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Give your Mac the best care possible, with free Mac cleaner software to keep it free from junk, clean and optimize your operating system, hard drive and memory. With Mac cleaning software, you can get your Mac running at peak performance once again. A free junk cleaner for Mac, AVG Cleaner has only two modules — disk cleanup and duplicates finder. The former will help you get rid of log files, downloaded file history, caches, and uninstall leftovers. The latter saves your storage space by deleting photo, movie, and file duplicates.

28 February 2021

Does your Mac feel a little slow and unresponsive?

Or is it displaying a 'Your disk is almost full' error message?

That could be because there are excessive junk files occupying your Mac's storage disk.

Junk files take many shapes and forms. They also have varying sizes (some are tiny files while some may run into gigabytes) and are scattered across several folders on your Mac. Manually locating and removing these unwanted disk-consuming files can be exhausting and futile.

Thanks to Mac cleaning and optimization software, you can give your Mac's storage a clean sweep and free up space within seconds. So, here are our top picks of the best Mac cleaner software in 2021.

Best disk cleaner for Mac

You'll find tons of applications out there offering disk cleanup for Mac. Choosing the best one that matches your needs can get difficult. This is why we compiled this list containing ten of the best cleaning software for Mac.

RatingNameFeatures / RemarksMore Info
1MacKeeperBest all-in-one solution to clean your Mac.
Found the most junk files.
Removes viruses, malware, and blocks ads/trackers.
Provides 24/7 monitoring on your Mac for data breaches.
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2CleanMyMac XOffers a “Smart Scan” feature that cleans and optimizes your Mac in one click.
Comes with a “Shredder” that lets you remove locked items and junks without facing any (Finder) errors.
Link
3CCleaner for MacMonitors junk files in real-time and offers privacy protection.
“Smart Cleaning” feature automatically notifies you when there are junk files to clean.
Link

The Mac cleaners reviewed in this article all found varying gigabytes of junk files on our test device — a 128GB MacBook Pro running macOS Big Sur. Here’s a result of our findings.

  • MacKeeper 5 - 8.29 GB of junk files
  • CleanMyMac X - 7.18 GB of junk files
  • DaisyDisk - 2.10 GB of junk files
  • CCleaner - 3.49 GB of junk files
  • Cleaner One Pro - 8.20 GB of junk files
  • Onyx - 3.80 GB of junk files
  • AVG Cleaner - 3.17 GB of junk files
  • Mac Cleaner Pro - 4.00 GB of junk files
  • Avast Cleaner for Mac - 3.50 GB of junk files
  • Disk Doctor - 5.00 GB of junk files

This is the latest version of the MacKeeper software. MacKeeper 5 boasts of improved functionalities, refreshed design, and an easy-to-navigate interface. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac newbie or a pro—you’ll get a hang of MacKeeper easily.

MacKeeper is an all-in-one software with a bunch of built-in cleaning tools that’ll get rid of junks and redundant files eating up your Mac’s storage. As a bonus, you also get an antivirus, duplicate finder, an ad blocker, and a variety of other privacy protection utilities.

There’s a 'Find & Fix' section where you can check the status of your Mac's storage, security, and overall performance at the click of a button.

MacKeeper also has an Auto-scan feature that’s enabled by default. So you don’t have to set a reminder or schedule to get your Mac scanned for vulnerabilities — MacKeeper does that automatically in the background.

As a cherry on top, MacKeeper also comes with a built-in 'Update Tracker'. This tool checks your Mac for outdated software and updates them accordingly.

You can also use MacKeeper’s “Smart Uninstaller” tool to uninstall apps and remove their respective leftover files.

  • Price: From $14.95 (1-month plan).
  • Download: Available here.

CleanMyMac X offers a suite of tools that removes junk files and malware from your Mac. The software has a clean interface and you’ll find everything you need to clean and optimize your Mac on the right sidebar.

There’s also a 'Smart Scan' feature that thoroughly scans your Mac and cleans unneeded junk, neutralizes potential threats, and boosts your system performance.

Like MacKeeper, CleanMyMac X also lets you effectively manage applications on your Mac. You can use the utilities in the Applications module to uninstall applications, remove system extensions, and find outdated apps and update them accordingly.

The Maintenance module will free up disk space on your Mac’s disk, repair broken file permission, and compress the size of your (Time Machine) backup.

