macexpertguide

Review: ZeoBit MacKeeper 2012: Is it a Scam?

Zeobit MacKeeper 2012 Review Is it a Scam

MacKeeper by Zeobit, LLC is a multi-functional system utility for Mac OS X which consists of 16 tools for security, system optimization and cleanup. The program has caused much debate and controversy because of Zeobit’s marketing tactics and also because of users reporting that the software itself is actually malware.

MacKeeper itself is not a scam – it does have a few features that work well. However…

For more than 4 years, I have run my own computer repair company. I have repaired many Macs that have MacKeeper installed. In every case where MacKeeper has been installed, it has been the main culprit of the problem, usually causing performance problems or freezing or crashes.

Despite all the good reviews by professionals, I am personally skeptical about MacKeeper. Even if MacKeeper does its job well for some users, there are a majority who found that the software caused severe problems on their Mac. So, I had to see for myself what MacKeeper is really like.

An evaluation of MacKeeper

Installing the software is a breeze, it’s just an ordinary Apple installer package. Once that is done, you’ll see the MacKeeper icon in your menu bar. MacKeeper has a Helper process which runs in the background all the time and it starts automatically at login. Unfortunately, the Helper uses a lot of memory.

The MacKeeper summary window displays an overview of the tools available.

MacKeeper 2012 review

The first feature I tested was the ‘Fast cleanup’ which identified 624.6 MB of ‘junk’ on a fresh Mac OS X 10.8 install. The bulk of this was removing non-English language translations from applications (an overrated feature because Mac drives are so large these days a couple hundred megabytes doesn’t make much difference). The ‘Fast Cleanup’ feature is quite thorough and gives you a choice of which files to remove. It also worked very best during both the scan and remove stages.

The disk usage feature is similar to that offered by OmniDiskSweeper, providing a column view by default to show the largest files in each directory. The utility offered by MacKeeper is clearer to read than OmniDiskSweeper, and the scan was very quick as well.

The Smart Uninstaller offers a feature akin to that of Windows Add & Remove Programs and also the Uninstaller list provided by CCleaner. It also lists installed plugins in Safari, Dictionary, QuickLook, iTunes, QuickTime and Spotlight – I don’t know of another piece of software which lets you easily remove plugins on Mac OS X.

I tried an antivirus scan which didn’t take too long (on an empty Mac with a fresh install of Mountain Lion), during the scan it used up to 50% CPU. I think on an older Mac system, probably the original Intel Core Duo models, performance may have been hindered during a scan. The MacKeeper Helper process used about 100MB memory during my testing. The MacKeeper application used about 45MB memory.

MacKeeper 2012 review

Uninstalling MacKeeper

Uninstalling or removing MacKeeper completely from your Mac is not an easy task. To say this is genuine software and not malware, ZeoBit has made it very difficult and awkward for the average user to remove the software from their Mac. I have written a guide about how to remove MacKeeper from your Mac.

What Is Missing?

While MacKeeper offers a good set of functionality, I wouldn’t say it’s the best multifunctional tool I’ve ever seen for the Mac. Similar tools usually include Disk Permissions/Disk Repair features, hidden parameter settings and Automation features. I personally prefer Onyx for this.

By using a combination of free tools, you can get the functionality of MacKeeper without the worry that comes with it. While I didn’t have any issues while using the trial version, I cannot ignore the fact that this software has caused problems for several of my customers in the past. If the software is meant to be as good as the professionals say, then ZeoBit needs to improve the reliability and iron out the problems people are experiencing.

Alternative tools

Onyx (read Mac Expert Guide review)

OmniDiskSweeper

Sophos Antivirus for Mac



  • E Morgan

    I bought MacKeeper under the impression that it was/is an Apple ‘advised product’. So slick is their marketing technique. I found it slowed my (new) Apple Mac down in addition to a new Apple Mac Pro.
    When I had a small issue, I called their number from the UK to USA. They were less than helpful. I then sent an email and it took a full ten days to get a response from ‘customer service’.
    I’ve removed MacKeeper and this has cured the problem….AVOID !!

