How To Clean Your Mac To Free Up Disc Space, Remove Duplicate Photos, Optimize Your Mac's Settings, Remove Malware, and hopefully make you smile. May 26, 2020.
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We clean our rooms and clothes so why not our Macs? But who can waste the entire day digging through folders and files? There are so many places like music, videos, apps and email downloads, and countless more locations on your Mac where junk and clutter accumulates. In 2020 cleaning your Mac is easier than ever. Which is why millions of people download free and low-cost Mac cleaning software.
To start off, we've made a quick comparison chart about best Mac cleaners for Mac.
|1||CleanMyMac X||Best cleaning and antimalware functionality in one tool||Link|
|2||Disk Doctor||Quick scan and deep cleaning of all kinds of junk||Link|
|3||Gemini 2||Finds duplicate and similar files everywhere on your Mac, including Photos, iTunes, and external drives.||Link|
A handy cleaner may prove that your Mac is still alive and can actually perform at its best. In this article we’ve brought together some of the best Mac cleaning solutions around to clean, optimize, and maintain Macs that are available in 2020.
Top 10 best cleaners for Mac: Free and premium versions
1. CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X takes the first place with good reason — this cleaner combines features of both cleaning software and antimalware tool. Its Smart Scan promises a “nice and thorough scan of your Mac.” It does what it says, detecting junk like user cache files and system logs, checking your Mac for malicious software, and speeding up your MacBook. Looks like, there is a threat in my system, that I need to get rid of:
Frankly speaking, CleanMyMac X is Tesla Roadster among other Mac cleaners. And it does a great job revealing your junk and other clutter, uninstalling unneeded apps and their leftovers, and keeping your Mac’s system clean and optimized. Another pro is that CleanMyMac X is Apple-notarized, which means it’s safe for your Mac. You can download its free version right here.
Free version: Available here
2. Disk Doctor
Disk Doctor is developed in the UK and was awarded the 'Mac Gem’ award by MacWorld in 2013. CNET and other tech journalists also praise functionality. As of 2020, it still looks like a useful tool for Mac cleaning that removes junk slowing down and reducing the computing power of your Mac.
Free version: N/A
3. Gemini 2
Gemini 2 is the duplicate finder that allows you to free up gigabytes of storage and organize your files. In just a few minutes.
It quickly scans every corner of your Mac and weeds out useless copies. No matter what type of file it is: a photo, music track, or a doc… Gemini will definitely find it. And once the scan is done, you can remove the duplicates in a click. Or review results to make sure nothing important gets deleted.
If you remove something by accident, it takes just a click to put it back. And to make sure things like that never happen again, you can exclude specific files and folders from scan. Try out the free version right here.
Free version: Available here
OnyX is a french Mac cleaning solution developed by Titanium software. It weighs only 5 MB but that doesn’t mean its capabilities are limited. OnyX is a tool that programmers will have a lot of fun with. With it, you can peek under the hood of your macOS and automate a whole list of jobs, like disk cleanup and cache removal. You can even tweak the color of folders on your Mac, and even make them invisible. Deservedly, it's among the best free Mac cleaners.
OnyX is one of the best Mac cleaners because it cleans many specific under-the-surface files, like inner databases and logs. If you know what is XPC cache is, you’ll probably like this app. But for us, ordinary Mac users who came here for the design and glossy buttons, OnyX will require some learning time.
Those who use OnyX say it is stable and reliable. There is no dedicated customer service (because OnyX is free software), but you shouldn’t be worried. The only likely damage is you accidentally deleting files by yourself.
Price: Free cleaner
DaisyDisk gives you a visual representation of your Mac folders, making it easy to see what is taking up space and delete the folders you don't need. All you need to do is select a drive, DaisyDisk will scan it, then you can delete everything that is wasting valuable space. It comes with a free and premium version.
Free version: Trial version available
6. AppCleaner & Uninstaller
If you only need to uninstall apps on Mac, AppCleaner is a good pick. AppCleaner only removes applications, plugins, and widgets, which are again, small apps. AppCleaner works in a familiar drag & drop mode. Its interface is also clean and easy to understand for a newbie.
After feeding the apps to AppCleaner, you should visit the Leftovers section of the app to erase their remains. Why we place AppCleaner & Uninstaller among free Mac cleaner tools? Because it is 100% free. Whether you will fully clean your Mac using it, is a different question.
AppCleaner & Uninstaller is created by FreeMacSoft, also the makers of LiteIcon, an icon customizer for Mac.
