- Super fast
- Nicely designed, user-friendly UI
- Virus and malware scan
- Great cleaning features
- Limited customer support
- Browser cleaning is limited to two popular browsers
- Lack of explanation of the actions performed
Those looking to protect their Mac from malware as well as boost their system’s performance can choose from a variety of software, but there are a handful of apps with proven efficiency. MacBooster is among the system utilities developed for Mac by Chinese software company IObit, but the company also serves Windows users with applications such as Advanced System Care, Driver Booster and Malware Finder. They even have the AMC Security app for Android mobile operating systems, which cleans the handset and optimizes its performance. MacBooster doesn't offer a trial version, but you can have a lifetime license for as low as $18. The catch, however, is that to acquire it this cheaply you’ll need to purchase the premium pack, which will give you licenses for five Macs and various other features such as 24/7 customer support, with priority access, as exclusives to this bundle.
Requiring macOS 10.7 or later, MacBooster seeks to be one-stop Mac utility software for cleaning by providing scripts grouped into categories such as security risks, cleaner and booster. The main feature set is complemented by an additional group called “Tools”, which includes a duplicate finder and a photo sweeper. The latter locates all your duplicated or similar photos and will help you pick only the ones you think are the best.
When you first launch MacBooster, you'll see a system status window that presents all the features of the software in a nice visual package. Every feature is just one click away, even if you are looking for a specific task. But you can also perform an overall check of your computer in “System Status” by hitting the “Scan” button at the bottom of the window.
MacBooster assesses the system status as “Unknown”, “Dangerous” or “Good”, depending on what the software finds after a thorough scan. The scan results are also classified as “Safe”, “General” or “Serious” in each category.
The findings displayed in the main system status window are organized into three groups. Group one, system risks, includes virus and malware scan and privacy clean. Group two is cleaner, which includes system junk, uninstaller and large files cleaner. Group three is booster, which includes memory clean, startup optimization and defragmentation.
In the left column MacBooster displays some data under the cleaning group, such as the space you can reclaim by clicking the “Fix” button in the system status window. Certain details such as the files that MacBooster labels as ‘system junk’ – and can therefore be safely deleted – are not displayed until you click the specific feature item displayed on the left menu. The large file cleaner won't clean these bigger files without your consent, either, which is helpful. Of course you’ll therefore need to dedicate time to erase that data manually, which usually takes up several gigabytes of storage – large video files, for example.
Alongside cleaning, MacBooster checks the security level of your Mac by looking for traces of malicious websites and removing suspicious cookies to avoid data loss via a virus scan. MacBooster’s security checks include a quick scan of system configurations to identify whether you have macOS’ security features enabled, such as the system’s firewall. As with every computer, an up-to-date operating system will also provide up-to-date security, so MacBooster will also look for these updates whenever you hit the “Fix” button and install them in cases where it finds that your system is outdated.
The feature labeled privacy clean removes cookies, browsing and download history, recent items lists and removes traces of applications, but unfortunately it supports only two browsers – Safari and Chrome. There are various ways to boost the performance of your Mac, and MacBooster offers four options: clear your computer’s memory, reduce boot time by eliminating unnecessary startup items, clean cache files of third party apps and repair disk permissions. All these features are offered as individual actions under the “Booster” group.
The MacBooster mini app – running in the background – can quickly provide access to features such as cleaning system junk data, which includes any third party app cache files, mail attachments, system log files, language files, system cache files, iTunes cache and more. The mini app also shows how much of a percentage of RAM is being used as well as used disk space, which is important because there is a slight difference in the data given by your Mac and the ones displayed by MacBooster.
In our testing macOS showed 156GB of space available in our 251GB flash storage drive, while MacBooster suggested that, in fact, 148GB of space was available. MacBooster explains the difference is because of the purgeable space feature of macOS, which only appears to users who activate the “Optimize Mac Storage” with iCloud. When storage space is needed, your Mac makes this space available automatically, while files marked as purgeable can be downloaded on demand. For example, your large Mail attachments, which can be removed with MacBooster or any other third party cleaning app, can be downloaded again from the mail server when you need them.
All these features combined into a single application come at a price, and since IObit doesn’t offer a trial version it’s not really possible to test MacBooster before you purchase the license. You can download MacBooster for free and scan your Mac, but it won’t be possible to fix any of the issues identified by the app. Still, there is a 60-day money back guarantee, which gives enough time to test the application and ask for a refund if you aren't satisfied with it.
IObit offers three license packs, but they are pushing toward the higher priced ones and here is why: you’ll only get access to the lowest level of service despite paying the highest price for a single license, which costs $39.95. That's the price of the Lite license of MacBooster, which only gives a lifetime license and full system clean and boost features.
The Standard pack (for three Macs) costs $59.95 and will also enable key features such as disk defragmentation, malware and virus removal as well as the cleaning of your browser history and cookies.
Still, if you want access to 24/7 priority customer support, you'll need to shell out $89.95 by opting for the premium pack, which will give you licenses for five Mac computers. That means you will save 55% on your MacBooster lifetime license, since the price for a single license will drop to $17.99 with this package.
IObit accepts various payment methods, such as credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club and JCB cards), PayPal checkout and wire transfer. The fastest way, of course, is paying via credit/debit card or PayPal, because when paying by bank transfer your product cannot be delivered until payment is received in full.
MacBooster’s help menu provides access to an online manual, the help center, and lets you send feedback. While the first two options will trigger web pages owned by IObit, the third will open up a pop-up window within the app.
You can also call a toll-free number in North America, but in our testing this number was not valid. IObit also provides another phone number for placing an order, which leads to its payment processor Avangate. You can reach out to MacBooster's parent company using a web form that can be found under the support menu of the main page. This is where you’ll find a link to the FAQ and the online user manual.
If you have purchased the Standard license pack, don’t expect a speedy customer service: emails asking for more information about MacBooster and the services packed into this software returned answers days after we first sent them.
Overall, MacBooster is a fast, responsive app, but we didn't notice much of a difference in our Mac's performance compared to before the software was installed. This is likely because our fresh MacBook Pro model feels fast enough, hiding that system slowdown you might see after six months of macOS usage on an older device. We have found the MacBooster mini app useful since it gives you quick access to the software and several other features, such as freeing up system RAM. Another key feature, malware protection, is also useful, although viruses still aren’t as much of a threat for Mac users as they are for Windows users.
Its cleaner feature is very helpful, unlike its customer service. MacBooster provides a quick way to reclaim disk space and improve the performance of your computer, and it does so in a very user-friendly way with simple command buttons designed to visually guide you through the process. IObit’s software performs its tasks very fast, too, so you'll see the difference shortly after hitting that “Fix” button.