Mechanic by Bitdefender (for Mac) review

Mechanic by Bitdefender may lack comprehensive OS X system-cleaning capabilities, but its simple nature makes for a solid tune-up tool for novice users.
Photo of Mechanic by Bitdefender (for Mac)

Windows-based computers have a wide array of system enhancing utilities designed to improve a PC’s overall performance, but the Mac OS X platform is a bit thin in that regard. Fortunately, Bitdefender looks to bolster the category’s ranks with Mechanic, a free utility capable of optimizing system memory, deleting digital footprints, and offering sound advice to keep your machine in shape. Mechanic is a solid tool to have in your back pocket, but it’s not a thorough system-scrubber like CCleaner for Mac.

A Defensive Stance
Unlike other OS X system-enhancing utilities like CCleaner, Mechanic has an interface that’s particularly welcoming to novice users. Mechanic’s easy-to-navigate four-category layout is designed to get you started quickly with the Free Memory, Privacy, Stability, and Advice sections. Let’s break ‘em down.

Free Memory is designed to clear cached data. Clicking it displays the amount of system RAM (and the amount that’s active, inactive, and free). If your system needs a cleaning, the green “Free Memory” icon will be clickable; if not, you’ll be unable to click it. Computer users who aren’t keen on tinkering will appreciate this streamlined feature, but those who would rather dig in and clean as they please may frown at the inflexibility.

Privacy, designed to remove traces of your computing activity, offers more flexibility. You can delete Web browser information (last session, browsing history, cookies, etc.) as well as application information (such as QuickTime’s recent items, Dropbox cache, etc.). Mechanic gives you the option to eliminate the items individually or in one fell swoop—I liked that I was able to delete my browser history with just a click without dipping into browser options.

Stability displays crash-prone apps so that you can look for drivers, updates, or patches (or, in extreme cases, simply uninstalling programs) once you identify the issue. If your apps are on the up-and-up, Mechanic won’t display any problematic programs. In fact, the box will be blank—I’d prefer if it said “All clear” or some other positive affirmation rather than showing an empty box.

Advice gives you, well, advice. When I clicked the Advice icon, Mechanic suggested that I turn on my firewall “for increased security.” I found this very useful as I didn’t realize that my Mac’s firewall was deactivated. If you have a Mac that’s giving you lots of problems, you may want to access the Advice section before doing anything else.

Despite those positives, Mechanic has a handful of notable missing features. Unfortunately, Mechanic doesn’t let you perform actions you’ll find in full-fledged tune-up programs such as uninstalling applications, freeing up hard drive space, repairing permissions, or scheduling cleanings. Those are standard-issue features in the majority of computer tune-up programs. Mechanic is, instead, a very basic tool that lets you perform quick hits. You should check out CCleaner if you’d like an app that offers a deeper dive.

Tuning Up
Mechanic by Bitdefender may not possess the wide range of system-improving features found in the likes of CCleaner, but users who want a very quick system tweak will find it a useful tool. And, hey, it’s free! Give it a download and give your Mac a booster shot.

Specifications
OS Compatibility Mac OS
Type Personal
Free Yes

Verdict
Mechanic by Bitdefender may lack comprehensive OS X system-cleaning capabilities, but its simple nature makes for a solid tune-up tool for novice users.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc