Q&A: Keeper not for keeps

Q Years ago I used MacKeeper, but have not had it installed for a long time. Now running OS X 10.6.8, it has started to haunt me with unwanted pop-up pages. How can I banish it for good?

A Recent versions of MacKeeper can be removed by merely dragging the app to the Trash, following which it should clean up after itself.

However earlier versions can be very hard to remove completely. A blow-by-blow account of the steps required is laid out on MacExpertGuide, which includes removing it and its components from Time Machine backups, lest it re-install from there onto your startup volume.

Sometimes installing a current version will cause the installer to remove old components, following which uninstalling the app will leave your Mac free again. Once you think that it has gone, check in your Console logs that it is not loaded following a restart, and that none of its processes remain listed in Activity Monitor.

Comments MacKeeper and other housekeeping utilities of this ilk can be tricky to remove completely, so you should only install them – even trial versions – if you are certain that you really want to go through all this trouble. Some users have found them to be so persistent on their Macs as to brand them as viral in their behaviour. However most have improved considerably in recent years.

I have yet to come across any of these housekeeping utilities which I would even think of installing on my Mac. However I must presume that some users do find them helpful and not hateful.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 05, 2014.