Review: CleanMyMac2

CleanMyMac 2 is billed as the simplest, safest way to clean your Mac. I’ve been aware of this application (made by MacPaw) for at least a few years now, but it was only after purchasing it with a recent MacHeist bundle that I became more familiar with the program.

Initially, I was reluctant to try CleanMyMac 2 out, only because I’ve been served pretty well with a few standalone apps that perform similar functions (Onyx, Monolingual, TinkerTool, etc.). But purchasing CleanMyMac 2 at a great deal emboldened me to give it a fair shake. I’ve been running and testing this app for approximately two weeks now, so the time felt right to begin writing about my experiences with it.

Dirty Mac

Over time Mac OS X builds up layers of what I call cruft, which includes system detritus, including outdated User and System cache files, system log files, broken preferences, broken login items, iOS software updates, iOS photo caches, Universal Binaries, language files, trash and developer junk. CleanMyMac 2 cleans these items and so much more. I install and uninstall apps with regularity, so I tend to run CleanMyMac once every few days – but for most users, once a month should be plenty.

The Interface

CleanMyMac 2 sports a very well-designed user interface. It’s easily the best looking Mac utility app I’ve come across – in both its fit and finish. The main interface consists of 8 main menu options, running down the left side. Selecting one of the menu options in this interface window presents the user with a more in-depth look at what’s being cleaned in that section.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

Automatic Cleanup will perform System Cleanup, iPhoto Cleanup and Trash Cleanup. For more granular control, users can choose these categories individually on the menu interface. I opted for this approach in my testing.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

System Cleanup removes any unneeded system files such as user and system caches, universal binaries, log files, broken preferences and login items and even iOS software update files. Click on the scan button and several seconds later you are presented with a breakdown of how much space your cache files, system log files, universal binaries and other miscellaneous system files are available for cleaning.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

Want more granularity in your clean-up options? Click on the Detailed View button for a thorough breakdown of the files and folders available for cleaning. Files, their corresponding sizes, and the contents within are clearly and logically presented. I saved roughly 4GB of space on my hard drive when running this option. Once you click the “Clean” button, CleanMyMac 2 goes through the process. When it’s complete, it plays a nice audio embellishment. (Optionally, you can turn the audio off, but I happen to like the audio feedback.)

CleanMyMac 2 Screenshot

CleanMyMac 2 lets you also remove old and large files, based on a user defined file size threshold. For example, if you are looking for files to remove that are greater than 2GB, you can have CleanMyMac pull up files that specifically meet that criteria. This option comes in particularly handy when you are trying to reclaim hard drive space on a drive that’s nearly filled up.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

One of the neatest features of CleanMyMac 2 is that it cleans up your iPhoto library. Every time a file is altered or modified (i.e. enhanced, rotated, etc.) iPhoto keeps a copy of both the original and the enhanced / rotated photo. Over time, if left unchecked, you can accrue a very bloated iPhoto library. I don’t normally enhance photos, but I do rotate them to their proper viewing angle quite a bit. Once I’ve rotated the photos, there isn’t really any need for the original, unrotated photo. CleanMyMac 2 will tell you how many photos you’ve enhanced and rotated so you can choose to remove the duplicate files that are no longer needed. Running this option alone reclaimed an additional 4GB of space on my hard drive.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

CleanMyMac 2 is also useful when it comes to emptying the Trash can. Each internal or external hard drive on your system has its own system Trash folder. CleanMyMac 2 lets you choose one, a few, or all trashes to be emptied.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

Need to uninstall that older copy of Sketchbook Pro that you no longer use? With CleanMyMac 2, it’s very easy to remove the app AND it’s associated files with the click of a button. Because I install apps for testing on a regular basis, this command gets a good workout. CleanMyMac 2 will even show you the last time you used an app – making it even easier to spot the apps you no longer use.