CleanMyMac X is a paid cleaning tool but you can use the trial version for free. However, you should note that the trial version comes with a 500MB cleaning limit.

  • Price: From $39.95 (1-year subscription).
  • Download: Available here.

CCleaner is a household name in the cleaning software industry, and the company has one of the best Mac cleaning software.

CCleaner offers a cleaning utility that analyzes your Mac’s storage to hunt out cache files, browser cookies, and other junk files. It scans both system and third-party applications, leaving no stone unturned.

Asides from cleaning junk files, CCleaner also offers other performance optimization tools to instantly free up Mac memory. For example, you can use the 'Startup' tool to change your Mac's startup programs and optimize your Mac's startup speed.

The built-in “Duplicate Finder” will also help free up extra space by removing duplicate files located in similar or different folders on your Mac.

CCleaner is available for free, but there's a professional version that costs $19.95. The free version has the essential tools you need to get your Mac's storage spick and span. Likewise, it has no limit on the quantity of junks you can clean from your Mac.

However, if you fancy advanced features like automatic erasure of browser history, real-time monitoring of junk files, and automatic updates, you'll need to upgrade to the professional version.

  • Price: $19.95 (1-year subscription).
  • Download: Available here.

OnyX is free and gets the job done, it's not the most beginner-friendly app to clean up your Mac. The app's functionalities, utilities, and settings aren't out in the open, so it'll take some getting used to. When you get a hang of it, however, cleaning your Mac becomes a breeze.

OnyX has a deep-cleaning Storage management tool. You’ll find this in the Applications tab of the app’s Utilities section. The tool will uninstall unsupported applications, remove TV programmes and shows you've already watched, and delete junk items and cache files — all in a bid to save as much disk space as it can.

You can use OnyX for free, forever. However, make sure you download a version that’s compatible with your Mac’s operating system from the developer’s website.

  • Price: Free.
  • Download: Available here.

DaisyDisk does away with all the fancy stuff and takes a straightforward approach towards junk removal.

At the click of a button, DaisyDisk will scan your entire Mac disk in less than a minute and categorize your data into an interactive, color-coded map. Data labels are also displayed at the top-right corner of the app for easy identification.

To preview the content of the category, click on a data label or its corresponding color on the map to preview the content of the category. If you find a suspiciously large file consuming your Mac’s storage, all you need to do is drag the file to the Delete queue located at the bottom-left corner of the app.

This is one of the best apps to perform a disk cleanup on Mac. The simplicity and disk-scanning speed are two of its highlight features.

The only downside is that DaisyDisk isn't beginner-friendly. It shows you things eating up your Mac's storage but it doesn't tell you which ones are junk files or malware. You'll have to find and delete them yourself.

  • Price: $9.95 (One-time payment).
  • Download: Available here.

Formerly known as Dr. Cleaner, Cleaner One Pro (developed by Trend Micro) is another reliable app to clean up your Mac, particularly if you have a lot of duplicate photos.

It deep-cleans your Mac's storage by removing junk files, duplicate files, similar photos, and so on. There’s also a 'Big Files' tool that lets you preview and delete big files (between 10MB and 500MB) consuming excessive disk space.

The Smart Scan feature will check for vulnerabilities affecting your Mac’s performance and suggest actions to get them fixed.

Cleaner One Pro also comes with a menu bar tool that displays a quick overview of your Mac's CPU usage, memory usage, network status in real-time.

  • Price: $14.95 (1-year subscription).
  • Download: Available here.

Avast is renowned for its antivirus software but its Cleanup tool for Mac is just as good.

The app will clean up your Mac by removing junk files, duplicate documents, and applications that you barely use.

Avast Cleanup uses a unique image-detection technology to scan your photo gallery for bad images that are under-exposure, over-exposed, or blurry.

Everything you need to declutter your Mac is clearly spelled out on the app's dashboard. There are no hidden tools or menus. Simply launch the app, grant it access to your Mac's disk, scan for unwanted files, and choose what you want to keep or delete.

You can download Avast Cleanup for free but there’s a catch: the trial version works in scan-only mode. To clean your Mac with the app, you’ll need to sign up for an Avast Cleanup Premium subscription; Avast may provide a 60-day subscription-free trial period.

  • Price: $47.99 (1-year subscription).
  • Download: Available here.

