This is our honest review of the Mac OS X antivirus and cleaner utility, MacShiny, by developers Cyan Soft Ltd.
A quick search for the MacShiny cleaning tool on Google will turn up some alarming results. The most common of which are from users on forums trying to uninstall the apparently fraudulent app.
So is MacShiny harmful malware or a useful optimization utility that will protect your computer? Or should you remove MacShiny from your apple computer immediately?
The MacShiny website boasts that it comes with a variety of features that are not uncommon to any other optimization utility, such as a browser extensions manager and duplicates finder. Their marketing strategy is aimed at intimidating users into downloading their software.
We’ll briefly go over each of the features of this potentially unwanted program (pup), how they benefit the user and compare how MacShiny shapes up against its competitors. We will also give our honest opinion of what we see as issues we found with this software.
Read the whole MacShiny review for a more in-depth understanding of the app, or skip to the end to get our final thoughts on the software.
MacShiny is part of a family of apps called optimization utilities. These programs are designed to scan your Mac and find files and applications which may be slowing it down.
It will scan your system registry and find any unlinked library files as well as any files which may be redundant. You can set these scans to happen automatically to keep your computer in good shape. Although, MacShiny tends to slow down your Mac computer by scanning too frequently.
As well as optimizing your device, MacShiny claims to have built-in antivirus protection. This manages any downloaded files and keeps them quarantined to stop harmful malware or spyware from infecting your Mac.
We used MacShiny for a few weeks to check out how it shapes up against its competitors such as MacFly Pro and CleanMyMac X. It does not compare very well.
While MacShiny features a polished design and a wide range of features, it’s essentially a scareware program that will install on your Mac without your permission and overreport the amount of dead or junk files to frighten you.
It drastically over-reports the amount of dead or junk files and doesn’t seem to do much for your device. In fact it has been said that it can even download additional malware parasites.
The first aspect of this app that should be cause for alarm is the pricing structure.
Most developers separate their apps into modules which users get access to depending on the pricing tier they buy. For example, the free trial will have most of the basic features, but you will need to pay to get cloud storage and customer support.
The free version of MacShiny is a two-week free trial. While using the trial version of the app, you are constantly interrupted and encouraged to purchase the full version.
The constant interruptions and notifications are something we’ll touch on again later, too.
After the free trial has expired, you will have to choose between three pricing tiers. The packages are separated into 6, 12, and 24-month plans. The 24-month ‘Deluxe’ plan is said to be the best value for money with the lowest monthly charge.
All plans give you access to the same features, the only difference is for how long the license lasts.
The Mac App Store page is the first thing that gave us cause for concern. It claimed that it was giving us an impossibly large 95% discount. This was only because they obviously inflated the original price of the product (it was over $500 per month).
MacShiny also claims that it is cheaper than other competitors by saying it’s ‘14 apps in one’ and adding together the cost of apps that have similar features. In reality, all of those apps have the same features as MacShiny and then some. No user would ever need to buy every app they suggest to get the same functionality.
The final issue with their pricing structure is that, despite what it says on their website, MacShiny will charge you the total cost of your subscription all at once. So if you pay for a 24-month subscription, be prepared for an eye-watering bill at the end.
If you’ve purchased MacShiny and you want a refund, you’re probably not going to have much luck. Although their page claims to have a 100% money-back guarantee, reading the fine print reveals that this isn’t quite the case.
The refund is only available in the case of a fraudulent purchase. Only customers who haven’t activated the license are eligible for a refund. But since you need to activate the license to use the product, you’re not likely to get your money back.
MacShiny has designed its app with an antivirus component to keep your Mac safe. At least, that’s what they want you to think.
Programs like Norton Security or BitDefender scan downloaded files to look for malicious activity. These are true antivirus programs.
Although MacShiny claims to be an antivirus, it isn’t really. The only protection it provides to your Mac is that it will turn on your firewall protection.
In casual usage, the terms ‘firewall’ and ‘antivirus’ are used interchangeably, but they’re two different kinds of programs.
Firewalls are network security systems that guard against malicious attacks. They monitor network activity and shut out unwanted intrusion on the network. A firewall can be bypassed by files that are intentionally downloaded and attack your system internally.
