To keep your Mac running just as well as the day you unboxed it, you need to properly maintain it by removing junk files, uninstalling apps that are no longer necessary, and scanning for all kinds of vulnerabilities, among other things.
All these maintenance tasks can take a lot of time, especially when performed on a regular basis, which is why you should equip yourself with Mac cleaning software.
To help you select the best Mac cleaner, we’ve created this list of the top 15 free Mac cleaner software to clean your Mac in 2021. All you need to do is pick the app you like the most and start cleaning.
Overview of the top 15 free Mac cleaner software apps in 2021:
|Free Version||Price of Full Version||Money-Back Guarantee||Developer||Last Update|
|CleanMyMac X by MacPaw||Lets you remove up to 500 MB of junk data||From $39.95||30-day money-back guarantee||MacPaw||Version 4.7.3 (December 21, 2020)|
|Disk Drill||Lets you test all features||From $89||All purchases of Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise are considered final||CleverFiles||Version 4.1.206 (Dec 7, 2020)|
|CCleaner||Completely free||Free||—||Piriform||Version 1.17.603 (October 6, 2020)|
|DaisyDisk||Some functionality is locked||$9.99||Doesn’t offer refunds||Software Ambience||Version 4.10 (March 8, 2020)|
|Clean Me||Completely free and open-source||Free||—||Kevin De Koninck||Version 1.4.2 (July 19, 2020)|
|OnyX||Completely free and can be used without any limitations||Free||—||Titanium Software||Version 3.9.1|
|Cleaner One Lite||Certain features are not present||From $19.99 per year||Doesn’t offer refunds||Trend Micro||Version 6.1.4 (December 7, 2020)|
|Smart Mac Care||Doesn’t offer unlimited cleanup||$69.95||60-day money-back guarantee||Systweak Software||Version 1.5.5|
|MacClean||Evaluation only||From $19.99 per year||60-day money back guarantee||iMobie||Version 3.6.0 20190926|
|Omni Remover 3||Only lets you evaluate its features||From $29.99||30-Day hassle-free money back guarantee||MiniCreo||Version 3.3.0|
|Sensei||Free for 14 days||From $29 per year||License keys that have been activated are non-refundable.||Cindori AB||Version 1.2 (May 2020)|
|Drive Genius||Provides limited access to basic features||From $79 per computer per year||Doesn’t offer refunds||Prosoft Engineering, Inc.|
(November 23, 2020)
|Stellar SpeedUp Mac||Free for 30 days||$39.99||30-day money-back guarantee||Stellar||Version 4.0 (April 2020)|
|Parallels Toolbox||Free for 7 days||$19.99 per year||30-day money-back guarantee||Parallels||Version 4.1.0 (3674) for Mac (October 22, 2020)|
|App Cleaner & Uninstaller||Free for 7 days||$19.90||Doesn’t offer refunds||Nektony||Version 7.2 (December 1, 2020)|
How to Choose Mac Cleaner That Really Works?
The last thing you want is to choose a Mac cleaner that works so poorly that your Mac ends up being even slower than it was before. What’s even worse, some Mac cleaners are infected with dangerous malware that can cause your Mac to display highly inappropriate ads, run cryptomining software, or expose your personal information to strangers with malicious intentions.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to when choosing Mac cleaning software:
👩💻 Developer: You should always check who’s behind the Mac cleaner you’re about to download. Unfortunately, not all Mac cleaners are developed by people who have your best intentions at heart. By choosing a Mac cleaner from a trusted developer, you can avoid all kinds of performance and customer support issues.
✍ Reviews: It’s one thing to promise things like one-click junk removal or cache optimization, and it’s something else to actually deliver on these promises. That’s why it’s a good idea to check user reviews and find out what real users have to say.
🆕 Updates: The best Mac cleaner software receives updates on a regular basis to fix known issues, introduce new functionality, and maintain compatibility with macOS. Updates are especially important when it comes to paid Mac cleaners because you shouldn’t have to put up with bugs that prevent you from enjoying the app properly.
⚡ Performance: There are many different Mac cleaning software apps, and they all offer different sets of features and functionality. Some focus predominantly on freeing up storage space, while others lean more toward system optimization. Regardless of which kind of Mac cleaning software you choose, make sure to verify that it actually performs well and does what it promises to do.
💲 Price: Not all free Mac cleaners are 100% free. Some are only free to try, requiring you to purchase a paid license to unlock unlimited cleaning. Moreover, some paid Mac cleaners require you to purchase a monthly or annual subscription, which can end up costing you quite a lot of money in the long run.
Of course, you can always simply pick one of the top 15 free Mac cleaner software apps featured below and rest assured, knowing that it can get the job done without exposing your Mac to malware.
Top 15 Free Mac Cleaner Software for Mac
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 15 free cleaner software for Mac and discuss the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each.
