Last updated: Apr. 27, 2017
Just switched to Mac, new to everything. I'm wondering what's the best app to use for cleaning registry and keeping Mac fast?
Welcome to the Mac world!
Well, unlike Windows operating system, macOS does NOT have (or use) Registry. Thus there is no registry cleaner on Macs. If you find one that claims it does, beware that the app is probably a scam.
As for apps to keep your Mac clean and fast, you can try MacPaw CleanMyMac — an excellent disk cleaner utility that automatically detects unnecessary junks, and by removing them, you can free up a lot of disk space and increase system performance.
In case you are interested, here's some information you can familiarize yourself along your Mac journey.
Windows Registries vs Mac Preference Files
On a PC, the Registry is a database that saves relevant settings and preferences for Windows operating system and third-party programs you install. Microsoft strongly recommends its users backup the registry before making any changes to them. Over time, after a number of software installation and uninstallation processes, the registry may become broken or outdated. Typical symptom is that you see some error messages popping up when you try to access specific programs.
Mac OS X (also called macOS since Sierra) is based on Unix, which doesn't have or need a registry. Instead, all the rules or parameters of third-party apps you've installed are stored in Mac's Preference Files (in .plist format). You can easily find these preferences files within your apps' contents. Learn the complete story of Preferences Files from this CNET article. The similarity macOS Preference Files shares with Windows Registries is that those preferences can also become corrupted due to events such as 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, deleting preference files is the best solution to fix the problem and the action is totally harmless. Because anyway macOS itself 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. On your desktop, click Go > Computer > (your username) > Library > Preferences, locate the right .plist file and delete it. Watch this video if you are unsure how to do.
Another way (yet a safer way) is to use this app CleanMyMac. Again, the Mac cleaning utility we mentioned above. Once you install it on your Mac, open the app > select System Junk > click the Scan button; Soon, it will detect a number of unneeded system data, including the broken or corrupted preference files. Hit Clean to remove them.
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 associated with third-party apps, the preferences might become corrupted. But you can often fix the problem by simply deleting them.
We hope this has helped you out. Feel free to let us know if you have any further questions regarding the matter.
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.