MacKeeper Detailed Expert Review
I was nervous about testing MacKeeper because of the company’s past history, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the software’s range of features — a significant improvement on previous versions.
In general, it’s a pretty decent program with a lot of great features. There are many great tools that I can use to maximize the performance of my Mac and keep it running light and fast, even though it’s pretty low on hard drive space. There are also some pretty decent identity theft protection features which I found to be particularly useful.
I’ve reviewed over 30 different antivirus programs, and I have pretty high standards when it comes to my Mac’s security. Here’s what I found out about MacKeeper.
MacKeeper Security Features
MacKeeper has a decent range of security features that protects your device in real-time. The software helps to safeguard your macOS device from malware, ransomware, and other viruses. However, MacKeeper can’t detect and remove rootkits — when I asked a MacKeeper representative about this, they said, “Unfortunately, this kind of threat is not included in the Antivirus database.” To protect your Mac against rootkits, I’d recommend you use a dedicated rootkit removal software, such as Sophos’s Rootkit Removal.
Under the Internet Security tab, you’ll find MacKeeper’s integrated antivirus scanner. Here, you can perform a system scan to detect any malicious files or malware on your device.
I performed multiple scans, all of which were much much quicker than rival macOS-based antivirus software such as Airo AV. The initial scan detected 7 threats and moved them into the “Antivirus Quarantine” where I could delete them.
Although the scanner is quick — taking just over 30 minutes — I wasn’t convinced the software scanned all the files and folders on my device, as other antivirus scanners, such as Norton and Bitdefender, scanned through a lot more files.
After running multiple scans, I found that they didn’t get any quicker — meaning the scans don’t use file caching to determine files that are known to be safe. I’d prefer MacKeeper’s antivirus scanner if it made subsequent scans a lot faster, much like how Norton skips over previously scanned files.
When I ran the Adware Cleaner scan, it took less than 5 minutes and detected several adware threats, some of which had been on my device for years — the previous owner was an avid gamer and several pieces of adware were related to gaming sites. Once the scan was complete, I was able to delete the adware files from my system quickly. Although most of the adware on my device wasn’t malicious, it’s nice to know that I was able to remove it easily.
This feature is pretty good. It’s quick and easy to use and gave me peace of mind knowing I’m in control of all the adware on my system.
ID Theft Guard
This feature protects against the threat of identity theft. Click on Scan new email to add your email address. Once your email has been added, MacKeeper will detect whether your details have been exposed in a data breach.
ID Theft Guard was able to instantly detect that one of my email addresses had been exposed in a massive data breach — *cue pupil dilation and cold sweats*. It then showed me precise details of the breach, how I was affected (showing what passwords needed to be changed), and prompted me to resolve the issue. After it was all said and done and I’d taken care of everything, I felt a lot better knowing that MacKeeper saved a ton of my personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
Once the initial scan is complete, MacKeeper will continue to automatically monitor your email regularly for any signs of identity theft, or if your credentials have been leaked in a data breach.
VPN Private Connect
MacKeeper’s integrated VPN, named “Private Connect”, is a nice addition to the software package.
Like most VPNs, Private Connect protects you against hackers by encrypting your sensitive information — crucial if you’re always using public Wi-Fi connections like me.
You can switch Private Connect on and off manually, or you can select the option to automatically connect every time you start your macOS device. When you connect, you can connect to a server in one of many countries around the world, or you can let MacKeeper automatically connect to the best server location for you.
All MacKeeper plans come with unlimited VPN data, so there’s no need to worry about running over data limits when using the VPN for data-intensive tasks, such as streaming movies — which is perfect for me as I love streaming US Netflix outside of the US.
StopAd is, you guessed it, a feature which stops ads. More specifically, it blocks both ads and trackers from following your online activity.
It’s a browser extension which can easily be installed by clicking on the StopAd tab on your MacKeeper dashboard. For Safari users, click on Enable and follow the instruction to activate StopAd. Google Chrome users click on Install which redirects you to the Chrome Web Store where you can add the StopAd extension.
I like how MacKeeper makes it easy to locate and install this extension — clear instructions are important to me.
