Mac Maintenance: How to Keep Your Mac Up to Speed 

 Mac Maintenance: How to Keep Your Mac Up to Speed 

Mac laptops have been reported to last up to 10 years!

So chances are, if your Mac isn’t running at optimal performance, then it’s nothing a little TLC can’t solve.

If you own a Mac, whether new or old, keep reading. We’ll go over quintessential Mac maintenance tips to help owners keep their laptops up to speed. 

Let’s begin!

Remember to Back It Up

Backing up your laptop’s data doesn’t only help the Macbooks operating system, it protects you.

Hardrives can be fickle. Taking the strain off its processing by uploading your data into an external hard drive keeps it from overworking and potentially crashing.

This retains your hard drive’s health and saves you from any lost information. 

A popular method of doing this is by using the built-in Time Machine function. You only need to connect an external hard drive, start the Time Machine, and you’re good to go. 

Break-up With Those Old Files

Sometimes it’s hard to let go, but hanging on to old, broken, and unused files can significantly affect your Mac’s speed. 

Owners should aim to keep at least 10 percent of free disk space at all times. If you’re running macOS Sierra or higher, there’s an optimized storage feature to help declutter the system.

However, it doesn’t handle all files, so you’ll have to do some manual editing yourself. Or download a cleaning tool to help. 

Top Tip: Uninstall Unused Apps

If you want to take your spring cleaning an extra step, go through and uninstall unused apps. 

Apps take up a lot of memory, so only hang on to what’s essential. Memory and RAM may seem like separate entities, but their functions are very intertwined. Both need to operate without constraints for ideal performance. 

Run Disk Utility

This is one of the simplest actions you can perform to help your Mac if it’s running slow.

All Macs come with a Disk Utility program found in the settings. Running this little number a couple of times a year helps keeps your hard disk running smooth and strong. 

To do this, click on Disk Utility from either the applications or settings page. Then click the disk you’d like to service and click “first aid”. 

Depending on how much needs to be repaired, this process can take a couple of minutes or much longer. That’s why we encourage routine servicing, so the process takes less time each repair as there are fewer issues. 

Update Software

In this episode of “What Not To Wear” we’re tackling outdated software. 

As long as your model of Mac can support the new software, it should be installed. It doesn’t have to happen immediately, but to steer clear of a slow Mac, updates are essential. 

Looking at the Big Sur system requirements is an easy way to see what Mac updates your model handles. 

Keep the Background Free

Similar to how you exit out of apps on your mobile phone, apps need to be specifically closed on a Macbook. 

Hitting the red “x” button in the corner of a webpage doesn’t close the app down, it only takes away the app from view. Leaving programs running in the background can cause Macbooks to heat up, take up RAM, and slow down. 

But luckily, Macs show the running programs on the dock. 

If there’s a small dot beneath an icon on the dock, that means it’s still running in the background. Click the icon with two fingers on the trackpad, or right-click with a mouse, and hit “quit”. 

Now the program should be completely closed, leaving more energy for the programs in use.

Clean Your Desktop

It’s common to save photos, documents, and other miscellaneous files to the desktop for easy access. 

But every saved file requires RAM to display it, taking away resources the machine uses for other tasks, creating a sluggish laptop. 

For the best performance, keep files in the applications folder. If you need to, a few folders are fine on the desktop, but avoid adding too many. 

Use Terminal To Free Up Ram

This is a more technical action to take, but it’s advantageous if you can hack it. 

Terminal is an app already installed in Macbooks. There are tons of useful commands you can input in Terminal, but for this article, we’re going to focus on one in particular. 

  • Open Terminal from the Launchpad
  • Copy and paste this command: sudo purge
  • Hit enter

Then you’ll be asked to enter your system password. 

This action allows you to trick an almost full system into freeing up RAM instantly. If you’re not comfortable using Terminal, there are programs you can install to help achieve similar results. 

Top Tip: Increase RAM

A sure way to speed up any computer is to add more RAM. This doesn’t mean to ignore the methods above, but it offers a concrete solution that may give more leeway when it comes to how often you need to perform them. 

Check how much RAM your system operates. You can check this in “About this Mac”. It should be at least 8GB of RAM, and to purchase another 8GB RAM card can cost around $30. 

Increasing RAM gives the Macbook the capability to have more windows and tabs running at a single time without impinging on speed.  

Mac Maintenance for All

We’ve covered the basics from backing up data to hacking your computer on how to keep your Mac up to speed. 

By following these Mac maintenance tips, your laptop is sure to have a long life-span ahead. 

Did you find this article interesting and helpful? We hope so! If you want to learn more, check out our other blogs for other computer maintenance tips. We also cover everything tech, business, and health. So don’t miss out!


Teresa Martinez

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