Over time junk and temporary files can pile up on your Mac’s system drive, taking up space and even slowing it down. Speed problems are less likely with newer Macs, of course, particularly the new ones with Apple’s own M1 chips in them. But the latest models come with as little as 256GB of storage, which can easily run short if you save a lot of big files. You can’t upgrade your storage either unless you fancy breaking out a soldering iron.
So whether you have a new Mac or an older model, it can be useful to optimize by finding and removing unnecessary data. You can search for this data manually and delete it, but that takes time. In more recent versions of macOS, there are some built-in tools to optimize disk space, but those remove everything.
To clean your Mac more thoroughly but also easily, you can use Mac cleaning software. These apps will seek out data you don’t need, enabling you to safely delete it. Here we look at some of the best available right now.
Ideally, you should look out for these features when you’re hunting for a Mac cleaning app:
This is the latest version of the MacKeeper software. MacKeeper boasts improved functionality, a 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 app with a bunch of built-in cleaning tools that’ll get rid of junk and redundant files eating up your Mac’s storage. But it’s also a complete security and optimization tool, with real-time antivirus, a duplicate finder, an ad blocker, and a variety of other privacy protection functions.
MacKeeper also comes with a built-in Update Tracker, which checks your Mac for outdated apps and updates them accordingly. And you can use MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller tool to uninstall apps and remove their respective leftover files.
On top of all that, MacKeeper comes with a VPN service included as part of the subscription. This gives you access to remote servers all over the world, so you can hide your identity and location.
As a security app, it’s missing ransomware protection, so hopefully that will be added at some point.
CCleaner is a well-known name in the cleaning software industry, having made PC apps for many years. And now the company has one of the best Mac cleaning apps you’ll find too.
CCleaner offers a cleaning tool that analyzes your Mac’s storage to hunt out cache files, browser cookies, and other junk. It scans both system and third-party applications.
Asides from cleaning junk files, CCleaner also offers other performance optimization tools to instantly free up your 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 $29.95. The free version has the essential tools you need to clean your Mac's storage. But if you want the more advanced features like automatic clearing of your browser history, real-time monitoring of junk files, and automatic updates, you'll need to upgrade to the professional version.
You can think of MacCleaner Pro as a full-fledged file manager with disk cleaning and system optimization capabilities on top.
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. You can then click on any of these categories to view more information.
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 your Spotlight index, disable 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. But you’ll need to buy the app to use pro tools like the duplicate finder, app uninstaller, and disk analyzer.
Avast is known mainly for its antivirus software, but it also makes this capable Mac cleanup tool as well. As with other cleaning apps, it works by removing junk files, duplicate documents, and applications.
As well as finding duplicates, Avast Cleanup uses a unique image-detection technology to scan your photo gallery for poor-quality images so you can delete them. It looks for things like under-exposure, over-exposed, or blurring. This isn’t usually the kind of feature you find in cleaning tools like this, so it’s definitely a bonus.
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 then choose what you want to keep or delete.
You can download Avast Cleanup for free and try it free for 30 days without a credit card. This is a big improvement from previous versions, which required you to enter your payment details first.
This very simple Mac system cleaner offers two main tools: a Disk Cleaner and a Duplicate Finder.
The former will scan your Mac for hidden files (application caches, junk files, unnecessary downloads, and so on) that could be 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, meanwhile, 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 AVG Cleaner.
Clearly, AVG Cleaner is very basic compared to other Mac cleaners. But if you want a simple cleaning tool with added duplicate file finding but you’re on a budget, it’ll do the trick.
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, which, as the name suggests, lets you preview and delete big files (between 10MB and 500MB). This is a simple, effective way to get back some of your Mac’s 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, and network status in real-time. This is a handy little thing to have day to day.
Cleaner One Pro is well priced, but if you want any security features, you won’t find them here. That’s definitely something to bear in mind before signing up.
Disk Drill isn’t just a Mac cleaner. Its primary use is as a data recovery tool, not just for Macs but for iOS and Android devices too. You can even recover data from Time Machine backups.
There isn’t a cleaning function, per se, but rather a disk analyzer like DaisyDisk. You’ll find this in the Extra tools section, along with a duplicate finder, data shredder, a backup tool, various other tools for maintaining your Mac’s disk health. It’s not as visually appealing as the disk analyzer in some of the other apps here, but it works well.
Disk Drill can also help you to create a bootable macOS USB stick, and it will erase your free disk space to prevent old files being read.
There are no antivirus functions in Disk Drill, so you’ll still need a security app. In fact, Disk Drill would complement an app like MacKeeper or CleanMyMac, giving you a full range of security, privacy and optimization tools. It’s quite expensive, though, at $89.99. Pay a bit extra, and you can have lifetime updates, so that investment should pay off eventually.
CleanMyMac X offers a suite of tools that remove 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 in the sidebar.
It also has 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 Space Lens feature lets you see what’s taking up all your disk space and where it is.
The Maintenance module will free up disk space on your Mac’s disk, repair broken file permissions, 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.
DaisyDisk takes a straightforward approach towards junk removal. At the click of a button, DaisyDisk will scan your entire Mac disk 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. 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.
Disk Doctor 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, this app will find and delete it for you.
The app automatically scans your disk and groups unneeded files into different categories. You can then preview the files and choose what to keep and what to delete. This includes large files and partial downloads, which you may not want anymore.
Disk Doctor costs just $2.99 from the App Store. At such a low price, you’ve got practically nothing to lose by giving it try. It doesn’t include any kind of security or privacy protection features, though.
For all-around cleaning and security, MacKeeper is a great choice, and the VPN is a bonus. CleanMyMac X offers a similar feature set without the real-time protection and VPN.
Meanwhile, apps like Cleaner One Pro and MacCleaner Pro have strong cleaning features too. DaisyDisk is just one of a few apps that can build a visual map of your disk space, helping you find and remove large files you don’t need.
Disk Doctor has a few decent cleaning options and is very cheap, but it can’t compete on features with most of the other apps here.
Finally, Disk Drill has a good set of features, but it’s less of a cleaning app and more of a file recovery tool. If you need these features, it’s worth checking out and using alongside one of the other apps here.
|Large file finder|
|Disk space analyzer|
|Free space eraser|
Cleaner One Pro