Real-time Monitoring: Yes | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: Yes | System Requirements: macOS 10.10 and higher
CleanMyMac X by MacPaw is an award-winning Mac cleaner with such a well-designed user interface that you’ll look forward to using it. With a single click, the app can find all unwanted and unnecessary files scattered across your system drive, detect potential malware threats, and optimize your Mac’s performance by freeing up RAM, running maintenance scripts, and more.
Regardless of whether you use CleanMyMac X as a simple storage cleaner or explore some of its more advanced features, you can always rest assured, knowing the app will never accidentally delete important files or make your Mac unbootable because it’s been designed from the ground up for maximum safety and reliability.
- One button cleanup – Thanks to its Smart Cleanup feature, CleanMyMac X can automatically run all cleanup processes in the optimal order, requiring you to make only a single click.
- Malware removal – Besides junk files occupying precious storage space, CleanMyMac X can also detect and remove dangerous files and apps.
- Privacy protection – Apps like Safari leave behind lots of sensitive data that could be used for malicious purposes if not regularly removed using CleanMyMac X’s privacy protection feature.
Real-time Monitoring: Yes (S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring) | System Optimizer: No| Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.11.6+ (Use Disk Drill 1/2.x/3.x for OS X 10.5+)
If you’ve ever needed to recover accidentally deleted or otherwise lost files from your Mac or an external storage device, then you might already be familiar with this Mac file cleaner. That’s because Disk Drill is best known as powerful data recovery software capable of undeleting over 400 different file formats, including all common document, image, video, and audio formats.
However, Disk Drill is also an excellent Mac file cleaner, and you can use it to find duplicates, securely delete sensitive files, and erase free disk space so that even files that have already been deleted can’t be recovered (not even with Disk Drill). Best of all, you can try everything Disk Drill has to offer for free on any Mac running Mac OS X 10.11.6 or newer (including macOS 11 Big Sur).
- Data recovery capabilities – Disk Drill stands out from other free Mac cleaners featured in this article because it can recover permanently deleted files that are no longer present in the Trash folder.
- Backup features – You can use Disk Drill to protect important files or create byte-to-byte disk backups that make it possible to recover even from the most serious data loss situations.
- Cross-platform – Disk Drill runs on both macOS and Windows, and a single license lets you activate it on up to 3 different devices.
Real-time Monitoring: Yes | System Optimizer: No | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: Officially supports Mac OS X 10.8 to 10.14 Mojave
CCleaner is a popular storage cleaner capable of instantly deleting your internet cache, history, and cookies, the Trash folder, mentions of recently opened documents, and unnecessary files leftover by all kinds of third-party apps.
Even though CCleaner hasn’t been updated in a while and doesn’t officially support the latest version of macOS, it still runs fine and does exactly what it promises to do while being completely free. That said, a paid version of CCleaner is available, and it adds real-time monitoring, automatic updates, and premium support.
- Customizable – Ccleaner allows you to specify which junk files you want to clean up and which you want to leave behind.
- Browsing cleanup – You can use CCleaner to reliably erase your browsing history and all kinds of files left on your Mac by websites.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: No | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or newer
DaisyDisk is a simple disk cleaner that lets you visualize your files and folders as an interactive map, allowing you to quickly locate all space-wasters. You can even preview files directly from the app and delete them with a simple click—no need to switch to Finder.
Unlike many other Mac cleaning software solutions listed in this article, DaisyDisk is a one-trick pony that does one thing and one thing only. While definitely a downside if your goal is to perform in-depth Mac cleaning to achieve the best performance possible, the lack of features and options does make DaisyDisk very easy to use.
- Fast scanning – If you have a modern SSD, then you can expect DaisyDisk to scan it in just a few seconds.
- Usage visualization – DaisyDisk creates visually stunning interactive maps, clearly showing how your storage device is being utilized.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: No | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: All recent versions of macOS
- Secure – Clean Me doesn’t store your admin password in any way, and it also doesn’t request an internet connection.
- Open-source – Because Clean Me is open source, you can study its source code and verify that it does what it promises to do.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: Mac Intel and M1 computer running macOS Big Sur 11 (other versions are available for older Macs)
OnyX is a toolbox filled with system optimization and cleanup tools. It has been around for quite some time now, and there are many Mac users who swear by its reliability and clean interface, which makes it very easy to perform optimization tasks that would otherwise require complex commands to be entered into the Terminal.
Interestingly, there’s a specific version of OnyX for each major version of the operating system. In other words, you can’t use, for example, OnyX 3.8.7 on macOS Big Sur because that version works only on macOS Catalina. The good news is that a version for Big Sur is already available, and all older versions can be downloaded directly from the official website.
- System integrity verification – OnyX can intelligently verify the integrity of system files to help you ensure that they haven’t been damaged during a system update or after a malware infection.
