It’s well known by most Mac owners that if you free up hard drive space on your Mac, it will in turn run faster and better. This can be done easily with a Mac cleaning program like CCleaner, which rids your Mac of junk. With so many cleaning utilities though, it is difficult to know which one you need, and can trust. With that in mind, I have done some of the legwork for you by installing, using, and reviewing some of the more popular Mac cleanup utilities, including but not limited to MacKeeper, CleanMyMac, and today’s guest, the well known CCleaner for Mac.


CCleaner for Mac, which also has a very well known and loved version for Windows OS, is made by the reputable software company Piriform. You can download the CCleaner app from Piriform’s website, or from Apple’s App Store. At less than 3MB in size, it installs quickly and easily on any Mac OS X that is running versions 10.5 to 10.7 Lion. There is no cost for CCleaner, as it is a freeware program.

CCleaner Interface

Opening into a very simple layout CCleaner is nothing fancy to look at, which for some may be comforting as it definitely gives an air of ease about it. For others, the lack of items that appear on the screen can may make you feel that the program will be too simplified and unable to do a good enough job of cleaning up their Mac. CCleaner is best known as a Windows cleaner, a very popular and well like on at that. Do not expect, however, for the Mac OS version to be as good or as thorough as its sister program for Windows.

The setup is similar to most Mac cleaning programs, with the tasks on the left, data in the center, and the action buttons at the bottom. At the top left it describes your Mac’s system.

Something left out is any description of what a particular task does, any risk involved in using any of their tools, a progress bar, or any notation whatsoever on how to run the program. There are links to their site which will give you more information, but other than that CCleaner is a very simple program to run.

Features & Cleaning

CCleaner describes their software this way: “CCleaner is our system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system.”

After installing and running CCleaner I found that to some degree it does do what it claims to do, and it’s not limited to Safari, it cleans multiple browsers. As for applications, however, it cleans mostly the main Mac apps, including but not limited to iMovie, Adobe, and iTunes. Therefore, in my opinion, this program is more of a cleanup utility for online activities then it is an overall Mac system cleaner.

Other Features

Something a bit more unique from other cleanup programs, is that it has a Cookie Management feature, which allows you to choose which cookies (if any) you wish to to keep. CCleaner for Mac also provides an Uninstaller, which you can use to remove apps you no longer use, a Repair Permissions interface, and an Erase Free Space tool. The Repair Permissions tool works just like Repair Permissions from Disk Utility.


The words that come to mind first when I think of CCleaner’s performance are slow, frustrating, and unnecessary. The initial ‘analyze’ process took nearly nearly 4 minutes, and the Erase Free Space can take hours. Here is where my warning comes in though. When running the Erase Free Space feature, I began getting notices that I was running out of hard drive space. Before I began I had plenty of space so I was quite confused.

At 2 hours of running this task, my Mac shows a pop up saying that I have little space left on my hard drive and would need to delete some apps. It would not allow me to get to my apps to delete however, and it just locked into this screen. To make a long story short, I did everything I knew how to do, such as (not in this order) attempting to reinstall Snow Leopard, using Terminal, Repair Permissions, or restore to a point in Time Machine, but none of these things worked and I was stuck.

I was left with the option of spending several more hours of digging to at least recover some files, or performing a full system restore. I use my Mac for work and have most files in DropBox, so I made the decision to spend my day restoring, reinstalling, and remaking my Mac into my own again. Extremely frustrating.

I then did a search to see if I am the only one to experience such a problem with CCleaner, but unfortunately I was not. At this link on Piriform’s support page others have complained of this issue as well.


CCleaner can clean your browser and a few other applications, but so can you. It is very easy to clean your browsers cache, temp files, and cookies, and as for its other features, you can do most of them easily yourself through System Preferences, and/or Disk Utility. Therefore, I find no reason to use CCleaner. Although you may be attracted to CCleaner from what you know of it as a Window’s cleaner, and because it’s free, there are better free and inexpensive Mac cleaners out there. In my opinion, it’s worth a few bucks to make sure you get a program that you can trust.

If you do use CCleaner, use caution with the erase function. Make sure to back up your Mac before hand, not that it did me any good, but perhaps it will do so for you. Additional reasons for my not recommending this software is that it doesn’t tell you what files it’s going to delete, making me reluctant to allow it to clean my Applications.

The problem I encountered with CCleaner Space Erase utility, was quite a fiasco, and with the few functions and features that it does offer, it is certainly, in my opinion, not worth the risk of losing everything. Instead, I recommend trying OnyxMacKeeper, or CleanMyMac, to better clean and optimize your Mac. I have personally used each of these cleaners, with my personal preference being MacKeeper, however, there is nothing wrong with Onyx or CleanMyMac, they will also do a good job of cleaning up your Mac.


Rating: ★★★½☆ 

50 Kimberly Carver

Kimberly Carver is a trained Mac Specialist/Expert. Trained both in school and on the job she continues to educate herself about Macs at every opportunity she gets. Kim’s official training and areas of expertise include: Mac specialist, AOL IT Tech, certified paralegal, research specialist, and licensed private investigator.