3 Awesome Software/Apps to Clean and Speed up Mac (updated 2016)

clean up a Mac

Is your Mac running slower than it used to be? Does it freeze more often? — MacBook Pro/Air, iMac, it doesn't matter. All computers run slow over time.

If your Mac starts to perform sluggishly to a point when you feel it's really annoying, something must be wrong and it's probably time to tune it up.

Reasons behind a slow Mac vary, thus the ways to fix it also differ. Generally, there are two solutions to speed up a Mac: upgrade hardware & clean up OS X system.

If you are not ready to invest in hardware upgrade or replacement, then get a Mac cleaner application. We've tested a number of such apps and got three fantastic recommendations.


**Below, you'll find our app reviews, but you can also click the links above to download the software for free or get more information.

How We Tested and Got These Best Mac Optimization Software

We review each software based on the following factors: 1) Security, 2) Quality, 3) Compatibility, 4) Support and 5) Ease of use.

  • It should be free of malware. Though Macs are less prone to be infected with viruses or malware compared to Windows PCs, we still test if the software contains malicious procedures — by using BitDefender Antivirus for Mac, an award-winning antivirus and antimalware solution provider in the industry. To be honest, we knocked out a few programs such as MacKeeper, which was reported by many Mac users for being hard to uninstall. Software like that usually offend users and hurt user experience.
  • It must do what it says. Our benchmark tests are fair. If a software does not perform what it claims to do — in this case, cleaning or boosting performance; then the value of installing it on our Macs decrease. Also, we prefer programs that are light-weighted. That means even if the app does a great job in cleaning system junks but consumes a big portion of system resources in the background, we'd rather not include it in our list.
  • It must be compatible with latest OS X. This is important because Apple Mac users upgrade to newer OS X more frequently (according to a ComputerWorld report that 25% of all Mac users upgraded to 10.11 El Capitan in the first 31 days since its release). If a software provider doesn't update its product timely, chances are the software isn't going to run well on Macs with the newest operating system.
  • It should offer technical/customer support. A Mac performance optimization program usually does a couple of things related to the system such as diagnosing system, removing junks, uninstalling unused apps, etc. Some actions are very techy for Mac novices. Therefore, comprehensive tutorials and prompt customer services are expected to be offered by respective software providers. We've therefore decided not to include several programs written by solopreneur who failed to provide a decent level of support.
  • It should be easy to use. One main reason we use Macs or switch from Windows is that OS X tends to be much more user-friendly. We all love that awesome feeling of smooth navigation, right? If a third-party Mac cleaning software can't live up to this principle, we'll hesitate to recommend it unless it shows merits in other aspects.

What's The Best Mac Cleanup or Speedup Program?

Please note: all the tools listed below have been validated to be free of viruses or malware, nor do they contain any other harmful processes. Also, they all come with GUI interfaces with clear instructions. Thus, we consider them user-friendly. In addition, they are all compatible with latest OS X (i.e., El Capitan) and some may have minimum requirements on older OS versions.

MacPaw CleanMyMac

If your Mac is slow mainly because the hard drive is getting full, you should try CleanMyMac — the best system cleaning tool for Mac to help you reclaim gigabyte's worth of space. It enables you to perform deep cleaning with several practical functions such as quickly scan for system junks, iTunes / Photos junk, Trash bins, duplicates, etc. and you can clean them up within a couple of clicks, time saving! The software also integrates a set of smaller utilities that do their jobs in a nice way, such as Uninstaller, Maintenance, File Shredder, etc. In short, CleanMyMac is probably the best (if not one of) Mac cleaner out there.

IObit MacBooster

What separates MacBooster from other alternatives is that besides cleanup, the software also adds anti-malware function — which means you do not need to spend time and money in getting another security suite for Mac protection. It also includes a collection of tools for monitoring your Mac system performance by identifying possible security threats or system junks. You can also use it to quickly uninstall applications you don't need. Similar to MacPaw, IObit also makes the app incredibly easy to handle. Bottom line — it's probably the ultimate system utility you'll need to keep your Mac machines running safely and fast.

Stellar SpeedUpMac

Stellar is another excellent tool that does a good job in cleaning Macintosh HDD, thus helping to speed up Mac performance. It clears up your Mac by removing large files, duplicates, web browser caches/logs, and language files (which we don't think would take much disk space, and can cause headaches if you accidentally remove the languages you want to keep). Also, it also offers a few useful tools such as uninstaller and defrag. During our test, while it doesn't improve our Macs' speed to a rocket level, overall it's a decent option.

Disclaimer: the Mac cleaner reviews above are based mostly on (1) our team's own experiences in using and/or testing, (2) the information provided by respective owners as available on their own official websites, and (3) the expertise of Apple Mac computer experts with whom we consult. As such, please be aware of that the recommendations are our own opinions. We encourage you to do your own due intelligence before deciding to use or purchase any software you like. Also, don't over spend on things you don't need.

Jessica Carrell

Jessica is one of the co-founders at AnySoftwareTools. She is a lover of photography, technology, teaching, and learning. Recently she's keen on following news related to tech giants and SaaS startups in bay area.

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