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MacKeeper vs. Other Mac Maintenance Apps: Price and Feature Comparison

Undoubtedly, our Macs are the best available computers out there. But still there are lots of apps that can make them even better and help us maintain their good work. We all know them – cleaners, hiders, antiviruses, uninstallers, and more. And, let’s face it, we all use them! However, decent software is not always free and can often cost a lot. That’s why I want to share with you how to save some $ on Mac maintenance.

Today I’ll take a look at bundle software called MacKeeper. Its developers claim that the application includes a set of all tools and utilities mentioned above. I’ll compare its functionality and cost-effectiveness with other apps. I’ll also compare the price of MacKeeper with those of alternative apps for each feature set. The prices can vary depending on the package, so I’ll base my research on the minimum cost. For MacKeeper it’s $39.95 for a lifetime license. I’ll also include some free alternatives where possible. So it’s going to be not just a MacKeeper review but rather a comparison.

Review details:

Included in MacKeeper price

Security Features: Antivirus

Antivirus solutions for Mac OS are not just urban legends. They are quite real and extremely useful as well, but only for beginners or security-obsessed people. The working principle of an antivirus is as follows: as soon as a new virus appears, the virus databases are updated, and this new virus is not able to spread further and infect more computers. The sooner an antivirus acts to new threats, the better it is. Let’s see which antivirus solutions for Mac OS exist on the market.

  1. MacKeeper

    Antivirus is one of many MacKeeper’s features that detects not only Mac OS but also Windows viruses, and this can interest the Parallels Desktop users. A huge advantage of MacKeeper Antivirus is real-time protection of the system from malware, phishing attacks, identity thefts etc, with the daily updated virus database. As this antivirus has the Mac OS-based engine, the real-time protection does not impact your Mac’s performance. And, as almost all antiviruses listed here, MacKeeper is fully compatible with Mac OS X Lion. One drawback: never use MacKeeper if you have a PowerPC Mac, as the antivirus won’t work!
    Price: starting from $39.95 a year plus additional $10 for subscription to virus database updates starting from the second year. However, this subscription is optional as the old databases can be used as well.

  2. ProtectMac

    This antivirus application was created solely for Mac OS, and this can be seen from its pleasant “Mac-ish” UI design. Apart from being user-friendly, ProtectMac does a good job in securing your system against viruses, worms, trojans and spyware. It also features real-time protection and automatic updates. Finally, it supports Mac OS X Lion.
    Price: starting from $39.99 a year including updates.

  3. Norton Antivirus

    One of the most trusted antivirus products and a buzz word for everyone when it comes to choosing an antivirus. Features of Norton Antivirus include automatic virus detection and removal, email attachments scan, protection from identity thefts and so on. One current drawback of this software is that it does not support Mac OS X Lion yet.
    Price: starting from $39.95 a year including updates.

  4. Kaspersky Antivirus

    Another popular antivirus solution that has gained its reputation over years. Kaspersky Antivirus will keep your Mac protected by detecting the most recent types of malware. Includes a web browser plugin that can easily detect fraud websites. Is compatible with Mac OS X Lion.
    Price: starting from $59.95 a year including updates.

  5. VirusBarrier X6

    This antivirus protects your Mac from phishing websites, identity thefts, spyware and malware apps. It also includes a firewall and enables the user to define how much CPU time should be consumed for background scans. Can be run on Mac OS X Lion.
    Price: starting from $59.95 a year including updates.

  6. ClamXav

    A free antivirus for Mac OS that does everything an average antivirus should do. Works good, but, as most freeware apps, is rarely updated. Supports Lion, but works not really well on it.
    Price: $0.

And now let’s compare the prices.

