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MacKeeper review 2020

MacKeeper Review [2020]: A New Look at the Mac Tool Suite

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MacKeeper has been on the market for about 10 years and did have a few bumps along the way. Mac users faced aggressive MacKeeper ads and deceptive virus alerts. Those who installed the app couldn’t remove it and believed it was malware itself.

However, the company’s ownership changed with Clario at the helm. The new owners state that MacKeeper has undergone an essential transformation and they invested significant efforts into fixing their previous flaws. 

Today, MacKeeper is positioned as a suite of tools to clean and optimize the performance of Macs as well as protect online security and privacy. Along with the software, a customer gets 24/7 tech support. Indeed, while testing the app, I didn’t face any failures, aggressive promotion, or annoying pop-ups. To me, it’s a decent app that does what it promises.

Pros

What I liked about MacKeeper:

  • 11 tools in one app

  • integrated VPN, data breach monitor, and ad blocker

  • clear and friendly interface

  • easy to install and delete

  • quick and professional tech support

Cons

What could have been improved about MacKeeper:

  • no real-time antivirus protection (expected to be introduced in July 2020)

  • obscure activation process

  • regular scans can’t be customized

  • some features have to be activated additionally

Now let’s have a closer look at MacKeeper. 

What’s New?

I happened to come across a few pieces about MacKeeper’s start of a “new life”, including the one about its Apple notarization. Given the history of MacKeeper’s reputational problems, I became intrigued. 

I contacted a MacKeeper’s representative who confirmed that the app was notarized by Apple. It’s commonly known that for most apps Apple checkup is a rather automated process. But it wasn't for MacKeeper, due to its past. The Apple team carefully examined and tested the app to ensure that it's safe and useful for Apple users.

MacKeeper’s developers say this summer they are going to launch a brand new version of the app. However, I still wondered what the current version looked like, so I decided to test it. MacKeeper’s representative kindly provided me with a license key for the sake of this review. So here we go.

Installation

I downloaded MacKeeper from its official website. The installation was pretty easy and the app looked nice. The only thing that confused me was the activation of my license. I just couldn’t find where to insert the activation key. So I called a support center and they quickly helped me. More on that later. 

Here’s how the main screen of the app looks like:

MacKeeper Main Screen

In the left panel, you can see a list of tools that the app offers. It’s a set typical for such kind of apps. First, there are cleaning tools to remove junk files. Next, there are performance-optimizing tools to unload RAM, update apps, and regulate what launches on startup. Security-wise, MacKeeper offers an antivirus, an adware cleaner, and a Mac tracking tool.

But let’s start with the central block. As you can see, the app offers to scan all my computer for cleaning, performance, security, and privacy issues in one click. And here’s what I found by running it on my Mac:

Scan and Fix

I liked how MacKeeper scanned the computer really fast and all the statuses were explained. There’s also an appealing suggestion to fix the flaws in a single click. However, I preferred to study all the areas separately.

Cleaning Tools

This set of tools caters to those who store a lot of stuff on their Macs and want to carefully get rid of the useless files. The mission here is not to remove anything important. And MacKeeper has mechanisms to ensure that.

Safe Cleanup

Safe cleanup

Safe Cleanup deals with all kinds of junk files across a Mac, including logs, caches, trash, app localization files, and mail attachments. Surely, this all can be done manually, but it’s handy to have a tool to do it in a few clicks. 

Duplicates Finder

Duplicates finder

This tool within MacKeeper helps to remove unnecessary file copies on a computer. As I’ve noticed from the scan results, it seems to find duplicates by checking the files’ content, not file names. Therefore, Duplicates Finder won’t delete different files with the same name as copies.  

Smart Uninstaller

Smart uninstaller

Smart Uninstaller is there to let you get rid of rarely used apps, widgets, browser extensions, and plugins. It also suggests leftover files for removal. However, all these actions should be reviewed and confirmed. That takes some time but it also reduces the risk of accidentally deleting the app you really need.

Summary on cleaning tools:

This set of tools works similarly to those you can find in comparable apps. MacKeeper scanned my Mac rather quickly, displayed all that can be deleted, and let me decide which files I should send to trash and what should be left.  