I love this extension. It’s simple, easy to use, and it has a clean design — much easier to navigate than other ad blockers such as uBlock Origin. It blocked 5 ads and 4 trackers while I watched only one YouTube video! As I continued surfing the web, the number of ads and trackers blocked skyrocketed — it really shocked me how many websites want to track my every move on the internet. I was also able to see exactly what websites were blocked from tracking me and showing me ads.
This feature scans your entire Mac for “junk” files, including logs, caches, items in your trash, languages, and unused email attachments stored on your device — and if you use the Apple Mail app, you’re bound to have quite a few attachments clogging up your hard drive.
In less than 2 minutes, Safe Cleanup found over 1.4 GB of junk files on my Mac. However, a large proportion of these were language files — the files help you translate certain apps and programs into different languages. If you want to keep specific languages, you can deselect them from the list of findings and then proceed to remove the others by clicking Clean Junk Files.
Safe Cleanup is great if you have a bunch of useless files clogging up your hard drive. I do a lot of video editing, so I need all the space I can get!
This feature scanned my entire Mac and found a total of 1,006 duplicate files — nearly 2 GB of unnecessary data. The scan took around 10 minutes, even though the antivirus scanned the same amount of files, so I’m not sure why this duplicate scan was so much quicker.
Once found, I could easily remove duplicates by clicking Remove Duplicates. You can sort the duplicate files by the size of the file and the number of duplicates. If you want to keep certain duplicates, you can deselect them from the list before deciding to remove them. I like how quick and easy this whole process is — it’s just a simple scan and then one click to remove unnecessary files.
Smart Uninstaller will scan your Mac for unnecessary or unused applications, widgets, plugins, and browser extensions.
Uninstalling apps from a macOS device can sometimes be tricky, as moving them into your “Trash” doesn’t always fully uninstall them — instead, it will only remove certain components of the program. Smart Uninstaller fixes this issue.
The initial scan took less than 5 minutes and found a total of 14 GB of apps, widgets, and other programs on my Mac. It highlighted unused applications, allowing me to select the ones I no longer wanted on my Mac and uninstall them.
Although this feature makes it easy to uninstall unused applications, it was annoying that I had to rescan my entire device to view the list of previously highlighted apps.
Memory Cleaner shows how your Mac’s RAM (Random Access Memory) is being used and also enables you to free up your device’s occupied memory — improving overall performance.
When I tested the feature, over 7.5 GB of my 8 GB RAM was occupied, with around 500 MB of available memory.
You can also select Apps & Processes, which gives you a detailed breakdown of what applications are using the most memory. Ironically, MacKeeper was the application using the most memory — nearly 800 MB in total. Although MacKeeper didn’t really affect my device’s performance, this isn’t what I expect from a program claiming to speed up my macOS device by helping me to optimize my memory usage.
For people with less available RAM on their Mac, I’d recommend opting for something more lightweight, like Airo AV — which won’t use as much memory. But if you’ve got a lot of memory to spare, this shouldn’t be an issue.
You can click on Clean Memory, which reduces the amount of occupied memory. The process took around 10 seconds and reduced my occupied memory to 5 GB, leaving me with 3 GB of available memory.
Although I think this feature is a nice addition, I didn’t really notice any huge improvements in my Mac’s performance. Soon after the reduction in occupied memory, the number started creeping back up. Basically, I don’t think this feature provides a stable, long-term solution to optimize RAM usage.
Other additional features on MacKeeper include Update Tracker and Login Items.
Update Tracker scans the applications on your device to see if any of them need updating. Using outdated software can be risky, as hackers will sometimes attempt to hack older versions of software to gain access to your device — so this feature is definitely useful.
The Update Tracker scan found 5 programs on my device that needed updates. However, after checking the App Store, I found that MacKeeper had failed to detect that my iTunes and Safari apps were out-of-date. My macOS software also needed a security upgrade. It would be much better if MacKeeper was able to highlight all of the updates my device required.
Login Items helps you review the applications that load when you start your device. This feature is crucial if your Mac takes forever to start. You can easily select and remove the login items — significantly improving your startup times.
The Login Items scan found 14 items that launch when I start my device — 7 of which were from MacKeeper. Again, it’s ironic that a program designed to help me optimize the speed of my Mac always seems to be the most CPU intensive app on my device — kind of annoying as it defeats the objective of improving my Mac. However, I chose to remove 3 of the suggested login items — including Dropbox which opened on startup. My startup time improved by nearly 30 seconds! So, overall, I think this feature is another great addition to MacKeeper.
