MacBooster: More Cold Remedy Than Flu Shot

With more Mac users than ever before using a portable Mac and Apple’s adoption of SSD storage, apps that specialise in finding ways to free up space and generally “tune-up” a Mac are becoming ever more popular.

The latest offering in this ever-increasing space is MacBooster, an all-in-one app that includes some additional features and functions that aren’t found in similar apps.

Overview

MacBooster has a number of functions that it offers Mac users who want to better control over performing maintenance on their Mac. There’s the expected functions of an app uninstaller, large files locator and system cleanup of old log files and superfluous language packages that can take up considerable space. Additionally, MacBooster also offers internet security and scans not only for viruses, malware and nefarious ad cookies, but will even check your browser to determine if the settings currently enabled are a potential security risk.

Déjà vu

MacBooster bears a striking resemblance to CleanMyMac 2, an app we’ve previously reviewed on Mac.AppStorm, though appearing more OS X-like than CleanMyMac’s more unique interface. Still, the similarities are rather obvious, nonetheless, in both form and function.

MacBooster would benefit from its own look and feel to escape the shadow of more well-known Mac cleaning utilities.

MacBooster would benefit from its own look and feel to escape the shadow of more well-known Mac cleaning utilities.

This feeling of déjà vu is usually a cause for concern as many less-than-favourable apps out there that are designed to do more harm than good often copy, quite closely, the appearance of more respectable apps in the hopes that novice Mac users might not notice the difference between them. To avoid being seen as one of these types of apps, MacBooster would certainly benefit from having its own unique look and feel to set it apart.

Turbo Boost

MacBooster offers two wide-reaching sweeps, Clean and Boost and Performance Boost, each providing a different function according to its name.

Clean and Boost offers to "fix" problems affecting performance and safety. How? Well, it doesn't say.

Clean and Boost offers to “fix” problems affecting performance and safety. How? Well, it doesn’t say.

Clean and Boost performs a one-click scan that covers Internet Security, System Cleanup, System Optimisation and Disk Clean. While each section is provided with a brief summary of what is being looked for, once a scan is complete then very little information is provided about what it is MacBooster is actually going to do.

For example, under Internet Security, I was provided with a single warning. After viewing the results, it was stated Safari had an option labelled “SafariGeolocationPermissionPolicy” that was set to a value of 1, whereas MacBooster recommended a value of 2. This lack of any kind of explanation isn’t really excusable in an app that can be used by any Mac user. Worse still, I checked Safari’s privacy settings for location services, both before and after I clicked Fix, and nothing changed.

Most users will have absolutely no idea what this means.

Most users will have absolutely no idea what this means.

Lack of explanation is more widespread within MacBooster, unfortunately. System Cleanup is described as “Clear history and protect your privacy”, yet no additional information is given about how exactly it will do that. As it displays various caches, logs and internet history information, I know from experience that the app is going to clear this, but nowhere does it actually state it.

While a large button labelled "Fix" might make it easy to start, MacBooster doesn't explain what it's actually going to do.

While a large button labelled “Fix” might make it easy to start, MacBooster doesn’t explain what it’s actually going to do.

Performance Boost doesn’t fair any better, either. One of its potential useful functions is the ability to disable processes and services that might be using a fair amount of CPU power or memory. Unlike Clean and Boost, you don’t need to perform a scan first and can view the processes and services currently running, select what you want and then simply click the Boost button to stop them. Each kind of process and service is clearly separated so you can determine what’s being run by the system and what isn’t.

Performance Boost lets you disable some processes or services that might otherwise be using a lot of processing power or memory.

Performance Boost lets you disable some processes or services that might otherwise be using a lot of processing power or memory.

MacBooster continually recommends stopping both autofsd and ntpd system services on my test Mac. Both of these services are pretty necessary and are using no CPU power and less than 1MB of memory, each. Why MacBooster is recommending me to stop them is anyone’s guess.

Quite why MacBooster believes that shutting down two fairly important system services will help is baffling.

Quite why MacBooster believes that shutting down two fairly important system services will help is baffling.

MacBooster does allow you to toggle the options first, before you stop the services, and also provides a useful one-click way to toggle certain functions of Mac OS X, such as animation effects and disabling Dashboard.

Toolbox

MacBooster includes a function to clean memory, releasing inactive memory as free for other apps to use. Mac OS X handles this on its own and will reallocate inactive memory as and when needed, so it is a function that is largely redundant. It’s a function that often splits the Mac community, with one side adamant that these types of “memory cleaners” do nothing while the opposing side argue that it is a genuine help. No matter what your belief is, MacBooster includes a simple way of freeing up memory in a single click.

The Toolbox continues with other functions, such as an app uninstaller, that will remove apps and their associated preference files which works great, even allowing the removal of preference panes and widgets.

The uninstaller works exactly as you'd expect, removing apps and any associated preferences.

The uninstaller works exactly as you’d expect, removing apps and any associated preferences.

A function for finding large files lets you easily find items that might be taking up far too much space, such as app installers or temporary downloads that were never completed. In this SSD age where space is, once again, at a premium, this function can prove invaluable though there is no option that I could find to select what size is classed as “large”.

A Startup Optimiser also allows for the toggling of startup services, scripts and applications for faster load times and you can also add new ones, should you want to.

Lastly, Duplicates Finder promises to find duplicate files that might be wasting precious storage space. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver on that promise as it refused to find any duplicate files and consistently reporting no duplicates were found, even though I duplicated the same file multiple times across various folders within my home folder.

Conclusion

MacBooster is an app full of promise that misses the mark by some distance. Instead of trying to make it on its own in this app category, MacBooster has tried too hard to provide much of the same functionality of CleanMyMac 2, and with the app bearing a close resemblance to it also, it exists less as an alternative and more of an underwhelming tribute act. As this is the first version of MacBooster, it will be interesting to see how the app matures and, hopefully, bring something more to the space that will really set it apart from the crowd.

Look and feel aside, some of MacBooster’s functions simply failed to work as described for me, and its lack of descriptive information and explanation of its processes makes it an app that I just can’t recommend yet.


Summary

MacBooster's lack of descriptive information and explanation of its processes, coupled with its unreliability, makes it an app that I just can’t recommend yet.

4
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