Malwarebytes vs. CleanMyMac X

Both of these utilities have a malware removal feature. Do I need both of them, either or none? I have subscriptions to both and just received the renewal for Malwarebytes. I’m thinking of not renewing and just using that function of CleanMyMac that also does a lot more.


CleanMyMac doesn’t have a great reputation. If I were going to scan for malware, I’d use the free version of MalwareBytes.

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I’ve used MalwareBytes, and I believe it’s is fine, but what’s wrong with CMMX or its reputation? I’ve been using it since it was a pup, have never had a problem, it has improved over the years, and I believe their malware detection routine is good. That said, since neither app has ever detected any malware on either of our two Macs, my opinion is only, at bottom, a belief, but no proof either way.


Can you point me to a recent thread that supports this?


Same here. Used for years. Good and quick responses when queried.
No malware detected.

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My anti-malware toolkit, which was assembled from suggestions on the (now defunct) message boards on MacInTouch, is composed of these non-ongoing -cost utilities:

  1. SilentKnight to ensure the macOS anti-malware components are always up-to-date.

  2. The free version of Malwarebytes (note that Malwarebytes only checks certain pre-defined areas of your disks by default, see ).

  3. OnyX for cache cleaning and lots of other stuff.

Further, now that macOS uses a sealed system volume, I am not as worried about malware as I was in the past. I don’t ever want to become complacent, though.

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If you go to Apple Support Communities and do a search for CleanMyMac X, you will find consistent deprecation of it and other apps like it.


A friend installed some kind of security software recommended by Spectrum, and it brought her system to a near crawl. Never did manage to weed it out in the time I had available to try to help her with it.

I have had CMM for years and used it for Updates and other items. I only had to uninstall it after SoftRAID was coming into conflict with it. Will probably re-install it after I get more specifics about the conflict. Used the Virus scan a few times, but it was not in monitoring mode ever. Have never found any viruses.

CleanMyMac X often gets confused with shady things like MacKeeper, but MacPaw, the Ukrainian company behind CleanMyMac X is highly reputable. I’ve worked with several individuals there over the years and met them at conferences—they’re legitimate.

MacPaw also created Setapp, which provides access to many Mac apps for a single monthly fee. The fact that a wide range of Mac developers work with them (and have for years) is another indication that they’re not some fly-by-night company.


Yes. More specifically, it only scans for installed malware, based on an internal database of how these packages install themselves. (At least on the Mac platform.)

But malware code that is not installed (e.g. you downloaded an infected app but didn’t run it yet) may not be detected, because it won’t be scanning your entire file system.

People loudly disagree over whether this policy is a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m going to leave those arguments to others (who hopefully won’t feel a need to restart the old arguments in this thread).

Good to know. There are some very entrenched folks in those Apple Communities who don’t like anything that operates as a cleaner.

I use MalwareBytes once in a while, but don’t feel the need for anything more at this point.

I use CleanMyMac, and the free version of MalwareBytes; MalwareBytes is very good at spotting adware, and my elderly neighbors often mistakenly install/allow things like toolbars or “free video players.”


I read many of the posts on the link you send, and couldn’t find even one single one which specifically described a problem clearly attributable to CMM, let alone to its most recent version CMMX. It’s mostly hearsay, "I’ve heard”, “a friend said”, “it’s widely known”, he-said-she-said, or stuff which might be attributable to all malware apps, and similar stuff ad nauseam.

I get really upset when I see this kind of thing going on - bad news, running something or someone down, alleging some kind of bad thing without even an ounce of proof or fact-checking, but mindlessly passing it on. (If there is any in this case I’d like to hear about it, so we can examine it more closely.)

To repeat: No malware program I’ve ever used over about 30 or so years has ever detected, and thus never removed, any malware on any of the Macs I’ve had, so I can’t say which is better at that. A few, like Norton or ClamAV, did cause problems of one sort or another which might have been corrected in later versions. But neither MalwareBytes nor CMM or CMMx has ever caused a problem for me, and, in the end, I like CMM better. (BTW, CMM’s a Ukrainian outfit, and IMO its people are heroes, which, for me, is another reason to support them.)


It’s gospel with some of the bazillion-point regulars in the Apple Support Communities that you don’t need third-party security apps. It might be useful if we had a list here of apps that are known to be OK.

Clean My Mac is solid and useful. I recommend it. Has only detected adware on my Macs, thankfully.

It does a good job cleaning up cruft and running app updates too.

This thread’s title is Malwarebytes vs. CleanMyMac X. While the OP may be mostly interested in malware protection, comparing both apps in their entirety is still relevant, especially since it seems (to me) that (1) both apps’ malware protection is probably good and reliable, and (2) neither causes problems. (An older thread here, though a bit dated, speaks to this issue, and includes what seem to be some wise words about the need for malware protection on Macs.)

Malwarebytes is free (with also a paid premium version) a one-trick-pony. CMMX additionally has many clean-up routines, and the one-user cost is €40.00 ($43.00) yearly. I believe these are quite useful, and I use them regularly. (Since I lost all my data many years ago, not due to malware, and have experienced a few other problems now and then (like slow-downs, faulty Spotlight searches, messed-up perms) I also use OnyX and TechTool Pro (as well as good back-ups) to try to protect myself as much as reasonable and possible against glitches, and it seems that I’ve been pretty successful.) All this my be overkill in the eyes of some, but not for me.

So, bottom line: I like what CMMX does, I feel it’s not expensive, and the price is worth it. And, as I said, I like the company. YMMV.

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I think this is the issue. MacKeeper has been around a while and, IIRC, has a terrible reputation for causing the issues it claims to fix.

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You overgeralize, but you raise an important point. Your “bazillion” Mac users are not as homogeneous a group as you suggest. So never forget that what’s gospel in one church is often foolish, sometimes even heresy, in another. And in the absence of much reliable data, evidence, or objective truth, what we’re left with is nothing more that unsubstantiated opinionated belief. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

I have run the free tier of Malwarebytes for years on my Macs (not often, but regularly). It has never found anything. From all I gather I chalk that up to the systems actually being clean vs. Malwarebytes being a poor scanner. The fact that it has yet to discover anything on my Macs reinforces my notion that being very conservative about what you install and keeping your system lean and clean is a recipe for peace of mind.

The one thing I’d love to see in Malwarebytes free tier is an option to have it automatically scan on launch. I’d actually pay just for that (one time though, never subscription). I’m no fan of its GUI which like Zoom is based off of Electron that does not respect macOS convention. But it’s free so whatever.

Note that I didn’t say “bazillion Mac users”. I said “bazillion-point regulars” in those Apple Community discussions. You get points for contributing in ways deemed useful. I seldom go there, and have something like 4000 points. Some of the very opinionated regulars have 40,000+ points.