Review: MacKeeper


UPDATE: In response to the overwhelming number of negative comments on this review (at the bottom of this page), the company that created MacKeeper has fired back with a response, claiming that they have been the victim of an unethical competitor who’s trying to tarnish their reputation via “paid blog posts, advertisements, and an army of comment and forum spammers to make false claims and scare our potential customers.” Read all about it here.

When I was spending my days in the Windows world, I had lots of different utilities to fix broken things. There was Norton Utilities to scan for viruses, I had a defragger handy too, and all sorts of other goodies that consumed my time. Since I moved over to the Mac, I noticed that I didn’t have the same range of options for utilities. Sure, most of them were there, but they were in individual programs, not one big app. Problem was, you still need some of those utilities. Recently, MacKeeper came onboard as an advertiser here at Apple Gazette, and I was sent a free license to check out. Since I’m the guy with the brutally honest opinions here at AG, I was tasked with reviewing it. So, here it is in all it’s unabashed glory.

Why Do I Need It?

Well, that’s a good question. Most people spend their whole Mac lives working without any kind of fancy utility. But over time, things get cluttered inside your hard drive. Sure, you can delete that app by dragging it into the trash bin, but there are always little remnants floating around the library and other spots on the hard drive taking up space and slowing things down. Then there are options added by the apps themselves which aren’t needed on every computer. Taking out some of those things helps make the OS zippy again after years of functioning under the heavy load.

How Does It Work?

Fire up MacKeeper and it starts with a scan of the hard drive. This gives you an overall view of everything you can delete from there and free up space. Here’s what my first scan looked like:

My scan showed that I had 115.3GB of data that I could get rid of. Freeing up that much hard drive space seems impossible, right? Here’s how MacKeeper does it:

Binaries Cutter – Lots of programs are a universal binary, meaning that they can run on both Intel and non-Intel machines. You’ll only ever need one binary per machine, so why keep the other one floating around?

Cache Cleaner – Sometimes the OS moves files around to make it faster to access. Thing is, they get cluttered over time and can slow down the system. This frees up the space.

Duplicates Finder – This is pretty self explanatory. If it’s a dupe, it can be removed.

Languages Cutter – Unless your name is Franky, chances are you don’t speak 14 languages including a rare Klingon dialect. This removes the other languages from your OS and apps, freeing up space.

Logs Cleaner – Apps can put log files on the computer to help move things along. As is to be expected, it’s not necessary to have all of them forever, so this helps to clean them out.

Old Files Cleaner – Haven’t used something for a while? Get rid of them.

What Else Does It Do?

How about removing old programs? App Zapper is so popular because it removes all of the components of the programs installed on your Mac. MacKeeper has that same function in their program, making removing old programs a dream. There’s also a data encryptor, a shredder to really get rid of old files, and an undelete just in case you screwed up and trashed that important file. Then there’s also an anti-theft system, Geek on Demand and ZeoDisk for online storage. It’s got a ton of stuff in here, that’s for sure.

What’s the Verdict?

I did have a few things come up that seemed a bit weird. One file – Dodgeball the Movie – came up as an old file that I hadn’t used in 3 months. I only bought it last month, so I’m not sure why that was that way. But on the flip side, it found an old movie I had been looking for as well, lost deep in the recesses of my computer. Point is, make sure you double check before you randomly delete files. And if you do delete one or 12, use undelete through MacKeeper or Time Machine to get it back.

A lot of times, programs such as this are pretty pricey. MacKeeper is only $39.95, and you can get an additional 30% off if you follow some of the tips on their purchasing page. That said, it’s a subscription based system, so you’re going to pay that money every year to keep things up to date. Is it worth the price? I think so, particularly if you use your Mac for your primary computer. If you use it for occasional web browsing, this might not be quite as important a purchase. But frankly, App Zapper is $12.95, and MacKeeper has that and over $25 of additional value, so it makes sense. I’d purchase it for my MBP – my primary computer – but I’d probably pass on my iMac, since it’s primarily an FTP/Storage machine.


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Kevin Whipps

Kevin Whipps is a copy editor, writer, photographer and custom car builder based in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. For the past 10 years he's been building his portfolio, mostly in the automotive publishing industry. When he's not wrenching on cars, most of his time is spent discovering new gadgets and toys, and of course, using everything Apple. Whipps is also married, and has a baby boy, Kevin Whipps Jr., coming on February 7, 2010.