MacKeeper

$39.95
Norton AV

$39.95
ProtectMac

$39.99
Virus Barrier

€59.95
Kaspersky AV

$59.95
ClamXav

FREE

All of these antiviruses are more expensive than MacKeeper, but they have basically the same functionality. High prices of Kaspersky and Norton antiviruses could be quite reasonable as these solutions have existed on the market for quite a long time. However, Norton Antivirus does not support Lion while almost all Mac users have now upgraded to Lion, therefore this software seems to be suitable only for Windows users. As for MacKeeper, it has a bunch of other useful features except Antivirus, but costs less. And, most important – recently MacKeeper Antivirus has been certified by VB100 as one of the top 10 antiviruses in the world, on equal terms with Norton and Kaspersky! Quite an achievement for relatively young software, isn’t it?

Included in MacKeeper price

Security Features: Anti-Theft

For sure you protect your house and car from possible burglary and theft, so why not protect your Mac from getting stolen? Numerous anti-theft software solutions are available today, so let’s see what they can do to protect your Mac and how much they cost.

  1. WatchMac

    This software will protect your Mac even if it’s not stolen yet. It can detect any attempt upon your Mac by recording all of its physical movements, battery replacements, endeavors to guess your password and so on.
    Price: starting from $19.95.

  2. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Anti-Theft service will track your Mac’s location in case it’s stolen and take a pic of the thief using iSight. This pic plus the detailed location report will be emailed to you with instructions on what to do next. You can hand this information to the police when searching for your lost computer. A huge benefit is that MacKeeper support should call you right away after your Mac is found – even at night! Such instant response will enable you to act on the spot to get your Mac back asap.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  3. Undercover

    This anti-theft solution offers quite a bunch of features. In addition to detecting your Mac’s location using WiFi, the software will track down every movement of the thief and make screens showing their activity on your Mac. The photos of the thief are included as well. Finally, Undercover offers some nice scary tactics of darkening the Mac’s screen and even making your Mac shout that it’s been stolen!
    Price: starting from $49.00.

Now let’s compare the prices of these applications:

WatchMac

$19.95
MacKeeper

$39.95
Undercover

$49.00

Only Undercover costs more than MacKeeper, but I should hand it to this software for its truly reliable anti-theft protection that will at least prevent the thief from using the stolen computer. WatchMac costs less, but it’s got fewer features as well – it does not provide location reports and thief photos, as Undercover and MacKeeper do. My verdict is that MacKeeper can compete with Undercover when it comes to anti-theft, but again it’s got many other features that put it ahead of competition.

Included in MacKeeper price

Cleaning Features: Hard Drive Cleanup

Most of problems with your Mac may be caused by good old junk files, and there’s plenty of cleaning tools and utilities ready to return your Mac to a brand new state. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones.

  1. Cocktail

    This app completely removes not only caches, logs, localizations and so on but also malware files. In addition to cleaning it offers features for disk repair and system optimization.
    Price: starting from $14.95.

  2. Onyx

    This is a free cleanup utility for Mac OS that has basically the same functionality as Cocktail, that’s why I placed it after Cocktail in my review. Onyx seems to function nicely, but it’s not suitable for beginners – no sign of user-friendliness here. Another meaningful drawback is that it does not support Lion yet.
    Price: $0.

  3. CleanApp

    This cleanup solution does basically the same cleaning routine as Cocktail and Onyx. However, it has a couple of additional functions of uninstalling apps and archiving them in case they are not needed at the moment but can be used later.
    Price: starting from $15.00.

  4. MacCleanse

    This cleanup application can not only just remove but also securely erase unneeded files on your Mac’s hard drive. Like CleanApp, it can uninstall applications as well. You can view details on each item the app is going to delete in order not to miss something important. The types of removed items are caches, logs, browser history, binary files, old files etc.
    Price: starting from $19.95.

  5. CleanMyMac

    Like CleanApp and MacCleanse, CleanMyMac can uninstall apps in addition to junk files removal. It can also clean up your external devices from useless service files. Finally, CleanMyMac has a nice intuitive interface that can be customized to your personal taste.
    Price: starting from $29.95.

  6. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Fast Cleanup tool unites four cleaners that scan your Mac for specific types of junk such as binary files, language packs, cache and log files. Fast Cleanup gives you just one click to scan your Mac for all of these files and another click to remove them. Apart from the Fast Cleanup functionality that can be found in most Mac utilities, MacKeeper offers such unique features as Duplicates Finder and Disk Usage. Duplicates Finder allows you to find and remove all useless file clones on your Mac’s hard drive. Disk Usage visualizes all of your files and folders and shows the amount of consumed space marked with different colors.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

As usual, let’s proceed to the price comparison.

Cocktail

$14.95
CleanApp

$15.00
MacCleanse

$19.95
Clean My Mac

$29.95
MacKeeper

$39.95
Onyx

FREE

As MacKeeper, all of these apps have other features in addition to hard drive cleanup. But still MacKeeper’s got more. Perhaps only Cocktail has the reasonable price as well, as it also offers disk repair, malware removal and optimization, but costs less than apps that don’t do it. One should expect much more from such prices!

Included in MacKeeper price

Cleaning Features: Application Uninstaller

If you decide to weed out the apps you don’t use, then, for God’s sake, don’t move them to Trash! You will waste your time, as trashing removes the apps only partly. Components such as widgets, preference panes and plugins still reside on your Mac’s hard drive, leaving you ignorant that they actually waste the precious disk space. That’s why an uninstaller app won’t hurt in this case. Here are the most popular uninstallers for Mac OS:

  1. AppDelete

    Completely removes applications, widgets, preference panes and plugins along with all associated files. Also deletes “orphaned” components not belonging to any application.
    Price: starting from $7.99.

  2. AppZapper

    Completely removes applications along with all associated files. Has the recovery feature that enables the user to restore accidentally deleted applications.
    Price: starting from $12.95.

  3. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Wise Uninstaller has got everything a user needs to perform quick uninstalling: all apps, widgets, preference panes and plug-ins spread out before one’s eyes. All you have to do is select the app and its components and click Remove.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  4. AppCleaner

    A freeware uninstaller for Mac OS that removes only applications but NOT widgets, preference panes and plugins. Seems to work fine and is easy to use.
    Price: $0.

Let’s revise the prices:

AppDelete

$7.99
AppZapper

$12.95
MacKeeper

$39.95
AppCleaner

FREE

The prices are not quite reasonable even here. All of these apps cost approximately as one fourth of MacKeeper. If MacKeeper had only four features, then it would be OK, but there are 16 of them!

Included in MacKeeper price

Data Management Utilities: Data Encryption

A data encryption utility can be a lifesaver when it comes to privacy. As for me, sometimes I lend my MacBook Pro to my relatives for their business trips, and in such cases I need to make sure that my personal data is safe. That’s why I encrypt my data and it helps me a lot! Mac OS X has a built-in encryption tool called FileVault, but it can encrypt only your user folder. What if you need to hide individual files and folders? In such cases consider using these apps:

  1. Espionage

    This data encryption utility is integrated with Finder, so when someone tries to access the encrypted folder, they’ll be asked to enter the password. Pretty convenient, to my mind. The encryption process is very simple – all you have to do is drag the file(s) to the utility’s icon, and that’s it.
    Price: starting from $34.95.

  2. Knox

    This data encryption software is easily integrated with FileVault. You can encrypt individual items on your Mac by creating the encryption vaults, each with its own password.
    Price: starting from $34.99.

  3. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Data Encryptor tool will make your files invisible even for specialized software using a complex two-level encryption mechanism. It supports the AES-128 and AES-256 encryption standards plus offers password protection that will make the encryption even safer. But be careful not to lose this password, as then you won’t be able to find your files. I’ve almost got caught during my MacKeeper review!
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  4. TrueCrypt

    A freeware encryption utility that automatically encrypts both the whole system and separate files. The interface lacks user-friendliness, but the user manual is rather helpful. As with MacKeeper, if you lose your encryption password, you won’t be able to find and decrypt your data.
    Price: $0.