- macOS configuration – You can use OnyX to easily access hidden configuration parameters for Finder, Dock, Safari, and some Apple applications.
Real-time Monitoring: No (only in Pro version) | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: MacOS 10.12 (Sierra) and higher
Cleaner One Lite is a well-rated Mac cleaner that you can use for free without any limitations. Well, we should say almost any limitations because some features, such as real-time monitoring, are available only in Cleaner One Pro, which costs $19.99 per year.
Users praise this free Mac cleaner for its ability to quickly and reliably detect and get rid of all kinds of junk files, including files that are taking up too much precious storage space. A few users have left negative reviews, complaining mostly about the app crashing unexpectedly or being unresponsive.
- Big file scanner – Cleaner One Lite can help you find very large file that are taking up valuable storage space.
- Disk map – You can use this MacBook cleaner to visualize your storage as an interactive map.
- Junk files cleaner – Get rid of junk files with a single click, including logs, mail caches, iTunes, Photos, iOS, and so on.
Real-time Monitoring: Yes | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: Yes | System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.9 or later
Smart Mac Care is an all-in-one Mac cleaning software application that combines junk removal with system optimization capabilities, and, most importantly, malware protection. That’s right, Smart Mac Care can scan and remove all known malware infections and unwanted apps from your Mac to prevent cybercriminals from stealing your personal information.
Even though the app effectively combines the functionality of three different apps into one sleek package, it remains easy enough to use even for inexperienced users. On the other hand, Mac power-users might find it to be too automated because it doesn’t offer many customization options.
- Uninstaller – Smart Mac Care can help you uninstall apps you no longer way while ensuring they don’t leave anything behind.
- Malware remover – You can use Smart Mac Care to protect your Mac from malware, including spyware and adware.
- Privacy scan – The Privacy Scan module scans your web browsers and gets rid of internet history, cookies, and application cache.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: Yes | System Requirements: macOS Big Sur to Mac OS X 10.9
MacClean is easy-to-use Mac cleaning software that includes all essential cleanup features plus a robust malware scanner capable of finding and removing malicious software from your Mac. All features are accessible with a simple click and require just one additional action to run.
The internet cleanup module stands out with its ability to protect your privacy by intelligently erasing cookies, cashes, sessions, history, saved passwords, and other website data across all major web browsers. Other useful utilities that ship with MacClean include an app uninstaller, duplicate finder, file eraser, and language file cleaner, among others.
- One-click cleanup – With a single click, you can restore your Mac to a state closely resembling a brand-new computer.
- Malware scanner – While MacClean’s malware scanner doesn’t offer real-time scanning, it can reliably detect all major threats and get rid of them before they cause any harm.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: macOS 10.12 or later
Omni Remover 3 is one of the best Mac uninstallers that you can download today. It can reliably uninstall even stubborn and malicious apps without leaving behind junk files. All you need to do is select the app you want to uninstall, click the Scan button, and wait a short while for the app to find all files associated with the app. From there, you can click delete and wave them goodbye.
In addition to uninstalling unwanted apps, Omni Remover 3 can help you control your Mac extensions and free up valuable storage space by deleting accumulated cache junk, redundant language files, broken logins, and internet browsing junk.
- Sketch Cache Cleaner – can clear revision history for all Sketch documents.
- Xcode Clean – lets you remove Xcode cache files to fix issues with crashing
Real-time Monitoring: Yes | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: macOS 10.15 Catalina or later
Sensei describes itself as the next-generation Mac cleanup tool, and it certainly looks the part. When you launch it, it greets you with a beautiful performance dashboard, showing you everything from your CPU and RAM utilization to remaining battery life to how much free storage space you have left on your hard drive.
Besides being nice to look at, Sensei is also a pleasure to use because the Mac cleaner can do a lot to keep your Mac running as smoothly as possible. For example, it can find and delete unnecessary files that are taking up your storage space, enhance system performance by enabling the Trim functionality, or uninstall unwanted apps without leaving leftover files behind.
- Performance dashboard – Sensei’s performance dashboard provides a window into your Mac’s resource utilization, allowing you to see all important information at a glance.
- M.A.R.T. reporter – access the monitoring system included in computer hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), and eMMC drives.
Real-time Monitoring: Yes | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: Yes | System Requirements: Requires macOS 10.12 and later
Drive Genius is a feature-packed Mac cleaner app that’s aimed at advanced users who want total control over their computer. You can use it to check for possible file and folder corruption, repair most kinds of logical file and folder errors, search through files and downloads for known malware, locate duplicate files and replace those duplicates with an alias, or overwrite all data using one of five secure patterns, just to give you some examples of what it can do.
Because Drive Genius targets more experienced users and professionals, it doesn’t prioritize usability nearly as much as some of the other Mac cleaning software solutions listed in this article. That doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use, but the sheer number of available features can be confusing.
