Best way to "Clean" a Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jman995x, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2007
    I would love to manually clean my Mac, but am not sure exactly where to look, nor for what.

    I've been using Onyx for awhile and that seems to do some basic things.
    I've used AppZapper in the past to delete all files associated with an app I'm uninstalling (or so the claim goes).
    I've heard that CleanMyMac is awful.

    So, are there any good Cleaning Apps out there that you guys DO recommend?

    If not, is there a tutorial anywhere online that will tell me step-by-step how to clean my Mac myself (i.e.: caches, .plist files, leftover bits from uninstalled apps, any detritus that's sucking up processor power & RAM, or loading upon startup and doesn't need to, etc., etc.)?

    Once I have the how-to's down, I can build a macro in QuicKeys (favorite program ever) to do all the step-by-steps with the press of a button.

    I would almost prefer to do it myself, for two reasons:
    1. To learn more about my computer and what might make it underperform.
    2. To really be able to get in there and clean a little more thoroughly (assuming that some of the all-in-one programs abstain from a deep cleaning for fear of deleting something a user actually needs and having that user blab to everybody that their product the software company under-cleans on the side of caution).


  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Onyx is a reputable app, but you really don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space. It will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software.
    In most cases, app removal software such as AppZapper doesn't do a thorough job of finding and removing files/folders related to deleted apps. For more information, read this.

    The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:

    It is. One app that I would not recommend, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere, is CleanMyMac. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much.
  3. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    I agree: "cleaning" is one of the most overrated and abused notions in Mac maintenance. Macs do a considerable amount of self-maintenance, and unless you think you can do better than Apple's engineers it's not particularly helpful to tweak it.

    But, having said that, it is a good idea to learn about how your machine works. Get a good book on the unix underlying your Mac's system; that's where much of the stuff goes on. A lot of the software sold for maintenance is just a GUI for things you can execute with the Terminal.

    And learn how to read the logs in Console. You'll get a much better idea of what going on and from that pinpoint areas that might be slowing your machine. And learn how to use Activity Monitor and to interpret what you're seeing.

    Expecting your Mac to be obsessively clean and efficient is sorta like expecting an office full of cube workers to be that way: some are going be wasting time, some have messy desks, some clean. Don't sweat the details and micro-manage but just look at the big picture to see if your main work is getting done. If something is way out of line, you can kill it (process, not the cube worker :eek: ).

    I think once you poke around learning this stuff you won't be that motivated to spend much time "cleaning."

  4. macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Get OmniDiskSweeper to manually find and remove big files you don't use
    And get Monolingual to remove all the language files you don't speak and need (saved me 1.6 gig)
  5. 2012Tony2012, Jan 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013

    macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2012
    Always works well for me :)

    However, you need to edit the part which says, "Edit: In some rare instances, an app may create hidden files or folders. In such instances, follow steps 6 and 7, then repeat those steps to add another criteria, this time choosing "File visibility" > "Visible or Invisible". Then proceed with the remainder of the steps."

    Because there is no "File visibility" that actually shows up in the list, rather it says, "File Invisible" which later turns into saying "File visibility". So best to edit your page to reflect the correct wording to avoid confusing newbies and people reading your guide, because people may spend time trying to find the words "File visibility" which does not actually appear in the list when scrolling down, the words they need to look for is "File Invisible".
  6. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    But weren't you successful already doing that?

    In Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, you enter "file" into the search field of the "select a search attribute" dialog:

    In Mac OS X 10.7 Lion / 10.8 Mountain Lion, you enter "file" into the search field of the "select a search attribute" dialog:

    And I am not sure, if I already linked you to this visual interpretation:

    To find invisible files via Finder:
  7. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Notice the date that post was made (over 2 years ago). OS X shows that menu through Snow Leopard, like this:
    ScreenCap 2013-01-16 at Wed, Jan 16,2.53.08 PM .PNG
    While the verbiage on the menu has changed slightly in later releases of OS X, the instructions are the same, and there's not enough difference to cause confusion. It's pretty easy to spot "File invisible" when looking for "File Visibility". Also, it's extremely rare that anyone would need to search for invisible files when deleting an app.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2012
    Yes I was and yes I am, however I was thinking about newbies if they read the instructions. Just trying to be helpful and thoughtful, that's all. :)

    I did however find another interesting issue in Finder. When I type in "sys" it auto selects system files, but if I don't deselect it and select it again, it won't work. Any reasons why? Bug in Snow Leopard?
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2012
    Anyone else found this issue, when you type in "sys" it auto selects system files, but if not deselected it and selected again, it won't work.

    Bug in Snow Leopard?:eek:

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