Magican 1.3.1 review: if your Mac is running slowly, could this help?

If you want to keep your Mac healthy and reduce clutter, a number of open source or freeware apps come to mind. Top of the list is OnyX followed closely by AppCleaner, Monolingual and TinkerTool. Each of these handles different tasks but what if there was a single, free app that covered all aspects?

Magican is a jack of all trades. It can handle various data cleaning tasks, offers security against malware, advises of updates and provides hardware and software stats. For a company’s first product, it promises a great deal – but does it deliver?

An antivirus database that hasn’t been updated for five months really isn’t much use…

From its main screen, Cleaner has three modes. Duplicate searches your Mac for identical files by content, finding dupes even with different file names, while File Finder looks for files that exceed a certain size. Quick Clean looks to remove redundant ‘junk’ such as logs, browser caches, languages and unnecessary binaries. After scanning your Mac you get one option: Remove All. I’d advise against deleting system-generated logs for diagnostic reasons and stripping out languages can render some apps useless due to being seen as interfering with copy protection. Having a single button to instigate such a thorough cleansing is potentially damaging. Fortunately each cleaning feature also has its own page with a full breakdown of what has been found but the results can be a little confusing. Leftover listed unused preferences, including those for some apps in use, and broken preferences which included Apple Spaces. Binaries showed some apps with ‘this file has signature’ and no information as to what this means.

Security lets you scan your Mac for trojan viruses. Infected files get moved to a quarantine area and there’s also a trust list. Problem is, unlike commercial apps such as Norton AntiVirus or even open source versions like ClamXav, the database doesn’t get updated very often. The current one is dated 3 August 2012 making it five months out of date and pretty useless.

Clicking on Remove All is highly risky as it clears too much data in one fell swoop, especially app languages

Software checks installed apps for available updates – but so does App Store’s Updates. It also makes ‘recommendations’ but it’s difficult to ascertain what these are based upon. I can’t think of any reason why I would want Baby Flash Cards, Taxsoft 2012 or Kidspiration, the latter rated at one star on the App Store. The additional Uninstall facility can be rather inaccurate. For example, an app I downloaded yesterday had been marked as not being launched for 111 days.

Magican also offers hardware/software stats and temperature warnings (complete with floating window) plus a toolbox from which extra apps (currently MagicanDocument, MagicanFile and MagicanRest) can be downloaded. The final, totally incongruous feature is one for weather stats that fails to recognise local British towns, only those with the same names in the USA or Australia!

As system logs are used for diagnostics they really shouldn’t be removed – and certainly won’t ‘speed up the application running time’

OUR VERDICT

What looks like a promising concept falls down in too many areas to be recommended. The problem is that while it might not matter for, say, a font or graphic app, a utility with this much potentially destructive power has to function to an acceptable level from day one. What Magican needs is a careful reappraisal coupled with a decent manual and help system at which point it may live up to its potential.

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