Macpaw Clean My Mac

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At a Glance


Expert’s Rating


  • Speedy, easy to use, good user interface improvements
  • Excellent new modules, such as Updater and Extensions, allow for quick application updates and system-level customization
  • Notification system has been toned down, doesn’t feel as intrusive


  • Malware detection and removal module seems incapable of locating malware, reports everything back as fine
Macpaw clean my mac x

Macpaw Clean My Mac

Our Verdict


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CleanMyMac X is MacPaw’s catch-all software crud and gunk remover for the Mac. This version swings for the fences, with new features such as a malware scanner, extensions manager, and a universal updater for all of your application programs. This is in addition to CleanMyMac X’s core functions, which include tools for smart cleanup, system junk, mail attachments, iTunes junk, trash bins, a large and old files scanner, privacy scanner, and application uninstaller.

CleanMyMac X is also complimented by an improved menu bar menu that can be clicked to take note of handy information such as available hard drive space, available RAM, network connectivity speed, CPU usage, and a quick means of opening your Dropbox account. An improved Notification system lets you know which programs are lagging or suspended, but isn’t as obtrusive as seen in previous versions of CleanMyMac.

As with previous versions, the modules work well, and users can either performed generalized, overarching system scans or embrace a fair degree of customization and specify what they want looked into and to what extent. CleanMyMac X has built on its core strengths of finding gigabytes of assorted crud—cache files, unused language files, and duplicate files—to clear up room at a speedier pace than previous versions.


Handy modules

New modules such as Extensions and Updater come in handy. With the Extensions module (which almost harkens back to Mac OS 9’s Extensions Manager), you can quickly manage extensions without having to dive too deeply into the macOS. The applications updater, in turn, provides a quick means of finding every application you have and updating them on the fly, which becomes almost addictive in its ease of use and functionality.

As with CleanMyMac 3, the Large & Old Files module helps you quickly see what files are devouring the most space on your hard drive and quickly erase them at will. This pairs well with the Uninstaller module, which helps you quickly locate your application programs and erase them as well as their support files to rid them from your Mac forever.

All this combines with a decent new Maintenance module, which offers an assortment of system-level clean up scripts (Free Up RAM, Run Maintenance Scripts, Flush DNS Cache, Speed Up Mail, Rebuild Launch Services, Reindex Spotlight, Repair Disk Permissions) to help free up resources. The effort is appreciated, but free utilities such as Titanium Software’s Onyx have historically done this better with more modules and customization.

Malware module

Unfortunately, the Malware module is where things fall apart. Over the course of days of testing, I installed several pieces of known Mac malware and adware on a MacBook Pro running macOS 10.14.1 Mojave. These samples included MacKeeper, assorted free-and-questionable video players, and entirely questionable utilities that purport to speed up your Mac yet historically find “infections,” change your web browser and search engine preferences, activate the speaker to tell you that your Mac has been corrupted, and advise you to call an 800 number where a technician can help resurrect your computer for a fee.

Upon running CleanMyMac X’s Malware module, which claims to be able to find and clean out malware with confidence, the module missed every beat, locating none of the malware or adware and happily reporting back that my Mac was clean, devoid of malware and ready to go. I used a free version of Malwarebytes to locate the malware, quarantine it, delete it, reboot my MacBook Pro, and ensure that the malware was gone.

This presents an enormous problem and unless MacPaw improves upon the malware module, this feels like you’ve opened the gates to malware and adware on your Mac if you’re only using CleanMyMac X for protection. MacPaw says that they are working on an update to address this issue.

CleanMyMac X retails for $39.95 for a one-year subscription for a single user and $89.95 for a one-time payment for a single user with the MacPaw store offering different purchase tiers depending on licensing needs. The software is available in a trial version, which lets you run as many scans as you want, clean up to 500MB of system junk, and run assorted tools a limited number of times.

Bottom line

CleanMyMac X has a fair amount going for it, especially in terms of its speed, new modules, and improved user interface, and it could represent a significant step forward for the program. Sadly, the Malware module seems to be where MacPaw has shot itself in the foot and will need to spend a number of caffeine-fueled evenings fixing this in a forthcoming update. Still, this doesn’t have to be an absolute deal breaker, and, if coupled with a focused malware utility such as Malwarebytes, CleanMyMac X does offer its own advantages with its core advantage of removing gigabytes upon gigabytes of system junk in tact and worth consideration.

At a glance


Our Verdict

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Macaw Clean My Mac Reviews

Bottom line

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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.