MacClean 3 is a software designed for Mac maintenance, optimization, and security.
Disclosure: This article is NOT sponsored by iMobie. All opinions and thoughts expressed within this evaluation have had no bias or outside influence. We may earn an affiliate commission on referred sales, but content integrity and quality is our top priority.
We've been testing MacClean 3 for the last month and have found it to be a decent optimization software. It doesn't have the best user interface, but it is easy enough to navigate and run through the different cleaning modules.
The results of the module scans do find a decent amount of useless or junk data that can be removed safely, although these scans do take a lot longer than the competition.
Overall, we don't think MacClean 3 is a bad investment, although we think you'll get more of a beneficial experience using CleanMyMac X and maybe even couple it with Gemini 2 via a Setapp subscription.
An Okay Buy
MacPaw CleanMyMac X
One of the most well-known maintenance applications for Mac and was chosen as our Editor's Choice for Mac cleaners. Beyond its excellent cleaning potential, this software has a phenomenal user interface, reasonable pricing, frequently updated, and offers a 1-click RAM purge option. Unlike MacClean 3, the free trial does offer 500MB of cleaning.
MacPaw Gemini 2
Another software by MacPaw, Gemini 2 is a dedicated application for located duplicate files on your Macintosh computer. The interface is super simple and there isn't much to it due to its limited functionality, however, it does the best job finding duplicates out of any software we have tested and also can find files that are close matches but not identical sources.
Many users of Apple computers love their machines for their simplicity and elegance. However, over time, their computers tend to get filled with the clutter of useless junk files, folders, and caches, which can bog down performance. To combat this, we recommend picking up a decent Mac cleaning software that can help to eliminate unnecessary data to help increase speed and reliability.
In the following article, we will conduct a full review of MacClean from iMobie. This is NOT sponsored by iMobie. All opinions and perspectives expressed throughout this review are based solely on our experiences using the software during a proper evaluation period exceeding 30 days.
iMobie Company Overview
Founded in 2011, iMobie is a Chinese-based company that focuses on developing applications for Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers.
The majority of their applications focus on the iOS platform, such as transferring or recovering information from iPhone and iPads. They do make similar software for Android users as well.
Moving to the Mac side of things, they created a full-fledged Mac maintenance tool dubbed ‘MacClean,' which is currently in its third iteration of the optimization software.
Pricing & License Options
Compared to a lot of the Mac cleaners that we have reviewed, MacClean 3 is priced more affordably, especially when you take into consideration the bulk license pricing. As a trial offer, iMobie offers a free download and sample scan of your Mac computer, but you'll need to purchase a paid license to be able to do the cleaning.
Licensing starts at just $19/year for a single license, which includes use on 1 Mac computer. If you don't want to pay annually and want to buy an unlimited single-license key, then you'll need to dish out $29.99.
Moving up to a family license which includes access to MacClean 3 on up to five difference Macintosh computers, the pricing is only $39.99. This is far cheaper for bulk licensing from the competition. Unfortunately, there are no subscription-based services like Setapp offering access to MacClean 3.
MacClean 3 License Options
User Interface & Layout
While it isn't the core criteria of a maintenance application such as MacClean 3, the user interface is a critical component for many consumers, especially those who are not very tech-savvy. From a design standpoint, the MacClean 3 interface is decent but lacks any real visual appeal, especially compared to top competition like CleanMyMac X.
The interface is your traditional rectangular shape with the left 1/5th of the window as the navigational UI, and the right 4/5th offers the inter-actable components of whichever cleaning module you are using.
From an organizational standpoint, iMobie tried to keep the interface sorted in appropriate groupings. Our biggest gripe is there is no one button scan using all the modules to get a simple and straight forward look at how much space or cleanup potential the MacClean 3 software has.
Instead, you must manually go through each maintenance module and initiate the scan manually, which can be tedious and time-consuming. In the event of the cleanup tools like the duplicate finder or large and old file scanner, you must manually scan each section, which takes a lot longer than competing cleaners, and it won't save your scan results after exiting that module.
As stated in the previous section about the UI, the left-hand menu within MacClean 3 is broken down into two main parts: Cleanup and Utilities. In the following section below, we will cover what types of tools are included within these sections and their primary maintenance purposes.
- System Junk – scans and locates “system junk” aka unnecessary files and caches within your Mac user profile, operating system, development and leftover app files.
- Internet Junk – scans and locates “Internet junk” which includes unneeded data related to your any installed web browsers including Safari, Chrome, FireFox and Opera.
- Malicious Cookies – scans your installed web browsers to locate any current web cookies that it deems “malicious”. In most cases, these won't be actual viruses or malware threats but more of those that enable extensive user activity tracking.
- Privacy Issue – similar to the previous section this privacy scan will locate and clear any information related to recent app usage, recent app documents and app private history.
