So, you randomly fire up your Mac one day and you find yourself suddenly bombarded with distracting popups and notifications telling you your Mac is “severely at risk” and heavily clogged with junk files, caches, and other stuff that fails to meet your standards of comprehension and understanding.
“Fortunately” for you, the popup also says there’s a solution for it; pay for the registered version of Mackeeper and they’ll get rid of all the junk for you and your Mac will be as good as new.
Hurrah! Your knight in shining armor.
And you think to yourself. Wait. Is this even legit?
If you end up doubting the legitimacy of this program and whether or not is it actually endorsed by Apple, your cause for concern is justified.
Let us run through what MacKeeper is, what it does and why you’re probably better off not having it installed on your Mac.
Spoiler alert; It is not an Apple product.
What is MacKeeper?
MacKeeper is a utility software distributed by Clario Tech Limited. The program doesn’t exactly enjoy a good reputation in the Mac community because of its aggressive advertising such as the popups or notification bars that you might have come across.
According to their website, MacKeeper seems to be your typical run of the mill cleaning program. One look at their website and you already come upon far-fetched promises of
“Make your Mac snappier—in a snap”
“You don’t need a new Mac. You need MacKeeper”
“Feel safe in a digital world that is not”
As is with most of these programs promising to do wonders for you; they don’t come free. Their website gives different price listings catering to one or multiple Mac devices as per your needs.
And to the surprise of some, Apple has consistently denied any endorsement of the software and maintains that its run and maintained solely by its developer- Clario Tech Limited.
What does MacKeeper do?
MacKeeper does many things. When you first install it, it will likely warn you that your system is “dirty” “dangerous” and “deteriorated”.
Ironically enough, even for some users who have recently purchased a new Mac, MacKeeper will warn them that their device’s overall system health is critical, which is where we see some red flags popping up.
To fix these so-called issues detected by their “scan”, MacKeeper will delete these junk files and caches and will act as your anti-virus software. It will also enable Internet security, anti-theft features and ensure that all your apps are up to date.
Down to its core, what MacKeeper is, is essentially a collection of many different utilities- some of which may be beneficial for you in your particular use case scenario.
It is equipped with tools for tracking app updates, managing apps that start up when you log in, and controlling your default apps. Other features that come with it include the “Geek on Demand” feature that allows you to get remote assistance from their 24/7 customer support team and tools for encrypting your files with a password, recovering deleted files, “shredding” files so that they can’t be recovered, and backing up your files.
Do I need Mackeeper?
Right from the moment you launch it, MacKeeper makes some pretty bold claims about dramatically improving your Mac and its performance- all the tactics it can deploy into getting you to worry about your device’s health and pay up for their premium services.
The data cleanup tool it comes with does actually work, although freeing up 2GB of space like it claims is a farfetched idea. For most Mac users, the disk space it does free up won’t translate into any major improvement in performance and only for devices with small solid-state drives will this feature be even remotely useful.
MacKeeper will also tell you that your Mac is “dangerous” because you haven’t enabled their Internet security feature. What it won’t tell you however, is that most Mac users don’t need to.
Antivirus programs aren’t usually a necessity on Mac devices because even though Mac malware exists and can potentially infect your device’s system, by following certain simple rules, your Mac can stay secure.
First would be to not use the Java browser plug-in, don’t use Java plug-ins on any device for that matter. Apple even went as far as to remove it from Mac OS X after it caused an outbreak of the Flashback Trojan on Mac devices.
The second rule would be to avoid downloading pirated Mac software and to leave the Gatekeeper feature enabled. What this feature essentially does is that it prevents untrusted and potentially dangerous applications from running on your Mac device.
Another feature that MacKeeper tries to sell to you- and another one that you probably don’t need- is their anti-phishing feature. This prevents online scams by blocking out emails sent out by potential scammers impersonating legitimate organizations. Though many users could benefit from this feature, the fact that many modern browsers like Safari, Chrome and Firefox all include built-in anti-phishing features renders it useless.
Other features that MacKeeper will try to sell to you include those that your Mac might already have. MacKeeper will tell you your Mac is “dangerous” because you haven’t installed their anti-theft feature. To this you can say your Mac is as secure as you need it to be because it comes with a built-in “Find My Mac” feature powered by iCloud; which (no points for guessing) does pretty much the same thing, probably just better and for free.
MacKeeper will also warn you that you don’t have the latest versions of Google Chrome and VLC. You can rest easy because these applications come with built-in features that allow them to check for updates and subsequently update automatically.
Why you should delete MacKeeper from your device?
Since we’ve already established that it does you no good, and the little good it does just not justify paying the price for it, should you let the program rest on your Mac device or should you remove it?
Deleting it would be the right way to go about it. Most experienced users classify MacKeeper as malware itself; its popup adds and warning notifications have apparently troubled many.
Its aggressive advertising style has landed its parent company, Clario Tech Limited, in hot water on many occasions. Their popup themed advertisements have drawn criticisms from far and wide including criticisms of aggressive affiliate marketing, pop-under ads and planting sock puppet reviews as well as websites set up to discredit their competitors.
In January 2014, the company was also subjected to a class-action lawsuit according to which “neither the free trial nor the full registered versions of MacKeeper performed any credible diagnostic testing”. Similar lawsuits were filed against Clario Tech on May 2014 and August 2015 with the latter being settled for US$2million dollars.
According to many users online, MacKeeper has been strangely notoriously hard to remove from their Mac devices and this suspicious behavior is exactly why we wouldn’t advise to let it sit there on your system.
10 alternatives to MacKeeper:
With the reliability of MacKeeper out of the question, here are some other alternatives you can consider to get the same job done, albeit in a more secure way:
- CCleaner: A cleaning tool that performs the same functions as MacKeeper with the added advantage of being free. Easily the most popular choice out there.
- Onyx: A program that specializes in letting you peek under the hood of your macOS and automate a whole list of jobs, like disk cleanup and cache removal.
- CleanMyMac X: This program combines the general disk cleaning functions with a reliable antimalware tool.
- Disk Doctor: A well-trusted and well-rewarded alternative that has earned the recommendation of many tech journalists
- Gemini 2: A duplicate finder that allows you to free up gigabytes of storage and organize your files. In just a few minutes.
- DaisyDisk: This program gives you a visual representation of your Mac folders, making it easy to see what is taking up space and delete the folders you don’t need
- AppCleaner: The perfect program for you if you only need to uninstall apps on your Mac. AppCleaner specializes in removing applications, plugins, and widgets.
- Smart Mac Care: Featuring a smart, minimalistic UI, this program allows you to free up a considerable amount of space on your Mac.
- Drive Genius: A “Mac monitoring software” that helps you to scan for malware, secure-erase files and also customize icons.
- Sensei: A relatively new program on the market that’s rapidly gaining praise from critics and users alike.
MacKeeper is absolutely not an Apple product neither does it carry their endorsement. It can be of some use to you for reclaiming disk space, but it won’t dramatically speed up your Mac as promised by the bold claims on its website.
Many critics online have claimed that the software can cause computers to slow down and crash, and can be notoriously hard to remove.
Your Mac device already comes equipped with many of the system utilities you need for important features such as backups, security and anti-theft. There is little reason, if any, to purchase software to perform these tasks and clean up your disk. If you are interested in specialized programs for this purpose however, there are far better alternatives than MacKeeper as listed in our 10 alternatives.