104 Comments

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  1. Mackeeper is a nightmare. I’ve just been through a couple of weeks of programs that were constantly frozen. When you try a forced quit it says: (program) doesn’t react. Even shutting down the Mac was impossible. It seems to me that the “realtime virus protection” is the main culprit, making the cpu-usage go to 100%.
    Now that I’ve uninstalled this piece of crap, I see cpu-usage that I have seen in weeks (so low I mean), and my Mac runs as it used to run. BEWARE OF MACKEEPER!!!!

  2. MacKeeper is a TROJAN HORSE/VIRUS. I tried it out, decided I didn’t need it and deleted the app. That was over 6 months ago. I have been noticing the computer acting strangely, and I have been investigating for weeks… went so far as to reinstall Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Worked great until I used the Migration assistant to transfer my settings back. SCREECHING HALT! I went into console and what do i find? Check this out:

    11/2/11 3:00:08 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper[3341]) posix_spawn(“/Applications/MacKeeper.app/Contents/Resources/Helper.app/Contents/MacOS/Helper”, …): No such file or directory
    11/2/11 3:00:08 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper[3341]) Exited with exit code: 1
    11/2/11 3:00:08 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper) Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds
    11/2/11 3:00:14 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.lexmark.bmlaunchd) Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds
    11/2/11 3:00:18 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper[3343]) posix_spawn(“/Applications/MacKeeper.app/Contents/Resources/Helper.app/Contents/MacOS/Helper”, …): No such file or directory
    11/2/11 3:00:18 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper[3343]) Exited with exit code: 1
    11/2/11 3:00:18 PM com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[831] (com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper) Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds

    This keeps repeating 100 messages PER SECOND!!!!!

    The really scary part – I can’t find zeobit ANYTHING – even with show hidden files and folders active!!!!!

    BEWARE ALL -I am NOT kidding. Anyone who has installed MacKeeper, open your console app and you will see this launch agent… trash your MacKeeper app and empty the trash – you will see what I am showing.

    Anyone who has NOT installed MacKeeper – DON’T DO IT!!!!!

    It is NO LONGER AVAILABLE on Apple Downloads nor in the Apple App Store. They figured it out all by themselves.

    Chris Spencer
    Jacksonvile, FL
    Apple computer owner and user since 1979

    1. just had the same experience–however, what can you do to completely destroy it? i don’t want to do a full on erase and reinstall. used appzapper to get rid of it, still have remnants like you described… and get this creepy email from them.
      In order to deal with the situation in the most efficient way we decided to offer you a remote control session. Our technician would connect to your computer and make the necessary steps – this is absolutely risk free, you would be able to spectate all our actions and we ensure you your privacy and personal information safeness. It usually doesn’t take more then 10 minutes.
      If you agree to our offer, please download and install our special remote control tool by means of which our represantative will connect to your Mac(also please inform us of the most appropriate time for the remote control session): https://mackeeper.zeobit.com/RemoteSupportZeobit.dmg
      If you are not willing to accept this offer we will do our best to deal with the issue in other ways, but it could take longer.

      Regards,
      ZeoBit Customer support Department.

    2. i must thank you for your comments on this download, i was very close to trying it out, i think i will stick to my norton dual which i must say that i am very impressed with again i thank you.
      best wishes
      john

    3. Yep, just noticed this too.

      If you uninstall MacKeeper via deleting the app (moving MacKeeper.app to the trash and saying yes to ‘Delete app completely?’), it leaves three files on your computer.

      The three that were left on mine were:
      -/Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Preference/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper.plist
      -/Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Preference/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.plist
      –/Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Caches/com.zeobit.MacKeeper

      Delete these files and it should get rid of the problem.

      ((On a side note, these are all of the files that shouldn’t exist on your computer once you remove MacKeeper (which I wouldn’t recommend installing in the first place. Any app that isn’t easy to delete EVERYTHING associated with it is not to be trusted. It may be that MacKeeper is a legitimate app that does exactly and only what it says it does, but leaving files once the app is deleted makes me not trust them.

      Applications/MacKeeper.app
      In system Library:
      – /Library/Application Support/MacKeeper
      – /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.plugin.AntiTheft.daemon
      – /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.AntiVirus
      In User Library:
      – /Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Caches/com.zeobit.MacKeeper
      – /Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/LaunchAgents/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper
      – /Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/LaunchAgents/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.plugin.Backup.agent
      – /Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Preferences/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.plist
      – /Users/YOURUSERNAMEHERE/Library/Preference/com.zeobit.MacKeeper.Helper.plist

      Hope that helps anyone who needs it.))