Antivirus software scans and fixes files that are already on your Mac. They scan your files looking for patterns that malicious software like malware, spyware, and trojans use to infiltrate your Mac.
Because of this, most experts would recommend using both a firewall and antivirus to protect your device.
Since the only network protection MacShiny offers is turning on your firewall – which you can do yourself – the claim that it has antivirus protection is entirely false. It does not protect your Mac any more than your standard Mac firewall.
If you’re thinking of using MacShiny to protect your Mac online, you would be better off going with other programs such as Norton Antivirus or McAfee for real antiviruses.
The main feature of MacShiny, or any other optimization utility, is its file management software. It will scan through your registry to locate and delete duplicate files or dead-end shortcuts.
If you keep your Mac computer well organized and filed, it’s easy enough to do this management yourself. You can manually go through your system registry every couple of months and just manually delete the files you don’t use anymore.
But if you don’t feel comfortable rummaging through the back-end of your system, using an optimization utility can be useful. It will also get the job done much quicker, although less thoroughly, than doing it manually.
MacShiny looks slick and it scans through your Mac fast. But the results it gives are frankly unbelievable.
No matter how well-maintained the Mac is, MacShiny claimed to find tens of thousands of junk files. This would even happen right after running a scan and disk cleanup, so it can’t be doing much.
On top of that, the files that MacShiny claimed to delete still showed up if you went looking for them.
As far as file management goes, MacShiny is functionally useless. It massively exaggerates the number of dead or harmful files on your Mac. It also does nothing to get rid of files that actually are useless.
If you do want to use an optimization program, there are many other options such as CCleaner or Smart Mac Care. These programs act as advertised and won’t rip you off.
Ease of Use
The first thing you’ll notice after you install MacShiny is that it’s unforgivably annoying.
Be prepared to be interrupted every fifteen minutes with reminders to scan your Mac or upgrade your account. This kind of relentless prodding is a design feature that’s common to lots of shady programs.
MacShiny is riddled with intrusive pop-ups and ads that constantly pester the user.
Another major issue with MacShiny (and further proof that it’s a fraud) is that you are given no details about what the program is doing.
When running the system scan, MacShiny will throw out warnings that the system is in critical shape and that there are thousands of dead files that need to be cleaned. But there is no way of finding out what or where these files are.
It is impossible to gauge the status of your device because, no matter what, MacShiny will claim that ‘Your System is at Risk!’ This is more evidence that the program isn’t doing anything.
The fact that it is near impossible to uninstall is another red flag. The app has been built in such a way that it disperses files all over your system, making it difficult to root it out entirely.
Many users have also reported that the app will install itself on their system without them granting permission to do so. Because of this tendency, many tech sites will list MacShiny as malware.
It has been known to ‘bundle’ itself with other packages. Freeware or apps from torrent sites will hide MacShiny (or other adware like it). They will install themselves with the other programs.
Searching for MacShiny online will result mostly in articles and blog posts on the best way to uninstall MacShiny. If you have installed the app, we would suggest making use of one of these tutorials.
It’s important to uninstall MacShiny entirely. The program itself is most likely harmless, but it is suspected to act as a download platform for other, more harmful viruses like trojans.
Finding any real user reviews for this app is close to impossible. The only people who admit to downloading the app online are looking for help uninstalling it from their system.
MacShiny’s website claims that their app has been downloaded over 14 million times, but we seriously hope this number is exaggerated.
There are a few testimonials from customers on their website. The testimonials themselves are riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. They should not be taken as genuine.
The customer review page on their storefront is also alarming. According to their page, their product has received over 16,000 reviews, all of which are rated five stars.
Even the best-designed apps on the app store will not have unanimous five-star reviews. Any company that claims to be so highly rated should be greeted with a healthy degree of skepticism.
What’s more, there is no way to look at any reviews. It’s clearly a false statement that they do not want people to investigate.
The product page has more lies, such as the claim that they’ve been reviewed by reputable outlets such as Mac News and MacObserver. After trawling through these sites, we could find no mention of MacShiny anywhere.
There are also claims for awards that the company has won which are verifiably false.
