What do Mac Cleaners Clean?
What do Mac Cleaners Clean?
Most Mac cleaners are designed to clear out specific types of data which build up on a computer and can cause problems, take up space, or become corrupt over time. Let’s take a look at what any Mac cleaner you choose is likely to actually delete.
Caches exist in your system and in your web browser. A cache is a condensed, stored version of an application or website, which allows you to load the app or website more quickly the next time you visit.
For example, if you were to go to a new website, your computer must contact the website server to request a page, and then bring it back to you. Once you have cached it, this process goes much more quickly, as the server only has to transfer new data – meaning that your page will likely load in tenths of a second.
So why clean it? Sometimes you visit websites that you don’t intend to visit again, you store search data that you don’t need, you store your downloads, and you store multiple copies of cached websites, which do take up space. Over time, these caches can become quite large and can even become corrupt. However, you don’t want to delete your cache too often. Once a week or even once a month is usually more than enough to solve any storage problems you might have with caches.
Log files are records kept on your computer of computer actions, applications, and other items – these can be used to diagnose problems and to check where something went wrong. Unless you’re a computer tech, these files likely mean very little to you – so you might think they’re worthless. Mac cleaners often delete these files to clear up space, however, OSX automatically does this on its own after a certain period of time.
If your log files are growing out of control and taking a large portion of your hard drive space, it is likely indicative of a much larger problem. Deleting the files will simply allow them to grow again, because the problem hasn’t been fixed. If your log files take up a significant portion of your hard drive, either take the computer to a tech, use a service like Geek on Demand, or post screenshots of your log files on a forum to ask for help.
Most of us know something about cookies and have heard horror stories about them, but at their most basic, cookies are designed to help websites remember your preferences and data so that you don’t have to keep filling it in between visits. Cookies are harmless, cannot be accessed from one site to another, and have no impact on your browsing. However, some do store a great deal of your information. For example, Facebook cookies typically track all of your browsing data for ad purposes. Deleting them won’t improve your system performance, but it may improve your privacy if you care about who’s tracking your browsing habits.
Some Mac cleaners will help you to delete unnecessary data like mail attachments that you’ve unknowingly downloaded (many of us really do have gigabytes of downloaded mail), duplicate photos, replacing RAW with JPEG (if you’re a photographer, that sounds like a nightmare, we know), removing unused data, cleaning out old updates, deleting language files you don’t use, and even helping you to review old files that you haven’t touched in a long time to ensure that they are still necessary. This can be a very valuable service, especially if you don’t have the time to spend hours doing it yourself.
Fully Deleting Applications
– While OSX is considerably better at deleting applications than Windows, it isn’t perfect. Many installers leave files in unknown places, leave hidden files, and you might find that you still have files from a program you deleted years ago. Mac cleaners can help you to permanently delete applications, so that all of these files are gone, and you save the disc space.
What About Defragmentation?
Many Mac cleaners offer defragmentation, which works to correct fragmented hard drives. However, defragmentation should only be run when the drive is actually fragmented, and doing so when it is not could cause real problems for your computer. OSX actually works to physically prevent fragmentation, so you largely do not need this service. When you do need it, Apple’s own Disc Utility First Aid will provide adequate defrag for your OS X.
Now that you know what most Mac cleaners actually do, click through to page 3 to find out if we think you should get one.