Clean Up and Backup Your Mac With Contents

Although Macs don’t come with much of the bloatware suffered by PC users, they do come with a few apps (and associated data) that most users don’t need. The problem is, they hog up hard drive space – often a problem when you also have mammoth video files and thousands of jpegs all fighting for space.

There are many utilities on the market that can help with this problem, but Contents looks aims to approach it from a different – and cheaper – angle than most. Better yet, it also includes some excellent utilities, making it a great value for the money.

So what makes Contents different from the competition? Let’s find out.

The Discovery Process

There are lots of hidden files on your Mac right now, but the problem is finding them. When Contents is first opened up, the first icon on the left is called “Browse Library.” Click the icon and the contents of your Mac’s Library folder – the place where OS X stores all of the components required by your applications – is revealed.

Inside there are plenty of things that could be removed, including remnants from apps previously uninstalled, as well as preferences for programs or printers that you may never use. With everything out in the open, it’s easy to figure out what’s excess, and what needs to be kept.

Just make a selection, click on the “Disable” button, and it’s done.

Browse Your Library

Browse Your Library

Don’t worry though, if a program is accidentally disabled, it can be enabled again fairly easily. Just filter the search parameters down to show all disabled programs, and re-enable them. There are other options as well, including trashing or moving each selection, making it simple to make changes permanent or not permanent, depending on the need.

As an added bonus, there’s also a way to remove programs installed in System Preferences. Each file is listed in the same way as in the library, but with the added bonus of seeing how long it’s been since each file has been used. This is a great way to get rid of those extras that didn’t pan out for one reason or another, and send them on their way.

Uninstalling and Installing

One of the more useful utilities bundled in Contents are the Uninstaller and Installer features. Although there are many great apps out there that uninstall programs, Contents does it very efficiently. It starts by asking you to drag an app to be removed onto the program.

Contents hunts down every associated program, preference, toolbar, and library listing associated with the software, then lays them out with checkboxes next to each listing. Un-tick whatever is to be kept, and then click on uninstall to permanently get rid of the program.

The Uninstaller

The Uninstaller

The other side of the coin is the installation process. Sometimes, the occasional plug-in or program needs to be manually installed, something that can be a pain to do. In Contents, the installation process is as simple as uninstalling programs, with a drop-and-drag interface.

Backing Up the Basics

When Time Machine was introduced with Leopard, it was considered to be a simple way for users to backup their computers just by connecting a USB drive. But sometimes it’s not necessary to backup the entire computer. Maybe you just want to keep a second copy of your Address book, fonts, or even your screensavers. This is another area where Contents has it covered.



They call it the Backupper, and it’s a simple way to pick and choose what you want backed up. Once again, a list of options is presented to you, and you select which programs or files you want to back up.

Once you click on the Backup button on the bottom of the App, you can choose where the files should go. That could be an external drive, a USB key, or wherever you feel is necessary. It’s another handy way to get the job done.

Final Analysis

Contents is $9.99, but comes with a free trial offer so that you can give it a shot before you buy. The thing about Contents is that there are multiple little programs that do all of the things that Contents does by itself, and most of those little programs are free.

So really, it comes down to whether or not you’d rather have lots of individual options for little to no cost, or pay just under $10 to have everything all in one tidy little app.

For me, I think it’s worth the minimal cost, if only for how comprehensively the uninstaller feature works. Like most people, I download and try out many programs on my Mac, just to see which one fits. Either they don’t work or I lose interest in them, at which point I typically forget they exist until it comes time to do some housekeeping.

In my tests, I found that Contents picked up every little scrap of each program I threw at it, which enabled me to free up quite a bit of space on my drive. It’s easy to use, cheaper than the competition, and it has more features, too. Give it a shot if you’re in a similar dilemma; maybe this is the ticket for you.


Contents is a handy little utility for finding redundant files and applications on your hard drive, easily installing and uninstalling apps, and backing up specific files and folders. Other individual apps can perform similar functionality for free, but it's good to have everything under one roof in Contents.