There are a lot of apps to make your Mac faster. At least, ones that claim to do so. Most of them are either a waste of time, hard to use, or completely unnecessary. The best “cleaning” app I’ve ever come across is CleanMyMac, but it has its area of expertise, and some areas are out of its reach.
Whereas cleaning is typically in one arena and tweaking is in another, some apps are hybrids, apps that take on both sides of the fixing-your-Mac equation. 128bit Technologies’ MacOptimizer is just that.
Quickly Clean Caches and Other Temporary Files
MacOptimizer’s headlining feature is quick cleanup. When it comes to purging your cache, it gets the job done is a quick and quiet fashion. In three clicks, one of your three system cache folders can be cleaned, or all of them at once. The same goes for your font cache, which may also include Adobe and Microsoft elements.
Let me just say this about freeing the cache: it’s fast. I’ve never had over a gigabyte of temporary files removed from my system so fast. I was glad to see that I could continue my work within seconds of starting the cleanup process.
The app’s approach to optimizing things is, above all, user friendly. In the Free Cache tab lie two short paragraphs of documentation telling the user why they need the feature, how it works, and how to use it. Typically, that’s something the user has to infer or learn by a tedious tutorial’s means. And for cleaning the caches, MacOptimizer even warns that there’s no reason to run this cleanup too often. It’s nice to see that there’s another, less distracting approach to providing people with a way of understanding an app’s functions, rather than the scare tactics employed by most cleaning and optimization apps.
A Pleasant User Interface
When it comes to the looks department, MacOptimizer has it covered. It’s not skeumorphic, but rather a subtle light-and-dark theme that blends in nicely with OS X. The main screen has a pixelated speech bubble colored in orange and black. Its glowing “MacOptimizer” text is very attractive as well. Behind it all is a slightly illuminated grey noise pattern that allows for all the contrast you need in the design. Everything just flows well.
Elsewhere, you can find handcrafted gear and wrench icons with more glowing text in the function descriptions. The whole app isn’t as minimal as you’d expect for something designed like this, but it works so nicely that it’s hard to find a problem with the beautiful combinations the designer drew up.
Bring Back the Library Folder in Lion and Show Hidden Files with One Click
I, for one, was disappointed when I heard that easy access OS X’s user library folder had been removed in the 10.8 Lion. Sure, it’s recoverable with a quick hold of the Option/Alt button while in Finder’s Go menu, but what about a permanent reappearance? That’s just a click away, thanks to MacOptimizer’s System Tweaks.
The most useful thing I found in this app was the “Open With” cleanup, which can be found in the Optimization tab. It finally removed all those other versions of VLC and similar apps – a task that can be accomplished in the terminal, but is handy to have in one click.
In this section of the app, you can set OS X to automatically empty the trash once its contents reach a certain number of megabytes in size. Or you could show hidden files, automatically clean Safari’s history after a month, and even hide the desktop. It’s a brilliant little collection of tools. Still, if you wanted to do any of this, it’s possible with Terminal or even a free tool like Fredrik Wiker’s Tweak Apps for OS X.
Organize Your Desktop with the Genie
While the tweaks tab lets you completely hide your desktop, there are those of us who prefer to keep it alive. Sometimes things just get a bit cluttered. For that, this app has a clever solution. Instead of manually reorganizing your whole desktop one file — out of, say, 100 — at a time, run the Desktop Genie. This feature pretty much pulls all your files into a single folder, with sub-folders if requested, and can organize them by date, type, or just move everything to the Desktop Genie folder.
This feature may not seem helpful to some people, but when you have a very full desktop it may prove to be a very useful one-click cleanup.
Do You Need It?
MacOptimizer is a cool app with a lot of useful features. That doesn’t mean you can’t find them in other apps, right? Sure, there are quite a few free alternatives out there — Onyx, to name one. However, most of them are bulky and complicated, plus their user interface is no match for MacOptimizer’s.
There’s no plausible reason for every Mac user to buy this app. If you’re one of those people who likes to keep his caches free, speed up your Mail.app, remove unnecessary languages, and clean unused RAM, this may be the perfect one-stop solution. But for the average Mac user, it doesn’t even seem remotely worth a download. This isn’t a exactly niche app, it’s just a good way to keep your Mac sparkling. CleanMyMac does that well too, as does Onyx. In the end, it’s each to his own — pick your set of features.
One thing I can say about MacOptimizer is that it’s solid and didn’t do a bit of harm to my Mac. That’s something the developer stressed when I spoke with them: it doesn’t touch any sensitive files and only removes the necessary items when cleaning.