And again, let’s compare the prices.

Espionage

$34.95
Knox

$34.99
MacKeeper

$39.95
TrueCrypt

FREE

I have nothing against Espionage and Knox, but both of them cost about as much as MacKeeper and have basically the same functions. However, data encryption is only a small part of what MacKeeper can do!

Included in MacKeeper price

Data Management Utilities: Data Recovery

Ever had your heart at heels realizing that you had just deleted an important file? Then you must know what I’ll be talking about now. Many of us have rushed over the net, tearing the hair out in search of file recovery tools. If you don’t want such situations to repeat in the future, please take a look at data recovery apps presented below.

  1. VirtualLab

    This software recovers all file types for HFS, HFS+, NTFS and FAT file systems, has an easy-to-understand user interface and supports external storage media. A couple of drawbacks: VirtualLab does not work without Internet connection and has poor technical support.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  2. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper supports external media as well as HFS, HFS+, NTFS and FAT file systems. The search results can be filtered by file type (music, video, pics, docs) and can be previewed using Quick Look.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  3. Stellar Phoenix

    While being easy to use, this data recovery solution is capable of recovering a lot of file types for HFS and FAT file systems. Moreover, it can restore data from external storage devices. Unfortunately, Stellar Phoenix does not support NTFS file systems.
    Price: starting from $49.99.

  4. TechTool Pro 5

    In addition to file recovery, TechTool Pro 5 has a disk defragmentation feature and can create backup images for the whole hard drive. It can also test your Mac’s RAM and CPU usage. Finally, it supports external devices and many file extensions for the HFS/HFS+ file systems but does not support the FAT and NTFS file systems.
    Price: starting from $89.99.

  5. Data Rescue

    This application can recover many file extensions for the HFS/HFS+ file systems but not for the FAT and NTFS file systems. Another drawback is lack of good customer support.
    Price: starting from $99.00.

And now let’s proceed to the price comparison. By the way, there are no freeware data recovery alternatives, as it’s
a very complex and expensive procedure.

VirtualLab

$39.95
MacKeeper

$39.95
Stellar Phoenix

$49.99
TechTool Pro 5

$89.99
Data Rescue

$99.00

The results are even more stunning here. I just cannot get why pay so much for TechTool Pro 5 or Data Rescue, given that both of them do not support Windows file recovery. VirtualLab costs as much as MacKeeper, but its dependency on the Internet and poor tech support crosses out all of its pros. No comments!

Included in MacKeeper price

Data Management Utilities: Backup

So much has been said about backup and its benefits before that I won’t try to convince you again. Mac OS X has its own backup tool – Time Machine, but its capabilities are limited compared with other apps’ functionality. Let’s see what these apps have to offer.

  1. SuperDuper

    This backup software is similar to Time Machine as it creates backups for the whole system. However, unlike Time Machine, it supports external storage media but cannot create backups on the same volume. The interface is very intuitive: it offers help in the form of dialog boxes that explain what’s going to happen next.
    Price: starting from $27.95.

  2. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Backup tool does even more than just backup. During my MacKeeper review I saw its two undeniable advantages: scheduling and external devices support. It means that I can tell the Backup tool to sync changes with reserve copies in specific time intervals and store these copies on my ftp or flash drive. I often need to transfer data between computers, so the second advantage is the main reason I use this tool.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

  3. ChronoSync

    This backup utility may seem complicated, but it won’t take you much time to figure things out due to the helpful user interface. I especially like ChronoSync’s feature that enables the user to archive the previous backup copies and verify them before trashing.
    Price: starting from $40.00.

What about the price ratio?

SuperDuper

$27.95
MacKeeper

$39.95
ChronoSync

$40.00

SuperDuper costs less than MacKeeper but its capabilities are limited whereas MacKeeper’s Backup tool can create reserve copies both for your Mac’s storage volumes and external devices. As for ChronoSync, it costs as much as MacKeeper while doing even less than the latter.

