CleanMyMac X Review 2024: Make Your Mac Like New

CleanMyMac X promises to make your Mac as good as new. Does it live up to the promise? We ran it through our tests to find out.
3.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On CleanMyMac X's website

CleanMyMac X
  • Cleanup tools optimize space
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No verified third-party malware tests
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If you’re a Mac user and have been looking for a product that’s specific to your device, CleanMyMac X may be the software for you. MacPaw’s CleanMyMac X comes with tons of tools to keep your Mac in tip-top shape. Not only do you get a malware removal tool, but you get optimization tools, a file shredder, a mail attachment remover, and more.

We should note CleanMyMac X is specifically designed for macOS, so it doesn’t have an app for iOS and doesn’t work on PC. Overall, we’re pretty impressed with CleanMyMac X, and we’ll show you why. But read this before you buy; there are some options it doesn’t have.

In this article
CleanMyMac X review at a glance
Who is CleanMyMac X best for?
CleanMyMac X cost
CleanMyMac X features
CleanMyMac X antivirus test results
Our CleanMyMac X experience
CleanMyMac compatibility
CleanMyMac X customer support
CleanMyMac X FAQs
Bottom line: Is CleanMyMac X good?

CleanMyMac X review at a glance

Price Free or $34.95-$79.95/yr
Free plan Yes, or 7-day free trial for paid version
# of devices protected 1, 2, or 5 Macs
Malware scans Manual
Real-time malware protection Yes
Junk cleaner Yes
Drive space visualizer Yes
Device optimization Yes
Browser history eraser Yes
Learn more Get CleanMyMac X

Who is CleanMyMac X best for?

  • Recommended for Mac users who want an antivirus designed for their device that also includes extra tools to optimize macOS efficiency

While CleanMyMac X is missing a few standard features you’d normally find in an antivirus, like scheduled scanning and dark web monitoring, it packs a powerful punch for many Apple aficionados.

If you’ve ever joined the Mac versus Windows debate, you know there are more antivirus products built for PC use. Thankfully, CleanMyMac X evens things out with a full lineup of malware removal, cleanup, and speed-optimizing features that help free up your disk space and make your Mac run more efficiently. MacPaw even claims the software works so well that your Mac will work like new.

If you’ve ever gotten bogged down and seen that all too familiar beach ball spinning on your Mac desktop, you know how frustrating it can be to try to free up space. You reboot, but that doesn’t work either. 

CleanMyMac X looks deep into your machine to find files that stayed behind without you knowing. For less than $40 per year, it’s worth it to many Mac users to see the performance boost. The accompanying Mac cleaning tools and malware removal are the icing on the cake.

CleanMyMac X pros and cons

Pros
  • Speedy installation
  • Fast malware scans
  • Cleanup tools optimize space
  • Easy-to-use interface
Cons
  • No verified third-party lab tests
  • Failed in-house malware detection test
  • No scheduled scans

CleanMyMac X cost

CleanMyMac X offers a free and paid version of its antivirus. Like most software, there are limitations to the features you’ll get without a paid plan. The paid plan costs $34.95/yr and covers one Mac, which is cheap compared to MacKeeper, another Mac-specific antivirus.

With CleanMyMac X, you can cover multiple devices with annual subscriptions that cover two or five Macs. MacPaw also offers one-time purchase plans so you can purchase the antivirus once and use it forever. However, you'll have to pay for any major upgrades. 

Here’s how the free and paid versions of CleanMyMac X compare.

Version CleanMyMacx Free CleanMyMac X Paid
Price Free $34.95/yr
# of devices protected 1 1, 2 or 5
Malware scans
Real-time malware protection
Drive space visualizer
Junk cleaner
Device optimization
Browser history eraser
App updater
Details View Plan View Plan

If you purchase CleanMyMac X from the MacPaw store, it offers discounts between 30% and 50% on its one-year subscription plan. These may be under the Special Offers section, where you can upgrade from a previous version or get a competitor discount. You can also get a discount if you choose a plan for more than one Mac.

Is CleanMyMac X Free worth it?

Whether or not CleanMyMac X Free is worth it depends on your personal experience with the product and your needs.

The free version may be considered freemium, which means the company offers limited features at no cost to you, then charges a more premium fee for extras or to fully use those limited features.

For example, we can scan our MacBook to see which apps need to be updated, but when we press the Update button, we’re asked to purchase the paid version of CleanMyMac X. This happens for the junk cleaner, device optimization, and browser history eraser tools as well.

Since you can get the enhanced features for such a low cost, we recommend going for the paid plan to get access to all the options.

CleanMyMac X features

CleanMyMac X isn’t just another antivirus program, it’s an enhancement package for your Mac. With features like real-time protection, junk cleaner, and Space Lens, you get lots of options you might not find with other products.

Let’s take a look at how CleanMyMac X’s features can help make your Mac run better.

Malware and antivirus scan

When you look at the CleanMyMac X interface, you’ll see the Smart Scan option in the upper left corner. We expected to find quick and full scan options, but the way this program seems to work is a bit different.

