CleanMyMac 2 Brings Automatic Cleanup, Uninstaller, and a Complete Redesign

When it comes to purging caches and improving your Mac’s performance, there’s nothing like MacPaw’s CleanMyMac. The utility has been around since the summer of 2009 and has been the most reliable way to keep your Mac running like it’s new.

On the 5th of March, a brand new version of the app released with many changes and improvements. I’ve been using the new CleanMyMac 2 since late January, and here’s what I’ve observed.

The New Design — It’s Stunning

An older version of CleanMyMac.

An older version of CleanMyMac.

The biggest change in version 2.0 is the completely redesigned user interface. The old version with its light and dark themes was lovable, but this facelift is a very nice change. It really compliments the features of the app with true aesthetics, and that’s exactly what you’d expect from MacPaw, a company who focuses on great design.

The redesigned interface of version 2.0.

The redesigned interface of version 2.0.

CleanMyMac’s layout hasn’t changed much, though there’s no bar at the top of the app anymore. Instead, everything has been moved to a unified sidebar and the Preferences window is available in the menu bar or by pressing CMD+, on your keyboard. The developers moved unnecessary complications out of the way to make sure you get a worry-free experience, not one that an advanced user would need. I’ll talk more about how the functionality was impacted by this change later on.

The app is now designed to look great on Retina displays, and even the icon has been given a slight facelift, from the pink screen with a wiper to a darker purple-tinted one. It’s definitely nothing more than light polish on the outside, but when you click the app you notice a great difference in appearance. The main screen, for example, has been polished with some sparkling streaks behind the iMac. And now there are some completely new graphics in tabs like System Cleanup, which has a beautiful vacuum as a visual representation of the feature.

Even the little things look nice.

Even the little things look nice.

When you start cleaning something, you’ll notice some minimal, yet appealing and effective, transitions that give the app much more of a natural feel. Switching from one tab to another also uses a nice sliding animation. The best one of all, however, is found when you start cleaning. Once Scan is pressed, the main screen will slide out of the way to reveal an examination, which also slides away when finished. Even the little info bubbles (move your mouse around and look for the “i”) pop up nicely.

The Eraser.

The Eraser.

The only complaint I have about the user interface is the trash can icon in the Eraser section. I think the icon was designed well, but it looks like there’s a bit too much blur in the fragments of paper. The idea of motion blur makes sense and it would be fine if I didn’t always think my vision was going bad because of it. A bit too much fluff there might cause users with Retina displays to think the app isn’t optimized in one area. (I’m only using a MacBook Air.)

Automatic Cleanup Makes It All Easy

Results for an automatic scan.

Results for an automatic scan.

CleanMyMac is much more than a shiny interface, and that’s what’s really important. Originally, CleanMyMac used a full system scanning process that would tell you what was available to clean and then ask you if you wanted to do so. Now things are much quicker. When you launch version 2.0, the main tab is Automatic Cleanup. It will perform a full system scan for you, confirm that you want to remove all the usual caches and iPhoto files (more on these later), and then finish. It’s a one-minute process if you have an SSD.

The automatic scan will offer to remove extra language files by default. That can break some apps, so we’d recommend turning that off in the preferences before scanning.

Cleaning files manually.

Cleaning files manually.

Now you’re probably thinking “Oh no, now I can’t clean the places I want to. It does it all for me.” Don’t worry, when you finish Automatic Cleanup there’s an option to remove whatever you wish from the system. You can even uncheck the boxes and the app will let you skip straight to Manual Cleanup. Thankfully, the developers haven’t forgotten power users.

You might want to cut your sound a bit first, though: sound effects play when a scan or cleanup session is complete, and there’s a fancy opening animation with sound when you first start the app.

Automatic Cleanup is performing a full system scan.

Automatic Cleanup is performing a full system scan.

I really like Automatic Cleanup because it’s so quick. In the previous version of CleanMyMac, scanning took a long time and the logs section always slowed it down for some reason. Now there’s no such problem — everything completes in a few minutes so I can continue my work without interruption. That does make me wonder why sound effects are necessary, since I won’t be scanning in the background.

