+ Anti-theft features
+ Visually appealing
+ Easy to use
+ 16 apps in one convenient place
- Licenses are expensive
- Some features aren't all that impressive
- MacKeeper's reputation is primarily negative
- Optimization provided mediocre results
MacKeeper is a piece of Mac software that provides extensive security and optimization features.
The Mac OS has traditionally been a much safer and more secure operating system than its main competitor Microsoft’s Windows OS. This is the case for many reasons, but with the influx of Mac users on the rise and the sheer brilliance of today’s top hackers, the Mac OS is no longer as safe as it used to be and new potential threats are popping up everyday.
Since the threat level is still much lower than a traditional PC, most of the major software companies are not taking the time and resources to develop any security products for the Mac. Luckily, a company by the name of Kromtech saw this opportunity and ran with it, creating a product called MacKeeper that provides security and optimization benefits for users running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The software can be purchased and downloaded via their website and prospective buyers can download the MacKeeper software to gain access to a free 15-day trial period. Once this time period is up, users will need to upgrade 3 tiers of service offered to continue using the software:
Now MacKeeper generally has a strongly negative opinion in the tech community which isn’t all that warranted. Looking into this negative perspective, I’ve found a few reasons why the community has not embraced this software and instead seems to be rebelling against it. Some of these reasons are self-inflicted by the company, but there are some large factors that are out of their control.
Aggressive Advertising Methods
MacKeeper admits to using aggressive marketing strategies that makes them have a massive online advertising presence that can get annoying for some users.While I personally could care less how much advertising they do, I could see the argument that some users may feel overwhelmed by MacKeeper advertising on sites they often frequent and this could potentially give off a “spammy” vibe.
MacKeeper was previously a victim of a negative PR campaign by a rival competitor who ripped off their product and was trying to ruin their name. They claimed the MacKeeper software was full of harmful malware and that anyone using the software was at risk. This is of course a lie, but people saw these ads and false critics then actually believed it. This caused word to spread quickly that MacKeeper was a harmful piece of software (when in reality this is not true). You can read more about this here.
This is the most unfortunate reason why MacKeeper’s name and reputation has been tarnished. Someone created a piece of spyware that was used under multiple names such as Mac Defender (most used), Mac Protector, Mac Security, Mac Guard, Mac Shield, and FakeMacDef. The creator of this virus decided to name it similarly to MacKeeper as well as a design similar logo and interface which people easily got mixed up. This caused people to publicly refer to Mac Defender in a negative way, but instead confused the name and called it Mac Keeper ultimately triggering a PR nightmare for Kromtech.
So overall, the MacKeeper reputation is primarily negative, but if you do your research like I have, you’ll realize they are a legitimate company with a harmless and potentially beneficial product that was unfortunately hit with a multitude of terrible events that tarnished their reputation severely. What frustrates me most about most of the haters you’ll see bashing the product on their blog and online forums is that they have never even tried the product for themselves so their opinion is not valid and has no credibility. They are the type of people who believe whatever they hear without the need to see proof or legitimate evidence to backup the claims.
If you’re reading this and thinking I was paid to say this or that I am a MacKeeper fanboy, you’re dead wrong. Sure, I was given a free trial copy for testing in order to adequately evaluate the product in this review, but my opinions in this article are completely unbiased (just like all of our reviews). I am here to give you valid opinions and experiences for the consumers benefit regardless of whether the company likes the outcome. As you read along, you’ll see that though I’ll defend the MacKeeper software from false accusations, I wasn’t blow away by its features or performance nor is it a product that I think is absolutely essential to any Mac owner.
MacKeeper boasts “16 in 1” apps which seems like a great deal, but isn’t as impressive as it seems. Some of the features are really useful such as the anti-theft, data encryptor, and file recovery. On the other hand the features like default apps, files finder, login items, and update tracker weren’t all that impressive and certainly not much to boast about. I think the fact that these 16 features all come bundled in one piece of software is surely appealing, but many of the necessary ones such as fast cleanup, smart uninstaller, shredder, and backup can be utilized natively through Mac OS X or have freeware options readily available. In the end, I wasn’t overly impressed with the features contained within MacKeeper, but there were several that stuck out and peaked my interest enough to make it worthwhile.
Design & Interface
The team who designed MacKeeper’s interface clearly knew what they were doing. They were able to capture a sleek and appealing design that is carefully organized and structured. It is not often you find both the level visual appeal and ease of use in a piece of software especially considering it is designed for a Mac. Each tab gives you a breakdown of options and factors within each category in a clear and concise manner. Along with this, each tab will display a bubble next to it with any new notifications or unfinished tasks.
Overall, I was fairly happy with the MacKeeper’s performance, but it did not surpass my expectations by any means. First off, I was pleased to see such a feature-packed piece of software be truly lightweight and did not slow down my computer at the slightest. It ran in the background in a stealth manner and only became present when it alerted me of an update or potential threat.
In terms of the functionality of the features, I found the majority of them to be mediocre with just average results. I think the convenience of having all the 16 apps together was nice, but individually each function did not perform nearly as well as a dedicated program would. For example, the “Fast Cleaning” function scanned my computer and found 1,005.9 MB of files that I could “clean up”.
With the same machine and configuration, I ran CleanMyMac which gave me nearly 4 times the about of cleanup:
Then I tried a freeware called CCleaner which gave me more than twice the amount of cleanup:
As you can see above, MacKeeper did not deliver as well as a free alternative or a paid competitor that is dedicated to cleaning up your Mac. I found most of MacKeeper’s features followed suit with bearable results, but never going over the top of what I expected. The one feature I truly liked, was the ability to track down your Mac if it were to be stolen while capturing snapshots of the thief via your Mac’s built-in webcam as well as providing rather detailed information as to where your stolen Mac’s location is:
In the end, I found MacKeeper to be a legitimate and beneficial software for Apple computers despite the unfortunate negative reputation among the Mac community. It conveniently has 16 distinct features in one piece of software for the consumers benefit, but unfortunately the majority of these features perform in a mediocre fashion. I don’t think MacKeeper is all that bad of a deal for the price especially for someone who is not Mac or computer savvy (cleanup, security, & optimization features will be useful to you), but I don’t think it is necessary for the majority of consumers. Personally, I’d rather save some money and buy several lower-priced or free alternatives that will get each task done in a more efficient and effective way, but I will admit the anti-theft feature alone does make it a tempting buy.
Kromtech Alliance Corp.
Mac OS X 10.5 or later (Mountain Lion included)
To add security and optimization benefits as well as other useful tools to your Mac computer.
- Live chat
- Phone support
- Online documentation
- Support forum
Lite - $39.95
Standard - $59.95
Premium - $89.95