- BootWell – creates a special secondary startup drive that can be used to maintain your startup drive.
- IconGenius – allows you to set a custom icon for a drive or folder.
- Secure Erase – overwrites all data using one of five secure patterns to prevent the overwritten data from being recovered.
Real-time Monitoring: | System Optimizer: | Malware Remover: | System Requirements: compatible with Mac OS 10.9 to macOS Catalina
Stellar SpeedUp Mac can remove all kinds of junk (log files, system junk, trash, leftovers, duplicate files, and more) from your Mac to free up storage space and improve its performance. It can also uninstall unwanted apps, optimize memory usage, and disable login items to enhance system booting performance.
The free trial version of Stellar SpeedUp Mac can be used for up to 30 days, which should be more than enough to decide if you want to purchase the full version for $39.99. Just keep in mind that the latest version of this MacBook cleaner isn’t officially compatible with macOS Big Sur, so you might experience issues if you’ve already updated your Mac.
- Cleanup filters – Stellar SpeedUp Mac lets you search for specific junk files or data using filters.
- Memory optimization – You can use this Mac cleaner to refresh and clean up system memory for optimal performance.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: Yes | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: macOS Sierra 10.12 or later
Parallels Toolbox isn’t a traditional cleaner app. Instead, it’s a comprehensive selection of tools covering everything from system optimization to file archiving and more. Just read the names of some of the tools included in Parallels Toolbox, and you’ll instantly understand what we’re talking about: Clean Drive, Date Countdown, Free Memory, Record Window, Eject Volumes, Make GIF, Hide Menu Items.
Unfortunately, some really useful tools, such as the ability to make the built-in camera inaccessible to apps for security and privacy reasons, are available only in the Windows version of the software. Still, the Mac version offers
- Airplane Mode – Quickly and easily turn off all wireless communication, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
- Alarm – Set an alarm to notify you when your tea is ready or when it’s time to take a break.
- Archive – Compress any files with a single click to easily share them with others.
Real-time Monitoring: No | System Optimizer: No | Malware Remover: No | System Requirements: macOS 10.10 or later
As its name suggests, App Cleaner & Uninstaller is a cleaner tool that focuses on uninstalling unwanted apps and extensions without leaving behind useless junk files. It can reliably uninstall more than 1,000 apps and get rid of associated caches, application support files, and preference files. If you’re having trouble with apps running automatically on Mac startup, then you can use App Cleaner & Uninstaller to disable their launch agents and system daemons.
App Cleaner & Uninstaller has been translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and, of course, English. The free trial can be used without any major limitations for 7 days, and you can then purchase the full version for $19.90.
- Reset apps – You can use App Cleaner & Uninstaller to selectively delete service files and launch any application like for the first time.
- Remove extensions and apps – Completely remove any extension or app without leaving behind any files.
Are All Mac Cleaners Safe to Use or You Should Avoid Any?
Unfortunately, not all Mac cleaners are safe to use, and there are definitely some apps that you should avoid at all costs.
For example, Advanced Mac Cleaner is a known deceptive Mac cleaner that promises to enhance performance and remove junk files. This app performs a fake scan that always results in multiple issues being discovered. When users attempt to fix the detected issues, they quickly discover that the free version is unable to do so. The app then encourages them to upgrade to the full version, effectively trying to scam them out of money.
Other dangerous Mac cleaners that you should avoid at all costs include CompariShop, MacBright, and TURBOMAC. Should you ever accidentally install one of these Mac cleaners, uninstall it as soon as possible and use third-party antivirus software to verify that no other malware is left on your Mac.
We hope that our list of the top 15 free Mac cleaner software available in 2021 has helped you find at least one app that meets all your requirements, allowing you to restore your Mac to its former glory. Just make sure to use it on a regular basis, and you should be able to avoid common performance and stability issues caused by insufficient storage space, unnecessary apps, and leftover files.
What is the best Mac cleaner?
The best Mac cleaners you can download right now include CleanMyMac X by MacPaw, Disk Drill, CCleaner, DaisyDisk, and Disk Doctor. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using multiple cleaners, taking advantage of each cleaner’s unique features.
Are Mac cleaners safe?
That depends on which Mac cleaner you choose. There are some Mac file cleaners and system optimizers that are anything but safe, such as Advanced Mac Cleaner, so you need to choose carefully and avoid downloading the first app you come across. That said, all Mac cleaners featured in this article are 100% safe and trustworthy.
How do I clean my Mac of junk for free?
There are several Mac cleaners that you can download and use for free without any limitations. There are also countless Mac cleaners that are free to try, providing access to some features and requiring you to purchase a license to unlock the rest.
What Mac cleaner does Apple recommend?
Apple doesn’t provide any official recommendations when it comes to third-party Mac cleaners, which is why Mac users have to rely on lists such as this one.