The Smart Scan is where the magic happens. You’ll watch while it flies through your files and looks for anything suspicious.

It’s also considered the starting place for optimizing your Mac. When you run a Smart Scan, you’ll get a list of the files that could be unnecessary junk or worse, malware. The malware scan looks at potential threats and also suggests optimization tasks to increase your device speed, like emptying the trash bin.

The Malware Removal feature is the deep scan that checks every nook and cranny looking for bugs that may be hiding. The best antivirus software scans the entire machine to make sure your device is clean, and CleanMyMac X is no exception.

We would’ve liked to have seen a scheduled scan option because it helps to keep everything on track, but we guess you can’t have it all.

The Malware Removal feature on CleanMyMac X scans your entire device for malicious files.

Real-time protection

If you want the real-time monitor, you need to download the software from the MacPaw store. There are different versions of CleanMyMac X available on the App Store and Setapp as well, but these versions may differ slightly due to Apple not permitting some CleanMyMac X features.

The real-time protection looks for adware and may cut down on some of those pop-ups you see. Our real-time monitor ran in the background while we tested CleanMyMac X.

Another feature we liked is the dashboard that shows when you click the CleanMyMac X icon at the top-right corner of your desktop. It tells you when the malware database was last updated and allows you to check for newer updates.

The CleanMyMac X dashboard shows you whether real-time protection is on or not.

Junk cleaner

CleanMyMac X comes with some cleanup tools ready to make your Mac pristine by removing junk files, cache files, and even large and old files.

  • System Junk: Removes temporary files and broken items that you may not know were left behind. You can also search out and remove duplicate files with CleanMyMac X using the System Junk tool.
  • Mail Attachments: Cleans up the local copies of your email attachments and downloads (any images stored on your device from emails are removed).
  • Trash Bins: If you’re like we are, you probably moved items to the Trash and then forgot to empty it like a teenager not remembering to take the garbage out after dinner. This tool scans and removes those unwanted items still hanging around.

CleanMyMac X includes a junk cleaner as well as mail attachment and trash bin cleaning tools.

Drive space visualization

One of the most interesting aspects of CleanMyMac X is the hard drive space visualization tool, Space Lens. This feature takes a microscopic view of your storage space and builds a detailed map for you to explore.

Doing this makes it easier for you to clean because it gives you a visual representation of your folders and files. If you want to know what clutters your drive and needs cleaning, this is your tool to help create more space.

CleanMyMac X includes Space Lens, which lets you visualize your Mac's file storage.

Device optimization

One of the bigger selling points for the CleanMyMac X software is how much you can do with device optimization. Sometimes we have so much weighing down our Macs that we aren’t aware of, and some housekeeping can make a huge difference in how smoothly your device runs.

Free up RAM

If you wonder what’s taking up so much space on your Mac, you can free up your RAM by using the Maintenance feature.

You can also click on Optimization to show any heavy consumers maxing out your CPU. Alternatively, if you open the CleanMyMac X menu from the top of your Mac screen, you can also view the Memory sections and select Free Up to see what’s using the most memory.

You can clean up your RAM using CleanMyMac X and also see which apps or files are taking up the most space.

Uninstall apps

Under the Applications section of the CleanMyMac X dashboard, you’ll see the Uninstaller option. When you use this feature, the program shows you all the applications installed on your Mac. It also displays how much space they’re taking up on your device and lets you choose any apps you want to uninstall.

You may wonder why you need this feature when you can always move an app to the trash bin. Well, you might not realize when you move something to Trash, there are often remnants of the file left in your library.

It’s not only time-consuming to clean these remnants up, but if you forget to look in any area, part of the app is still there taking up space. CleanMyMac X removes the entire application for you.

Need to delete apps from your Mac? CleanMyMac X does it for you in one click.

Automatic app updater

Updating your apps can be a headache sometimes because you may not get all of them from the same place. For example, the App Store is the location for many Mac apps, but you can also download applications directly from websites.

Updating apps means remembering to go to the vendor or App Store to check for updates. CleanMyMac X removes this hassle.

You simply click on the Updater option and you’ll see the apps that need to be updated. Click the Update button and you’ll have the latest version of your apps in no time.

Automatically find and install app updates without wasting time searching with CleanMyMac X.

Browser history eraser

You can delete browser cookies, messenger chats, and your browser history with the Privacy tool. It scans your browsing history and chat data.

This is an important tool because most browsers keep a trail of your searches and leave cookies on your device. These small files take up room and also help inform advertisers and marketing companies about your browsing preferences.

If you want to leave fewer online footprints and free up some space, it’s good practice to clear your browser history, cookies, and cache regularly. If you don’t want to clear cookies manually, CleanMyMac X’s Privacy tool saves time.

CleanMyMac X antivirus test results

CleanMyMac X doesn’t have any published third-party results available, but that doesn’t mean the software isn’t good.

Antivirus companies have to pay for independent testing, so some may choose to forego it. To see how good CleanMyMac X is at detecting and removing malware, we ran tests using European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) test files. These aren’t malicious files but were designed to be detected as malware by antivirus products so you can test the functionality of the software.

