CleanMyDrive Cleans Up After Your Mac So You Don’t Have To

Justin Pot 19-06-2013

Automatically clean crap your Mac leaves on drives. Whether it’s deleted files or the random crap like “DS_Store” OS X loves to leave behind, CleanMyDrive automates the removal of junk.


Macs leave all sorts of files on your drives that could potentially annoy Windows and Linux users. Some of these files – like the contents of the Trash – can take up a lot of space. Others – like DS_Store and Spotlight’s various markers – are just plain annoying for Windows users to look at. So if you regularly move files between Macs and other computers, it’s a good idea to clean such files up.

When I outlined why Macs like garbage files like DS_Store on your flash drive, and how to stop it Why Do Macs Leave Garbage Files Like "ds_store" On My Flash Drive, And How Do I Stop It? Indexing, trash bins, folder positions – OS X keeps track of all these things, on every drive connected to your Mac, by creating files. These files are fine on a Mac – OS X uses... Read More , more than one of you pointed out a program for the job I missed: CleanMyDrive. I’m thankful, because missing this app was quite an omission. The program is from the same developer as CleanMyMac, which frees up storage space by deleting junk files on your system drives 7 Hidden Windows Caches & How to Clear Them Cached files can take up a lot of bytes. While dedicated tools can help you free up disk space, they might not clear it all. We show you how to manually release storage space. Read More . CleanMyDrive can automatically delete such files every time you unmount particular drives. You set which drives are and aren’t cleaned automatically, and manually cleaning is also an option.

Put simply: it’s a free, automated way to remove crap files – all other alternatives are either not automated or not free.

Setting Up

CleanMyDrive – like so many programs – lives in the icon area of the Mac OS X Menu Bar. Not that you need pay much attention to the icon: you’ll see a popup every time you insert a Windows-compatible drive.
cleanmydrive review
Tell CleanMyDrive to clean up and you’re done: the software will clean the drive every time you unmount it. CleanMyDrive needs to be open in order for this to happen, obviously, but it really couldn’t be simpler – just unmount as you usually would and all crap files will be removed.

If you want more control, however, just click the Menu Bar icon. You’ll see an overview of all connected drives:
The first thing you’ll notice is the bar, showing you how much space is currently used on each drive. Junk files (usually mostly the Trash folder) show up as red, and free space is also displayed. This helps you know how worthwhile cleaning these files will be for you.


From here you can manually clean up any drive, or configure whether they’ll be automatically cleaned when ejected. There’s even a quick button for ejecting any drive, meaning you can safely disconnect a drive without opening Finder or dragging an icon to trash. Another button allows you to unmount all drives at once, something you cannot usually do on a Mac.

Configuring CleanMyDrive

There’s not a lot in the way of settings. You can choose to allow the app to start at boot (and you probably should), and you can also set how large a drive the program should ignore:
cleanmydrive mac
If you’re feeling helpful and not paranoid, send anonymous usage statistics – it’s an easy way to help the developers. Of course, another way you can help the developers is to buy CleanMyMac. Click any system drive and you’ll be reminded of this:
It’s an ad, sure – and there’s no way to hide the system drives, even though this app does nothing with them – but it’s hard to complain with CleanMyDrive being free.

Download CleanMyDrive

Ready to check out CleanMyDrive? Head to, then. Or, if you prefer, head directly to CleanMyDrive on the Mac App Store.

Macpaw advertised the app as “For free. For now”.
cleanmydrive review
This could, of course, change at some point – and with my luck, it probably will before this article is published. Just so you know.


Should You Use CleanMyDrive?

Most of the files this app removes – like the much-hated DS_Store – aren’t that big. The files that are big (the trash) might be good to keep around. After all: we’ve all accidentally deleted a file, only to panic about it later.

On the other hand, without this app, it’s frustratingly difficult to empty the Trash on your flash drive without also emptying it on your desktop. So in a way this app could actually help you not to lose files, as you empty your system-wide Trash less often.

So I ask you, MakeUseof readers: are programs like like CleanMyDrive worthwhile? Or is the convenience offered outweighed by the potential loss of trashed files? Let’s discuss in the comments below, because I love hearing from you. After all – I wouldn’t have written this article if a couple of you hadn’t chimed in previously.

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  1. walter carroll
    November 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Great post. I use Wunderlist as my task , and I use CrashPlan for online backup. Both are great apps.

  2. John
    August 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    One type of invisible Mac file that may be more than a nuisance on a FAT-formatted device is the ".Appledouble" folder. I copied many MP3 music files to a USB memory stick to play on a Windows-based MP3 player in my automobile. The MP3 player indicated exactly double the number of files that I copied to the stick. Each file title had been duplicated in an .Appledouble folder but only the title, not the contents of the music files had been duplicated. These phantom duplicates were recognised but could not be played by the MP3 player so every other item on the USB stick was a dud in the MP3 player. I used Thomas Templemann's Find Any File to find and remove all the .Appledouble folders from the USB stick and all was well. Spotlight doesn't find invisible files.

    CleanMyDrive would be useful to me except that it doesn't work on my 10.6.8 Mac. Do you know of any similar program that would?

  3. Bob
    June 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Justin,

    Very interesting review of cleanmydrive.
    I currently use ccleaner for mac in OSX 10.8.4.
    Find that it does an adequate job.
    I prefer to empty trash manually.

    Can you contrast the two apps.
    Where is one better than the other.


    • Justin Pot
      June 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Hey Bob! CCleaner is quite different than Clean My Drive, in that Clean My Drive is focused entirely on USB drives. CCleaner removes files from your system drives. So they're really not similar at all. Thanks for the question.