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Apple products have a reputation for reliability that is well deserved, but that does not mean they never run into trouble. A Mac can slow over time as more programs are installed, features are turned on or off, and the hard drive fills up. Eventually, you may find your beloved Mac slowing to a crawl, just as you would a Windows PC.
You can ward off old age, however, with a tune-up app that looks for and fixes problems. One new option from IObit is MacBooster, an app that can clean memory, improve boot speed and help you locate unwanted programs. Let’s see if this tool can really give your Mac a second chance at life.
A Scan Away From Bliss
After installation, which is a predictably quick process, the most users will be eager to press the fat Scan button at the bottom of the app. This will cause MacBooster to spring into action, looking for problems in four areas; Internet Security, System Cleanup, System Optimization and Disk Clean.
The Internet Security check appears to focus on tracking cookies and other Internet settings. There’s also allegedly a virus-check, though it should be noted that anti-virus is more of a secondary function. I was surprised to see the app find several cookies I was unaware of.
System Cleanup is really about erasing history files and other private data. It can wipe user log files, Internet history, Internet cache and more. While all of this data can be erased through other means, MacBooster’s placement of it all in one menu is extremely convenient and easy to understand.
Next up is System Optimization, which seemed to be the most underwhelming feature. Besides changing Safari’s geolocation policy and clearing RAM, there wasn’t much found to change on a nearly two year old MacBook.
Finally, there’s Disk Clean, which of course finds files to delete. Default settings saved a hair over 1GB of space on a MacBook Air. I was surprised to find that MacBooster was able to locate some photos associated with an old user account that I didn’t even know were still on the system. While the amount of space freed on my Mac was limited, that probably has to do with the fact I save very little data to it. Users who are less meticulous will be able to free up a lot more space.
Overall, the scan feature does its job, as it found ways to save storage space and improve performance that I hadn’t thought of. My only complaint is the fact that, by default, the scan does not provide a detailed summary of the issues – you have to expand that summary yourself. This makes the action taken by MacBooster a bit unclear and perhaps too extreme; not everyone wants his or her Internet history deleted by default, I’m sure.
In addition to the tune-up, MacBooster includes an automatic Performance Boost. This feature works by scanning for processes that are active but not related to any open programs and closing them, as well as “optimizing RAM.”
As is usually the case with such tools, you’re unlikely to notice the benefit unless your Mac is already drowning in unneeded background processes. I was pleased, however, to see that the tool yet again managed to find items I’d forgotten about, in this case drivers for Leap Motion that were active even though the device was not plugged in.
In addition to its automatic tools, MacBooster all comes with a host of other useful tools. Let’s go through them, one by one.
At the top is Clean Memory, which essentially frees up memory assigned to inactive programs. As with Performance Boost, it’s hard to see much benefit unless your machine is already struggling. A lack of RAM generally isn’t a problem even on a two-year-old Air with four gigabytes of memory.
Next up is Duplicate Finder, and I’m sure you can guess what it does. I actually didn’t have any duplicates on my MacBook by default, so I had to add a few. The tool found them with ease.
Large File Cleaner is a tool that will help you find, well, large files. This is rather useful, because file size isn’t always obvious; an app that seems simple might take up half a gigabyte. Deleting large files will help you free up even more space on your hard drive.
After that is Uninstaller. This isn’t exactly a standout feature since apps can be uninstalled without much trouble in OS X itself (just drag them to the trash). But it does list installed apps in a convenient interface, including those not on the dock or in LaunchPad, so it can be useful.
Finally, there’s StartUp Optimizer. This tool shows you services that start at boot and lets you turn them on or off. Once again, you can accomplish this through other means (System Preferences > Users > Login Items), but MacBooster makes it more convenient.
MacBooster offers full functionality for 14 days. After the trial, the software is $39.95 for a lifetime license that is good for one Mac. That may sound a bit steep, and frankly, it is. You could potentially put together same functionality by purchasing a variety of other apps on the Mac App Store.
There is value in the convenience of one-stop software, however, and MacBooster actually has only a few competitors, most of which are just as expensive. If you’d like to clean up your Mac, but don’t want to manually go through each step, MacBooster is a solid solution.