A guide to Mac optimization software

A new Mac always seems to be lightning-quick. But then it might slow down up to 17% when its disk is near complete (confirmed by MacWorld in a test). And there we got a whole world of Mac optimization apps. Some of them are good enough that even Apple employees use them (Guy Kawasaki, for one). So here are some absolutely essential Mac optimizers to check in 2024.

These are the top 3 optimizers that look most optimistic to us (sorry for the pun). We’ve chosen these among hundreds of others mentioned on Mac Forums.

1CleanMyMac X
Includes tools for optimizing your Mac, securely deleting files, and scanning for malware.Link


Allows you to adjust parameters that would normally need to be set in TerminalLink
3CCleanerQuick scan and deep cleaning of all kinds of junkLink

All three are aimed at basic Mac housekeeping. And now, let’s dive into these options, and then we’ll analyze a few more relevant alternatives. 

Best Mac Optimizer software reviewed

1. CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X - Login items

Made by an independent macOS developer, MacPaw, this app tops our chart. It is notarized by Apple and absolutely gorgeous visually. But it also sports 49 tools to optimize a Mac in one app. It has a free version you can download and play around with.

Inside, you’ll find a full range of tools that will declutter your Mac, make it run faster, and even scan it for malware and remove whatever it finds. One of the great things about CleanMyMac X is that you choose how much control you take over what it removes.

In terms of Mac optimization, you can:

  • Free up RAM
  • Disable heavy memory consumers
  • Run Maintenance scripts

It’s worth checking if you want to improve your Mac’s performance.

Comes with a user-friendly and intuitive interfaceNo scheduled scans for junk removal or optimization routes
Can clear all types of junk filesDoes not include duplicate finder
Has an unlimited trial versionWith regards to malware removal, does not have quarantine for threats detected

Official website
Price: $39.95/year
Free trial: 7 days unlimited trial, available here

2. OnyX

Like most of the apps listed here, OnyX is more than just optimization software for your Mac. It also has several tools for cleaning your Mac. However, OnyX also does something that no other tool listed here does: it allows you to adjust settings on your Mac that are otherwise only available through the Terminal app. It’s more of a customizer for your macOS.

Whether you want to rebuild a database or index or just change the default location or file format for screenshots, you can do it in OnyX. In terms of optimization tools, OnyX can clean up system files and browser data, rebuild Spotlight and Launch Services databases, run maintenance scripts, and clean up recent items lists.

However, it doesn’t have a secure file deletion tool or malware scanner. And it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as the tools we’ve described above. If you like playing around with settings and getting under the hood of your Mac, though, it’s a good choice. 

This application is freeIs difficult to use for novice users
Has a variety of powerful tools for Mac optimizationIs not universal in terms of macOS version support — a different app version is needed for every macOS version
Allows users to access hidden parts of macOSDevelopers do not support older versions of the app

Official website
Price: Free
Free trial: Not applicable to the app

3. macOS Manage Storage

System Preferences - Storage

Manage Storage is a feature that’s built into recent versions of macOS. To access it: 

  • For macOS Ventura, click on the Apple menu and select System Settings > General > Storage. 
  • For macOS versions older than Ventura, go to About this Mac > Storage > Manage Storage.

When you do that, you’ll see a list of categories and Recommendations. This is where macOS helps you easily free up storage space by recommending what to get rid of. For example, it might suggest that you store files in iCloud and only keep recent ones on your Mac or that you allow the OS to delete Apple TV downloads you’ve already watched.

The other categories cover things like Mail attachments, Garageband sound libraries, podcasts, and iOS backups. You just click on each section in turn and follow the advice in the window.

Manage Storage is a very useful tool and can certainly help free up storage space. However, it is not a replacement for a tool like CleanMyMac X because there is no app uninstaller, and there are no tools to remove junk files or optimize performance.

A built-in app that is free to useDoes not offer automatic optimization routes
Provides a comprehensive overview of Mac storageDoes not come with specialist tools like malware removal or app uninstaller offering leftovers deletion
Allows quick ways to optimize your MacDoes not allow users to access some parts of macOS (e.g., thin out System Data storage)

Price: Free
Free trial: Not applicable to the app

4. CCleaner

CCleaner is one of the oldest cleaner tools around, having been available on the Mac for nearly a decade and on Windows before that. It offers tools to get rid of junk files cluttering up your Mac, remove cookies, history files, and other web browser data, and disable login items and launch agents. It also has an app uninstaller, and the professional version offers real-time protection against potentially harmful files you may download.