This Mac system cleaner offers two main tools: a Disk Cleaner and a Duplicate Finder.

The former will scan the nook and cranny of your Mac for hidden files (application caches, junk files, unnecessary downloads, and so on) taking up disk space. The Duplicate Finder, on the other hand, will dig out identical files and folders.

The overall disk cleaning process is simple and effortless. The Duplicate Finder supports a drag-and-drop functionality that lets you find duplicate files in specific folders on your Mac. Simply drag the folder to the Duplicate Finder section and leave the rest to the AVG Cleaner.

  • Price: Free.
  • Download: Available here.
Storage

Disk Doctor is one of the few junk cleaners that removes a wide variety of unnecessary files from your Mac: application caches, message attachments, temporary files, application leftovers, partial or uncompleted downloads, application log files — you name it.

The app automatically scans your disk and groups unneeded files into 20 different categories. You can preview the files and choose what to keep and what to delete.

How To Find Mac Storage Capacity

The app ships with a light interface by default but you can switch to a dark theme if you want. Disk Doctor is strictly a paid app; it costs $2.99 and is available on the App Store.

We advise that you download and use the Free Demo version of the app before making a purchase. That way, you can easily decide if it’s worth the investment or not.

Free mac storage cleaner reviews

We should mention that the Free Demo version only allows you to scan your drive. You cannot use it to remove junk or optimize your Mac's storage.

  • Price: $2.99 (One-time payment).
  • Download: Available here.

Think of MacCleaner Pro as a full-fledged file manager with disk cleaning and system optimization capabilities.

On the app’s dashboard, you’ll find an overview of your Mac’s storage color-coded into several file types and categories: system files, duplicate files, applications, documents, movies, and so on. Click on any of the categories to view the items occupying significant disk space.

In addition to removing junk files, there are additional tools that can help you fix issues affecting your Mac’s performance. The Speedup Tool, for example, will rebuild the Spotlight index, disabling startup apps, and free up RAM.

The built-in App Cleaner will also reset malfunctioning apps, manage browser extensions, remove unwanted/unused applications and delete their leftover files.

MacCleaner Pro’s junk cleaner and system optimization tools are available to all users. On the other hand, you’ll need to purchase the app to use pro tools like the duplicate finder, app uninstaller, and disk analyzer.

Free
  • Price: $44.99 (One-time payment).
  • Download: Available here.

FAQ

What is the best Mac cleaning software in the market?

MacKeeper does a pretty good job. It is lightweight and you need not have any technical knowledge to use it. The interface is easy to understand and you can swiftly find junk files at the click of a button. It also comes with performance-optimization features that allows you to monitor your Mac.s memory and other resource-intensive processes in real-time.

Do Mac cleaners really work and won't slow down my Mac?

Yes, cleaning software really does help to declutter your Mac. We tested all ten applications in this article and they performed brilliantly. A cleaning software may consume CPU resources and slow down your Mac if it’s registered as a Login Item — an app that opens automatically when you boot up your Mac.

We should also mention that Mac cleaners will not slow down your Mac while scanning for junk files. If a Mac cleaner slows down your Mac's speed or performance, you may have too many apps open and running in the background. Close apps that you aren't using and try again.

Are Mac cleaner apps safe to use?

Mac cleaner apps from trusted developers are safe to use.

However, some malicious Mac cleaning software has a history of stealing users' data. Therefore, make sure you perform your due diligence and only use cleaners from reputable software companies.

The Optimized Storage features of your Mac help you save storage space by storing your content in iCloud and making it available on demand:

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  • When storage space is needed, files, photos, movies, email attachments, and other files that you seldom use are stored in iCloud automatically.
  • Each file stays right where you last saved it, and downloads when you open it.
  • Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimized versions of your photos.

If you haven't yet upgraded to macOS Sierra or later, learn about other ways to free up storage space.

Find out how much storage is available on your Mac

Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac, then click Storage. Each segment of the bar is an estimate of the storage space used by a category of files. Move your pointer over each segment for more detail.

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Click the Manage button to open the Storage Management window, pictured below.

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Manage storage on your Mac

The Storage Management window offers recommendations for optimizing your storage. If some recommendations are already turned on, you will see fewer recommendations.

