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

CleanMyMac 3 is as the new version of MacPaw's catch-all utility to scan your Mac and remove gigabytes of assorted kerfuffle and gunk that builds up over time.

Like its previous versions, CleanMyMac 3 wraps itself around a series of tests and services and works to remove generally unused, developer-oriented, extraneous, and backup files associated with your most commonly used applications that take up available disk space. CleanMyMac 3's selection of available tests has grown to add tools such as an uninstaller, general maintenance, online privacy functions, and file shredder to its previous suite of tests. 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 and work to make CleanMyMac 3 your intended catch-all Mac utility of choice.

All of these tests can be customized and configured as needed--and with a better preference layout than found in CleanMyMac 2. Where a given test might tell you that you can save a certain number of gigabytes by deleting files, CleanMyMac 3 gives you fine control as to which files are deleted.

CleanMyMac 3 adds several new scans and tests, but the overall product 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 nice touches like 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. Additional features like a scheduler allow you to designate when you'll be reminded to run tests and the tests themselves work as advertised, the new uninstaller coming in handy with removing assorted programs.

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.

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 this new version. Each test function now includes a brief explanation as to what the 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 is 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.

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 end results achieve what assorted freeware/shareware utilities could do at a price of $40 for new users and $20 for upgrade users. Still, it's nice to be able to remove gigabytes of kerfuffle from your Mac; the program and its tests work well, it can be readily configured as needed and could be worth your consideration.


Chris Barylick

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