Like most tools here, you can follow its recommendations and remove files with just a few clicks, or review the files it finds and choose which to remove yourself.

CCleaner has many of the tools available in CleanMyMac X. However, it’s not as easy to use, in our opinion, thanks to its less friendly user interface. It also doesn’t have a tool to allow you to quickly see what files are occupying space on your Mac, like CleanMyMac X’s Space Lens or a way of securely shredding sensitive files.

Comes with a duplicate files finder and photo analyzerLimited functionality of the trial version
An all-in-one Mac cleanerNo tools for removing malware or unnecessary mail attachments
Developers regularly update the appThe uninstaller tool does not remove leftover files

Official website
Price: $29.95/year
Free trial: Available here

5. AVG TuneUp for Mac

AVG TuneUp for Mac is another optimization app with numerous different tools. In terms of optimizing your computer, you may be interested the most in app uninstaller and the ‘Clean Clutter’ module. The developer promises that their app quickly finds and removes all sorts of hidden clutter app-related files.

But there’s more to this Mac software — it also comes with features aimed at finding duplicate files and similar photos. Some users claim, though, that these two modules are of little convenience, as they do not find a lot of files.

Finally, it has tools for clearing out browser history, caches, cookies, and login info. You can even set it up to run this task automatically. However, it’s a bit pricey, given the number of features it comes with — there are better, though cheaper, alternatives in our list.

Multiple features for scanning Mac and deleting clutterSimilar photos and duplicate files modules do not work as promised
The cleaning feature effectively removes all kinds of clutterMore expensive compared with other Mac optimization apps
Has some additional features for cleaning and improving privacyLimited functionality of the trial version — scan-only mode

Official website
Price: $65.99
Free trial: available here

6. Disk Clean Pro

Disk Clean Pro offers many of the same tools as the other cleaners here. You can use its automated utilities to quickly get rid of junk files, logs, crash reports, and partial downloads. And you can also use it to identify and remove duplicate files, old files, large files, and downloads. There are also tools to remove browser files, outdated backups, and mail downloads.

Like CCleaner, however, its interface isn’t the friendliest. Also, there are no tools for scanning for malware, securely deleting files, or uninstalling apps.

Can detect and remove all sorts of unnecessary filesDoes not come with a free trial version
Comes with a duplicate finderNew versions are released rarely
Has a tool for internet safetyOptimization is mainly cleaning-centered

Official website
Price: $29.95
Free trial: Not available

7. Mac Cleaner Pro

Developed by Nektony, it is an all-in-one tool for Mac cleaning and optimization. The app is beautifully designed and easy to use. Nonetheless, behind this beauty and ease of use, there are powerful tools: junk files remover, browser extensions manager, app uninstaller, space analyzer, hidden files hunter, RAM cleaner, and duplicate finder, to name just a few. 

Like most other tools mentioned on the list, it comes with a set of recommendations that can help you quickly optimize your Mac with just a few clicks.

Unlike CleanMyMac X, though, it is not all-in-one per se. It is true that it offers a variety of tools for cleaning and optimization; however, they come installed as separate apps. Mac Cleaner Pro is a mother app that allows you to perform a specific task by opening another app right from the parent application, which may be inconvenient and clutter your Mac with unnecessary programs.

Comes with a duplicate files finder and a bunch of tools for Mac optimizationLimited functionality of the trial version
Has a free trial versionIt is a package of apps — to perform different tasks, a different app is needed
Developers regularly update the appThe uninstaller tool does not remove leftover file

Official website
Price: $44.95/year
Free trial: Available here 

There are lots of applications that can optimize your Mac’s performance and make it run more smoothly. Most of these apps are paid, but you can get away with a free version in some cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to remove Mac optimizer from Mac?

Removing Mac optimizer from Mac is no different than deleting any other app. For detailed steps, check out this article on complete app removal.

How long does optimizing your Mac take?

It all depends on the optimizer you choose. Usually, it is no longer than just a few minutes. But if you select multiple tasks, it can last as long as several hours.

Does Mac optimization involve cleaning?

If optimization means improving performance, it entails a bit of cleaning that improves something by elimination. To optimize any computer, one should start with removing blockages, massive unwanted objects, and apps that eat up a lot of memory.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.