    4. thank you so much Q Smith!!! I’d downloaded the free application for my mac but then wanted to be sure it was a good program before giving them money. Reading all the negative reviews, I trashed it but had no idea there were files left. I found most of the ones you mentioned and deleted them. Hope that was all of them.
      So thank you again!!!

    5. Sounds like you bought the Malware version. Need to check these things out carefully – can’t believe everything you read or paste. And it’s not a free app. You get what you pay for, I guess.

    6. Although personally I dislike antiviruses etc., I must point out that this review is not fair. Any application will leave preference files, and possibly something else, in your $HOME/Library when simply deleted from /Applications. Some software might also do in /Library etc. This is an operating system feature, not the application’s (I know what I am saying as I am a developer myself).

      On the other hand, it is normally not a problem for your system, because preference files and most others are very small.

      This is the reason why those “clean app delete” applications for Mac exist. As far as I understand, ironically, MacKeeper is one of them 🙂

    7. thanks for ur info, i just deleted mackeeper after see all of this negative comments but in my mac i can find anything again in there isn’t like u said. but thanks bc i checked it again! 🙂

    8. I didn’t experience this issue with my installation. It’s good info to have, but other than the files being left behind, my use and install worked fine.

  3. When I go on to some websites, a mac keeper pop up appears and says “clean out your mac today!” and I’m pretty sure that’s a sneaky way of saying ” We’ll erase everything on your mac and get access to your bank account!”

  4. I tried Mackeeper, then read these reviews.
    I was having second thoughts then.
    but I did check out what Mackeeper had come up with after I ran the program.
    It came up with files and programs to delete that I don’t want to delete.
    and with some of the windows that show these programs, it was possible to see where they were located.
    But on duplicate files, it only seems to show you the file names, but not always duplicates of them. and it never shows you where they are.

    Well, it seems unnecessarily complex.
    and not easy to find out how to make best use of it’s features.
    TOO many features. not well placed or explained.

    So, I deleted it. by throwing it in the trash, which popped up a window asking if I really wanted to do that. Yes.
    then I emptied the trash.

    and,
    LOOKS LIKE THEY FIXED THE ISSUE OF LEAVING THE ABOVE MENTIONED FILES BEHIND,
    SINCE when I looked for them they are NOT on my computer.

  5. I (very stupidly) installed Mackeeper some time ago on 2 macbook pro’s. The macs got slow, I pretty much got the same experience as people describe.

    Mackeeper would ask my user password sometimes, and I have no idea which important files it may have erased while “cleaning” my mac. I just re-installed Snow Leopard and then used a time machine backup from before I installed mackeeper. Don’t go near it. It’s amazing to see how much advertising they still do.

  6. i read the review, the endless amount of spam about mackeeper not working properly and the “excuse” zeobit gave..

    I’ve owned mackeeper for about a year, and a few months ago i even bought it.
    I’ve never had any problems, aside from one or two apps that didn’t work after binary cutting, but the backup solved this problem too..
    One problem i do face that if i put on real time virus scanning, the performance does drop a lot : / so i let it off and just scan once in a while, but never found anything by the way..

    As far as the annual subscription, i’ve payed about 40€ and got a lifetime liscence. At first there was a problem entering the activation code, but zeobit even gave me a new code so i could activate it.
    Also the in-app help worked fast and efficiently, really liked it.
    Nevertheless i do avoid the binary cutter, but still i removed over 25 gb of unused trash on my macs ( i have 2 with mackeeper)

    As far as i’m concerned, this is an honest working app that does all its supposed to, really happy with it! Just ignore all the malicious spamming on here, trust the professional reviewers 🙂

    Greets, an honest user from Belgium 😀

    1. This has been my experience. Hopefully everyone else has this experience, too. I really liked it.

  7. Mackeeper is a nightmare. I didn’t realize until I went through the rigorous and ridiculous process of trying to uninstall it cleanly that it was making my MACbook Pro run like an old dog on its last legs. I have 4G of RAM and a fast processor – it was top of the range when I bought it a year ago and I thought it was because of Lion that it was having a problem, but eventually I became suspicious when I kept getting pop adverts all the time for this software and did some research only to find out that many people had speeded up their machine by taking off Mackeeper – so I tried it and had to Sercure Empty Trash in the end to completely clean everything off – but lo and behold, my MAC is suddenly running twice as fast – removing Mackeeper was the answer – and irony of ironies – they advertise their product as speeding up your MAC!!!!!

    1. Top of the range in 2010 was 8 mg of RAM, 266 GHz dual core processor – so NO – your’s was not top of the line when you bought it. I know, I bought in 06/10 and mine was and still is. You got the Malware version! SURPRISE!

