Squash review: Drop and compress your way to smaller image files in a flash

An easy to use, drag-and-drop Mac utility that cuts JPEG, PNG, and GIF files down to size with no noticeable loss of quality while saving valuable storage space.

squash 2 mac icon
Credit: Realmac Software
At a Glance
  • Squash 2.0.2

    Macworld Rating
    Learn more
    on App Store

When it comes to the web, smaller is always better. If an image-heavy site takes too long to load, visitors will just click over to something else. While there are plenty of software tools for optimizing image files on the Mac, few do it with the simplicity and speed of Squash.

Crushing it

Over a year ago, I reviewed a useful Mac utility called JPEGmini, which reduces image files with no discernable loss in image quality. Although limited to JPEG, the software was easy to use and produced impressive results, but at $99, it’s clearly not aimed at casual users.

squash window Realmac Software

Drag and drop one or more image files onto the Squash window, and within seconds you’ll have optimized versions a fraction of their original size.

Enter Squash ($20, available on the App Store), which offers the same quality and simplicity for less, and does it faster. The premise is the same: Drag and drop one or more images onto the application window, and within seconds you’ll have optimized versions a fraction of the size that look identical to the naked eye.

The more versatile Squash works with PNG and GIF files as well as JPEG, and can also be used to create JPEGs from TIFF or PSD files; there’s currently no PDF support, however. While Photoshop users can perform such conversions, Squash launches in the blink of an eye and is nimbler at quick conversions you may want for sending client approval emails or uploading images to the web.

squash post processing Realmac Software

After each task is finished, Squash shows how much space has been saved and allows users to drag and drop converted files anywhere they’d like.

Make some noise

Squash displays the cutesy animation of a vice squeezing a photo into a gift-wrapped present as it works. It’s mildly entertaining the first few times but gets old after a while, especially accompanied by raucous sound effects. Thankfully, you can disable them entirely in settings. There’s no way to cancel the process once it’s started, short of quitting the application, but everything happens quite fast.

Squash reduced an 852.5MB folder containing 230 JPEG files to 258.2MB in just under 40 seconds, a savings of 594.3MB with no visible differences in image detail. By comparison, JPEGmini took three times as long but only saved 581MB, gobbling up significantly more CPU time in the process. JPEGmini displays animated thumbnails as images are optimized and an option to resize images, which Squash does not.

Both are minimalists when it comes to settings. By default, Squash users must choose where to save converted files, but this can be changed to a specific location or replace original files instead. (Originals are never actually replaced, only moved to Trash in case you change your mind.) You can also drag-and-drop optimized images from the save button to any desired destination, a convenient hidden shortcut.

squash settings J.R. Bookwalter/IDG

There are only a few settings in Squash, but you’ll want to disable the often-overbearing sound effects after the first few conversions.

Bottom line

Step aside, JPEGmini. Squash for Mac is now the fastest, cheapest, and most versatile image optimization utility in town.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating
    Learn more
    on App Store

    Pros

    • Blazing fast image compression, optimization for JPEG, PNG, GIF
    • Image quality virtually imperceptible from original file
    • Quickly convert PSD, TIFF files to JPEG

    Cons

    • Noisy optional sound effects
    • No resizing or image thumbnails during processing
    • No support for PDF files
    • Can’t cancel or pause processing once started
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