  • Gary Cline

    I bought MacKeeper to maintain my file system on my mac mini. I have for some time experienced significant degrading of performance and was at a loss to determine the cause. What i observed is when my performance problem would appear, using Activity Monitor, i could see that i was out of memory and my system was paging and swapping for every activity. Then i notice that Mackeeper Helper was taking up almost 500Mb of memory and over 3Gb of virtual memory. As i started investigating this on the internet i began to realize that MacKeeper was the problem. I deleted the software and so far my system is working fine.

  • Dave C

    I have run my own specialist Mac service business for 16 years, and until I started warning people off installing MacKeeper a few years ago, I had never had so many complaints directly related to one piece of user-installed software – that were resolved by the not-so-simple action of removing every last scrap of that software, MacKeeper, from their drive. Some complaints were speed related but we’re not talking about a performance hit while virus checking, we’re talking about system-wide torpor e.g. a Core2Duo 2.8GHz iMac that the customer assumed was freezing, but in fact was operating with something like 10-20 seconds to respond to each keypress or mouse click, yet the CPU usage didn’t seem to reflect this when I went looking in the activity monitor – still, MacKeeper was hogging and holding the CPU somehow, and by removing it and doing no other system cleanup tasks, immediately restored normal operation. Many cases of kernel panic or other failures to start involved MacKeeper having “cleaned up” important system files, which is to put it bluntly, reprehensible in a utility supposedly designed for safe automated use by non-savvy users. The worst part of this product’s marketing campaign is that users started reporting problems “flagged by mackeeper, and I had to pay to get the full version to fix it” which is unethical, because in fact the reported “problems” were not real problems at all, none would have stopped the machine from performing its tasks normally – therefore I believe I am justified in calling this software scamware. So I repeat my warning to all Mac users – AVOID MACKEEPER, save yourself money, and avoid a whole heap of trouble. Cheers!

  • Dave C

    I meant to add that users bringing in Mackeeper-affected macs generally reported no trouble with MacKeeper for a few weeks after installation then suddenly started getting “there are problems, pay for the full version” messages, and for those who left it for a while, the macs performance started taking a hit, which was fixed in each case by the one task of removing MacKeeper – so although I can’t confirm it conclusively, this is a timebomb trojan in my opinion, a cynical inclusion of a virus-like feature which activates after a while under cover of being a useful utility, and is another reason to avoid it. My standard practise on servicing any Mac, is to check for the presence of MacKeeper an unless the customer protests violently, remove it.

  • James Foldenauer

    This topic is truly wrong! I even risked it downloading it before and guess what happened to my mac? Mac keeper added virus and finally killed my mac. I warn you all please, do not install this software its virus. Once installed stays in the hard drive even though you uninstall it. It’s not worth the risk!

  • Pingback: Mac-Forums Investigates MacKeeper | Mac-Forums BlogMac-Forums Blog

  • M. Guanda

    I bought MacKeeper about two years ago and never had a problem with it. I have to say, though, that when I clean up the items (junk files, duplicate files, etc.), I don’t notice any speed increase like other users in other forums say.
    I still have no need for the customer support feature, although I think I’ll contact them because I fired up my MacBook Pro today and did a full system scan as well as an internet scan and the status of the computer was excellent and the hands of the three gauge-like things in the “system status” mode were all in the green area.
    I then went on Zeobit’s and Kromtech’s website and turned the computer off, after taking a nap I turned it back on and the hands were all indicating “critical” but with “0 issues found” written at the bottom and the wording says “System status unknown”…
    … strange… I bought the platinum plan which has a lifetime license…

    I’m sorry for you E Morgan if you bought it under the impression that it was an Apple product, yes, indeed their marketing technique is extremely misleading, but if you are careful in reading the kind of sales advertising Zeobit uses, you can see that the product is not an official Apple product, infact they only write “MacWorld 2013 – official sponsor” (“MacWorld” and “sponsor” being the key words in this case), and MacWorld is not affiliated with Apple (but almost no one knows it).