MacKeeper Plans & Pricing
Pricing plans range from 1-month plans to 24-month plans.
The features offered by each plan are exactly the same — there are no missing features in the 1-month plan when compared to the 24-month plan.
MacKeeper can be more expensive than other macOS-based antivirus software, such as Airo AV, TotalAV, and Intego. However, MacKeeper is more cost-effective than its 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month plans if you opt for the 24-month plan, as the price is much cheaper overall.
Although MacKeeper is more expensive — when compared to other 12-month plans provided by other antiviruses — it includes a wide range of additional features, such as an integrated VPN and identity theft protection that most Mac-based competitors don’t offer.
You can also use MacKeeper for free, but the features will be limited — you’ll have access to the “Find & Fix” scan, which only scans your system for performance and security issues. You won’t have access to advanced features such as the integrated VPN or Memory Cleaner.
MacKeeper offers a 14-day full money-back guarantee for all plans. If your subscription has exceeded 14 days, you can request a partial refund based on how long you’ve used the software.
MacKeeper Ease Of Use & Setup
MacKeeper is really easy to set up. Simply download the ‘.pkg’ installation file from MacKeeper’s website (which takes less than 30 seconds), open the file, and follow the instructions.
Installation takes no longer than 5 minutes in total.
Once installed, I had to input my activation key to unlock all of the advanced features. I had to manually set up some features, including the VPN, ID Theft Guard, and the antivirus — which was quite odd because I feel like an antivirus’s features should be activated automatically.
Overall, I found the software easy to navigate. The tabs on the left show all of the security and performance optimization features. On the right is the integrated live chat — which came in handy as I had a few questions about MacKeeper.
Each feature and its functions are displayed in the center of the software. They’re all super easy to use — most features only require 2 clicks, one click to scan and one to take action.
The antivirus scan is also simple to use — click on the Internet Security tab, select Antivirus, and click Start Scan. You can also choose Custom Scan, where you can drag and drop specific files and folders to scan them — whenever I download files online, I’ll scan them through the Custom Scan feature just to be sure they’re not infected.
I like how MacKeeper is easy to navigate and use. The only reason I wouldn’t recommend it for novice users would be that the wide range of features may confuse some individuals. For people unfamiliar with antivirus software, I’d recommend something simple and straightforward to use, like Airo AV.
MacKeeper Customer Support
MacKeeper has a wide range of customer support options, including:
- 24/7 live chat.
- 24/7 phone support.
- Email support.
While MacKeeper offers its software in 20 different languages, it currently only provides customer support in English — an obvious downside for non-English speaking individuals.
The live chat is integrated into the dashboard — located on the right-hand side. Initially, you’ll receive a range of messages, some of which try to upsell certain services.
Using the integrated live chat, I was able to get responses almost instantly — it took no longer than 5 minutes for an agent to join the chat. The quality of responses varied. Sometimes they failed to answer my question after asking them 3 times — responding with pre-written responses which didn’t address my question. They seem to use a lot of pre-written responses, which is very frustrating.
I also hate being bombarded with messages. Within 24 hours of using the software, I was told on 4 separate occasions — with the same pre-written messages — to get in contact with a MacKeeper technician, who would access my Mac and help me with the software. I politely declined 4 times.
On a separate occasion, I was speaking with a representative via the live chat for over an hour, and they still hadn’t solved my issue — saying they’d reach out to me later on, via email, with a solution. Over 24 hours later, I still hadn’t heard back regarding my issue. They eventually responded by asking me what version of the software I’m using. I replied, and heard nothing back ever since — frustrating to say the least.
The email support wasn’t as responsive as the live chat representatives. It took nearly 6 hours to get a response to my email. And the response I received wasn’t a direct answer to my question, which was annoying — I asked if MacKeeper offered real-time protection and this was the answer I received:
But my experience with the 24/7 phone support was great. You can call MacKeeper’s US, UK, or Australian customer support numbers. However, I opted to call via Skype. I managed to get through and speak to a real person in less than 30 seconds. The representative I spoke to was really helpful — directly answering my question.
Unlike the live chat, the representative didn’t try to offer additional services, such as having a technician remotely access my Mac. However, above where the phone number is displayed, there is a message stating that you may be “offered additional services” during the call.