If you want to base your purchasing decision on user reviews, MacShiny is almost unanimously regarded as a fraud. The only positive reviews they have are clearly false testimonials and they have blatantly inflated their review rating.
You should instead look for a utility that is trusted by experts. There are many out there such as MacFly Pro or CleanMyMac X.
How To Uninstall MacShiny from your Mac
If you’ve installed MacShiny because you thought it was a legitimate option, or if it was installed without your permission, getting rid of the program can be tricky.
MacShiny disperses itself across your system to make it difficult to remove, but it’s not impossible. Here are the steps to remove MacShiny from your apple Mac computer.
Open the ‘Utilities’ folder.
Enter the ‘Activity Monitor’ tile and find the entry for MacShiny. Select it and click on ‘Quit Process’
In the Apple Finder, go to the ‘Go’ menu and select ‘Go to folder.’
A dialog box will appear. Type in the following: /Library/LaunchAgents.
This will open a directory of all the Launch Agents in your system. Look through it to find any suspicious entries and move them to the trash. They should look like: com.MacShiny.agent.plist or com.MacShiny.mclphpr
Use the ‘Go to folder’ and type in /Library/ApplicationSupport and look for applications named MacShiny or hlprmacshiny and move them to the trash.
Click on the ‘Go’ option again and select ‘Applications.’ Find the application entry for MacShiny and delete it. It might require you to enter your user and password.
Open the Apple Menu and select ‘System Preferences.’ Open the ‘Accounts’ tab and select ‘Login Items.’ There should be an entry for MacShiny. Select the ‘–’ option to stop MacShiny from starting on launch.
If you follow this process, you should be able to completely remove MacShiny from your apple Mac computer.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to rummage around your system files yourself, you could use a more trustworthy optimization utility with less security issues to help you out.
The maintenance tool and security app Combo Cleaner will get rid of MacShiny entirely. It gets hourly updates on virus definitions and can accurately detect malicious content with accuracy.
Alternative Mac Cleaning Tools
Using pretty much any alternative program would be preferable to MacShiny. Many applications do the things that MacShiny pretends to.
If you’re looking for antivirus software, there are a host of options available to you. Norton Antivirus is consistently rated as one of the best on the market. It’s significantly cheaper than MacShiny for a year’s subscription.
On top of antivirus protection, a Norton subscription gives you access to 100Gb of cloud storage to backup your device as well as a VPN to protect your data online.
If you want an optimization utility that actually cleans your Mac, you could use CCleaner for free. It scans your system and deletes duplicate and junk files and cleans your registry.
Ccleaner also has a premium package that gives you access to real-time system monitoring and online privacy protection by managing and clearing out cookies.
MacFly Pro is a simple and powerful software that can run manual scans on your Mac. It features a duplicates finder, removes system log files, has memory and mail attachments management, and deals with the leftovers from unwanted and removed files. It’s simple and easy to use, but sadly has poor customer service according to reviews.
Many users report that MacShiny is malware, and they’re right.
This potentially unwanted program (pup) doesn’t do any of the things it claims to do. Its primary function is as an optimizer, but it doesn’t scan through your system properly and it over-reports the number of problems that users have.
From our review we found that MacShiny pretends to find problems and pretends to solve them to trick people into buying an expensive package.
It’s overly intrusive and full of pop-up adverts that show up every ten minutes.
The coders on the app intentionally built it in such a way that it becomes a pain to get rid of. It is a massively dishonest program that has been made with the sole intention of ripping people off.
This application provides no useful features and only demonstrable harm.
Their website is made to be misleading and to trick users into thinking that it is a trustworthy app, which it is not.
Literally, any alternative to MacShiny is preferable. You would be better off installing nothing.
If someone you know is using the utility, maybe direct them to this article on how to remove MacShiny to keep their devices safe.
Mike Hostetler is an Entrepreneur & Technologist currently working to help technical teams grow and thrive. Mike formerly founded appendTo, a boutique consultancy born out of the jQuery project. He is an active OSS supporter and currently serves as CEO & Publisher of ModernWeb.com. Mike is passionate about Remote Work, the Future of Work, Leadership and helping others succeed.