  8. Given the less than candid nature of Mackeeper’s pop-up ads that have infested my computer lately, it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be in a position to judge whether their solution to everything wrong with my Mac is possible or not.

  9. Been using MacKeeper for several weeks and found that it works perfectly and as described. I have a friend who has it on all his Mac’s for over a year and has had no problems with it at all.

  10. I trust anything written about MacKeeper in the same way that I trust the North Korean newspapers to tell the truth about the regime.

  11. ONE WOULD THINK THAT THE CREATORS OF THE MAC (AND OTHER APPLE PRODUCTS) WOULD BE THE FIRST TO DEVELOP THE PERFECT DIAGNOSTIC TOOL AND CLEANER TO KEEP THEIR “EXPENSIVE” PRODUCTS RUNNING AT OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE!

  12. MacKeeper works just fine. I’ve been using it for a few years now and I haven’t had any issues. I don’t get pop up apps. There is an app for that. Trust your own experience. You’re using a Mac. I haven’t heard of an app yet that can actually harm it.

  13. MacKeeper is a complete and utter joke. I was promised that it would make my very slow Mac much faster. Uh-huh, and I’ll sprout wings and fly tomorrow. I followed everything precisely, did the scans on a very regular basis, and did my Mac speed up? Not even close. In fact, all it did was screw this up even worse than it was before, and now it’s still not only slow, it’s like a koala bear hooked on leuds. I often did the live chat help, and EVERYTHING they told me to do did absolutely nothing to help. In fact, ever since I installed it, the fax capability on my printer has disappeared. Are they related? I’m not sure. But it sure seems coincidental that right when I installed it, that too screwed up. Do yourself an enormous favor and DO NOT INSTALL MACKEEPER. I had sent them an email trying to find out what was wrong and if a refund could be given, but guess what, they never responded back. What great customer service, huh? MacKeeper is not worth the time, effort, or paper it’s printed on. Stay away from it….you’ll be much better off.

  14. Since there was a bogus version of MacKeeper beginning in 2011, if you just clicked on that link or their fake page instead of copying link and goggling reviews THEN, when first getting it, if you did not do this, I’m sure you got the beyond-Malware one. The real MacKeeper good product, for people who want to clean up their machines before doing clean installs, fix problems that Apple doesn’t help with, etc. Never just click on a link or trust a page Use your common sense and the search engine you were provided. And the Apple store sells programs that will check email attachments and small files like an app file to see if they are infected. I have one on my iPhone called Virus Barrier that does just that – and does it well. There are several in the main App Store for $0.99. I’ve noticed, in many places, that the ones with these types of problems, are not problem solvers themselves – they don’t even try. If you go into the Apple Discussions Forum, where there are expert users who will give you help, you will read the same problem over and over and over – as these posters with problems have not bothered to check that their problem is already posted and just clog up the Board. Look around, and find the ones who know something and FOLLOW THEM AND GIVEN THEM POINTS WHEN THEY HELP. Plus, the non-reading posters either provide minimal system and situational information on their problem or publish 20 pages of nonsensical logs. And their “Re:’s” are always, “HELP, MY MACHINE IS BROKE!!!!!!!” That will get the attention of a power user, for sure. If it’s that desperate, call a local expert, listed in the yellow pages or on line. And check out their reputation – if you know how. Oh, and reading directions is always helpful, too. Thoroughly.

    Cheers From a Happy MacKeeper Customer

    (Who Also Buys at least ONE manual per OSX on my MacBook Pro; and upgrade your RAM – it is so cheap now and the best investment for improving machine performance – except for those of us who spent an extra $400-$500 on top of the $2000 a MacBook Pro cost in 2010, to make sure we were top of the line to begin with (and basically still are): penny-wise, pound foolish as granny used to say).

  15. I’m not a computer geek. I switched to Mac from PC to get away from the constant need to deal with viruses and others malware. However, over time I found that there were small problems developing on my MAC that were similar to those I had on my PCs. I bought Mackeeper and it got rid of the problems I had. I have use it to scan and clean my computer regularly, especially if I’ve been browsing sites that I think might be trying to infect my computer. I have been using it a couple years now and have had no problems. I have noticed that the real time ant-virus option slows things down when I launch large Powerpoint files that include lots of videos that are also stored on dropbox. I turn off the realtime anti-virus at these times and it works fine. It has also helped me use a lot less memory by eliminating duplicates, and it’s uninstall function seems to do a good job.

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