28 February 2021
Does your Mac feel a little slow and unresponsive?
Or is it displaying a "Your disk is almost full" error message?
That could be because there are excessive junk files occupying your Mac's storage disk.
Junk files take many shapes and forms. They also have varying sizes (some are tiny files while some may run into gigabytes) and are scattered across several folders on your Mac. Manually locating and removing these unwanted disk-consuming files can be exhausting and futile.
Thanks to Mac cleaning and optimization software, you can give your Mac's storage a clean sweep and free up space within seconds. So, here are our top picks of the best Mac cleaner software in 2021.
You'll find tons of applications out there offering disk cleanup for Mac. Choosing the best one that matches your needs can get difficult. This is why we compiled this list containing ten of the best cleaning software for Mac.
|Rating||Name||Features / Remarks||More Info|
|1||MacKeeper||Best all-in-one solution to clean your Mac.
Found the most junk files.
Removes viruses, malware, and blocks ads/trackers.
Provides 24/7 monitoring on your Mac for data breaches.
|2||CleanMyMac X||Offers a “Smart Scan” feature that cleans and optimizes your Mac in one click.
Comes with a “Shredder” that lets you remove locked items and junks without facing any (Finder) errors.
|3||CCleaner for Mac||Monitors junk files in real-time and offers privacy protection.
“Smart Cleaning” feature automatically notifies you when there are junk files to clean.
The Mac cleaners reviewed in this article all found varying gigabytes of junk files on our test device — a 128GB MacBook Pro running macOS Big Sur. Here’s a result of our findings.
This is the latest version of the MacKeeper software. MacKeeper 5 boasts of improved functionalities, refreshed design, and an easy-to-navigate interface. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac newbie or a pro—you’ll get a hang of MacKeeper easily.
MacKeeper is an all-in-one software with a bunch of built-in cleaning tools that’ll get rid of junks and redundant files eating up your Mac’s storage. As a bonus, you also get an antivirus, duplicate finder, an ad blocker, and a variety of other privacy protection utilities.
There’s a "Find & Fix" section where you can check the status of your Mac's storage, security, and overall performance at the click of a button.
MacKeeper also has an Auto-scan feature that’s enabled by default. So you don’t have to set a reminder or schedule to get your Mac scanned for vulnerabilities — MacKeeper does that automatically in the background.
As a cherry on top, MacKeeper also comes with a built-in "Update Tracker". This tool checks your Mac for outdated software and updates them accordingly.
You can also use MacKeeper’s “Smart Uninstaller” tool to uninstall apps and remove their respective leftover files.
CleanMyMac X offers a suite of tools that removes junk files and malware from your Mac. The software has a clean interface and you’ll find everything you need to clean and optimize your Mac on the right sidebar.
There’s also a "Smart Scan" feature that thoroughly scans your Mac and cleans unneeded junk, neutralizes potential threats, and boosts your system performance.
Like MacKeeper, CleanMyMac X also lets you effectively manage applications on your Mac. You can use the utilities in the Applications module to uninstall applications, remove system extensions, and find outdated apps and update them accordingly.
The Maintenance module will free up disk space on your Mac’s disk, repair broken file permission, and compress the size of your (Time Machine) backup.
CleanMyMac X is a paid cleaning tool but you can use the trial version for free. However, you should note that the trial version comes with a 500MB cleaning limit.
CCleaner is a household name in the cleaning software industry, and the company has one of the best Mac cleaning software.
CCleaner offers a cleaning utility that analyzes your Mac’s storage to hunt out cache files, browser cookies, and other junk files. It scans both system and third-party applications, leaving no stone unturned.
Asides from cleaning junk files, CCleaner also offers other performance optimization tools to instantly free up Mac memory. For example, you can use the "Startup" tool to change your Mac's startup programs and optimize your Mac's startup speed.
The built-in “Duplicate Finder” will also help free up extra space by removing duplicate files located in similar or different folders on your Mac.
CCleaner is available for free, but there's a professional version that costs $19.95. The free version has the essential tools you need to get your Mac's storage spick and span. Likewise, it has no limit on the quantity of junks you can clean from your Mac.
However, if you fancy advanced features like automatic erasure of browser history, real-time monitoring of junk files, and automatic updates, you'll need to upgrade to the professional version.
OnyX is free and gets the job done, it's not the most beginner-friendly app to clean up your Mac. The app's functionalities, utilities, and settings aren't out in the open, so it'll take some getting used to. When you get a hang of it, however, cleaning your Mac becomes a breeze.
OnyX has a deep-cleaning Storage management tool. You’ll find this in the Applications tab of the app’s Utilities section. The tool will uninstall unsupported applications, remove TV programmes and shows you've already watched, and delete junk items and cache files — all in a bid to save as much disk space as it can.
You can use OnyX for free, forever. However, make sure you download a version that’s compatible with your Mac’s operating system from the developer’s website.
DaisyDisk does away with all the fancy stuff and takes a straightforward approach towards junk removal.
At the click of a button, DaisyDisk will scan your entire Mac disk in less than a minute and categorize your data into an interactive, color-coded map. Data labels are also displayed at the top-right corner of the app for easy identification.
