- Clean, easy-to-understand user interface
- Free diagnosis tool
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Built-in antivirus
- Multiple browser compatibility
- Security Issue Cleanup requires additional download
- Security scan is very slow and a resource hog
- Customer service access is slow and hidden
iMobie, a China-based company established in 2011, built its business around Apple's: the team of developers is focused on iOS device content management, iOS data recovery and Mac utility software. Alongside apps targeting iPhone, iPad and iPod users, such as AnyTrans (for managing file transfers), PhoneRescue and PhoneClean, MacClean is designed solely to keep your Mac clean and safe from malware.
MacClean is a freemium app, meaning it can be downloaded and used for free, although limitations do apply. In its free form this Mac optimization software will scan your computer on demand and display how much data can be safely removed from the startup disk. However, to perform a cleaning operation you will need to buy a lifetime license for as low as $7.99.
When you launch MacClean you're greeted by a simple, basic and easy-to-understand user interface with a list of functions on the left side of the window. The app incorporates two main modules, cleanup and utilities, each of which has a list of actions you can take to optimize your Mac.
Just like its competitors, MacClean seeks to clean your Mac of system cache junk (user cache, system cache, developer junk files and app leftovers) and internet junk data such as browsing histories, download histories, cached files and cookies. But what makes this app particularly interesting is its ability to scan web browsers (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera) for malicious cookies. It also looks for app documents and private app histories, and gives users the option to remove these cache files to protect their privacy. It also features a script called security issue, which will analyze your computer for potential virus threats based on a third-party virus database and search engine that you'll need to download first.
MacClean makes it easy to remove useless junk files, but it doesn't help save time at all. Competitors such as CleanMyMac offer convenient automation processes, meaning that you only need to push one button to get information on how much disk space you are about to free up. MacClean, however, needs much more attention since it will perform scans in only the specifically chosen areas, whether that’s system or internet junk files, malicious cookies or looking for security issues on demand. The results of the scan are then displayed in an easy-to-understand manner, along with the option to review the files the cleaning software has flagged as junk.
One interesting feature included in the cleaning module is the function to scan your whole Mac, Application and Download folders, or a selected folder for malware. But before the scan can be initiated you'll first be prompted to install a MacClean security database and engine. This is essentially the open-source ClamAV scanning engine, which is a super-slow resource hog when run on demand. So, if you don't have a third-party Mac malware app such as MalwareBytes then you might want to restrict how often you use it, or otherwise skip it completely.
Along with utilities such as the cleaning of old and large files, a duplicate finder, and a file eraser (which will securely remove any selected files, a function that Apple has disabled in the latest versions of macOS for Macs with flash storage), MacClean also includes the convenient app uninstaller. This uninstaller performed well in our tests, although the AppCleaner app found some traces of one Adobe app we had removed using MacClean – though we had no issues with any other uninstalled apps.
Since its inception in 2015, MacClean developers have continued to add useful features to their Mac optimization software, with iPhoto clean, binary junk data remover, extension manager and iOS backup cleanup among some of these new additions. Still, considering that these sorts of files can add up over time, keeping these new options hidden under ‘optimization tools' makes this software harder to use when compared to other Mac cleaning apps.
One other interesting component of MacClean is the quarantine feature. While Macs are not as susceptible to viruses as Windows, there have been successful Mac malware attacks in the past. Since MacClean includes a security check feature, it will store all infected files in quarantine if you manually decide to do so, where you can either remove or clean these files.
The freemium version of MacClean gives access to its diagnostic tools, but if you want to free up space on your Mac and improve its performance then you'll have to choose from one of the pricing structures offered by iMobie. There are some unclear parts, however, such as what you get for your money: is it a lifetime license, or are you signing up for a yearly subscription? MacClean's FAQ and help section isn't much help here.
What is clear is that for $19.99 you get a one-year subscription license for one Mac and one year of free support. Adding another $10 (which raises the total to $29.99) will unlock access to the Personal License offering, which means a license for one Mac and free support.
The Family License, which is the best priced offer from iMobie, costs $39.99 and means a license for up to five family members' Macs, bringing the cost of a license down to $7.99 per Mac. iMobie, through its payment processor cleverbridge AG, accept bank cards (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, Discover, GiroPay, Direct Debit, JCB and Delta) and PayPal as payment methods.
Regardless of whether you are about to purchase a license for MacClean or you already have one, don't expect prompt customer service. The only way you can get in touch with the team is via email or a web form, which, in our testing, wasn't working, so we couldn't get in touch with them due to the ‘verification code error' the web page gave.
What you can do is create an account on a subpage hidden under the support center. It's easy to get there: visit iMobie support, then click “Submit a request to solve your problems”. This will open a new webpage with the web form mentioned above, however in top-right of the page there is a ‘Sign in' button and by clicking on it you'll be directed to a page dedicated to iMobie customers. Create an account, and you will be able to open a ticket with your request. To improve your chances of getting a prompt and adequate reply you can try sending them a Tweet, as their social media team is often quick at following up customers who reached out there.
It makes perfect sense to allow third-party Mac optimization developers to do the cleaning jobs you aren't confident about doing manually yourself, and iMobie targets this market with its MacClean software. Packed in a clean, easy-to-understand user interface, the application does the cleaning process well, freeing up precious space on your Mac on demand, though it lacks the convenience of the one-button diagnosis other similar applications offer. And the feature that makes MacClean unique, Security Clean, can become a hassle since performing a two-folder scan is painfully slow. Additionally, the MacClean team members aren't security researchers, so you need to download a third-party tool – the security database and search engine – to do the job.
The customer service, too, wasn’t too great. In our experience, getting help via email or a submitted ticket was slow, so this isn't too helpful when you want answers fast. And that's usually the case, especially when you're dealing with malware.