Performance Tools

This app section is devoted to steps that can make your Mac run more efficiently: namely, lessen the load on its RAM, update the apps to their newer (and hopefully better) versions, and get rid of needless apps that launch on startup.

Memory Cleaner

Memory cleaner

The first tool deals with RAM, the computer's short-time memory that gets occupied with processes caused by different programs even after they’re closed. Memory Cleaner is here to kill the processes that are longer needed. 

Personally, I was surprised to see that I had 7.94 GB of RAM occupied and only 64.3 MB available. So the “Clean memory” button is what I really needed. 

Update Tracker

Update tracker

Some apps update automatically, some don’t. Update Tracker is a tool to collect all those in need of refurbishing in one place. Here you can quickly review and update all (or some) of them. Taking into account that newer app versions are usually more efficient and secure, it’s important to have updates under control. 

However, for this functionality I prefer MacUpdate as it notifies me whenever an app needs to be updated.

Login Items

Login items

Many apps are set to launch automatically on startup, which may slow down a computer. MacKeeper’s Login Items tool lets you see a list of automatically launched apps and remove the unneeded ones. 

Summary on performance tools:

While you can deal with all the related issues using Mac’s built-in tools, it feels handy to have such services in one place and to leave all the manual operations behind. The resulting difference in performance on a newer Mac (like mine) is not that obvious but on an older one it might be significant.

Security Tools

Many know MacKeeper primarily as an antivirus program. Indeed, it includes tools to fight digital threats (Antivirus and Adware Cleaner) as well as physical impact (Track My Mac).

Antivirus

MacKeeper Antivirus

Surprisingly, you need to additionally activate the Antivirus tool inside the app as it doesn’t launch automatically. However, it is easy and free—just a click on a button. 

Further, MacKeeper scanned the entire computer, and did it quickly—it took just about 5 minutes in my case. Lucky me, I’ve got no malware. Too bad the app doesn’t provide real-time protection but MacKeeper representative said we’ll see it in the new product version this summer.

In the app’s Preferences, I found that MacKeeper is set to scan my Mac every 24 hours. While constant protection is not available yet, I’d love to be able to schedule the scan or change its frequency. 

Adware Cleaner

MacKeeper - Adware Cleaner

This tool specializes in the detection and removal of malware’s “younger brother”, adware. That’s annoying software that bombards you with ads all the time. Adware Cleaner was activated out of the box and rescanned my Mac on demand even more quickly than the Antivirus did. 

Track My Mac

Track My Mac

Track My Mac tool is designed to help you lock, report, and find your laptop should it get lost or stolen. While this tool partly duplicates macOS’ Find My Mac feature, it has an additional function. MacKeeper can take a photo of anyone who would unsuccessfully try to log into your Mac. In the app’s Preferences, you can set whether it happens after the 1st, 2nd, 5th, or 10th attack. I’m going with 5 attempts, otherwise, I’ll be getting selfies every day.

This time it is totally logical that you need to activate this feature additionally as it requests access to your location and camera. You might not want that. 

Summary on security tools:

This set of tools is precisely what I expected in terms of security. However, what needs to be improved, in my view, is instant activation of the Antivirus and more options in scan scheduling. 

Privacy Tools

This set of features was something I wasn’t expecting to get, and they all worked fine. First, ID Theft Guard that checks emails for breaches. Next, a VPN for more secure browsing. And finally an ad blocker with anti-tracking functionality. Such services often come as standalone programs, and it’s great to have them included in MacKeeper. 

ID Theft Guard

MacKeeper ID theft guard

Uh-oh! ID Theft Guard revealed something that distracted me from writing this review for a while. After I entered three of my email addresses, I found out two of them were compromised along with my passwords in nearly 14 and 8 data breaches respectively! Next, the app displayed the details of each breach (including the exposed passwords) and prompted me to change the passwords.

What I especially liked is how MacKeeper doesn’t let you enter just anyone’s email and see their passwords. Before you proceed, you need to enter the verification code sent to the address you’re checking. And what’s more, once you scanned an email address, you can set up permanent data breach monitoring. 