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

Extensions Manager cleans up Dashboard widgets (remember those?), application plugins, preference panes, dictionaries, screen savers, and login items – all within a convenient, unified interface. This is particularly handy for isolating browser extension conflicts (Flash, Silverlight, etc.).

CleanMyMac 2 screenshots

Eraser purges unwanted files or folders without leaving a trace. Think of it as a virtual shredder. Fair warning: if you use Eraser to erase your files, they will be GONE. Personally, I’m too paranoid about my files to try this option. ;)

CleanMyMac 2 prefs

CleanMyMac’s preferences let you customize various aspects of the program. For example, you can remove the option to play sounds in the General preferences tab.

CleanMyMac 2 prefs

In the Scanning option, you can choose which system and application items to scan. Other options in this area include toggling CleanMyMac 2’s ability to look for large and old files, iPhoto cleanup, and trash cleanup.

CleanMyMac 2 prefs

One particularly useful feature is the scheduling option. You can choose when you want CleanMyMac 2 to remind you that it needs to be run. I’ve kept the default “Once Every Two Weeks” option.

CleanMyMac 2 prefs

You can also monitor the Trash size limit and choose how the uninstaller performs its task. I’ve kept these values on their default settings.

CleanMyMac 2 prefs

The Privacy and Updates preferences lets you determine whether or not you want to check for new updates to the app automatically and also whether or not you want to transmit anonymous user data.

How does it Work?

I’ve saved almost 10GB of data on my Mac running CleanMyMac 2. I was able to use the program to purge additional unused languages (Gujarati, anyone?), uninstall unused apps, and even trim my iPhoto Library. In my evaluation, and for the tasks I specifically ran, CleanMyMac 2 worked exactly as advertised. No hiccups whatsoever.

Should I Buy It?

CleanMyMac 2 is a very polished program. It retails for approximately $40. Before CleanMyMac 2, I used Onyx (FREE) to clean my system and user caches, log files, font caches, etc. I used Monolingual (also FREE) to remove unused additional language packs. For uninstalling apps, I used AppZapper 2.0 ($13). I used WhatSize ($12.99) for viewing and reclaiming disk space. So that’s almost $26 already out of my pocket.

However, in addition to those features, CleanMyMac 2 also offers a unified extension manager, iPhoto cleanup and the ability to quickly sort through large and old files at a single glance. If these additional features are important to you, AND you want the functionality of the above apps all under one app – then $40 isn’t unreasonable.

Because I purchased my copy as part of a recent MacHeist bundle, my net cost for the app was a total of $10. At $10, CleanMyMac 2 was a no-brainer purchase for me. Power users who already have an arsenal of similar apps (like Onyx, Monolingual, AppZapper and WhatSize) may find it difficult to justify purchasing CleanMyMac 2. But, if the thought of Mac maintenance makes your head swim, or if you just like running a consolidated, beautiful and powerful Mac utility that’s rock solid and safe, CleanMyMac 2 presents a compelling one-stop approach to cleaning your Mac that’s easy, intuitive and fun.

CleanMyMac 2 earns a 4.5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.

These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • t3rminusReply
    May 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for the review.

    I’ve always been wary of this (or similar) automatic system cleaning applications, because of some nightmare scenarios from when I was younger, and blindly trusted “Windows Registry Cleaner 2002 Speed Up Your PC And Remove Unwanted Errors!”-type applications (before the time of rampant malware, when these tools actually genuinely tried to clean things up, but ended up causing lots of problems anyways).

    I’ve also felt that most modern software is pretty self-maintaining. Both OS X and Windows create cache and temp files when they need them, and delete them when they’re no longer necessary. Why mess with with the natural order of things?

    Anyways, since I also bought the MacHeist Bundle, I decided to give it a try anyways. It’s running through the automatic cleanup now… fingers crossed, etc.

    • Krishna M. SadasivamReply
      May 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Let me know how it fares for you, Kevin. I, too, have always been somewhat wary of “cleaner” type apps. But CleanMyMac 2 seems to do what it says it will. The big savings for me is in disk space.

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