System Cleanup Takes Things a Step Further

System Cleanup results.

System Cleanup results.

If you just want to skip straight to cleaning your entire system, the System Cleanup tab is perfect. It scans for caches, universal binaries, language files, logs, iOS software updates, broken login items, and more. Since it only takes about six seconds to scan (that was in my case, and it found 592.4 MB of files), I’ve found it the best way to get everything sparkling. It’s also very nice to have a small graph that shows what items were found, organized by size. If that’s not enough, you can go into detailed results to see what the app “safely” cleans.

Sometimes authentication is required to clean system caches and logs.

Large & Old Files: Never Forget to Delete Something

I import thousands of photos from my camera each month. Since they’re all RAW CR2 (Canon) files, they take up over 20 MB each. Add that up and my little MacBook Air is in need of a new hard drive fast. Since I typically move them to my external drive, though, everything is fine. That is, until I forget about it. CleanMyMac has a helpful reminder for those archaic files of yours.

Some photos were found in a Large & Old Files scan.

Some photos were found in a Large & Old Files scan.

In the Large & Old Files tab, you can scan folders — your home directory is the default one — for old files. Any folder that hasn’t been opened in over a week and is sizable will be shown in the results. It’s handy for the days your Mac is out of space. Unlike Automatic Cleanup though, you need to check which folders you want to delete. You can securely delete them as well.

Uninstall Anything

Uninstaller's results for an app.

Uninstaller’s results for an app.

Something Macs need is an easier way to completely remove apps. Launchpad’s method doesn’t always throw away all the preferences and they’re left somewhere deep in the OS. Instead of worrying about such things, you can open CleanMyMac and find the app you want to uninstall. It’ll search for all the related files and remove them safely.

Enabling trash monitoring — in two senses — here.

Enabling trash monitoring — in two senses — here.

 

If that’s too much trouble, the app has trash monitoring. When you switch it on, the app will ask you if you want to properly uninstall an app when you put it in the trash. With that you don’t have to worry about remembering to uninstall things fully because the app will do it for you.

Finding old app files.

Finding old app files.

My favorite feature of the Uninstaller is its Leftovers tab. Since I sometimes forget to uninstall things correctly and don’t like to have monitoring on, fragments of the apps are left behind. Thanks to this feature, they can be removed with a few clicks. I don’t recommend removing everything on the list without taking a look first because some of the items may still be in use. By default, Leftovers organizes the files by the last time the app was opened, so the top will have things you probably haven’t opened in a long time. Still, make sure before deleting stuff.

An app that was opened five minutes ago.

An app that was opened five minutes ago.

I did have one problem with the Uninstaller. It’s supposed to show when you last used an app as a way of helping you choose what to remove, but this feature didn’t work properly. For some of my apps, it says I haven’t used them in over six months. However, I open one of them (GrowlVoice) every day to send text messages with Google Voice. The same goes for iClip, which I just opened yesterday.

CleanMyMac’s problem is that it says “launch date”, but really means “date last modified”. Since some apps store their files in different directories, the .app itself was not modified at all when you opened it last. Now, they might record the launch data somewhere else, but I wouldn’t know where that is. The main point is that this feature is broken and should be reading the correct launch information so I don’t go deleting an app I use everyday.

Extensions Manager Helps You Find Unnecessary Plugins

Easily remove or disable plugins like Adobe Flash.

Easily remove or disable plugins like Adobe Flash.

Last, but not least, is the nifty Extensions Manager. It will help you find old plugins that you may not use any longer. My Safari extensions, for instance, were full of old ones that I never used, mainly because I haven’t been using Safari lately. Most of the plugins found were enabled and belonged to the system, so I didn’t touch them, but some Internet ones like Amazon MP3 Downloader had duplicates I needed to purge. This is a much easier way to find such files than searching around in Finder, that’s for sure.

When in Doubt, Use the Tutorial

A tutorial for the Eraser feature.

A tutorial for the Eraser feature.

