MacClean vs. CleanMyMac X: The battle of two cleaners

MacClean or CleanMyMac X? Both these apps come up when you search for a Mac cleaning solution. Many folks on Mac forums are passionate about CleanMyMac X because it’s so attractive visually. It’s also been on the market for long enough. On the other hand, MacClean is more lightweight and does everything it claims to do. So let’s dig into the details.

CleanMyMac or MacClean: Key features

CleanMyMac X is a cleaner and Mac optimizer that includes 29+ tools. This app is notarized by Apple and comes from a reputable developer, MacPaw. What’s unique about it is that it does so many jobs — the list of tools is very long — yet it remains very simple to use, with big buttons, clear labels, and helpful tips.

CleanMyMac X - Smart Scan

Download the free version of CleanMyMac X here.

MacClean is developed by Imobie who are known for their iOS and Android applications. MacClean blends together cleanup, protection, deleting duplicates, and everything else you’d expect to see in a Mac cleaning app.


MacClean 3 has not been optimized for the latest macOS version. The latest supported version is macOS Catalina. This means it’s unlikely it will run on M1 or M2 Macs.

Junk cleanup

CleanMyMac X removes 66 GB of clutter per year per average user. But according to some Twitter posts, some users delete 150+ GB, which is highly impressive for a Mac cleaner. Where does all this junk come from?

If you didn’t buy your MacBook yesterday, you know that every app on your Mac generates cache files. These cache files consist of data locally stored on your drive for quick access. Think of browser history or project metadata. And these outdated cache files are one category of junk you can remove with CleanMyMac X.

CleanMyMac X - System junk scan complete

It also deletes old logs, broken downloads, unused .DMG installers, unneeded document versions, and language files — we’ve counted 14 types of system junk in total.

MacClean does much the same. The app has an entire tab dedicated to system junk. There you’ll find user junk, OS X junk, development junk, and app leftovers.

So by the sheer number of junk types, CleanMyMac X is an easy winner: 14 types of junk vs. the 4 offered by MacClean 3. To its credit, MacClean 3 scans your drive very fast.

MacClean optimization vs. CleanMyMac optimization

Both MacClean 3 and CleanMyMac X have a feature called Optimization. However, they mean different things. MacClean’s optimization leans toward cleaning, whereas CleanMyMac X’s deals with memory overload.

CleanMyMac X - Optimization module

With its Optimization tool, MacClean offers to clean some exotic categories of junk, like app binary junk. But wait… aren’t they supposed to be included in System Junk? In our view, such a classification remains questionable.

But what about CleanMyMac X? It focuses on Mac slowness, offering to optimize memory usage, which is, after all, the top reason for Mac slowdown. In its Optimization section, it allows you to find Heavy Memory users, and Hung apps, and disable several background items. It’s nice that it gives you a tool to Free up RAM. All this deck of tools should make your Mac a bit more responsive.

The verdict: CleanMyMac X wins

MacClean 3 is a decent app that, on the face of it, includes enough tools to clean up your Mac. Its features are simple and offer no major thrills. But if you want something that has been checked by Apple and works great on newer systems, you should look into CleanMyMac X. It has more features than MacClean 3, and they are designed with the user’s needs in mind.

The latest free version of CleanMyMac X is available on the developer’s site.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.