- Minimalist client
- Fast, thorough scans and cleaning
- Include/exclude option
- Virtually unlimited free version
- Cost-friendly prices
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No restore points
- Erase free space feature unavailable for SSDs
- Weak discount policy
Even though Piriform, the ‘pear-shaped company’, was founded in 2005 and has generated over 2 billion downloads for its well-known application CCleaner since then, the pear company only paired with Apple in 2012 when CCleaner for Mac was finally launched. With this Mac optimization tool you can restore your computer back to its original health in mere seconds any time that you like, whether you use the slightly limited free version or you purchase this software for one of the best prices of the market and enjoy a 30-day money back guarantee. But what do you get for that price? An extremely powerful cleaning solution with a minimalist, straightforward design that can dig deep into your system and get rid of those pesky junk files, unwanted programs, files, cookies, caches and many more, creating a faster, more reliable computer and a safer web surfing experience.
Yet, CCleaner is nothing more than what its name suggests: a cleaner. The reason behind this is that disk defragmentation, file recovery and everything else is handled by other Piriform programs, none of which are available for Mac. For this reason the software itself is pretty lackluster, despite hiding great optimization opportunities. CCleaner is divided into three parts, with the most important being the cleaner itself, which can wipe out everything unnecessary from your system. This is the most advanced part of the entire software, regardless of whether we take into consideration both the free version of CCleaner or the pay-only CCleaner Professional. Admittedly the latter still manages to up the ante with automatic browser cleaning, real-time junk monitoring and a better customer support.
Speaking of browser cleaning, though, you can actually choose which cookies to delete in the options tab that also hides further, more advanced settings. And last but not least there are two tools to use, the uninstaller and the startup optimizer.
With CCleaner you can perform as many scans and cleanings as you want, since the system only limits luxury features you can live without. Before the big “clear-out” it is possible to decide which parts of your computer should be analyzed by the software: you can choose to look for unnecessary elements in Safari (cache, history, cookies and session), your system (trash, logs, user downloads and the like) and the system apps. Junk data hoarded by third-party apps or custom files and folders can be wiped out as well, provided you tick the necessary box before commencing the process.
The scanning itself is extremely fast regardless of your computer’s freshness. With our 2013 MacBook Air it always took approximately 1.5-2 seconds for CCleaner to identify 1,507 files or roughly 250MB of data selected for termination. However, since no restore points are created, you will have to uncheck files you still want to keep on the left side of the screen and run another analysis, especially since the cleaning process is irreversible. Speaking of that, it only took mere seconds for the software to do its job, which even included a warning to close any running apps while CCleaner is working.
Like we said before, there is nothing much more beyond system cleaning that you can do with CCleaner. However, at least the software gives access to important features such as the uninstaller (to properly remove unwanted programs) and the startup optimizer, which helps you decide which programs should launch at startup and which shouldn’t. While the former feature is self-explanatory, the latter allows you to either hide the software on startup (meaning it won’t pop up immediately) or remove it from the list of programs that do launch after turning your Mac on. Additionally, there is a feature called Erase Free Space, with which you can wipe out the last traces of already deleted files so that they can be never recovered and your disk can truly be deemed free of junk. The only problem is that this feature is incompatible with Macs equipped with SSDs.
As for the Options sections, you can decide whether the file deletion should be normal or secure (comprising of multiple steps), while the Include/Exclude tab let’s you specify which files CCleaner should spare from the ‘guillotine’. Furthermore, the Cookies section, unsurprisingly, lets you decide which cookies you want your Mac to keep and which to delete permanently.
Like most Mac optimization tools CCleaner also exists in a completely free of charge version with which you can perform unlimited scans and repairs. But, for instance, this version cannot automatically clean your browsers, monitor junk files or perform updates. To fully unlock all powers of CCleaner, you have to purchase the Professional version with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit card or PayPal transaction for $24.95. However, this price can be further reduced if you purchase more than one license: two-four licenses reduce the price of each license by 20% (to $19.95), while five or more licenses reduce the cost by 40% (valuing a single license at $14.95). And no matter how many licenses you purchase, they all come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
It is also possible to buy an actual CD for $9.95 (reduced from $19.95) if you purchase this alongside CCleaner. However, unlike the PC version of this software, you cannot combine CCleaner with other Piriform solutions into a software bundle, meaning that the only methods of saving money on your purchase are limited to the above.
Unless you have CCleaner Professional, the traditional support options are extremely basic: in fact, the only way of contacting the staff directly is by sending them your request via an email form. However, the other options are pretty decent: for instance, the company is pretty active on social media, especially (and quite shockingly) on Google+. Piriform also has detailed FAQs for each of its products, and in the case of CCleaner there is an FAQ with eight thoroughly answered questions. Furthermore, you can download technical documentation for your optimization tool, watch some videos on YouTube, retrieve your license key should you lose it, visit the company’s blog and even join a conversation about the software and how to use it properly in the community forum.
Overall CCleaner is ideal for those who want a faster, more reliable Mac freed of any junk and unnecessary files. This is the reason why the software is so minimalist and only allows users to perform the simplest and most necessary tasks for cleaning, so if you need disk defragmentation and file recovery you’d be better off with other available solutions.
Aside from this minor hiccup, limited SSD cleaning, and the lack of restore points and proper primary customer support, CCleaner wins with ease. The scanning and cleaning process is accurate, customizable and happens in an instant, while the complementary solutions like the uninstaller, the startup optimizer and the option to choose what you want to delete just further add to the mix. All of this is combined with an unbeatable pricing policy based on the principle ‘buy more, pay less’, and shows that CCleaner is worthy of being called ‘the protector of Macs’.