Want that brand new, out-of-the-box clean feeling with your Mac?
Keeping your Mac clean and running smoothly can help to increase its lifespan and assure you have the best experience you can with your hardware and software.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a hardcore techie to get the most out of your machine. With the right system maintenance software and enough love and care, a Mac can last well beyond its projected functional period.
Apple products, especially the portable MacBook, can take a lot of abuse just from day-to-day use. You take your Macs everywhere with you, so how do you take care of it? We’ll look at some helpful programs and basic advice for keeping your machine in fighting trim.
Cleaning Your Mac
Basic cleaning and maintenance is an often-overlooked component to keeping a machine running at peak performance. While some Apple products are made of specialized materials and have specific cleaning requirements, most can be serviced fairly easily. Here are some basic pointers to help with cleaning and maintaining your Mac product:
- Keep your Mac clear of liquids! This extends to spray cleaning products and aerosols. Liquid can get into the machine’s innards and cause short-circuiting and other problems. Solvents and abrasives are a bad choice, too.
- When choosing a material with which to dust or clean your machine, try to stick to lint-free non-abrasive cloth. Towels, paper towels, or other abrasive materials can damage the more sensitive components of your machine. Lint can also cause overheating and clogging problems.
- Make sure your machine is turned off and completely disconnected from all external power sources, and remove any external devices or cable from the machine. The last thing you want is to short out your Mac by accident.
Common sense should help you take care of your Mac’s casing and screen, while special products like compressed air canisters are available for cleaning keyboards via airflow. Keeping your hands clean can help as well, as oils secreted by human skin can be destructive to a Mac’s internal structure. Also, while it might seem like common sense, be careful where and how you use your Mac! Dropping a MacBook can have serious consequences for the machine’s functionality, and hardware like power cords and display screens can be easily damaged by falls.
Storing your machine in a dry, protected location is another simple step you can take to make sure it isn’t damaged accidentally.
Mac Cleanup Software & Programs
There are many programs available for helping you keep your Mac running at peak performance. Maintenance software like MacKeeper, a program that combines an Internet Security Suite, Anti-Virus and Anti-Theft programs, Data Encryption, File Recovery and Backup, File “Shredding,” a Cleanup Mode for isolating unused programs taking up space and computing power, and various other features, are an attractive shortcut to monitoring your Mac’s health and performance.
MacKeeper is a comprehensive and (at $40) relatively cost-effective option, but it isn’t the only one available. Stellar SpeedUp Mac is an aggressive streamlining program that searches out unused widgets, programs, startup applications, etc, and targets them for deletion or deactivation. It also frees up space occupied by redundant files by deleting the multiple instances it detects, a feature that can really speed up your machine.
CCleaner is a general system maintenance tool specializing in detection of unneeded cached or unused files. By removing files not in use (unneeded foreign fonts and alphabets, cached information, obsolete applications, etc), CCleaner really strips down the dross any OS accumulates over time. OnyX is a free, reliable alternative to paid cleanup programs. Its Automaton tool provides a unique suite of specialized options for playing around with your operating system and maximizing your machine’s speed and functionality. Look around and try some freeware options before deciding on a service!
Keeping a Mac running smoothly and making sure it functions the way you want it to while providing you with whatever array of services you need can seem a bit daunting, but with the right approach, it really isn’t too tricky. There are a few basic pieces of knowledge no Mac user should be without.
Premium operating systems like Mac’s Snow Leopard OS can also help to streamline your machine’s functionality. Snow Leopard is a leaner, meaner OS with fewer of the frills and bloatware programs typified by OS X. On the same note, Mac peripherals like PowerMates, printers, and docks are great for expanding the range of tasks your Mac can perform, but when not in use they can still place strain on the machine! Unplug peripherals if you’re dealing with slowdown issues.
Since most Mac-specific operating systems look to Hard Drive space for virtual memory, keeping some free can greatly improve your Mac’s performance. External storage can help to solve this problem, especially now that even storage devices in the terabyte range are affordable and readily available. Regular defragmenting with programs like iDefrag helps, too. Extra RAM can’t hurt either, and doubling or quadrupling your Mac’s RAM can cost as little as $100.
Take Care of Your Mac
Regular maintenance, both of software and hardware, help a Mac to function reliably and quickly. There’s no point in owning a malfunctioning or glitchy machine, so learning how to take care of your Mac is an important part of owning one. Whether it’s cleaning the casing or installing a virus detection program, proper technique is essential.
Internet tech forums or tech support services provided by vendors and Apple itself can be useful resources for those who want to learn more about computer maintenance. Stay informed, be attentive to the state of your machine, and take good care of it whether you’re traveling or at home.