“Fast” and “Mac” are words that get used together pretty frequently. Macs, in comparison to Windows computers, don’t tend to slow down over time – at least not in a noticeable way. But there are things that might prevent your Mac from running quite as fast as it did when it was new, and developers know this.
That’s why there are a lot of apps that can help you “clean” your computer and get rid of logs, files, and caches that you don’t need and that are only using up your memory. The app that we are reviewing today is called MacCleanse, and it claims to let you find and delete these useless files to make your computer fast again. But does it deliver, and how does it compare to similar solutions?
Once you download MacCleanse, you’ll be guided through the installation process by a very Windows-like setup. You’ll be shown the release notes, you’ll have to agree to a license agreement, and then choose whether you’d like to buy the app or try it for 15 days.
The app is $7.99 on the App Store, and it is on sale right now as it usually goes for $20. A few more settings later, and you’ll finally be able to access the app.
The first time you access the app you’ll see a sidebar and a main frame. By default, you’ll be shown a small introduction to the app that pretty much tells you all the wonders that it’s capable of. Here you can also suggest a new feature to the developer, which I thought is a great idea that should be implemented by other software as well.
You also have a small toolbar on the top which is pretty empty, other than the “Scan & Delete” button, which you do not want to click, as from what I’ve heard (I wasn’t going to try it myself), it will just start deleting files without asking you anything… On the sidebar you have two subcategories, “Search” and “Cleaning”, which we’ll get to next.
“Cleaning”, as the name suggests, is where you’ll find everything you need to clean up – delete – the files that you don’t need. One of the most important options in this category is the “Favorite Sets”, which are essentially bookmarked locations that you can load. To create a new one, you have to go into the “Search” category and check all the items that you want to add to the set, then click the “+” sign under the “Favorite sets” menu.
Other menus include: the “Purge Locations”, which are items or folders that will always be erased, and you can add and configure each of them to delete just the contents of the folder or the folder itself everytime. The “Activity Log” is pretty self-explanatory, and the “Scan and Delete” menu is where you can scan everything that you added to the set that you have loaded, and delete them.
Do not, I repeat, click on the “Scan and Delete” button, as it will just delete everything that it finds on that set instead of asking you. This is a major oversight, and something that the app really shouldn’t do.
“Search” is the category where you’ll find every option that you need to add to a set. Under it you’ll find options like “Archives”, which lets you delete disk images, compressed files, and other types of odd formats that you might need. “Caches” lets you select caches from different apps, while providing you info on what each of them does. “Downloads” allows you to check the downloads folder of several apps, including your system’s downloads folder.
“Instant Messaging” lets you clear up chat logs and user information that you might not need. “Languages” allows you to delete languages on your system that you don’t need. “Web Browsing” lets you clear everything that might be related to your browsing, including history, caches and cookies. “Logs” lets you check what logs you want to check everytime, and “Miscellaneous” includes every other setting that might not fit into any of the other categories mentioned above.
There’s also a “Recent Files” category that allows you to clear up databases and caches of recent files. Along with all of these, you can also add the Trash folder to a set and files that have been unused for more than a certain amount of time.
What Does It Delete?
As you can see, everything is fairly well-organized and there are a lot of options that you can choose from. If you can’t find the option that you are looking for, you can always create it by yourself by selecting a folder or item that will always be deleted.
When you have everything that you want for your set selected, you can then go under the “Favorite Sets” menu and add a new one. Let’s say I want a set called “Chat Logs”, where the only thing that will be deleted is the information of my contacts on Skype and the chat history.
After creating the set, whenever I want to delete these items I selected, I just load the “Chat Logs” set and click the “Scan & Delete” button. Be careful with that button, though. You don’t want to delete stuff that you didn’t know was in that set, so you better just click “Scan”, check the items, and then click “Delete”.
A Quick Comparison
I like to use a very popular app called CleanMyMac for this kind of task. It’s very simple, pretty and easy to use. It’s also very fast and it lets me select everything I want to delete everytime, and while it doesn’t allow me to create “sets” like MacCleanse does, it remembers my settings and they don’t really change much.
MacCleanse is definitely more technical and requires more work (at least initially) than CleanMyMac. CleanMyMac pretty much tells you everything that you don’t need, and gives you the option to erase it, while MacCleanse needs you to specify what you don’t need. It’s for people who know what they are doing and want more power and a wider range of settings than CleanMyMac offers.
MacCleanse is a reasonable app, but it doesn’t really follow with the simplicity that most Mac apps go for. All the time it feels like an app that you might find in Windows – it’s filled with menus, submenus and options and it gets really confusing.
I’m also fairly disappointed that the application has the ability to automatically scan and delete folders without asking for any confirmation. Whenever a piece of software is removing things from your system, you need to have the ability to confirm the action and double-check what’s about to happen. This is a major oversight, and something I expect to see fixed in a future release.