When we downloaded the file, we were able to open it under the Text Editor application. We then ran the malware scan twice, but CleanMyMac X didn’t flag it.

CleanMyMac X test results

Test CleanMyMac X
Malware detection Fail

Our CleanMyMac X experience

We tested CleanMyMac X on our Macbook Air M1, running Big Sur 11.3. We tested all the features to see how they worked and what they could do for our machine. Admittedly, CleanMyMac X did seem to make our device run faster and there was no lag, even with numerous browser tabs open.

The Smart Scan and Malware Removal scans were fast, but we can’t verify how many files either one checked because it didn’t show us those details at the end of the scan. CleanMyMac X simply let us know our Mac was free of possible vulnerabilities.

It does, however, show how many files have been scanned the entire time you’ve used the product. Ours totaled up to over a million files within two days.

The optimization tools come in handy when you want to improve your Mac’s performance. We flushed our DNS cache, as this can clear IP addresses and records, making online security better and internet connectivity smoother.

We were a bit bummed when running the EICAR test, as CleanMyMac X didn’t flag the test file as malware. We ran two malware scans to be sure, but neither detected potential issues.

On the plus side, none of the features were difficult to use. The CleanMyMac X interface is incredibly intuitive and fun to explore.

We loved CleanMyMac X's intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools.

CleanMyMac compatibility

CleanMyMac X is one of the few antivirus programs made for macOS only. If you use macOS 10.13 or higher, you’re fully supported and compatible with CleanMyMac X.

The following systems can run the new version of CleanMyMac X:

  • Sonoma (14)
  • Ventura (13)
  • Monterey (12)
  • Big Sur (11)
  • Catalina (10.5)
  • Mojave (10.14)
  • High Sierra (10.13)

The following systems can only support earlier versions of CleanMyMac X:

  • Sierra (10.12)
  • Capitan (10.11)
  • Yosemite (10.10)

CleanMyMac X customer support

There's a support center on the MacPaw website where you can select the CleanMyMac X product, then choose from the options for help. This includes a Knowledge Base with a library of resources to check for assistance with an issue. You also have the MacPaw 24/7 Customer Care Live Chat feature if you need more assistance.

CleanMyMac X alternatives

If you're looking for a true antivirus to keep your Mac malware-free, CleanMyMac X may not be up to the task. We vote for using its powerful optimization tools alongside a tested antivirus program. Some of the best antivirus software for macOS includes:

  • Norton 360 Antivirus: Norton has been around for decades in the antivirus world, and it shows. This antivirus comes packed with security features like parental controls and phishing protection — all of which work with your Mac. It also earned perfect malware protection scores from AV-TEST.

    Get Norton Antivirus | Read Our Norton Antivirus Review
  • TotalAV: You'll get real-time phishing and malware protection with TotalAV's WebShield, plus additional tools like a disk usage visualizer to help you keep your Mac running smoothly. TotalAV also earned perfect malware protection scores from AV-TEST, so you know you're in good hands.

    Get TotalAV | Read Our TotalAV Review
  • AVG: AVG is a freemium antivirus program, providing a free plan with malware, spyware, and ransomware protection. It also offers premium plans with lots of scan options, Wi-Fi security, webcam protection, and more.

    Get AVG | Read Our AVG Review

CleanMyMac X FAQs


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Does CleanMyMac X really work?

CleanMyMac X works well for optimizing and cleaning your Mac. But it didn’t catch the malware test we ran, so we can’t confirm how well it works as antivirus software.


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Is CleanMyMac X approved by Apple?

MacPaw claims that CleanMyMac X is notarized by Apple, which means it is an approved build of an app that’s validated as not having malware. Since you can get it from the App Store, that also means it’s approved, or Apple wouldn’t allow it to be downloaded from its store.


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Is CleanMyMac X really free?

We referred to CleanMyMac X free as possibly being freemium software, which means you can get limited features at no cost, but you’re encouraged to buy a paid subscription to get access to all features.


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What’s better than CleanMyMac X?

If you’re looking for better software than CleanMyMac X, it depends on what you want. If you’re looking for more optimization tools than something that will catch malware, CleanMyMac X is one of the best options for macOS.

If you want a solid antivirus, no matter what device you use, other products have proven third-party testing scores for protecting against malware, like McAfee or Norton.

Bottom line: Is CleanMyMac X good?

CleanMyMac X has some definite benefits for Mac users. You get many options to optimize your device, like freeing up RAM, uninstalling apps, and updating applications. Space Lens also adds a great visualization so you can see a map of what folders are using your Mac’s valuable real estate.

For those features, CleanMyMac X is excellent. But if you need an antivirus that you can customize to schedule scans and catch the latest malware, we can’t promise you’ll be in the best hands with this software. CleanMyMac X lacks third-party test results and failed our in-house test. So we recommend you take a look at our best antivirus software guide for alternatives.

3.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On CleanMyMac X's website
CleanMyMac X
  • Cleanup tools optimize space
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No verified third-party malware tests
Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.