- Live chat support
- Clean, easy-to-use interface
- Light app size
- Decent pricing
- One-time purchase for a lifetime license
- Confused versioning
- Sandboxing imposes serious limitations
Trend Micro is an established name in the IT industry, the Japan-based company having built its name over the course of three decades already. Dr. Cleaner is its Mac optimization app and has been available on the App Store since the end of 2014, seeking to serve a growing market of Apple fans looking for ways to optimize their computer's performance, monitor their system, and clean it of junk.
The market is getting crowded, though, and developers are having a hard time coming up with attractive new features to pack into software, but Trend Micro's vast experience has yet again proven to be helpful. By providing instant live chat with Dr. Cleaner Pro users, the app's usefulness increased since this way you’re counting on a real person – a professional developer even – to address any technical problems that users might face while using the app. It’s certainly an interesting addition to the market that might give a reason to explore the service deeper.
It's kind of confusing to begin with because Dr. Cleaner can be downloaded from two sources, and which of the two versions will be installed is dependent on where it is taken from. The free version of Dr. Cleaner is available from the Mac App Store, while the Pro version – with a promising feature set – is available from a dedicated site. For our tests we used the Pro version.
There are several reasons to opt for the Pro version, though. The feature set is much more promising with this version as otherwise the duplicate files finder and the Intelligent App Manager are limited to only scanning the user’s account in the free version. The file shredder is limited to the Pro version, as is the unique live support tool and additional customization preferences such as duplicates, whitelists, and auto select.
After confirming the user’s home directory, first launching Dr. Cleaner Pro by Trend Micro will automatically display the “System Optimizer” window, presenting clean, easy-to-understand visual information about the Mac's current status. The information is divided into three main columns: one for the memory usage; another for the amount of space that junk files are occupying; and the third for CPU and network usage.
Dr. Cleaner for Mac provides a simple and quick way to remove junk from the computer, you just need to click on the “Clean” button displayed in the system optimizer window. Doing so will empty any Mail cache files, clear away application logs and caches, and delete iTunes temporary files in an instant. Hitting the “System Optimizer” button, however, provides a much deeper level of cleaning: deleting unneeded junk files, system files, large files, duplicate files, apps, and app files.
To do so Dr. Cleaner opens the main app window and clearly displays each of these functions in a column on the left with the corresponding action button on the right, with a nice animation signaling the scanning process. At this point Dr. Cleaner will neatly display the files it’s flagged for removal, which can then be selected by yourself before deletion.
During our testing the scanning processes for both junk and big files were underwhelming: Dr. Cleaner simply wasn't able to identify a huge chunk of cache files that had piled up from using Spotify. That doesn't make too much sense because the app was otherwise able to detect this junk data using the app manager function, and Spotify wasn't an app requiring admin access. The scan results for big files were poor compared to its competitor’s findings. That’s not what you’d expect from a paid Mac optimization software.
There are a number of utilities available with Dr. Cleaner Pro by Trend Micro, such as the useful Disk Map function. By selecting a folder and using the associated graphical information, the app will help you spot which files are taking up space in that specific folder that can then be removed.
The app uninstaller has a neat twist, too, which naturally enables app removal but also allows for just the deletion of any cache data. This function is only available to Pro users, however, as is the case with the duplicate files finder and file shredding tools. This means that by downloading Dr. Cleaner from the App Store these services will be greyed out. The results of the duplicate finder were acceptable, although it found fewer duplicates than a dedicated app might.
The software even comes with built-in real-time memory usage data, and if the system is suffering from high memory pressure or you’re looking to quickly free up some memory, then Dr. Cleaner will let you optimize your Mac's memory usage.
Unlike many of its competitors, users can get a license for Trend Micro's Dr. Cleaner for a one-time payment of $19.99. This is the only pricing option that Trend Micro provides as the purchase page doesn't allow for the number of licenses to be increased prior – therefore meaning there is no option to score a discount with bundle deals.
Trend Micro accepts various payment methods, such as bank cards from the major payment networks – Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express – and PayPal. Those looking for wire transfer or other alternative payment methods such as cryptocurrency will be out of luck here.
One area in which Trend Micro does succeed is with its customer service. In fact, it’s quite smoothly implemented into the program itself, with the DrAirSupport live chat function available immediately with a click of a button on the system optimization screen. This way you’ll have instant access to answers for whatever technical questions you might have.
Sadly Dr. Cleaner’s support engineers aren’t online 24/7 – the difference in time zone could affect availability – and if this is the case simply try a bit later or send an email inquiry. This can also be handled directly within the app itself too, so feel free to shoot an email to support if you need. They will likely answer your question within a reasonable time frame, which in the best conditions means up to roughly 48 hours.
Trend Micro also provides links to the Dr. Cleaner knowledge base and FAQ page on the dedicated site. The knowledge base also encompasses a blog, which is regularly updated with general information about keeping a Mac in optimal shape.
As Dr. Cleaner by Trend Micro shows, an appealing user interface helps to make the service as a whole appealing, but that isn't enough when you have high expectations from a Mac optimization app. The program helps users to monitor their Mac's pivotal resources such as memory and CPU or even network usage, but its care for privacy – since it is sandboxed software – imposes certain limitations on key features such as junk data removal and cache cleaning.
It's not just the limitation of only accessing a user's home folder that is a problem, either, but also its inability to properly identify caches that have built up with apps running on the Mac. This, combined with the average large and duplicate file finders that are capable of only acceptable results, leads us to conclude that the Pro version of Dr. Cleaner needs some work. For $19.99 you'll get an application that will admittedly help clean a Mac, but it won't take out all of its junk, unfortunately. The live support, however, is great.