Store in iCloud

Click the Store in iCloud button, then choose from these options:

  • Desktop and Documents. Store all files from these two locations in iCloud Drive. When storage space is needed, only the files you recently opened are kept on your Mac, so that you can easily work offline. Files stored only in iCloud show a download icon , which you can double-click to download the original file. Learn more about this feature.
  • Photos. Store all original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. When storage space is needed, only space-saving (optimized) versions of photos are kept on your Mac. To download the original photo or video, just open it.
  • Messages. Store all messages and attachments in iCloud. When storage space is needed, only the messages and attachments you recently opened are kept on your Mac. Learn more about Messages in iCloud.

Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach or exceed your iCloud storage limit, you can either buy more iCloud storage or make more iCloud storage available. iCloud storage starts at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, and you can purchase additional storage directly from your Apple device. Learn more about prices in your region.

Optimize Storage

Click the Optimize button to save space by automatically removing watched movies and TV shows. When storage space is needed, movies or TV shows that you purchased from Apple and already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the download icon next to a movie or TV show to download it again.

Your Mac will also save space by keeping only recent email attachments on this Mac when storage space is needed. You can manually download any attachments at any time by opening the email or attachment, or saving the attachment to your Mac.

Optimizing storage for movies, TV shows, and email attachments doesn't require iCloud storage space.

Empty Trash Automatically

Empty Trash Automatically permanently deletes files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.

Reduce Clutter

Reduce Clutter helps you identify large files and files you might no longer need. Click the Review Files button, then choose any of the file categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, Music Creation, or Trash.

You can delete the files in some categories directly from this window. Other categories show the total storage space used by the files in each app. You can then open the app and decide whether to delete files from within it.

Learn how to redownload apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books.


Where to find the settings for each feature

The button for each recommendation in the Storage Management window affects one or more settings in other apps. You can also control those settings directly within each app.

  • If you're using macOS Catalina or later, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Apple ID, then select iCloud in the sidebar: Store in iCloud turns on the Optimize Mac Storage setting on the right. To turn off iCloud Drive entirely, deselect iCloud Drive.
  • If you're using macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Options next to iCloud Drive. Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders and Optimize Mac Storage settings.
  • In Photos, choose Photos > Preferences, then click iCloud. Store in iCloud selects iCloud Photos and Optimize Mac Storage.
  • In Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. Store in iCloud selects Enable Messages in iCloud.
  • If you're using macOS Catalina or later, open the Apple TV app, choose TV > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Files. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
  • In you're using macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Advanced. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
  • In Mail, choose Mail > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Accounts. In the Account Information section on the right, Optimize Storage sets the Download Attachments menu to either Recent or None.

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Empty Trash Automatically: From the Finder, choose Finder > Preferences, then click Advanced. Empty Trash Automatically selects “Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.”

Other ways that macOS helps automatically save space

With macOS Sierra or later, your Mac automatically takes these additional steps to save storage space:

  • Detects duplicate downloads in Safari, keeping only the most recent version of the download
  • Reminds you to delete used app installers
  • Removes old fonts, languages, and dictionaries that aren't being used
  • Clears caches, logs, and other unnecessary data when storage space is needed

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How to free up storage space manually

Even without using the Optimized Storage features described in this article, you can take other steps to make more storage space available:

Mac Storage Solutions

  • Music, movies, and other media can use a lot of storage space. Learn how to delete music, movies, and TV shows from your device.
  • Delete other files that you no longer need by moving them to the Trash, then emptying the Trash. The Downloads folder is good place to look for files that you might no longer need.
  • Move files to an external storage device.
  • Compress files.
  • Delete unneeded email: In the Mail app, choose Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail. If you no longer need the email in your Trash mailbox, choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items.

Free Mac Storage Cleaner Software

Learn more

  • The Storage pane of About This Mac is the best way to determine the amount of storage space available on your Mac. Disk Utility and other apps might show storage categories such as Not Mounted, VM, Recovery, Other Volumes, Other, Free, or Purgeable. Don't rely on these categories to understand how to free up storage space or how much storage space is available for your data.
  • When you duplicate a file on an APFS-formatted volume, that file doesn't use additional storage space on the volume. Deleting a duplicate file frees up only the space required by any data you might have added to the duplicate. If you no longer need any copies of the file, you can recover all of the storage space by deleting both the duplicate and the original file.
  • If you're using a pro app and Optimize Mac Storage, learn how to make sure that your projects are always on your Mac and able to access their files.