Your Mac is a technological marvel in efficiency for getting your work done, providing entertainment, and managing your lifestyle. But just like your home or office environment, it occasionally needs to be cleaned up or decluttered, to work at peak performance.
System resources such as your hard drive storage, applications, and RAM can over time become cluttered with files you don’t use, applications that are running – often without you even realizing it, and cache files that are actually intended to boost performance, but can also consume precious resources.
There are many steps you can take to clean up your Mac manually, if you have the time and discipline to perform some regular maintenance.
Be Your Own Cleaner
If you want to venture into a little do-it-yourself Mac maintenance without investing in one of the best Mac cleaners, and your Mac has become increasingly sluggish, there is much that you can do to attempt cleanup of your machine:
Clear Cache Data
Cache files are created in your Mac to retain information for loading web sites, and are also created and accessed by other system functions. These are very useful to speed page loading and other activity, but after a while, they eat up a lot of storage, and actually begin to slow things down.
It’s relatively easy to clean out cache files, but the process varies somewhat depending on what macOS version you’re running.
One of the best things you can do to boost performance is to get rid of applications you no longer use – or never did use. Applications that you downloaded or installed to try out, but abandoned, can eat up both storage and memory, slowing down your Mac.
Sending unwanted applications to the trash may leave a lot of residue behind, still consuming space. Using the more detailed process for completely uninstalling individual applications is a more thorough way to fully remove these programs from your system.
Get Rid of Email Attachments
If you’re like most Mac users, you get plenty of emails with attachments included, that you save in the Mail Downloads folder – sometimes even by accident.
Take a look periodically in that folder with Spotlight, using the search field (Command+Space to open the search), and point to the Mail Downloads folder. You may be surprised to find how many files are lurking about (some may be quite large), taking up space.
Just select the files you no longer want, and delete them.
Take Out the Trash
Just like home, putting something in the trash doesn’t get rid of it. You need to empty the trash to actually free the space those items take up. Be sure to click on the Trash can in the Dock periodically, select Empty Trash, and confirm to delete it.
Clean up Your Own Files
You may have saved some very large files in the way of documents, spreadsheets, graphic files, and even downloaded video and movies that you’ve long forgotten about. These can consume a large amount of drive storage.
Review the files on your drives to identify and delete those that are no longer relevant for your use.
Get Rid of Backup Versions
When you do upgrades of your system, the process includes making backups of the iOS before performing updates. This is great to resolve problems if they occur during the upgrade, but they also take up considerable amounts of disk space. Each time you update, you have a new set of backups.
You can locate these backups by launching iTunes, and navigating to the Preferences option. Click the Devices tab to get a list of backups, and delete the ones you no longer need.
Make Your Desktop Presentable
Over time, you’ve no-doubt accumulated items on your desktop that clutter up not only its appearance, but also eat up system resources. If you have a large number of files on your desktop, move them into a folder that makes them easy to find, and clear them off the desktop. Your Mac will be more organized and efficient.
There are certainly additional tasks you can take to clean up your Mac through manual means. The truth is, many users are not confident in their technical skills to actually dig into these processes, or you may find you simply don’t have the time to invest in these activities.
Performing these tasks manually can take several hours, and there’s always the potential that you may delete files or data that perhaps should have been retained.
There Is A Better Way
If you really want the most efficient, smoothest-running Mac you can find, regular maintenance is necessary. Fortunately, many technicians have put in the time and development effort for you, to create low-cost (even free), easy-to-use applications that do this work easily and professionally.
Mac “cleaners” have been around for quite some time, and most take care of all the above housekeeping activities, and so much more.
Best Mac Cleaners
To get the most value from your cleaning efforts, you should select an application that keeps up with the upgrades of the macOS.
Products listed here not only provide a great deal of functionality with minimal effort on your part, but also continuously upgrade their software offerings.
CleanMyMac has one purpose in life – to keep your Mac running at peak performance.
To accomplish that goal, a free download is provided that will get the application installed and running on your system very quickly and easily. Once installed, CleanMyMac will provide you with many features that optimize your system:
Every Mac user can benefit from the powerful tools provided by CleanMyMac. This application is one of the best Mac cleaners available, as you’ll find as you put its many features into regular use.
One of the benefits of this application is the Health Monitoring feature, available from the program’s main menu. Selecting the monitor gives you a current snapshot of how your system is running:
- Battery status
- Available memory
- Trash that should be emptied
- Large and old files
- Data that the system identifies as “junk” in various categories (Mail Attachments, iTunes, photos, and more)
With a single click, CleanMyMac can empty the trash or “Free Up” memory, right from the monitor.
CleanMyMac has a wealth of knowledge in knowing what truly is junk that can be cleaned up. The application identifies those junk files and system logs that take up space unnecessarily, removing them to expand your usable space and allowing your Mac to run more efficiently.
Uninstalling applications is another area where CleanMyMac shines. Where doing your own uninstalls of apps may leave straggling components floating around your Mac eating up space, this application is very effective in removing files and folders associated the applications being uninstalled.