Price: Voluntary donation
7. Smart Mac Care
If you launch Smart Mac Care, it will look hauntingly familiar to other free Mac cleaner apps. Not only features will be called the same, everything up to the fonts, will be identical to some other app you’ve just used. That’s not a minus, though. You can still free up a lot of space with Smart Mac Care.
Smart Mac Care operates by a logic of “scans.” There is a Junk Scan, Malware Scan, Privacy Scan, etc. Just like Mac Booster, Smart Mac Care removes duplicates scattered in various locations on your Mac. There’s also a Memory Optimizer feature that promises to free up RAM on your Mac. In a word, Smart Mac Care resembles every other generic product whose only difference is in packaging. This is supported by the fact that we couldn’t find any credible third-party reviews for this app.
On another skeptical note: to uninstall Smart Mac Care you have to enter your admin password. This is not the case with other Mac cleaners we’ve used.
Price: $56.62 per year
Free version: Demo available
8. Drive Genius
Drive Genius is labeled a “Mac monitoring software.” It’s a whole suite of tools that provide powerful disk diagnostics. It’s hard to list a thing that this software doesn’t do. You can scan for malware, secure-erase files, customize icons — it’s dozens of apps in one body. What makes Drive Genius unique is, probably, its search for corrupted files and inconsistencies on your drive. If your Mac is an old one, keeping it in good health will be easier with Drive Genius.
In a free version, you can use just a fraction of tools, notably a DiskPulse utility. This is an automatic Mac health checker that notifies you before your hard drive fails. Unlike Mac cleaners that merely scan, it is able to repair damage on your disks, which makes it a real deal. Be prepared that hard drive scan may take some time, but the results are worth it. Also note that Drive Genius is not available for macOS Catalina (as of the beginning of 2020).
Price: $299 for Professional edition
Free version: Limited Lite edition is available
Originally created in 2004 by Piriform, CCleaner comes with a free and professional version, focusing on businesses and business customers. CCleaner is a cross-platform tool, for PCs, Macs, Android, and it has a Cloud, Network and Technician tool, depending on what you need and the platform/software you use.
The premium version comes with a lot more features, including real-time alerts, free updates, and dedicated support. Although created for PCs in the early days, CCleaner does well to identify unwanted files on a Mac, so that users can select and delete the files and folders they don't need to free up space. As a cleaner for Mac, customers are pretty happy with the results of CCleaner.
Free version: Available
The Sensei app is a relatively new app on the market, but it can be another useful tool for your Mac. The Sensei software developers call the app “Pro Mac Cleaner” on their website. I would call it a performance controlling tool.
Mac os x download. Sensei presents a detailed picture of how your Mac performs. In the Dashboard, you can find out information about your MacBook, check your CPU’s current temperature, and see how much of your RAM is used. Cooling gives you exact information on your Mac’s fans' speed.
Its Clean option helps to get rid of user cache, logs, large files, etc. The Uninstaller feature allows you to delete apps from your Mac and remove their traces. It doesn’t list pre-installed apps from Apple, such as Safari or Calendar, but it shows every app you have installed on your Mac.
Surely, you can clean up your Mac manually, but using dedicated software will save you tons of time.
Price: $29 per year
Free version: Available
Frequently Asked Questions
Can’t my Mac clean itself?
Your macOS also has a built-in Mac cleaner, which Apple called Optimized Storage. Though its capabilities are limited, it gives you basic directions on where to start the cleanup. But for a thorough system cleanup and removing malware, you’ll need a dedicated Mac cleaner app.
Can Mac cleaner apps delete my important files?
Typically, best Mac cleaner apps have a protection built-in. They will usually select only those files that are safe for deletion.
Will Mac cleaners slow down my Mac?
Some cleaners try to get into your Login items, thus creating an extra burden on processor. On a flip side, the reliable Mac cleaner apps might even speed up your Mac. They remove all the outdated junk files giving your Mac an extra boost.
Mac cleaning apps you should avoid
Above we've touched the trusted Mac cleanup solutions but there are many that work on the dark side. Malwarebytes lists Advanced Mac Cleaner Pro and similar tools as unwanted applications. Here are some signs that should warn you against using scam Mac cleaners.
Signs of Mac cleaner scam:
- 'Your Mac is infected' intrusive message
- An app is installed as part of different app
- An app finds 2323 (the number is an example) threats on your Mac
- Mac cleaner redirects your search page
Be safe and happy cleaning.
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So you’ve had your Mac for a while, and things don’t feel as fresh and clean as they used to? Although Macs don’t require a lot of maintenance for cleaning, those temporary files, app leftovers, and system cache do accumulate. These files may slow down your machine and take up a lot of valuable space. In this article, we share quick and easy ways to clean up your MacBook. Let’s get started!
