file name and size. You can drill down, opening folders and subfolders until you get to individual files.
It a way to explore the contents of the Mac’s disk and see what is using the most space. It makes no comment as to the usefulness of items and it just shows where they are and how much space they occupy. You can select and delete items or open a Finder window to show them. It is much better than Finder for tracking down large files and folders that are using space.
MacCleaner Pro helper apps
The final items in the sidebar menu are two helpers. Funter and Memory Cleaner. I cannot see the point of Funter, a menu bar utility that shows disk usage and enables you to toggle hidden file/folder visibility in Finder. Just press Shift+Cmd+. (period/full stop) in Finder to toggle hidden items.
Memory Cleaner is a menu bar utility that is used to free up memory, but it also shows disk usage, the same as Funter, making Funter unnecessary. Memory Cleaner lists the apps using the most memory and you can clean memory anytime by clicking the Free Up button, it can be scheduled to run from every minute to 8 hours, when memory or CPU usage is high.
Freeing up memory usually involves memory blocks written to the swap file or compressed. It can be beneficial when you need to run a big app, but if you switch to an app that’s been swapped out or compressed, it can be slower. You gain in some ways and lose in others. It is useful to have the option.
MacCleaner Pro contains a lot of tools and features for cleaning up and optimizing the Mac, so the $29.95 a year cost seems quite reasonable for what you get. I like this software a lot and recommend it, but it does have stiff competition in CleanMyMac X, which is identically priced and has a similar range of features.
As with all tools of this type, be sure to double check everything you are deleting. Just because a file is big or old does not mean it is not valuable.