The one thing I really love about MacPaw’s apps is how user-friendly they are. You wouldn’t expect a cleaning utility to be something for every user, but this developer makes it just that. There’s a ? in the bottom right corner of the app and when you click it, you’ll be shown a tutorial for the tab you’re currently using. They’re written very well and have details on everything you’d want to know about the app’s functionality.

On top of that, there are little “i” buttons everywhere that tell you about each little feature. If you like to question things, just click one of these when you next see it and find out exactly what the app is doing with your files. This kind of openness and user-education is very nice to see in an app.

A Good Utility Becomes Great

The beautiful icon.

The beautiful icon.

CleanMyMac 2.0 is the epitome of Mac optimization. Onyx may be free, but it’s worth spending $19.97 for MacPaw’s app. You won’t find something of equal strength in the field. There just aren’t as many caring developers out there. The effort MacPaw has put into this app is shown everywhere, from the tutorials to the beautiful new user interface and fullscreen mode to the usability. There was only one major problem, and it was with the Uninstaller’s launch date readings. If that’s fixed, this app will be perfect. Even still, it’s quite the essential tool that keeps your Mac running just like it did out of the box.


Summary

An impressive update to a legendary tool. This version furthers the premise that the developers truly care about their users, and that they have a passion for amazing design. CleanMyMac the best of its kind.

9
  • Michael

    I assume once you upgrade to CMM2, you can get rid of CMM1? I wonder if using CMM2 to uninstall CMM1 would create some sort of time paradox? :-)

    • http://www.thepapermail.com Jacob Penderworth

      Yep, and I did it without problems. You can always throw it in the trash and clean the leftovers.

  • Denis

    The new v.2 of CleanMyMac is definitely gorgeous, in vain of their “Gemini” app. I used the promotion launch to purchase and honestly, my Mac is now super fast again.

  • Andy

    Clean My Mac is lots of snake oil, like cleaning logs and caches (which a UNIX system does by itself). Caches will be recreated anyways, delaying app and system startup times. And some good utilities, like “uninstalling” apps. But why delete small app prefs, they won’t slow you down, barely need space, and if you try all the app again you have all your settings again).

    • Fuzzy Dunlop

      This is mostly a placebo app.

      • Pietz

        i agree. ich have it installed and it does look pretty slick, but nobody will get an actual noticable speed boost out of it.

        but the guys from appstorm should know better. my guess is that macpaw sponsors them. i hate it when this takes effect on the content…

        • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

          MacPaw doesn’t sponsor us; our only sponsored content is the Sponsor posts, which are clearly marked as such. Jacob went to MacWorld, talked with their devs, and reviewed the app based on his personal use of the app. I, as editor, also tried it out to make sure it worked good, and added a bit to the article based on my experience. We called it out where it does more than is necessary (e.g. removing language packs), but showed what is good.

          And with SSD-based Macs having so little storage (64Gb on the 11″ Air), tools like this are useful for normal users looking to get a bit more space, at the very least.

        • Pietz

          i apologize for my assumptions. let me rephrase it to: “i very much disagree with your review” CleanMyMac was never good and changing the looks and adding a couple of things doesnt make it great.

          to be honest i really hate the interface. i dont like programs that open i windows that are just way bigger than they needed to be. cmm maybe needed 1/4 of the actual window size. they styled it with huge buttons and even bigger pictures. i like apps that are plain and efficient.

  • Christian

    CleanMyMac is notorious for ruining Mac’s. No mention whatsoever regarding the woes created by CleanMyMac 2′s predecessor. I would have liked to see a bit more restraint from Jacob, the author of this here “review” before he gives it a 9/10. It feels like I’m reading a advertisement, not a critical & unbiased review.

    For those curious about CleanMyMac, just check the Apple Discussions website before you run this software. It’s filled with people whose system got ruined because of CleanMyMac (and other software like it, e.g. cocktail). People, your mac doesn’t need maintenance software!

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/20921004#20921004
    http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/maintainingmacosx.html
    http://www.reedcorner.net/the-myth-of-the-dirty-mac/

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