Erase useless files on your Mac

If your Mac feels a bit sluggish, don't run off to the computer repair guy just yet. CleanMyMac makes it easy to erase unneeded files and free up a significant amount of space for a quicker, nimbler Mac.

Does your Mac feel sluggish? Internet surfing, downloading software, and just plain regular use are all major contributors to filling up your hard drive with useless files. As time goes by, your Mac starts to fill up with cache files, unused language files, and even leftover installers, making your whole system struggle to keep track of it all. You can go through and try to clean out a lot of these files manually, but knowing that it might take you a significant amount of time makes it easy to put off until later.

Fortunately, there are a number of utilities for Mac to tweak settings, clear out cache files, and optimize your system to give your Mac an extra bump in performance. But one program updated recently might be the best I've encountered on the Mac and it's so easy to use, there's simply no reason not to whip your Mac into shape.

CleanMyMac goes through and clears out files depending on what you have checked on the left. We're not sure why you would Tweet your results, but there are probably worse things to Tweet. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

CleanMyMac ($14.95) features a sleek gray and blue interface with a list of system maintenance options it performs on the left. You can do a full system scan to find all the junk files on your computer or just check the boxes next to specific areas you want to clean. CleanMyMac cleans areas including the system and Internet caches, user and system log files, old installers, leftover support files from old apps, and unused language files (probably the biggest offender for taking up space).

Select only the languages you need to free up more space. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Before you scan, make sure to look through the preferences by hitting the button on the upper right. In this pane you'll be able to decide which areas CleanMyMac will attack by default. You also can select which languages you want to keep and clean out the languages you'll never use. Beyond its regular cleaning functions, CleanMyMac also has a Secure Erase feature you can select if you want to make sure the files you delete are unrecoverable. We don't recommend selecting this box (under the advanced settings) until you are absolutely sure your system runs normally after a cleaning.

Overall, CleanMyMac does a good job of cleaning out files you don't need and freeing up space on your hard drive. Its one-click scan tells you in advance how much space you will save (I recovered more than 2GB) and lets you decide what to clean. When you're finished, your Mac should feel a bit snappier in regular use, and with proper maintenance will continue to run at peak performance.

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.