CleanMyMacX - The Sting in its Tail

CleanMyMacX is the latest incarnation of that useful maintenance tool CleanMyMac, which has been on all my Macs for a decade or more. CleanMyMac has a useful little armoury of assorted admin tools, ranging from freeing off disk space by removing assorted system junk (that’s my most-used functionality), uninstalling apps (that’s the other took I use regularly), running assorted maintenance scripts, finding and deleting old and large files, etc etc. I have a few favourites, but I don’t use everything that’s there, even though I’m glad that some of the other facilities are available “just in case” I should need them, even if I’ve never used them.

CleanMyMacX It has a few useful additions compared to previous versions, and is the only version to run on Catalina, so there are several good reasons to purchase. (Or, if you use Setapp, to install from there!)

I do, however, have one serious reservation.

One of the additions to its arsenal of useful tools is a system Health Check. It’s not entirely clear what that does, but it sounds like the kind of feature it’s handy to have around. Another, unadvertised, feature is a Health Monitor. If you launch CleanMyMacX it starts up this Health Monitor process, and when you terminate the app it secretly leaves that process running. It doesn’t ask if it can do this, it doesn’t tell you it’s doing this, and there is no way of preventing it. Start the app and close it again, whatever functionalities you may run (or none of them), and you will find the Health Monitor process is running - and it will continue to run until you kill it or shutdown the system.

I raised this with MacPaw as a support issue, and they confirmed (after a 3-week pause!) that it isn’t possible to opt out of this - allegedly it is “a necessary process for the full functionality of CleanMyMacX” This is clearly nonsense: at best it is a necessary process for the functioning of a continuing Health Monitor, but that is just another function that one may or may not wish to use; it isn’t of itself essential to anything.

Now, I don’t deny the potential utility of a Health Monitor function (although MacPaw give no indication what it is doing to check the system’s health, so how would one know?), but I do resent it being foisted onto my system whether I like it or not. I take the view that as a matter of principle no well-behaved app should leave - deliberately or otherwise! - any unexpected (note my emphasis!) processes lying around, and that to start them secretly and without permission is distinctly shady practice. After all, who owns this Mac anyway? :slight_smile:

So far as I’m concerned, MacPaw could easily fix this by making launch of the Health Monitor optional, but they clearly have no intention of doing so. In my experience of MacPaw over the last decade they have - up until now! - been an exemplary developer, but to I am now in the process of seriously revising my opinion. I have uninstalled CleanMyMacX, and have no intention of re-installing it until this issue is resolved.

Does anyone else take a view on this?


HealthCheck and what it does are explained at the link below.

I installed an application to monitor the health of my computer and help protect me from malware. If it stopped doing that when I closed the GUI, it wouldn’t be living up to its promise.

This isn’t like Zoom running a secret webserver and leaving it behind when uninstalled. Like antivirus or malware protection software, CleanMyMacX’s is expected behavior.


Exactly. I agree.

OTOH, a standard counter response might be that you can also reproduce the options in CleanMyMacX using manual tools and not have the background monitor.

So you pick your poison.


Well, absolutely right. However, that is not, never has been, and is unlikely ever to be my purpose in installing CleanMyMacX, and I kind of resent it assuming that would be my purpose. I’m very happy that the app should provide the Health Monitor as one of its many useful tools; my problem is that it provides it whether I want it or not, and doesn’t tell me it’s doing so. It doesn’t delete system junk without my first telling it to do so; why should this be so different?

Thanks for the link you provided - that at least resolves the issue of what the Health Monitor does. However, if one is honest it does nothing terribly useful - if I want to monitor any of those things I can already do so using other tools. That doesn’t make it a bad thing, agreed, but it does make me wonder why MacPaw would be so insistent that it is so “essential” that it has to be forced upon me. It just isn’t. I might well want to run it on particular occasions, but I see no reason to keep it running 24/7.

Thank you.

That’s a fair point, except that up until this version, CleanMyMac has simply been a toolbox: one could launch it, use the tools one needed, and close it again. That was a convenience for which I am prepared to pay good money. CleanMyMacX is not quite the same. Sure, it’s still a toolbox from which one can select the tools one wishes to use (and there are some additional useful tools there too!). But one of those tools is now compulsory: if I open the toolbox then the tool runs whether I like it or not.

Besides, it isn’t sensible that, should one wish to run the Health Monitor, one needs to launch the main app. If this were half-way sensibly designed (or remotely as important as MacPaw say it is!) then the Health Monitor would be launched at start-up, quite independently of whether or not I run the app.

It seem to me that MacPaw have really screwed this up. The Health Monitor is a genuinely useful, but absolutely non-essential, functionality - just like all the other functionalities in the CleanMyMac toolbox. It could easily have been neatly integrated with the main CleanMyMac app, like the CleanMyMac Menus, giving the user full control over whether or not to use it. Instead they have - entirely uncharacteristically! - clumsily bolted it onto the side of the app, and have then either forgotten to give the user proper control of it, or they have arrogantly assumed that they know better tham the user what the user wants. Either way it is a very poor advert for them as developers, and they certainly won’t be getting any more of my custom unless and until they see sense.

Looks like monitoring capability was added October of last year.
It’s always good to check the release notes.

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I agree with everything you say in your reply.

I don’t think that MacPaw is going to change their approach on this new feature any time soon.

If CleanMyMacX was not part of the SetApp bundle, and if I had the energy to remember well enough what other apps I used to use to do its things, I would certainly no longer keep it. Convenience can appear be a terrible habit to fall into at times. :open_mouth:


I have been using CleanMyMac 3, and saw no reason to update to CleanMyMacX until I discovered that 3 doesn’t run under Catalina, which I installed only about a month or so ago. “X” (vs “3”) is what I meant by the version. In this context the sub-versions are not particularly interesting …