My iPhone 4 has in general been pretty robust, slowing slightly with the iOS 7 release of Apples operating system but when I came across CleanMyPhone I thought there was possibly potential to improve it by cleaning things up and perhaps restoring it to full speed. So, before I upgraded to iOS7.1 I thought I’d give CleanMyPhone a try.
To use CleanMyPhone you need to plug your phone in to the computer so that it can be scanned. The scanning process is quite slow although that’s probably as much a function of the USB connection than anything else. Once scanned CleanMyPhone will give you the Device Status, which tells you which OS you have and how much space is available. Functions that iTunes can do for you of course.
App Cleaner (shown to the left) will remove Documents and Data, App Cache, App Cookies and App Junk Files. But how to know if any of those options are actually needed and whether removing them is actually a good idea? You can drill down into the individual areas to see more detail and remove only those files which you think are a good idea. It was rather interesting to see that the FaceBook app is massive – but really, who can live without FaceBook on their iPhone these days? I tried removing some stuff, nothing broke, but nothing improved either.
The Find Large Files option again allows you to see which apps and their data is taking up lots of space. This can be useful if you fill your phone up with crap and want to free some space by removing apps that you don’t really need any more – but the usefulness is really limited to finding which app is the biggest and removing that for best space reclaim. The actual removal is easy through your iPhone anyway with the whole wiggly home screen with crosses on the apps.
Drilling in to the App Cleaner categories allows you to see the files associated with each category, so for example the App Cache drill down allows you to see all the images that FaceBook app has cached. Plus some data that probably shouldn’t be removed – there’s big potential here for completely stuffing up the app I suspect – although the worst that should happen is that you’d have to re-enter your login details and so forth. Supposedly you can export these files to your hard drive. I selected a few files and clicked Export but they never got exported. Then I thought I’d remove all the cached images from Facebook to clean up some space. But you can only remove one at a time, you can’t select multiple files to remove – for example with the standard CMD-Click or Shift-Click to select a range. There is a ‘Remove All’ button but that seems dangerous, and there’s files in there that I just KNOW will reset my app if I remove them. So no, not going to be removing all thanks.
The app doesn’t follow standard UI guidelines, the buttons in some places are rounded (similar to Clean My Mac though I think the two companies are totally separate) yet in other places they’re flat single coloured buttons. I find the UI a bit ugly to be honest, but I’m not a style guru and I’m not keen on the iOS 7 interface either so that could just be me. The on/off buttons in the One Click Copy screen give no clue as to which is on or off, except for a notation guide in the bottom right of the screen. That shouldn’t be necessary, it should be obvious whether a button is on or off.
Talking of One Click Copy – there’s no way to stop a scan once it’s started, except for quitting the app and restarting it. The scan (if you have selected all the options) takes ages, with no indication as to how much longer is left. It also doesn’t tell you that it’s actually exporting everything, not just scanning to show you what to export. Having said that, it does make it extremely easy to export everything from your iPhone into the CleanMyPhone directory. And, one of the nice features is that you can export your SMS / iMessages too – although it loses the contact details in the export which is a shame.
There is one redeeming feature to this app and that is the ability to export Music, Photos, Videos, Books etc straight to the hard drive of your host computer. For anyone who’s experienced the loss of their iTunes collection and only has it on their iOS device this might be a golden opportunity. Music is exported into the directory specified in the CleanMyPhone preferences (defaults to ~/Documents/CleanMyPhone) but sadly suffers the same lack of multiple selection capability as other areas of the application. But, if you need to get ALL your music off the phone for whatever reason then this could be the part of this application that makes it worthwhile. The application knows the name of the MP3 and includes the music details within the ID tags of the file too, so re-importing into iTunes should be relatively straight forward.
Overall though, the application seems seriously overpriced to me for what it actually does. I’ve not noticed any stability improvement on my iPhone (though my phone was relatively clean anyway because I don’t keep too many apps around if I don’t use them any more) or any speed improvement. At nearly $40 it’s an expensive option for getting your iTunes library back if you’ve lost it (or want to transfer music off your iPhone without using iTunes for whatever reason).
Apart from the music and SMS/iMessage export ability, the rest of the app seems to be solving a problem that doesn’t exist, which suggests that it would be better to be named ExportMyPhone rather than CleanMyPhone, and would probably do better at around $4.95 price mark.
Design - 4/10
Features - 5/10
Cost - 2/10
Ease Of Use - 8/10
Customer Support - 8/10
Overall Value - 5/10
Positives: Export your music without syncing with iTunes, export SMS / iMessages
Negatives: Solving a problem that doesn't exist - iPhones don't need cleaning, overpriced, feels unfinished
Trial Available: Yes, no one click copy in demo