Q&A: What’s the best registry cleaner for Mac?

Just switched to Mac, new to everything. I'm wondering what program you use to clean registry and keep your Mac fast? What's the best Mac registry cleaner out there?

Welcome to the Mac world. Simply put — unlike Windows operating system, Mac OS X does NOT have such Registry. Thus there is no registry cleaner on Macs. If you find one that claims it does, beware that the program is probably a scam.

As for apps to keep your Mac clean and fast, you can try MacPaw CleanMyMac — a great disk cleaner utility that automatically detects unnecessary junks, and by removing them, you can free up more disk space and increase your system performance.

In case you are interested, here's more information with which you can familiarize yourself along your Mac journey.

Windows Registries vs Mac Preference Files

On Windows PCs, the Registry is database that saves relevant settings and preferences for Windows operating system and third-party programs you install. Microsoft strongly recommends users backup the registry before making any changes to them. Over time during software installation and uninstallation processes, the registry may become broken or outdated. Typical symptoms are that you see some error messages pop up when you try to access certain programs.

Mac OS X is based on Unix, which doesn't have and doesn't need a registry. Instead, all the rules or parameters of the apps you've installed are stored in Mac's system Preference Files (in .plist format). And you can easily find these preferences files within your apps' contents. Learn the complete story of Preferences Files from this CNET article. The similarity OS X Preference Files shares with Windows Registries is that they those preferences can also be corrupted due to events like application crash, hard drive corruption, or sudden blackout, etc.

What to do if system preference files are corrupted on Mac?

Just delete them!

Don't get me wrong, but deleting preference files is the best solution to fix the problem and the action is harmless. Because anyway OS X will automatically create new preference files for the apps and make them operate correctly again.

So how to delete a problematic preference file?

The manual method is to find the file first, then drag it to the trash and emptying trash. Do this: on your desktop, click Go > Computer > (your username) > Library > Preferences, target the right .plist file and delete it. Watch this video if you are unsure how to do. 

A faster yet automatic way is to use CleanMyMac. Again, the disk cleaning utility we mentioned above. After downloading and installing it on your Mac, open the app > select System Junk -> click Scan button; Very soon, it will detect a number of unneeded system data, including the broken or corrupted preference files. Hit Clean and remove them.

Download CleanMyMac App Now

Quick Summary

There are no such registry cleaners for Mac, as OS X doesn't have registries as Windows does. Due to the way OS X manages system preference files (similar to Windows Registry) associated with third-party apps, the preferences might get corrupted. But you can often fix the problem by simply deleting them.

We hope our answer has helped you out. Feel free to let us know if you have any further questions regarding the matter.

Andreas Louis

Based in CA, Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. He also has contributed to several other notable technology journals.

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