How to clean your Mac automatically
Here’s a simple diagram to explain the most common types of computer junk, sorted by size. Some of these, like Trash bin files, are easily reachable, while others are stored away in hidden system folders. Sadly, there’s no easy way to clear them up without special skills.
If you don’t feel like spending the next several hours cleaning your Mac manually, you can use a powerful cleaning tool CleanMyMac X to find and remove all the clutter your Mac contains. It knows which files are useless, how to find them and remove completely. CleanMyMac has everything to finish the 3-hour task of a Mac cleanup in under 5 minutes. It will even clean up the junk you didn’t know about and give your computer a speed boost.
How to clean up system storage on Mac with CleanMyMac X:
- Download CleanMyMac X for free here.
- Run the app and go to System Junk.
- Click Scan.
- Press Clean to get rid of all junk.
Done! Now your Mac looks much better!
How to Clean Mac Hard Drive Manually
If you never performed an automatic or manual system cleaning — it means that your Mac has been collecting unnecessary files and clutter for years. You can quickly clean up your Mac with these easy steps.
1. Clean up cache
You’ve probably heard “Remove your cache” as a web browser troubleshooting tip. In fact, your Mac stores a lot of information in files called caches, allowing fast access to that data and reducing the need to get it from the original source again. Unfortunately, those files take a lot of space on your Mac, and instead of speeding the things up, they slow your computer down. Therefore, if you want to give your system a boost, clean your Mac from the cache files.
There are two ways to do that: you can delete them manually or use a MacBook cleaner like CleanMyMac X to do the job for you. Of course, the second way is an easy and fast one. However, if you decide to clean up the cache manually, check out a comprehensive guide on “How to Clear Cache on a Mac.”
2. Uninstall apps you don’t use
The applications you’ve installed on your Mac take up space, of course. And over time when your Mac becomes full of different apps, it may start running slowly. How to clean MacBook? In the first place, you need to remove the apps you no longer use or need. To do this, right-click on the app you want to remove and choose Move to Bin.
You may be surprised to find out that sending an app to the Trash will not uninstall it completely because the app leftovers still remain on your Mac taking up a lot of storage. So, if you want to be a responsible Mac user, you need to uninstall applications the right way. Here’s a step-by-step guide on “How to Uninstall Apps on a Mac.”
Extra step: Trim down your login items
Login items are applications that run automatically upon startup. Nowadays, every second app tries to become as prominent as possible and get into your Login Items. First of all, you may not even know what they are (not all of them appear in the Dock). Secondly, such apps consume memory. That's enough reasons to get rid of extra login items you don't need.
- Open System Preferences.
- Go to Users & Groups.
- Choose your nickname on the left.
- Choose the Login Items tab.
- Check startup programs you want to remove.
- Press the “–” sign below.
3. Clean out useless duplicates
Identical photos, music tracks you’ve added one time too many, saved and re-saved PDF files… all of that sits on your Mac and gobbles up storage. The storage that could be used for better purposes.
So how do you quickly weed them out? The fastest way is to use Gemini 2: The Duplicate Cleaner.
- Download and launch the app
- Click “Scan for Duplicates”, and watch as it quickly fetches them from different corners of your Mac.
- Once the scan is done, hit Review Results and check which copies you want to remove.
- Click Smart Cleanup to delete everything you’ve selected.
That's it. Now your Mac should be completely duplicate-free.
4. Empty the trash
Even though you’ve deleted the files, they reside in your Trash bin taking up a lot of storage on your Mac. They are just waiting to be removed completely. If you want your precious hard drive space back, you need to empty the Trash.
Here’s how to clean your MacBook from the trash:
- Click and hold on the Trash can icon in the Dock.
- Click Empty and then Empty Bin.
The process is quite simple, right? There is even a more effortless way to clear Trash. CleanMyMac X scans your Mac for junk and lets you remove all trashed files. To do that, launch CleanMyMac X and press Scan. When the scan is completed, click Review Details to see what exactly CleanMyMac X has found.
I’ve already cleaned Bin a couple of weeks before, but over some time, almost a gigabyte of trashed files has accumulated. Now, I can simply click Back to Summary and then Run to clean Trash and system junk.
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5. Reduce clutter
Apple has already thought about the clutter that can be generated on the Macs and provided a possible solution. Here’s how to reduce clutter on your Mac:
- Go to the Apple menu.
