Some of us are rather particular about the health of our Mac, and would like to check on it as often as possible to ensure there are no unexpected problems arising. Thankfully it’s rather simple to get a snapshot of the overall status of your Mac, either by reading the logs with Console or using the free app EtreCheck. If reading the gibberish-like text of the logs isn’t a challenge for you then that's no problem (check out our crash log reading guide if you’re interested in understanding these scripts), but the average Mac user just wants a clean, easy-to-understand report of the Mac’s current health. That's what EtreCheck aims to deliver.
Developed by the Canadian Etresoft Inc., EtreCheck was designed for use on Apple Support Communities. Mac users regularly browse this community looking for answers to any issues they might have as well as on Reddit. In fact, EtreCheck is recommended to every novice Mac user on the AppleTips page in the Maintenance section.
The reasons are simple: if a beginner encounters a Mac-related issue and turns to an internet community such as Reddit or the much-frequented Apple Support Communities for a solution, they usually need to share at least an error log or message from their computer. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. If we use a patient-doctor parallel here, a doctor can prescribe treatment based on symptoms but the best diagnosis is a well-informed one, and in this case it requires your whole medical file. That's what EtreCheck generates: an easy-to-understand ‘medical record’ of your Mac so the virtual ‘doctors’ – the people trying to help you – can find the root of the issue and propose a fix.
EtreCheck vs Mac Optimization Apps
EtreCheck was designed to generate reports, not to fix your Mac, so it cannot quite be compared to Mac optimization apps. While such utilities were designed to perform tasks such as junk cleaning, memory optimization, secure deletion and much more, EtreCheck is a diagnostic utility. Its purpose is to identify a failing hard drive, lack of sufficient RAM, crashed background tasks, a lack of Time Machine backups, runaway processes and obsolete hardware, as well as detecting some common adware. EtreCheck displays a report of its findings, and the parts requiring your attention will be marked in red.
Starting with version 2.9, EtreCheck has been able to detect and disable adware, but don't confuse it with an anti-malware or adware app: additional software is required to actually remove the adware EtreCheck has identified.
Is EtreCheck Safe?
Like all software, EtreCheck is prone to bugs. The developer, a volunteer of the Apple Support Communities, has counterbalanced that by making it free and open source. Everyone can report and check the bugs on GitHub, which makes EtreCheck transparent. The diagnostic tool is widely used by Mac users in Apple Support Communities and is frequently required by people looking to help troubled users to better understand the issues with their Mac.
It is worth adding that Apple Support Community moderators will remove links that lead to infected apps, so the fact that they leave the link to Etresoft's app suggests that it is safe to download and use. EtreCheck does indeed scour your Mac, but the report it generates keeps sensitive data private, so it's safe to share the log it generates on support forums.
Where Can I Download EtreCheck?
While EtreCheck is safe to use, as with any software it is recommended that you use only the developer's official website to download the program. If not, you might become a victim of a scam that could lead to you downloading software and receiving an app injected with adware. To get the legitimate version of this highly recommended diagnostic tool, visit Etresoft's website.
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