The old saying; “if it’s to good to be true, it probably isn’t any good,” works for a lot of things in life. It is especially true for your apple computer. There are a plethora of programs out there that claim to clean your Mac, make your Mac run faster, and generally improve performance. I would recommend avoiding these programs at all costs.
Programs such as MacKeeper, TuneupMyMac, and MacBooster promise to make your Mac run better, clean it up, free up space, and other bogus claims. We have had to remove many of these programs from Apple computers after customers believed they would help with performance. Not only did they hinder performance, these programs tend to allow malware and adware to be installed on your computer too. While some of these company’s claims may work in part, the problems they cause, majorly out weigh any performance enhancements they may have. Please do your computer a favor and avoid them.
The Apple operating system ( currently OSX 10.11 or El Capitan ) is pretty much bullet proof. The OS X operating system performs certain maintenance tasks that are scheduled to occur daily, weekly, or monthly. These maintenance tasks run in the background and help defrag and clean up your hard drive automatically. In all the years of owning an Apple computer, I really haven’t needed to do much of anything, and all of my Apple computers have run the same after years of use, as they did new out of the box. I do professional video editing, multi channel audio recording, and photoshop editing. I’m sure full time professionals are using their computer harder than I am, but what I run demands a lot out of the computer too. For the most part, I never have a problem.
So, if you’d like to be more proactive in keeping your computer clean and free of problems, here are some recommendations. I’ll run through a few things that will help. By all means these are not the only things you could do, but they will help to ensure a trouble free Mac.
First step is to keep your desktop clean. The computer desktop that is. A good rule, is to keep as few file folders on the desktop as you can. In your home folder, Apple already includes folders for Documents, Pictures, Music, and Movies. They are a great place to start placing your files to keep things organized. I tend to put things on the desktop for quick reference, but the more folders and files on the desktop, the slower your Mac may run. The reason for this, is that each file and icon preview takes up RAM ( Random Access Memory ) and other resources. While a dozen folders on the desktop may not have any affect, hundreds of folders will. The best solution is to put items in an appropriate folder in your home folder. I take a slightly lazier approach and when they build up too much, I create a folder and call it desk top stuff and place it in there. Not the neatest job but it does work. You know what they say, “do as I say, not as I do”.
The second thing I’d recommend doing is keeping your computer up to date. While I don’t recommend updating to a new operating the day it comes out, I do recommend keeping up with the updates on a regular basis. My rule of thumb, is to run updates when I have down time. I usually go over the programs I can’t live without and see if they will be compatible with the new operating system I’m planning on installing. For instance, make sure your printer can be updated to run with the new system. If I’m working on a recording project, or video project, I tend to wait until I’m done with the project before I do any routine updates. This way if something isn’t compatible and I’ve missed something, I have time to do something about it.
Another thing that a lot of people miss, is to back up your data. It’s kind of like driving around without a spare tire. It’s not a matter of if something will happen, it’s when something will happen. You want to be prepared. If something tragic happens to your computer, how are you going to feel about loosing photos, music, or memories? Apple has a built in program called Time Machine. Time Machine will back everything up to an external hard drive, or you can use Apple’s Time Capsule for wireless backup. Spending $100.00 for a external hard drive is cheap insurance to safeguard your precious information. Please don’t wait until it’s too late.
Lastly, a simple thing that gets overlooked, is to periodically restart your Mac. This will free up RAM, purge virtual memory files, and also regenerate some cache files too. How often? Well maybe once a week or two, or whenever you’re experiencing slowdowns. If you shut your computer down every night, you’re set.
Oh, and something else that I see many of our customers doing. They don’t empty their trashed files. If there is something in your trash, please remember to occasionally empty it out.
For the most part, just doing the maintenance I’ve covered, is all I really do and my computer runs great. You could try repairing permissions, and hard drive errors in Apple’s Disk Utility, but that may get a little tricky for some. In the end, if your computer seems to be running slow and none of the maintenance tips seem to help, please give Sunrise a call. Please don’t try something like MacKeeper or you’ll be really asking for problems. If it sounds to good to be true………