Review: Stellar Speedup Mac

Mac running a bit slowly? Might be time to clean things up, and that’s what Stellar’s SpeedUp Mac is designed to accomplish. Here’s how it worked…

First off, while Mac systems aren’t as bad as Windows PCs, truth is that the longer you use a computer, the more it slows down. A big reason for this is because we users add custom cursors, themes, and most importantly install programs that start up when the system boots, run in the background, and generally suck up system resources, even months — or years — after we’re done using them.
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Another major consideration for system performance is the percentage of disk space you have empty and available. Because of how operating systems run multiple programs simultaneously, running low on disk space can be a major performance problem and running out of space? That’ll kill your system, whether you’re on a Mac, PC or even a Linux system. A good reason to keep an eye on things and make sure you keep some space free.

A third issue on the Mac side is that deleting an unused app often doesn’t actually remove all traces of it. Windows is a bit better in this area, as it happens, with its package management design. Programs are removed in Windows 8, for example, by using the “Add/Remove Program” control panel, not just dragging the app icon to the Trash.

To test out Stellar SpeedUp Mac (free trial, then $34.99 for a single system, $49.99 for every system in your family’s network) I installed it on my trusty Apple MacBook Pro w/ retina screen, a system with a 500GB SSD drive and 16GB of RAM. Installation was easy enough, and every time you run it, you’ll need to grant it admin access, after which it zips through a quick initialization process:

initializing speedup mac

When it’s done you’re at the main splash screen:

ready to go, stellar speedup mac

Well, there’s only one button, so click on it.

Before we do, however, do read the description: Really what SpeedUp Mac does is delete files that you don’t need, including language add-on files for programs where you don’t ever use the language (like Chinese or Russian). So let’s proceed…

what to do in speedup mac

I have one drive, so I don’t even need to select a source volume. These sort of programs always are most effective on the boot or “root” disk, though they can analyze secondary drives, flash drives, etc.

Click on “Start Scan” and it’ll start analyzing the drive.

speedup mac scan in progress

The display is quite interesting, actually, because as it goes along you can see what it’s analyzing and, in big type superimposed over the progress information, the total size of files it’s identified as safe to delete.

At this point it’s 1.41 GB of space it’ll free up.

A few minutes later, that number’s jumped up quite a bit:

speedup mac app in progress, a little later

Still scanning, but 6.05GB is a lotta space to free up. Nice.

Finally, after a while, the scan completes (it can take 30min or more depending on your drive and number of files) and you can see what paying for the license gets you versus what it can do in the free trial version:

results of system performance scan

In a nutshell, if I were to proceed with the trial version, it could free up 2.83GB of space, but wouldn’t touch language files, clean up universal binaries, cache files or duplicate files. Since I have the paid version, I’ll click on “Free 6.52 GB Space Now”.

At this point you can — and probably should — inspect some of the files it’s poised to remove, particularly extensions.

It looks like this:

details on what speedup mac stellar will do

or you can just go for it — I’ll explain the potential side effects in just a minute – and click “SpeedUp Now”.


ready to proceed? confirmation

It’s not too late to back up and double check what it’s going to delete before you go further.

Ready then? Okay, click “Proceed”.

progress bar

That’s definitely one I don’t need. A PowerPC binary. Amazing that this stuff’s still even around.

Finally, it’ll complete and:

stellar speedup mac process complete

I’ll take 6.52GB of free space, thank you!

Stellar SpeedUp Mac has the ability to help out with deleting files and can scan drives when plugged in to. The place to make all these settings and configure them to your taste is in Preferences:

set up configure speedup mac

The Trash Status Monitor is interesting because it can help you avoid the “I haven’t emptied trash in months and it’s eating up all my free space” problem, which I think many people face. It does this by monitoring how big the trash gets and popping up a window like this as needed:

trash too big: delete?

More usefully, it can also monitor the trash for applications, then remove all the associated files along with the app itself.

Done with the app? Remove the app file and it’ll get rid of its hooks into the system too.

The only issue I found with the program is that it was slightly overzealous in removing program preference and settings files, so the first time I opened up a couple of different programs after running Stellar SpeedUp Mac I found they were back to default settings. A bit annoying, but had I have scanned the files it wanted to delete instead of just proceeding, I could have side-stepped this.

More importantly, I feel like SpeedUp Mac is possibly misnamed. I think “CleanUp Mac” would be a better name for this application and would highlight how helpful it is for Mac users. So don’t expect your computer to run dramatically faster (that’s better done by getting rid of everything that starts up automatically when you boot up) but if you’re running close to the limit on your disk usage, this will definitely not only save you from running out of space, but it will help your system perform more efficiently. Otherwise, it’s a great tool for cleaning up all the junk that inevitably accumulates on a modern system.

Stellar SpeedUp Mac. Free trial, $34.99 for a single system, $49.99 for a family license.


Dave Taylor
About Dave Taylor
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.

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