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, 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. 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Macpaw advertised the app as “For free. For now”.
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.