To paraphrase the theme song from a popular movie of the last century, If there’s something strange going on in your Mac, who you gonna call? Unless you’ve been hiding in a non-internet equipped closet for the past year, you’ve seen many, many MacKeeper ads on Mac-oriented web sites.
If MacKeeper is so good, why does it need such a steady stream of online advertising? Has any non-Adobe, non-Apple, non-Microsoft app ever been as advertised online as MacKeeper? I ask, because my college-age daughter thought her Mac needed MacKeeper. Why? Because those MacKeeper ads told her so.
Heavy handed advertising tactics notwithstanding, MacKeeper bills itself as 911 for your Mac. What it really amounts to is a conglomerate of over a dozen modest utilities of dubious collective value in an attractive package with a healthy price tag. There’s AntiVirus protection (no in-the-wild viruses for Macs), Fast Cleanup, Anti-Theft, UnDelete, UpdateTracker, Data Encryptor, Backup, Wise Uninstaller, Geek on Demand, Duplicates Finder, Shredder, and more.
These are all basic Mac utilities which your Mac may or may not need, but the bundle makes the price tag seem like a deal. I’m reminded of Adobe’s CS5.5 bundles. A bunch of apps at a bargain price when compared to the retail price of each. Or, think of it as those 100 apps in-one-bundle for the iPhone for 99-cents.
Except that MacKeeper isn’t that cheap. Those gazillion online ads scream out to Mac newbies, Buy Me, Or Your Mac May Die! The problem is, I see more scare tactics in the advertising and the web site than I do useful functionality in the bundle. The AntiVirus scare tactics alone scare me away. It’s just not true that MacKeeper’s Antivirus will Protect your Mac from all security threats. No app can boast that claim and remain credible.
Data Encryptor? Your Mac has that built in. Backup? There are better tools for free. Shredder? Your Mac has that built in. See the trend?
If you think your Mac is running slower than it should, you might be tempted to look at Fast Cleanup, which does what a dozen free Mac apps already do– clean caches. The Files Finder finds files. So does Spotlight, and that’s already on your Mac.
Duplicates Finder looks useful. Except I’ve been using a Mac for over 20 years and have yet to need to find duplicates of anything on my Mac. The Update Tracker claims to scan your Mac for apps, and mark those that need updates. That’s handy. MacUpdate Desktop does that for a fee. The Mac App Store does it for free.
The Login Items looks interesting, but should not be considered optimization for your Mac. Some of that functionality is already built in to your Mac. Ditto for Default Apps, a function easily controlled by the Finder.
At the price MacKeeper charges for the bundle of utilities, you’d hope support would be good. There’s a phone number, live online chat, and a relatively detailed manual. The MacKeeper web site is slick, colorful, and chock full of reasons why you need each of the utilities in the bundle.
MacKeeper boasts a US office, and a home office in the Ukraine. I count nearly a dozen attractive, young managers and employees (from the photos online). MacKeeper must have strong sales to support such a large staff, and it probably started life with plenty of investment money. Online advertising isn’t cheap. Neither is MacKeeper.
Me? I worry more about an expensive package of tools that do mostly what my Mac already does. And, of course, I worry about apps that take root on my Mac and what some of those tools may do while I’m asleep. That fear keeps me away. What keeps you from using MacKeeper?
We suspect it’s a bad reputation that’s well deserved.
UPDATE – We received an email from Mike Clark of ZeoBit, the makers of MacKeeper.
This review is really good and we really thank you for the quality that went in to this article. However, the comments are pretty bad and we would like to have them removed. The tone and suggestive nature of some of these comments are in poor taste and misleading.
Please remove this comment…
Mike asked us specifically to remove Jason Ng’s comment, which you can read below. Let’s take a vote. Would you rather have us remove Jason’s comment, or have MacKeeper remove their ads?