If you use a Mac, especially one with base storage, it is likely that the dreaded thought of ‘low disk space’ crosses your mind whenever you install new software, transfer files over, or take a backup. And, it intensifies as the margin to the safe free-space threshold you have set in your mind decreases — ultimately giving rise to the urge to free up space.
To curb these concerns and address the low disk-space problems, MacPaw has a tailor-made utility, called CleanMyMac X, that proposes one of the best cleaning solutions out there for the Mac. Not just that, CleanMyMac X is about more than just cleaning, and it provides a slew of other essential system functionalities, such as malware remover, bulk-app uninstaller, and health monitor, among others.
To give you some background, CleanMyMac is developed by MacPaw, a software company founded in 2008 and headquartered in Ukraine, which is behind some of the popular macOS and iOS apps like Unarchiver, Gemini Photos and Setapp. The company’s latest iteration of CleanMyMac, CleanMyMac X, was released as an update back in 2018 to mark its tenth anniversary. In a nutshell, CleanMyMac X features a redesigned interface with new visual elements along with some feature additions and improvements. Here’s a breakdown of the functionalities it offers and how they make it a one-stop solution for all essential utilities on a Mac.
CleanMyMac X’s utility set can be broadly classified into three main categories: Cleanup, Protection, and Speed, which account for a significant chunk of the software’s functionalities. Besides these categories, the software also has some additional features to help you with operations related to all the different applications and files on your system.
How to use CleanMyMac X?
When you run CleanMyMac X on your Mac for the first time, you are greeted with a welcome screen, followed by a license validation prompt. Once you enter a license key, and the same is validated, you land on a redesigned home screen. Compared to the previous versions, the new home screen looks aesthetically appealing with its fresh, colorful icons and fluid animations. In terms of accessibility, the software puts all the functionalities it has in store on the left-hand menu, which you can access with just a single click and start using right away. On the other hand, the home screen on CleanMyMac X, by default, presents you with the Smart Scan functionality, which, as already mentioned, is at the center of the utility’s function suite and allows you to scan and optimize your system quickly.
To perform cleanup on your Mac, all you need to do is click on the Scan button at the bottom. Once done, the software starts scanning your Mac and offers you details about Cleanup, Protection, and Speed. The Cleanup data shows information about all the unnecessary junk on your system, whereas Protection highlights threats to your Mac, and Speed shows the tasks that can improve the performance of the system. On this screen, you can click on the Review Details button at the bottom of the Cleanup data to view detailed insights into the files that the utility flags as “unnecessary” and select/deselect them for cleanup. Similarly, you can click on the Speed button to view the recommended optimization tasks that CleanMyMac X suggests performing to improve the system’s performance.
After the scan is complete, click on the Run button at the bottom to allow the software to act upon the scanned results — in a way that cleans the junk files, removes any potential threats to the system, and runs the performance optimization tasks to reinstate your Mac to a better state. In general, you can expect CleanMyMac X to clean files that fall along the lines of unnecessary system junk and mail attachments; and to perform operations like flushing the DNS cache, freeing up RAM, and running maintenance scripts.
If you have performed the Smart Scan, the software will automatically clean up all the system junk, mail attachments, and other related junk files from your system. However, if you want to scan them individually, you can do so by selecting a suitable tool, available in the left-hand menu under Cleanup. What’s more, CleanMyMac X also gives you the ability to clean the system bin directly from the software itself. To do this, click on Trash Bins under Cleanup and running the scan.
Alongside Cleanup, another key functionality that CleanMyMac X offers is called Protection. Just as it sounds, Protection holds a few different protection tools for your Mac, which help you protect your system from malware and also make it easier to remove traces of online and offline activities from your system. While Smart Scan checks and performs cleanup and performance optimization and also looks for any vulnerabilities in your system, it does not perform a thorough scan of the system files to look for potential malware that could be present deep down in the system. So, if you want to ensure your Mac is protected from any potential vulnerabilities, you can run a deep scan on system files to look for malware. To run a deep scan, select the Malware Removal tool under Protection, which scans for threats and eliminates them to keep your Mac protected.