Included in MacKeeper price

Optimization Features: Update Tracking

To put it bluntly, I hated updating my apps. It was quite annoying to have those update notifications popping up in the middle of my work. In addition, updates for third-party apps are not powered by Apple Update center, so I had to update them individually, wasting a lot of time. However, with update tracking software I’ve become much more enthusiastic about updates. These programs are like the AppStore service – they enable the user to get updates for all apps in one place, but not everyone uses AppStore. As for me, I’ve got 79 apps on my Mac, and it would take me a whole day to update all of them manually! Here’s an overview of some update tracking solutions:

  1. CNET TechTracker Plus

    This software will gather all updates for your apps in one place and test them for spyware. CNET TechTracker Plus is powered by the CNET downloads catalog which makes the download process smoother.
    Price: starting from $19.99.

  2. MacUpdate Desktop

    Powered by the MacUpdate software directory, this software enables you to get updates for all your apps with just one click and sync them with MacUpdate Watch Lists. It also gives you access to MacUpdate membership features.
    Price: starting from $20.

  3. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Update Tracker shows you the list of all apps on your Mac with the outdated ones marked with red, enabling you to update all of these apps with one click. During my MacKeeper review I liked the Favorite list and the Blacklist features that allow the user to list the apps to be updated first and block updates for apps that are not frequently used.
    Price: starting from $39.95.

And here is the price comparison:

TechTracker

$19.99
MacUpdate

$20.00
MacKeeper

$39.95

It’s pretty hard to compete with CNET’s and MacUpdate’s software, as it claims to be 100% secure and download updates from their own trusted sources. This software is part of renowned download directories, so it’s hard to say something against its popularity. However, MacKeeper’s Update Tracker is also worth to give a look at. To my mind, TechTracker Plus and MacUpdate Desktop are quite decent competitors of MacKeeper.

Included in MacKeeper price

Expert Technical Assistance

Imagine having a tech expert around that would patiently hear out any tech problem you have and solve it step by step. Sounds sarcastic? Not now! Let’s take a look at the services that offer exactly such help.

  1. AT&T Tech Support 360

    Remote tech support service on computer optimization, WiFi setup, help with peripherals and many other issues. The experts use remote desktop connection to connect to your computer and fix your issue. The price varies based on the service you select, starting from $25.95.

  2. AskDrTech

    This online support service offers help on any technical issue related to Windows, Mac OS or peripherals. The experts use remote desktop connection to connect to your computer and fix your issue.
    Price: $37.00 per issue, $147.00 per year.

  3. MacKeeper

    MacKeeper’s Geek on Demand service is available both within the online account and inside the app. All you have to do is write about your problem in special form and wait until it is solved. The waiting time is 48 hours maximum, but some problems can be solved in several minutes. The experts use remote desktop connection to connect to your computer and fix your issue. Answers can be also provided by email or phone.
    Price: starting from $39.95

Let’s revise the prices:

AT&T tech support

$25.95
AskDrTech

$37.00
MacKeeper

$39.95

I’ve noticed the exorbitant price of the AskDrTech service right away. $37.00 per only one issue, while MacKeeper’s Geek on Demand offers unlimited demands included in a $39.95 lifetime license! As for AT&T, they offer their services in predefined packages starting from $25.95, meaning that you cannot describe your specific issue like in Geek on Demand. However, in Geek on Demand you can wait for 48 hours for your problem to be solved, so it cannot be used for urgent issues, and that’s a drawback.

 

Review summary:

  1. According to MacKeeper reviews from its developers, for only $39.95 you’ll get a bundle of apps that cost up to $500 if bought separately. However, the features not mentioned here, like Shredder and Login Items, have free analogs, so actually it would be rather $300 than $500. But still that’s a huge difference in prices, so why pay more?
  2. With MacKeeper I experienced the best customer support service ever. It’s got premium 24/7 support than can be accessed by email, live chat built right into the app or a direct toll free phone. If you install a lot of alternative apps, than you would have to apply to different customer support centers, many of them being not 24/7 and without a live chat. I appreciated the high-quality customer support during my MacKeeper review, which is a key to success to my opinion, and MacKeeper is truly successful!
  3. The most amazing thing is that you get help not only on MacKeeper app but also on ANY (imagine that!) question you may have regarding your Mac. It’s called Geek on Demand and is also included in that ridiculous price of $39.95.

