Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Critical Review of MacKeeper

Back about the time I decided to buy a new Canon EOS Rebel T-3 digital SLR, I started to actively search for ways to trim the memory usage on my iMac (2.66 GHz Intel Core Duo, using Mac OS X).  I found some interesting things I could do myself--including removing duplicate copies of my entire (voluminous) photo library--but I turned to MacKeeper for some extra help to free up even more memory.  Here's a how MacKeeper describes itself to potential buyers.
"What is MacKeeper?
MacKeeper is like 911 for your Mac. It’s an easy way to manage routine tasks and keep your Mac secured, clean, reliable, fast and attended!
What makes it so special?
MacKeeper is a bundle of most important system utilities for performing different tasks on your Mac. It will rescue you from numerous apps and dozens of customer support centers!"
While I liked its simple user interface, its constant critical, "red alert-style" warnings soon became increasingly annoying.  I'd fix everything, then a few days later it would tell me that my system status was critical.  I knew this was nonsense, simply a marketing technique to make its non-tech savvy users feel a breathless need for its "magic."
As it did free up gigabytes of memory, though, I was first.  When MacKeeper sent me an invitation to do a review in exchange for an upgrade, I foolishly thought "Sure, why not?" and shared my thoughts in a quick and dirty online review.  That was a mistake.  The upgrade immediately caused problems with what they call their binary cutter, creating one of those false critical system warnings.  Their advice finally?  Just ignore it, because it's not a bug.  That, of course, begs the question...if it's not a problem, why does your MacKeeper tell me the sky is about to fall?
Here's an example of the "helpful" tech chat they offered me.
You: That's fine, but there's apparently a bug that should be addressed.
Vincent: I don't think it's a bug.
Vincent: In case if those junk files are in use I'm not surprised you can't remove them
You: Hello...
You: I'm supposed to give you remote login info, so you can check this issue...
You: 485 116 209 (remote id)
You: Ready for password?

Dear Karl B. Erickson, We are terribly sorry for all the inconvenience you have faced. In order to deal with the situation in the most efficient way we decided to offer you a remote control session. Our technician would connect to your computer and make the necessary steps - this is absolutely risk free, you would be able to spectate all our actions and we ensure you your privacy and personal information safeness. It usually doesn't take more then 10 minutes. If you agree to our offer, please follow instructions from the link below. Then please start a live chat in Mackeeper application or from MacKeeper official website and describe your issue to agent. If you are not willing to accept this offer we will do our best to deal with the issue in other ways, but it could take longer.Thank you for cooperation, ZeoBit customer support department.

You: Ready?
You: Waiting...  Support, are you there??
You: MAX, are you there?
You: signing-off in ten seconds...
As you can perhaps gather, ZeoBit customer service and tech support came across along the lines of the clueless Barney Fife of the software support world.  But the fun had only just begun.
Today, I realized with unbridled joy that MacKeeper had sent yet another update.  What new problems would I find?  I was not to be left disappointed.   The new warning message coming up repeatedly today is copied below.  Despite numerous attempts to clear, which included changing system preferences, no luck. It comes up as often as mosquitoes on a camping trip.
MacKeeper wants to use your confidential information stored in "com.zeobit.MacKeeper.ZeoAccount" in your keychain."
Try as I might, I can't get the new warning to go away for long.  I am just about fed up with MacKeeper and will likely be deleting it shortly--if they can't fix with an...update.  Gulp!
Some Other User Friendly Articles on "Techie" Subjects:

Update (1):

Update 2:

Per MacKeeper's suggestion this morning, try deleting the program, then reinstalling it.  So far, it does seem to work better.  (One potentially new security vulnerability has been shared with MacKeeper.)

Update 3:

I've long since stopped using MacKeeper.  In case you were not aware, there is a legal settlement in-the-works with regards to this product.


  1. I too have a mac, love it, and fortunately still have plenty of memory available. If that changes, I think I'll avoid MacKeeper, thanks to your warning here. But if I do use it, at least I can rest easy that they'll ensure my "personal information safeness." :)

  2. Thanks, Bill. Yes, we love our iMac, too! Yes, that safeness is pretty darn important. I also like the option of users being able to "spectate" the tech remoting-in. (I guess spectate is an actual verb, but it's very peculiar usage.)

  3. I am having the same request on my Mac "MacKeper Helper wants to use your confidential information stored in "com.zoebit.MacKeeper.ZeoAccount" in your keychain", if I select "always allow" is there any risk? What is the confidential information stored in my keychain? Cheers

  4. I went ahead and highlighted the last suggestion. Deleting and reinstalling the program seems to work very well. Otherwise, no matter what you select, the same question will pop up over and over. Good luck!

  5. I did that and the same question still came up

  6. Sorry, Anonymous. I share your frustration. I'd contact the company.

  7. At first I was looking for a program to fish out all my duplicate files and remove them because itunes and iphoto have an annoying habit of making two or three copies of every song and photo on my hard drive. mackeeper