To preview the content of the category, click on a data label or its corresponding color on the map to preview the content of the category. If you find a suspiciously large file consuming your Mac’s storage, all you need to do is drag the file to the Delete queue located at the bottom-left corner of the app.
This is one of the best apps to perform a disk cleanup on Mac. The simplicity and disk-scanning speed are two of its highlight features.
The only downside is that DaisyDisk isn't beginner-friendly. It shows you things eating up your Mac's storage but it doesn't tell you which ones are junk files or malware. You'll have to find and delete them yourself.
Formerly known as Dr. Cleaner, Cleaner One Pro (developed by Trend Micro) is another reliable app to clean up your Mac, particularly if you have a lot of duplicate photos.
It deep-cleans your Mac's storage by removing junk files, duplicate files, similar photos, and so on. There’s also a "Big Files" tool that lets you preview and delete big files (between 10MB and 500MB) consuming excessive disk space.
The Smart Scan feature will check for vulnerabilities affecting your Mac’s performance and suggest actions to get them fixed.
Cleaner One Pro also comes with a menu bar tool that displays a quick overview of your Mac's CPU usage, memory usage, network status in real-time.
Avast is renowned for its antivirus software but its Cleanup tool for Mac is just as good.
The app will clean up your Mac by removing junk files, duplicate documents, and applications that you barely use.
Avast Cleanup uses a unique image-detection technology to scan your photo gallery for bad images that are under-exposure, over-exposed, or blurry.
Everything you need to declutter your Mac is clearly spelled out on the app's dashboard. There are no hidden tools or menus. Simply launch the app, grant it access to your Mac's disk, scan for unwanted files, and choose what you want to keep or delete.
You can download Avast Cleanup for free but there’s a catch: the trial version works in scan-only mode. To clean your Mac with the app, you’ll need to sign up for an Avast Cleanup Premium subscription; Avast may provide a 60-day subscription-free trial period.
This Mac system cleaner offers two main tools: a Disk Cleaner and a Duplicate Finder.
The former will scan the nook and cranny of your Mac for hidden files (application caches, junk files, unnecessary downloads, and so on) taking up disk space. The Duplicate Finder, on the other hand, will dig out identical files and folders.
The overall disk cleaning process is simple and effortless. The Duplicate Finder supports a drag-and-drop functionality that lets you find duplicate files in specific folders on your Mac. Simply drag the folder to the Duplicate Finder section and leave the rest to the AVG Cleaner.
Disk Doctor is one of the few junk cleaners that removes a wide variety of unnecessary files from your Mac: application caches, message attachments, temporary files, application leftovers, partial or uncompleted downloads, application log files — you name it.
The app automatically scans your disk and groups unneeded files into 20 different categories. You can preview the files and choose what to keep and what to delete.
The app ships with a light interface by default but you can switch to a dark theme if you want. Disk Doctor is strictly a paid app; it costs $2.99 and is available on the App Store.
We advise that you download and use the Free Demo version of the app before making a purchase. That way, you can easily decide if it’s worth the investment or not.
We should mention that the Free Demo version only allows you to scan your drive. You cannot use it to remove junk or optimize your Mac's storage.
Think of MacCleaner Pro as a full-fledged file manager with disk cleaning and system optimization capabilities.
On the app’s dashboard, you’ll find an overview of your Mac’s storage color-coded into several file types and categories: system files, duplicate files, applications, documents, movies, and so on. Click on any of the categories to view the items occupying significant disk space.
In addition to removing junk files, there are additional tools that can help you fix issues affecting your Mac’s performance. The Speedup Tool, for example, will rebuild the Spotlight index, disabling startup apps, and free up RAM.
The built-in App Cleaner will also reset malfunctioning apps, manage browser extensions, remove unwanted/unused applications and delete their leftover files.
MacCleaner Pro’s junk cleaner and system optimization tools are available to all users. On the other hand, you’ll need to purchase the app to use pro tools like the duplicate finder, app uninstaller, and disk analyzer.
MacKeeper does a pretty good job. It is lightweight and you need not have any technical knowledge to use it. The interface is easy to understand and you can swiftly find junk files at the click of a button. It also comes with performance-optimization features that allows you to monitor your Mac.s memory and other resource-intensive processes in real-time.
Yes, cleaning software really does help to declutter your Mac. We tested all ten applications in this article and they performed brilliantly. A cleaning software may consume CPU resources and slow down your Mac if it’s registered as a Login Item — an app that opens automatically when you boot up your Mac.
We should also mention that Mac cleaners will not slow down your Mac while scanning for junk files. If a Mac cleaner slows down your Mac's speed or performance, you may have too many apps open and running in the background. Close apps that you aren't using and try again.
Mac cleaner apps from trusted developers are safe to use.
However, some malicious Mac cleaning software has a history of stealing users' data. Therefore, make sure you perform your due diligence and only use cleaners from reputable software companies.
A Mac software expert with over 3 years of experience in applying solutions to Mac software issues. My speciality is ensuring an easy-switch from Windows to macOS for new Mac users.
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