- Security Issue – scans your Mac for known viruses, malware and other potential security threats based on their MacClean threat database.
- Cleanup Tools – where you'll find the Old & Large Files, Duplicates Finder, Language File Clean, File Eraser, and App Uninstaller.
- Optimization Tools – where you'll find tools such as iPhoto Clean, Binary Junk Remover, Extension Manager, Trash Sweeper, and iOS Backup Cleanup.
- Quarantine – where any malicious or threatening files will be held from the security scan module where you can choose to remove or restore these files.
- MacClean Update – a simple section where you can check for MacClean updates or update the security database.
MacClean 3: Cleaning & Optimization Performance Results
Now that we've covered the UI and the feature set of MacClean 3, let's get into what really matters. How well does it perform in a real world test.
Performance Test On My 27" Retina iMac (10/29/19)
Now if you add up all of the potential file savings we get the following:
|MacClean 3 Modules||Results in GB|
|Old & Large Files||172.34|
|Language File Clean||0.88|
Keep in mind this number is HEAVY skewed by the ‘old and large files' option, which basically will take scan your entire computer for any existing files that are old or large then flag them for potential removal. This does not take into consideration if these files are valuable to the user, such as relevant personal, family, or work documents.
We highlighted and counted the total size of the scan to show you the top potential of the cleaning software in an extreme case. However, I would NOT be deleting 172.34 GB worth of data within the ‘old and large files' tab and would manually pick go through the list looking for the oldest and largest files to pick a few that I may no longer need but are taking up valuable space.
If you remove the ‘old and large' files section of the cleanup entirely, then you'll get 7.59 GB of potential savings, which is still a reasonable amount of unnecessary data to be removed.
How Does The Performance Stack Up To The Competition?
Now the real test is how much savings would you get against a rival Mac cleaning software such as CleanMyMac X and a free cleaning software such as CCleaner:
|MacClean 3||CleanMyMac X||CCleaner|
|Large & Old Files||172.34||135.58||0|
Now looking at this comparison, it seems as though MacClean 3 offers the most cleaning potential, and technically, this is true. However, most of this bulk data to be removed is coming from the ‘large and old files' section, which is again misleading.
CleanMyMac X has a stricter algorithm for finding large and old files to help prevent you from accidentally deleting files that you'll need. However, in both cases, these numbers are going to be drastically higher than you'd want to remove as they often are not useless junk data taking up all this space.
Looking at the system junk, you'll see CleanMyMac X discovered 31.65 GB more unnecessary data than MacClean 3 though most of it came from a redundant iPhone backup (several months old), which was stored within my iTunes.
CleanMyMac X doesn't natively have a duplicates finder, but its parent company MacPaw makes Gemini 2, and both software come in their Setapp subscription. Due to this, I used Gemini 2 to scan for duplicated, and it found precisely 1 additional gigabyte of duplicates compared to MacClean 3.
In addition to this increase in duplicates found, Gemini is more thorough in its duplicate scan and can even locate two files that aren't identical yet are incredibly similar (usually are images). In this case, Gemini 2 found 24.82 GB of near-identical photos, which gives the potential for even more cleaning.
I didn't include that in the comparison results as MacClean 3 doesn't have that type of functionality, and it is also a misleading metric to judge on similar to ‘old and large files' as some of those near-identical images likely not something that I'd like to remove.
Some Other Notable Downfalls Compared To The Competition
Beyond the difference in overall cleaning potential, we found two small gripes about MacClean 3 compared to CleanMyMac X, which end up making it lose points in the whole rating process.
The first was the sheer amount of time that it takes to run scanning processes in MacClean compared to its competition. Things like the duplicate finder or large and old files scans take dramatically more time than CleanMyMac (two to four times as long).
At first, I thought it was just maybe being more thorough in the scans, yet when the results are less than the competition, which finishes in half the time, something is up. Likely the situation merely falls on not as optimized code to utilize the full capabilities of its parent Mac computer. Not a dealbreaker, but less than ideal to sit and wait for the scans to finish.
Secondly, we love how CleanMyMac and some other Mac cleaning apps offer a quick access way to clear your Mac's RAM. If you've never done this before, it can be a bit complicated to do manually (though possible), and removing unnecessary RAM usage is one of the best ways to immediately improve performance.
We dove deep into the inner workings of iMobie's MacClean 3 and gave the software a thorough evaluation through more than 30 days of use. While the software is legitimate and a safe Mac cleaning solution, it falls short in several areas compared to its fierce competition such as CleanMyMac X.
For this reason, we wouldn't recommend MacClean 3 over its primary competitors unless you are really on a budget and want to purchase their bulk licenses as this is where you'll see the largest advantage over our Editor's Choice, CleanMyMac X.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.