Hello and welcome to #MacKeeperFixed – a series of publications that sometimes reveal it inconveniently the truth about the challenges our company has undergone in recent years and actions we have taken to overcome them. Once a week starts today, we publish an article that discusses a particular issue we've dealt with and what actions we took to cope with it. Watch!
MacKeeper Autoinstall Issue: What was it about?
When we started analyzing complaints from our users, it was one of the most common: "MacKeeper is not a safe program. It is downloaded and installed on my computer without my permission. How to get rid of MacKeeper?"
When we realized how many people called MacKeeper a virus or a malware, we did it to find out what made people think about this way. [1
we needed to find out why people owe MacKeeper to be installed without their permission and what made them think it was hard to remove MacKeeper from their macs.  So we decided to find the cause of the problem.
After a few weeks of thorough investigation, we realized where all "MacKeeper is not a safe program" and "MacKeeper malware" complaints come from. The problem has had a lot to do with bundling – a distribution tool we have previously trusted.
How we found this.
There were no complaints from people who downloaded MacKeeper from our official website or landing page. For them, the download and installation process was complete and seamless, and it was also the uninstallation process.
However, most of those complaining about MacKeeper had never been to our website or landing page. They got MacKeeper as a result of downloading a software package with MacKeeper as a component.
So what looked like installation without their permission was a result of our software being downloaded as part of a bundle. To make matters worse, those who were responsible for handling the package failed to inform users correctly about the software that came into the package.
Wondering what "bundle" means? Here is a brief explanation. Bundling is about offering more products or services for sale as a package. This means that you can buy or download free a large software you are actually interested in, and get other software for free. Sometimes this can be convenient and a lot.
The problem is that some collecting companies do not use it correctly and honestly. "The right way" means here that it becomes clear to people what software will end up installed on their computers apart from the one they wanted initially.
When it's not clear and easy to notice, people inform us that we should be surprised that people perceive additional software like a virus?
This is how problematic bundling works in real life.
Let's say you need a photo editor. You google a free software to help you find one and click "download". When an installation starts, you'll see some monitors that ask you to accept / confirm / accept common things like EULA (End User License Agreement) that you skim over quickly. You need the image editor and you need it ASAP. Soon you'll see strange software on your computer and you're sure you've never installed it. "It must be a virus!" do you think. In reality, only one software that you did not realize was confirmed to be installed.
It's not your fault. Probably, the message notifying you that these additional apps were installed is not ready to trick you into installation. Misleading messages and difficult UX are blamed. It's an approach we never use on our official website or landing pages, but one of our former lower quality partners supported.
What did it mean to you as a user?
The Illusion of MacKeeper Installed Without Your Permission
Since we used to rely on a bundle distribution quite heavily, it's likely that you at one time found MacKeeper installed on your computer without your conscious permission. "Conscious" is the operative word here since you absolutely agreed that it would be installed. Our partners chose the design and copy of the "agree" or "allow" window that "tricked" you to allow it. Unfortunately, we could not control these aspects of the partner's bundles. We regret that these partnerships allowed something as it happened in the first place.
We have paid the price and taken steps to detect all smooth partners who failed to perform bundling correctly and honestly.
2. Problems Removing MacKeeper From Mac
As mentioned previously, the MacKeeper uninstallation process is no different from any other software. All you have to do is move the MacKeeper application file to drag and drop trash. The chances are that some remaining files will still be on your computer (this is normal for software). If that is the case, it will be difficult to uninstall MacKeeper installed on your Mac in a bundle more than once, using software like Malwarebytes to clean residues. It can certainly help.
This means you removed it and cleaned remnants, but sometime later you downloaded another package that was part of, which meant you thought you never uninstalled it successfully.
What have we been doing to fix it?
First of all, we realized that we needed more control over the bundle distribution we were involved in. We hired a company specialized in scam detection to help us gather all cases of smooth bundling and stop them.
We also asked our support team to collect and report all complaints we receive directly from users. We have done this to ensure that no cases of "unhealthy" bundling remain unnoticed.
We took steps to stop being distributed in bundles owned by shady partners who trusted unethical tactics – many unhealthy partnerships were terminated.
Last but not least, we did it part of our mission to educate people about the importance of downloading software from official trusted sources.
The Final Takeaway
As a team working hard to improve our product, communication and distribution, we make it difficult every time we hear people saying Mackeeper is a virus or malware. Therefore, we have reviewed our approach to distribution – to ensure that previous misunderstandings are cleared and that they will not happen in the future.