Few programs in the Mac world have such a bad reputation as MacKeeper. But now it's back, with a new look and a tidy image.
So is it time to rethink this controversial software? Let's take a look.
What is MacKeeper?
If you've heard of MacKeeper, what you've heard was probably negative. You may have heard of the aggressive advertising and scareware tactic that was used to try and get people to pay for problems they didn't have. There was also a data breach that revealed information about around 13 million of its users.
This got so bad that other antivirus products labeled MacKeeper as a PUP – possibly unwanted program.
MacKeeper is now on the way back. There is a new management team, the company has cleared its advertising (and affiliates are accused of ruining its reputation), and the program is now being notarized by Apple.
Is it worth installing now once you've stayed away from MacKeeper?
What MacKeeper does
MacKeeper is an all-in-one performance and security solution for Mac. It is divided into four modules: cleaning, performance, security and privacy. There are three tools in each section, most of which are free.
With an optional subscription, you get virus protection and a VPN. And since it is aimed at less tech-savvy users, you can also get technical support via online or live chat as part of the premium plan.
When you start MacKeeper for the first time, it will scan your Mac, go through parts of each module, and highlight items to be repaired. If you haven't paid by this time, you will be warned that your Mac is vulnerable and vulnerable. However, there is no obligation to subscribe.
MacKeeper runs a simple scan every day and notifies you of major problems.
You can also access all of the individual utilities separately. Here's a closer look at what they're doing.
Cleaning and performance
The Cleaning and performance The modules contain a number of tools to optimize your Mac. They are effective software solutions for hardware problems.
You get in the cleaning area Safe cleaningthat looks for unwanted data such as language files, logs and caches. There are also Finder for duplicatesthat tracks down multiple copies of the same file. Smart uninstaller You can cleanly remove apps and delete the files left over from your previous uninstallations.
However, the benefits are modest. These tools made it possible to regain around 2.8 GB of storage space on our drive. Without caches, which macOS normally does itself, this value dropped to around 800 MB. MacKeeper itself used around 240 MB as a reference, with everything set up and installed.
These utilities are fine for the rare spring cleaning. However, if you need to use them regularly, major problems will arise. Instead, buy an external drive for your Mac to permanently increase your storage space.
By doing performance There is the module Memory cleaner. This will attempt to free RAM by shutting down background apps, but will give the same result as restarting. In any case, macOS processes the memory well enough without the need for third-party apps.
Registration elements also repeats something that already exists in macOS: the ability to control what starts when your Mac boots
Add, remove, and delay startup items on your Mac
The tool allows you to view some system processes that are starting (as well as apps), but doesn't provide meaningful guidance on what you should or shouldn't disable. There's a reason Apple is hiding this.
The best of the bunch was Update tracker. Here you will find updates to the programs that you have installed outside of the App Store. It worked with most – but not all – of our apps and found 16 updates available.
MacKeeper is best known for security. The main part of the safety Module is Antivirusyou have to pay to activate.
Oddly enough, real-time protection isn't enabled by default. Given that the app is aimed at casual users, this seems to be something they can easily overlook. In addition to the real-time scan, you can perform a full scan or a custom scan to check individual files or folders.
It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of antivirus software until you become infected. In addition, the jury is not yet sure whether Macs need anti-virus software at all.
A full scan took about an hour and, unsurprisingly, showed no problems. Unfortunately, services like AV Test do not yet have independent tests of MacKeeper's anti-virus features. It is therefore difficult to judge exactly how effective they are.
The other security tools are Adware cleanerthat looks for adware and other malware. This also does real-time scans. You have to activate it again, this time through a hidden setting Settings.
A copy of the Find My feature is also installed on every Mac that MacKeeper calls Chase my Mac. To justify its existence, it has an additional function: a photo is taken of everyone who tries and does not log on to your computer.
You need to install and activate this separately. To do this, you must give MacKeeper permission to track your location and use your camera.
We had problems with it. At first it was difficult to find our location and later it didn't work at all. This resulted in a complete reinstallation of MacKeeper to get it up and running again. We stick to the Apple version.
The last module is privacy. This offers StopAdThis will install ad blocker extensions for Safari or Chrome. It also contains ID theft protectionwho monitors email addresses for possible data breaches.
Theft protection Shows whether and how your addresses were involved in violations, including listing compromised passwords. You can add as many email addresses as you want, but you must check them to prove that they belong to you.
The main part of the data protection module is a VPN called Private connection. It's a no-frills service – you can choose hundreds of servers in dozens of locations, but you can't use advanced features such as a kill switch.
No connection failures were found during the test, but we found a small impact on performance. Selection of Best server Option, we achieved an average speed of 36 Mbit / s and a ping rate of 57 ms, compared to 47 Mbit / s and 18 ms when the device was switched off.
When connecting from Great Britain to New York, we achieved an average of 25.73 Mbit / s with a ping rate of 159 ms. For Netflix, however, that's still fast enough.
More serious users like to research their VPNs and may find that information about the MacKeeper service (including a logging policy) is somewhat scarce. However, this is a good choice for casual users.
How to uninstall MacKeeper
If a program has a questionable reputation, one of the main problems is how easy it is to uninstall.
Dragging MacKeeper to the trash is not enough. It leaves some traces elsewhere, including a significant footprint in the / Library / Application Support / MacKeeper Folder.
We recommend using a free tool like AppCleaner to make sure everything is removed.
Should You Use MacKeeper?
The good news is that MacKeepers seem to be behind dodgy days. However, this does not mean that the installation is worthwhile. The free tools can usually be divided into three groups and do not offer much value.
First, it's the ones that duplicate features that already exist in macOS. Second, are tools that don't actually do anything. Finally, other features have countless smaller alternatives that are freely available in the Mac App Store or elsewhere. (There are many ways to uninstall apps on a Mac
How to uninstall programs on a Mac
, for example.)
Update Tracker was the most useful for us and there is no free competition. However, if you don't want to pay, it's better to find and download smaller alternative apps when you need them.
As you'd expect, the paid components – the VPN and antivirus tools – are the best parts of MacKeeper. But there is no shortage of alternatives either. And it cannot be overlooked that MacKeeper is at the more expensive end of the market.
MacKeeper costs $ 19.95 a month or $ 143.40 a year. By comparison, equivalent subscriptions to the Malwarebytes anti-malware service and private VPN internet access would cost $ 79.91 for a 12-month period.
You can also just use free Mac antivirus software instead.
Essential Mac utilities
Bloated all-in-one packages are an old-fashioned concept. It's usually easier to use small utilities to solve certain problems or learn how to do it yourself. Our guide to freeing up space on macOS will help you get started.
And remember that software performance is limited. Always watch for the signs that it's time to replace your Mac
6 characters It's time to replace your Mac
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