VPN Private Connect

VPN private connect

This tool offers a frequently-needed VPN functionality: it hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic. That’s essential to all those who use public Wi-Fi at times (and who doesn’t?). What’s remarkable about MacKeeper’s VPN is that you can choose a server from a rather big list of options. Or you can rely on an automatically selected server, which is faster. 

Another benefit is that there are no data limits, and you can surf as long as you want. You can even set this feature to be launched at startup. I browsed with a VPN on for a while and I didn’t notice any slowdowns or other glitches. 

StopAd

Stop Ad

As the title suggests, this tool blocks ads. This is something that works outside the app—StopAd is developed as Chrome and Safari browser extensions. It works in two ways. First, it blocks advertising within your browser. Next, it blocks online trackers thus enhancing your privacy and browsing speed. On a screenshot, you can see how many elements it blocked just on one page of a popular news website.

Summary on privacy tools:

This was a good bonus to the set of tools that I expected to get with MacKeeper. A VPN, a data breach monitor, and an ad blocker in one package is a nice thing to have.

Tech Support

I called MacKeeper’s tech support via Skype when I couldn't find how to apply my license key. A polite lady called Sylvia answered in seconds and quickly guided me through the steps to take. 

By the way, I was reviewing MacKeeper on Trustpilot, and it proves that tech support is among the company’s strongest points. User reviews mostly regard the contact centre and their agents get a perfect score in nearly all cases. 

MacKeeper's tech support is free for all their customers. It deals with questions about using the app, as well as general Mac issues. Support is available 24/7 via in-app chat, Skype, phone, or email.

Plans and Pricing

A 1-month plan costs $14.95, a 6-month subscription is $11.95 per month, and a 12-month plan is $9.95 per month. So, in total that’s $71.70 for 6 months or $119.40 for a year.

Importantly, you get all of the features of MacKeeper as well as access to 24/7 support regardless of the plan. The only difference between them is the duration of the service.

There’s no free trial in MacKeeper but you can run a basic Mac scan and fix your issues once for free. However, you won’t be able to turn on the VPN. On the other hand, MacKeeper developers offer a 14-day money-back guarantee for all plans.

Uninstallation

Finally, I uninstalled MacKeeper to see whether it is easy to do. Indeed, all it takes is to move the app to Trash. I was prompted to “Sad to see you go…” page on MacKeeper’s website where I could optionally fill in a feedback form. Apart from that, there were no attempts to hold me as a user and I didn’t face any obstacles in removing the app.

Summary

MacKeeper is a legit and handy suite of tools for Macs that does exactly what it promises. 

The app performs a rather quick scan of a computer. It finds unnecessary files that can be deleted and suggests fixing issues that can affect your Mac’s performance. MacKeeper offers anti-malware and anti-adware tools as well as a VPN, a data breach monitor and an ad blocker. All the components worked fine while I was testing the app. 

In any way, MacKeeper is not a form of malware or a scam, and I didn’t notice anything seriously irritating about it (apart from a few minor flaws in it’s feature setup and overall activation). So there are no reasons to worry about MacKeeper—quite the opposite, it can be useful for you and your Mac in multiple ways. 

Questions: 

Finally, I’d like to outline answers to some of the widespread questions about MacKeeper.

What does MacKeeper do? 

MacKeeper is a suite of tools for cleaning and optimizing performance of your Mac, as well as protecting your security and privacy. Namely, it helps remove junk and unneeded files, unload RAM, update apps, and regulate what launches on startup. Security-wise, MacKeeper features an antivirus, an adware cleaner, and a Mac tracking tool. It also helps you secure your connection via VPN, monitor data breaches, and block ads and ad trackers. 

Is MacKeeper legit?

Yes, MacKeeper is a legit app notarized by Apple. It is not a scam or malware in disguise.

Do I need MacKeeper on my Mac?

This is a matter of preference but anyway MacKeeper won’t harm or overload your computer. Instead, it will provide you with useful tools to tidy up your Mac, protect you from malware, block ads, and enhance your privacy.

 

Written by Shanika Wickramasinghe.

Shanika is a software engineer by profession and a Graduate in Information Technology. Her fortes are Web and Mobile Development. Shanika is a macOS enthusiast and loves writing as it helps to share her knowledge. She also enjoys sharing tips and tricks about macOS. You can connect with her at LinkedIn.

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