  • Internet Unibomber

    MacKeeper is a scam!!! Please do NOT install it it! The trial wont let you “try” anything until you pay up and only managed to slow down my Mac. Please sty away from it.

  • Barbara Harrington

    AUGUST 23, 2013 AT 7:12 PM
    DO NOT BUY!!! I purchased MacKeeper a few years ago for my iMac… thinking it was a Mac/Apple product. Not only DID IT SCREW UP EVERYTHING ON MY COMPUTER but it is not a Mac/Apple product. Now it constantly POPS UP. I contacted ALEX and instructed him to take me off their list. They agreed to do that. Guess what, the next day MacKeepter Kept popping up. UNINVITED!!! I am now working with Mac to stop it from popping up on my iMac… I know many people think it is a Mac product because of the name…. BUT IT IS NOT. DON’T get involved with their company ZEO BIT!

  • Montana

    I bought MacKeeper after reading several online reviews like this one. Soon thereafter my IMac started freezing and crashing several times a day… to the point I made an appointment at the Mac store to take it in or service. I asked the guy at the Mac desk about MacKeeper and he said
    “Delete it!” So I did. And guess what? No more freezing and crashing problems.

  • rick

    I have an older (4 yrs old) duo-core MacBook Pro. I played games online while it was doing virus scans so it didn’t degrade performance that much.

    I’ve had and used MacKeeper for a few yrs with no problems. But….it’s not the same MacKeeper now…no longer a Zeobit program.

    Zeobit was approached at a conference in March and sold the program shortly thereafter to concentrate on cloud storage technology, research and development.

    When they sent out an announcement, I tried to research the company that bought it from Zeobit. There was very little information available.
    Full company name: Kromtech Alliance Corp.
    Operates out of Russia: Latvia and the Ukraine
    Company was founded in 2012.

    A new company, I believe, formed just so they could buy MacKeeper & PC Keeper. Not in itself a bad thing…..

    Newsweek showed it as a “principal investment firm.” and stated
    “Kromtech Alliance Corporation does not have any Key Executives recorded.”
    Their only Merger/Acquisition recorded was “April 12, 2013 ZeoBit Inc., MacKeeper and PCKeeper.”

    Wikipedia states it was founded in 2012.
    It shows in March 2013 a Director was appointed, the purchase offer was made,
    negotiations completed and the sale agreed upon. They took over a few weeks later, in mid- April.

    When I did a live-chat with Kromtech, I couldn’t get any information.
    They referred me to ZeoBit’s website for the license agreements, etc.
    Said they were just transfering everything to their domains. They gave me a street address
    but the only phone number for the company they’d release was for tech support.

    Ive debated for awhile whether to keep it installed or not, but finally removed it today. Like I said, I’ve liked it and had no problems, but the lack of company information and track record, plus what I did know, raised red flags…… pardon the pun.
    What corporation is formed without named officers at the outset? Where did all the money come from to buy these programs from Zeobit? They haven’t developed anything themselves. Was it Russian mob money?

    Maybe I’m just paranoid…but these programs give them access to millions of computers and personal information……the hairs on my neck stood up and haven’t gone down.

    The fact that a large percentage of ID theft originates in Russia…..I decided I didn’t want them having any access to my computer. I don’t understand how these programs work, but since they can scan my hard drive and files…. I just haven’t been comfortable.

    I very well may be completely wrong in my suspicions but thought I’d share what I found and why, even though happy with the program, have decided to remove it. Perhaps more information is available now. Everyone should do their own research and reach their own conclusions.

  • Mr_Bologna

    Nice post, I appreciate the way you tried it and experienced it for explain to people how MacKeeper was a dubious choice or not. Now my doubts on this software are disappeared.

    Thanks

  • macexpertguide

    You might want to read the article. We don’t recommend that you install/buy MacKeeper. In fact, I’ve cited several cases where I have found this software causing serious performance problems on Macs. I even pointed out that there are better utility tools out there, like Onyx.

email