In addition to protecting your system from malware, you can also improve on your device’s privacy by revisiting app permissions and removing the traces of online and offline activities from your system. For this, select the Privacy tab under Protection and click on the Scan button. Once the scan is complete, you will see a list of permissions you have granted to different apps on your Mac, along with a record of all the unnecessary files accumulated over time by various browsers and other software-related files. From here, you can choose the files you want to remove and revoke permissions for different apps.
Under Speed, CleanMyMac X offers two functionalities: Optimization and Maintenance, both of which aim at helping you improve the usability of the system by allowing you to use its resources to the full potential. With Optimization, you get the ability to manage the launch agents of the apps on your system. Moreover, you can also enable/disable what apps run at the time you log in to your Mac. Although some might argue that these operations can be managed manually from the system preferences, the convenience provided by CleanMyMac X makes managing and optimizing such tasks an effortless process.
Talking about the other functionality, Maintenance, you can perform a variety of system operations on your Mac from here. To give you an idea, you can free up RAM, rebuild launch services, flush DNS cache, repair disk permissions, and more, right from the software, all in one place.
In addition to cleanup, protection, and optimization, which help you declutter your Mac and improve its overall performance, CleanMyMac X also has a few more tools under the hood that can prove to be useful on a day-to-day use case scenario. Located under Applications, on the left-hand menu, these include Uninstaller, Updater, and Extensions, which help you perform some of the common application-related tasks in one place.
With Uninstaller, you get a list of all the apps on your Mac, categorized into different categories. You can then select the apps you want to uninstall, and CleanMyMac takes care of deleting them along with their associated files from your system. Moreover, you can also remove the leftover files for apps you have already uninstalled by going into the Leftovers section and selecting items from there.
Alongside uninstallation, CleanMyMac X also makes it easier for you to update the apps on your system to their latest version, without going into the App Store. To do this, head to the Updater tool to view all the available updates for the apps on your Mac. Here, depending on your preference, you can either update apps individually or update all of them collectively at once.
Lastly, there is the Extensions functionality. In short, the tools offered under Extensions enable you to have better control over the system extensions, widgets, and plugins on your system. Similar to Uninstaller, Extensions makes it easy to uninstall extensions, and it also removes all their related files from the system. In addition, if there are certain extensions that you no longer use, you can disable them from here.
Coming to the Files functionality, CleanMyMac X has three features to help you better deal with files on your Mac. One of these features, which is probably also one of the most useful ones of the lot, is Space Lens. In a nutshell, Space Lens gives you a quick breakdown of the size of all the files and folders on your system. For this, it scans the entire system and presents you with a visual map of the storage, using which you can better understand your storage and organize it accordingly.
Further, to make things simpler, the software also has a Large & Old Files section, under Files, on the left menu, which allows you to view and get rid of all the large files and folders that you no longer require, and in turn, free up some space. Finally, to deal with sensitive files or the files that Finder refuses to remove, you have Shredder. Simply put, it makes it easier to remove certain files that are hard to remove. Moreover, the tool also has a secure removal feature, which makes the erased files completely irrecoverable.
CleanMyMac X menu bar app
Last, but certainly not the least, is CleanMyMac X’s menu bar app. Similar to some of the other apps on your system that accompany a menu bar app, you can access CleanMyMac’s app with just a click. Here, you can see a bunch of system information like CPU usage, memory usage, battery status, network speeds, etc. Clearly, it enables you to have information about different system components always at your disposal in the menu bar, which, in turn, makes it one of the nifty features of CleanMyMac. Furthermore, you can also configure the menu items from preferences and perform certain functions right from the menu bar.
Conclusion: Who should use CleanMyMac X?
Before the nerd in you interjects with the argument that the very concept of cleaning a Mac is baseless since macOS is built on Unix, which does not require active maintenance, and that the result of cleaning files affects the system in a bad way than it does any good, hear us out.
While these points are genuine and valid to a certain degree, people with limited knowledge of the know-how of systems, or even the average users for that matter, can actually benefit from cleaning their Mac from time to time — granted they use one of the trusted services. Since most of the time, the junk left behind as a result of uninstalling software or the outdated cache of software no longer present on your system can hog up a lot of disk space. One of the best and easiest ways to get rid of such unnecessary files, without putting other system files at risk, is to use a good cleaning utility. And, CleanMyMac X from MacPaw happens to be one such utility for your Mac that boasts a variety of tools, with cleaning being a subset of its suite of utilities.