The customer support team was really quick to respond to my refund request — it took less than 30 seconds for them to reply to me via the live chat function. Before issuing a refund, they asked the reason for my refund request. I explained that I no longer wanted to have the program installed on my device — which they happily accepted.
This is where it took a bit of a turn. Although the MacKeeper website stated they offered a 30-day full money-back guarantee (from the day I initially purchased the MacKeeper license) for all plans, the representative speaking to me via live chat tried to tell me they only offered a 14-day money-back guarantee. They went on to say that if I agreed to keep the program on my device, they would offer me 2-months of free usage.
I responded by stating that they do offer a 30-day full money-back guarantee and quoted the statement from their refund policy on the MacKeeper site. They then instantly proceeded to process my full refund.
I later learned this was a miscommunication, and I had purchased MacKeeper before their new 14-day money-back guarantee took effect. They quickly understood that I was a customer from their previous policy, and the support agent was kind, professional, and courteous.
The refund took only 2 days to come back into my PayPal account.
MacKeeper has a decent FAQ page on their website. It explains things relating to features, subscriptions, billing, how to install and uninstall, and a lot more.
There are also in-depth MacKeeper tutorials that will walk you through everything you need to know about the software.
Videos from MacKeeper’s YouTube channel came with some of these tutorials. I wanted to find out how to activate 24/7 identity theft monitoring. The tutorial I found had a video which showed me exactly how to set up the “ID Theft Guard” feature — it was clear and easy to follow, perfect for people who aren’t confident using software.
Overall, MacKeeper customer support is responsive — primarily if you use the live chat or phone support. The responses I received varied, but if you want to get a clear answer, I’d recommend opting to call the 24/7 customer support team. The FAQs and tutorials are easy to use and will guide you on how to resolve your issues.
Is MacKeeper Worth the Price?
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by MacKeeper. It has a great range of security and performance-enhancing features.
While some features could be improved, such as the Memory Cleaner and Update Tracker, I really like the integrated VPN, ID Theft Guard, and StopAd — all of which gave me peace of mind when browsing the web.
I also like how MacKeeper identified junk and duplicate files, which helped me gain back a lot of precious hard drive space.
But the virus scan was so much faster than competing brands such as Airo AV, which led me to think that it didn’t scan my device thoroughly.
I also feel like MacKeeper would be better if it had an integrated firewall feature, like TotalAV or Norton. And although not essential, it’d be nice if MacKeeper offered a built-in password manager like many of the other top antiviruses.
My experience with customer support was mixed. However, it was always very easy to get in contact with someone. I was impressed by the phone support team and the live chat team’s response times. It’s a shame that they only currently offer customer support in English — hopefully, they’ll broaden their range of languages in the future for non-English speaking users.
I would recommend MacKeeper to people looking to secure their macOS device and personal information while having the tools to improve their device’s overall performance. It’s also great if you want to reclaim some precious hard drive space. For devices with less than 2 GB RAM, I wouldn’t recommend MacKeeper as it may slow your device significantly — I’d recommend a more lightweight app like Airo AV.
For macOS users looking for an alternative to MacKeeper, I’d recommend Intego, which offers a similar range of security and performance optimization features.
Frequently Asked Questions About MacKeeper
Can MacKeeper be trusted?
Yes, MacKeeper can 100% be trusted. The software used to have a bad reputation for being “scareware” — scaring people into purchasing additional features by saying their device may be infected. However, the company has done a great job of improving both the MacKeeper software and their marketing tactics in recent years.
Does MacKeeper protect against malware?
Yes, MacKeeper will protect your Mac against viruses and malware. You’ll be able to run virus scans that will detect a variety of malware, including adware and trojans. MacKeeper also protects your device in real-time — alerting you to any malware that may have been downloaded onto your Mac.
Is there a MacKeeper free trial?
No, MacKeeper doesn’t offer a free trial currently. If you want to try the software before committing, you can purchase a one-month subscription and request a refund before the 14-day money-back period expires.
Does MacKeeper offer a mobile app?
No, MacKeeper doesn’t currently offer a mobile app. Check out this list of the best free antiviruses for iOS.
What is the data limit on the MacKeeper VPN?
MacKeeper’s VPN has unlimited data usage, meaning there’s no need to worry about a data limit — perfect for those who love streaming music and movies.