CleanMyMac 3 review: Make more room on your crowded hard drive

CleanMyMac 3 is  MacPaw’s catch-all utility to scan your Mac and remove gigabytes of assorted cruft and gunk that builds up over time.

Like its previous versions, CleanMyMac 3 works to identify and remove generally unused, developer-oriented, extraneous, and backup files associated with your most commonly used applications in order to free up disk space. CleanMyMac 3’s selection of tests has grown to add tools such as an uninstaller, general maintenance, online privacy functions, and a file shredder. This is on top of the Smart Cleanup, System Junk, iPhoto Junk, Mail Attachments, iTunes Junk, Trash Bins, and Large & Old Files scans that comprise the cleaning utilities, making CleanMyMac 3 a worthy catch-all Mac utility.

If you don’t feel like dealing with the fine details of your cleaning, you can use CleanMyMac 3’s Smart Cleanup.

All of these tests can be customized and configured as needed—using a better preference layout than was found in CleanMyMac 2. While a given test might tell you that you can reclaim a certain number of gigabytes by deleting files, CleanMyMac 3 gives you fine control over which files are deleted.

Despite adding several new scans and tests, CleanMyMac 3 still holds together—the new features don’t feeling bolted on and the app doesn’t feel overly bloated. The tests can be configured, there’s a good range of preferences, and extensive information about your Mac’s hardware—including a health status for your hard drives, remaining battery life for a notebook, and available RAM—show good attention to detail. A  scheduler allows you to setup reminders to run tests, and the tests themselves work as advertised.

CleanMyMac 3 comes in handy in a world filled with incredibly fast but still relatively small solid state drives, where regaining a dozen or so gigabytes of space certainly isn’t a bad thing. On my late 2013 model Mac Pro, with its minimal 256GB flash storage, CleanMyMac 3 was able to retrieve 18.1GB of storage space, and the computer ran without a hitch afterwards.

When you remove an app, CleanMyMac 3’s uninstaller makes sure you’re not leaving any app files behind.

To its credit, MacPaw took the CleanMyMac 2’s more-frenetic-than-a-happy-puppy user interface and dialed it down a bit, which makes it a bit more helpful in the current version. CleanMyMac 3 also includes a brief explanation about what each test does and what it repairs. This doesn’t go into developer-level explanations, but it serves to tell you what you’re about to do, what changes will be made, and gives you sufficient information prior to clicking the Scan or Clean button.

This dovetails nicely with the program’s access to preference files and settings that might be a little hard to find if you’re a casual user. For example, the Privacy module allows easy access to cookies, saved passwords, and other preferences for your web browser of choice, saving you some digging around in preference and extension menus by putting these things in one location.

If there’s one caveat, it’s that CleanMyMac 3 attempted to launch itself during the interrupt screens that sometimes come up when running another application. This was easily worked around by configuring the preferences to ignore these interrupts, but it’s also a behavior I’ve never seen before.

Securely erase files with CleanMy Mac 3’s new shredder.

Bottom line

CleanMyMac 3 is in a tough, competitive field against other all-in-one/spring cleaning utilities for the Mac, including the oft-hated MacKeeper, and one could argue that its assorted freeware/shareware utilities can achieve similar results, while CleanMyMac 3 costs $40 for new users and $20 for upgrade users. Still, it’s nice to be able to remove gigabytes of dregs from your Mac; the program and its tests work well, it can be readily configured as needed, and is worthy of your consideration.

IDG Insider


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