- Choose About This Mac and then Storage. Here you can see how much free space is left on your computer.
- Then click Manage.
Here’re some recommendations for saving space on your Mac. You can choose Review Files to examine apps, documents, and other files that are stored on your Mac.
You can choose any file in every category (Applications, Bin, Documents, etc.) and click Delete to remove it and optimize space. Look through other recommendations and make the necessary changes to use your Mac’s space more efficiently.
6. Delete large and old files
It has always been a rule of thumb among computer geeks, that you should keep a minimum of 15-20% of free space on your main hard drive. This is just a rough estimation, but the more free space you have, the faster your Mac works. A computer magazine once performed a test on this, which concluded that the difference in speed can reach as much as 35%. If you work with heavy graphics or video rendering, even more free space is recommended.
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How to have more free space? Delete large and old files.
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The first way is totally manual and requires you to find them one by one, while for the second way, you just need to make two clicks and CleanMyMac X will do the job for you.
How to clean up Mac with CleanMyMac X:
- Download CleanMyMac X (a link to a free edition of the app)
- Launch the program.
- Go to the Large and Old Files section on the menu.
- Click Scan.
- Review the details, select what to clean and then click Clean.
7. Remove old iOS backups
Having your files backed up is a wonderful thing. But over time your Mac becomes overloaded with old backups that take gigabytes of storage on your hard drive. That’s why you should consider removing the old iOS backups you no longer need.
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Each backup remains stored on your computer and is accessible via iTunes. To delete the old backups, you need to do the following:
- Choose the Apple menu and then select About This Mac.
- Go to the Storage tab and click Manage.
- Here, choose iOS Files.
- Select the backup you want to remove and click Delete.
- Confirm and you’re done!
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That’s it! The backup files are gone from your Mac forever.
8. Wipe out Language files
Unused language localizations take up about 1 GB of storage space. Mac applications come with language files for every language they support. It allows starting using the app in that language immediately. Cool, right? Not always. Just consider: when was the last time you used the app in Bengali or Korean? Since you don’t speak those languages, such files just waste space on your Mac. You need to remove the unnecessary language files and clean MacBook from that clutter.
How to delete the language files? Go to Finder > Applications, then right-click the app which language files you want to remove and choose Show Package Contents. Open the Resources folder and then find folders ending with “.lproj.” Every folder contains language files for one particular language. Note that for every app you should manually find and select the files to remove. But there is an automatic way to delete the language files that will save you tons of time — CleanMyMac X. Just download the application (for free) and it will do the job for you.
9. Delete old DMGs
Disk images (DMGs) often take up valuable space on your Mac. Here’s how to perform a Mac cleanup and get rid of those files:
- Open Finder and type “disk image” in the search bar.
- Then delete all files that have .dmg extensions. Don’t forget to remove them from Trash as well.
CleanMyMac X allows you to locate and delete DMGs quicker. With its System Junk module you can remove unused disk image in the single click of a button:
Just press Clean and it’s done!
10. Remove duplicates
Useless copies of your documents, files, and photos eat up your Mac’s precious space. Therefore, if you wonder how to clean up a Mac and boost its performance, try to delete the duplicates. Note that the process of finding and removing the duplicates requires either a lot of patience and time (if you decide to delete them manually) or a duplicate finder app. Whatever method you choose, make sure to check out this article on “How to Find Duplicates on Mac.”
11. Tidy up your desktop
Many people use Desktop as their primary destination for files. But this could be tricky because your OS treats every file on a desktop as an active window. When items on your desktop are too many, Finder gets substantially slower. This leads us to the most compelling advice in this article — cleaning up desktop does miracles!
Rather than just leaving every file on your desktop, organize them into folders. The latest macOS does that automatically thanks to the Stacks feature. You can also use Google Drive, Dropbox or any external storage device to save your files and keep your desktop tidy.
12. Clean your Mac’s keyboard
Our last but not least advice is to wipe your Mac’s keyboard. As you use your keyboard daily, it quickly gets dirty. Moreover, all those crumbs may live under the keys forever!
If you were wondering how to clean Mac’s keyboard, there are no special rules here. You can try blowing the dust and other particles out of your keyboard once in a while. Disinfecting wipes and alcohol-based sprays may also prove useful. Just choose the piece of fabric and wipe the keys gently to make them clean and shiny!
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All in all, be careful with your system files. Don’t delete things you’re not sure about. If you are not completely confident that you can manage the task by yourself, better use a dedicated utility like CleanMyMac X to get a fresh and clean Mac in just two clicks. Here's the video describing quick tips to clean up your Mac: