Magican 1.3.1 Review : Helping Clean Your Mac & Protect Against Mac Trojans
Magican is a free doctor for your Mac that helps clean away all the crud that might be slowing down your Mac. With features like a malware scanner, duplicate file finder and a rather handy fan controller, Magician has one more trick up it's sleeves. It comes at the low price of being free. If I had been reviewing Windows software and someone had approached me with something like this i'd have laughed so hard before rejecting it for review. Programs on windows like this claim to help but often masquerade as nothing more than a way to affect a computer with a Trojan or various levels of malware.
Let's get one thing straight here, Magican is NOT like it's windows brethren, contains no spyware, no infestations of any type. It's important to make that distinction early on with software like this. So does Magican have some tricks up it sleeves to optimise your Mac or is it all hocus pocus?
Ok sorry for the hamfisted magic related stuff there but my point still stands. A lot of people who I know that can "use the internet" end up infested but from the start theres nothing to worry about with Magican. There are some oddities but we'll cover that later
So what we have here is less of a system optimiser but a system cleaner presented in a front-end that is not too dissimilar to iTunes. Ok so you can argue that cleaning is itself optimisation but Magican bills itself as more a way to tame your mac. Your basic abilities include the standard fare of cleaning your web browser's cache and removing logs in caches is here alongside with more disc-based operations such as finding duplicate files and application leftovers.
Dealing With Duplicates
The bane of many a system, duplicate images or files can easily start to clog up a system and Magican does try to deal with these but the UI let's things down a little. Before we get into the effectiveness of a duplicate file sweep lets go over the UI. As you can see it says add or drag and drop a folder. At first I tried to drag the small icons from below into the target zone to no avail. A click puts them in-place for a scan..
There's not much here in the way of duplicates as this computer has just had a fresh install of mountain lion but nonetheless you can see what is trying to achieve. The only confusing issue here is that it would be all too easy to select all files for deletion not just a duplicate. Again nothing that can be solved with a little bit more on-screen interaction.
The saving grace come at deletion time where you can either of delete permanently or just send it to the trash bin. Side note here, a feature for secure deletion might have been nice perhaps?
Duplicate files are one thing but binaries are another and sure enough, Magican takes care of them but a lack of explanation made me shy away from this option. Some apps were already ticked and with wording like "binaries are scanned out" and "this file has signature" I decided to steer away from letting Magican do it's thing. Sure I've the knowledge for a vague idea of what might happen but this is my daily rig so better safe than sorry.
More than a glorified activity monitor, stats lets you drill down into more of whats going on inside your Mac. Disk usage at a glance is a handy tool for times when things "seem slow" and it's then not too hard to track down resource consuming processes.
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Being able to purge ram can also give you a nice boost in resources if you tend to put your Mac to sleep more than switch off, granted Mountain Lion has made strides in this area. Another neat feature is control over fan speeds if you'd like to keep things cooler than what your system thinks is optimal.
Magican Security Center
Right at the top of this interview I expressed concerns about was this just a freeware piece of software masquerading as nothing but an injector for a malicious payload but low and behold a security scanner is built-in to check for all known variants of Macintosh malware attacks.
As you see the bottom the Trojan database is a little bit old but checking for updates said I have the most up-to-date version of the Trojan database. As the Macintosh is still relatively virus free it be interesting to see if this area gets updated.
A list of threats Magican looks for and detects would be nice yet the data file date didn't really worry me as nt that much gets released in the way of malware for the Mac.... so far. Nonetheless scanning is effortless requiring a simple click on the icon to get things under way.
This screen made me laugh because the first screen when you run says "improved UI" but that doesn't seem to cover the grammer (and yes, I realise that's rich coming from this website)
Software Updates / Uninstall.
I've never been really sure on just how effective it is to uninstall an app via dragging it into the trash. Application leftovers bug me as I hoped to leave the equivalent of undeed registry entries behind. Again Magician has you covered on this with built in un-installer. Again the "new" interface falls foul of some dodgy grammar.
Get free only app from App store, well it kind makes sense...
Floating around on the desktop is a small CPU, CPU temp monitor and initially you think the refresh icon which looks pretty darn similar to anything on a browser would refresh those stats, instead it purges ram. Not quite sure why it's a prominent feature.
You can cycle between CPU / GPU temps, CPU / RAM usage, Upload / Download speeds. However over those stats pops up this.
At first glance I hadn't noticed the weather widget but alas it didn't reconginse my nearest city and seems ripe for USA countries only. This is also the first place where tool tips are used throughout the program. Turns out you can dock the stats to the top bar
This took some work for a screen shot as mousing away form stats means it soon retracts back into compact mode. Then that little push pin area became clear. Again more minor UI niggles but like apps of this nature, some things need working out and not putting on a plate. After all those that are looking for an App like Magican would be of the technically savvy you'd think.
Magican Hardware - Great for when it's time to sell your Mac
Finally hardware mimics "about This mac" functionality with a perk of being able to save that information to a text file.
Now it's time to say goodbye to the office macbook pro 2009 that I'll be using for this very purpose. Again a nice touch that shows some features like the weather app are handy and other features are more than worthwhile.
The Magican website states "We are always innovating!" and with developers spread around the virign islands you kind of understand why at times, gramatically speaking, Magician is lacking.
With that being said the feature set is capable and does everything you'd expect from a program of this type. The interface borders on cutesy but not overly dumbed down for more advanced users.
Everything is nicely presented and laid out with the use of gestures although some tweaks and improvements could be made on the user interface side. As you can see in some of the screenshots that help text blends into the background more than once.
All said and done Magican is a capable app that will help clean your mac, clear the clutter in a simple, easy to follow interface and best of all. It's FREE. Just head to www.magicansoft.com to grab a copy. Also worth checking out are their forums which seems to be a friendly community and plenty of answers to cleaning your mac questions.
Magican 1.3.1 Released
Magican has updated to version 1.3.1 with Clean Module optimized. It is compatible with four languages: French, Spanish, English and Japanese.
Here is some basic information of Magican 1.3.1: Magican is a free doctor for your Mac. compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 or later (Mountain Lion compatible)
Updates: 1. File Finder for disused and large files added 2. Tips for new users have been redesigned 3. Enriched Feature descriptions provided 4. Improved French and Spanish translations 5. Other bugs fixed