They’re everywhere. Some even advertise all over Mac-oriented web sites with promises to improve performance. The price tag for apps that do all that and more ranges from free to $50 and all points in between.
Here’s the story of five Mac apps that clean, repair, optimize, customize your Mac (and three are free).
Clean? Repair? Optimize? Oh My!
At the high end of Mac apps that are all that is MacKeeper. It comes with more than a dozen functions to help secure, clean, and optimize a Mac. Some Mac users consider it to be commercial malware.
For substantially less money is Cocktail, a general purpose Mac tool that also cleans, repairs, and optimizes your Mac.
It features a long list of functions. It checks the S.M.A.R.T. status of your Mac’s disk drives. It can enable or disable the Sudden Motion Sensor on Mac notebooks.
You’ve heard about all those maintenance scripts that need to run on your Mac to keep it healthy? Cocktail does that. And it rebuilds the Launch Services database, purges inactive memory, even updates Time Machine settings.
Got a trojan horse malware on your Mac? Find out with Cocktail. It can even speed up your internet connection. And, it does all that on autopilot– one click.
Not to be outdone, and priced a bit less, is TinkerTool System. The list of options is longer than I am tall.
It cleans caches, deletes files, and is better at troubleshooting Mac problems than other maintenance apps. Even better, TinkerTool System comes with an emergency tool to troubleshoot a Mac even when it won’t boot up properly.
Both TinkerTool System and Cocktail are commercial. On the free side of Mac cleaning, repairing, optimizing, and customizing tools are three free apps, Onyx, Deeper, and Maintenance.
Onyx is a multifunction tool that also runs system maintenance scripts, reveals hidden secrets in the Finder, the Dock, Safari and other Mac apps.
Maintenance does that and more, including rebuilding the Launch Services database. Deeper goes deeper by revealing dozens of hidden features in OS X and Mac apps.
All these apps are representative of the new trend in Mac maintenance. They clean up caches and cookies (sometimes called ‘optimize‘) and perform functions that should make your Mac perform better.
Many of this breed also unlock hidden features in Mac OS X and various Mac apps, so some customization is involved. Some of the functions help to secure your Mac from outside influence.
Do you need these tools? That’s the big question.
The big answer is simple. Generally speaking, your Mac will run just fine without all the tweak and adjustments they provide, regardless of price. TinkerTool System has options to help troubleshoot a Mac gone wonky. That’s good, and may be useful.
Customization is a personal thing, and all the apps open up features you may or may not like, but likely won’t add much to your daily productivity. They’re just options.
The real issue is to choose these apps wisely. Start with the free apps. If you like what you see, try the commercial apps on a trial basis. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.