MacKeeper is a saving solution when it comes to Mac maintenance. Not all of its features can be called “911”, as claimed by the developers, but at least it will keep your Mac in top condition. MacKeeper may lack some features that other apps have, but all of these drawbacks are compensated by its reasonable price, plenty of useful features and dedicated customer support.
Enjoy!

 

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    Сomments: 17
    • ~Lorelei~

      MacKeeper is one of a kind. Never seen such a large number of functions in one app. Compared with some other apps its price is really ridiculous. Thank you for the article!

    • Dis_tinct

      My previous version of MacKeeper caused crashes to my system, but they’ve fixed everything in the newest release so now I’m satisfied.

    • bhaga

      There must be a pitfall in such a low price of MacKeeper. Perhaps it does not work that good. Anyone tried it?

    • revenger

      Agree about antiviruses. See no need in them on my Mac OS X Lion.

    • Anonymous

      2Don: Well, I think everything depends on the person. If you are always together, you won’t lose your Mac. Privately, I think that I won’t spend money on anti-theft solutions. I had many Macs, and none of them got stolen despite my frequent business trips :)

    • Twilight

      Currently trying MacKeeper. Its Data Encryptor is amazing! I encrypt my folders with just one click and then make them visible again by typing the password. That’s it! I can also choose encryption algorithm but that’s too geeky for me :) , so I just use the recomended one.

    • Brian

      encrypted some files with Knox, then typed a code in terminal and was able to see the names of these files… not very secure…

    • RxQueen

      I downloaded MacKeeper only because of undelete as I needed to urgently recover some files… but then I tried other features and they worked pretty well. Cleaned several gigs of junk from my HD. and of course the price is sweet!

    • !!!spraydog2010!!!

      I use diskwarrior for recovery is awesome!!! once i turned on my mac but it didn’t start up so i run diskwarrior from a cd and it fixed everything))) it also can fix errors from disk utility!

    • bruz

      I have been using MacKeeper for a few months now and I love it. Every function works great. No complaints

    • JamesT

      As Mac system based on Linux it has no viruses. So, I decided to go with CleanMyMac. Fast, reliable, really intuitive, smart software.

    • marc

      is nobody nervous about MacKeeper deleting the wrong files? Maybe something it deems un-necessary but really is needed?

    • handyandy

      re “As Mac system based on Linux it has no viruses. So, I decided to go with CleanMyMac. Fast, reliable, really intuitive, smart software.”

      Mac OsX is based on BSD Unix, not linux. And there are definitely some viruses, though not many.

    • heatherdeming@me.com

      I am interested in MacKeeper. Uncertain which to buy: Hard drive cleaner? Back-up? Tech support? Can I get all in one? Please advise

    • debbie

      Thank you so much for this brilliant review! I read every word of it. :)

    • Bob Benninghofen

      Thanks for your evaluation; I read some baseless blogs today that suggested this software was a virus and other negative things. Nice work and I also learned that Apple approves this software.

      I have been using this product for the past two months and am very happy with the results.

    • Kurbach

      There already “have” been viruses for Mac. So argumenting Macs would be safe, just because they’re based on Unix is just pointless. Like s/o mentioned on another website: “My point is, As of now, if you do not have some sort of protection, you are a sitting duck: Sooner or later, you will be shot.” Though, this won’t affect those who are cautious of what they’re doing, but not everyone owning a mac is that self-aware. The fact that you’re reading this, makes you already safer. But think about users who just don’t care… You mights see no need for you, but others should speak for themselves and not rely on your statement. Just a point here.

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