CleanMyMac includes additional features to further optimize your Mac and save valuable storage:
- Eliminate disk-consuming language files that you don’t need
- Optimize startup objects
- Cleanup extensions for web browsers
This vendor provides an additional application – Gemini 2 – which you can pair with CleanMyMac to provide even more in-depth cleanup and free up more space on your system. Gemini 2 is an application that finds duplicate files that are candidates for deletion.
You may be surprised to find how many folders contain a duplicate or similar file, consuming disk space. This app will find them, and make it easy for you to weed them out. You get a chance to review the potential deletions of course.
“I found over 60 gigabytes of junk clogging my HD and my processor speed. After one cleaning with CleanMyMac 3 I’m seeing faster speeds and a whole lot of newly released memory. Truly great product.”
“Really glad you added the maintenance & privacy options. Makes your app the ‘one stop shop’ for trusted Mac performance.”
CCleaner is a great application for cleaning up your drive space. It removes junk files quickly and effortlessly. Just launch CCleaner and start the Analyze function. The program scans your hard drive and provides a report of its condition. File sizes are displayed for your review.
One quick look at the junk files can reveal those that should be deleted – especially large files that take up a lot of space. All you have to do is press Delete, and they’re gone, with the space now available for use.
CCleaner also has a Tools section that includes an efficient uninstall function. This option will list your applications. A one-click Uninstall selection will get rid of the application and any residual data associated with it.
There are additional useful features provided in the Tools menu:
- Remove or disable startup items
- Erase free space
- Change repair permissions
- Erase an entire disk volume – be careful with that one!
Manage your website cookies in the Options menu. All the cookies in your system will be displayed, with a default option to remove them all. Handily, you can select those that you may want to keep. Input from satisfied users validates that this is one of the best Mac cleaners available.
“CCleaner helped speed up my computer. It is a very good program. I would definitely recommend this program to everyone to clean up the computer.”
“LOVE LOVE CCleaner. I have installed it on both of my children’s computers as well. There are times when I forget to use it for a while and my computer or tablet start to get laggy. I’ll run CCleaner and notice the difference immediately. Thanks CCleaner, great job!!!”
Your hard drive is the lifeblood of your Mac. Most of the horror stories related to data loss or even poor system performance are tied back to hard drive issues.
Drive Genius exists to provide solutions in monitoring and cleaning your hard drive to maximize performance. Poorly organized, fragmented, or nearly full hard drives can significantly impact the performance of your Mac. This application will help solve such problems.
Once hard drives approach capacity, performance can suffer greatly, as the macOS has less space to perform its functions. The specialists at Drive Genius are experts at data recovery, so they know the inner-workings of your hard drive intimately.
As one of the best Mac cleaners, Drive Genius performs several functions in its continuous monitoring of your drive’s health:
- Analyzing the drive for any potential problems
- Locating and replacing duplicate files
- DrivePulse feature presents alerts when any issues are detected, so that you can take appropriate actions
Another function of Drive Genius is defragmentation. As files are added and removed from your Mac, a file may be contained across multiple sectors of the hard drive to make the best use of drive space. This can cause performance issues when accessing fragmented files. Defragmentation organizes and rearranges files to allow the operating system to handle them more efficiently.
Drive Genius also provides a tool for creating, deleting, and resizing disk partitions as you desire, which can be a very convenient feature.
“I do not know much about computers, and I cannot explain in technical details how this software works, but it did fix many of the issues my computer had. I have an old iMac with dual intel processor (if that matters), and it has having issues with the screen freezing, slowing down, and not rebooting properly. So, after running this program I could see a great difference in its performance.”
“This is a great product. If you could only have one Mac utility, this would be the one. Easy to use and very well done. Customer service is great as I got to talk to a software engineer not an uninformed operator, not offense to any operators. I would definitely recommend this for any Mac user.”
Making The Choice
Each of these products qualifies as one of the best Mac cleaners and is well worth downloading and using to keep your system running efficiently, with minimal effort on your part. You might even want to try each of them to see which you find easiest to navigate or the one that has the most features you feel will benefit you.
Ultimately, the choice will depend on several factors:
- Features – which product you feel will be more relevant in keeping your system clean
- Ease of Use – presentation, menu options, built-in help, and available support
- Price – some cleaners are free, while others must be purchased, or require an annual subscription
With any of these applications, the price is minimal, when you consider the satisfaction and security of running your Mac at peak performance.
Why Install A Mac Cleaner?
There are many reasons to install a good Mac cleaner application:
- You’re not comfortable with getting into the technical side of the system and making changes
- Your system is running very slowly, or perhaps you’ve even received the dreaded “Your disk is almost full” warning
- You don’t have the time to perform these maintenance tasks on a regular basis
If any of those conditions is true – maybe all of them – selecting from one of the best Mac cleaners should be your next investment in keeping your system running in top condition.