5 Free and Easy Ways to Perform Mac Maintenance Yourself

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5 Free and Easy Ways to Perform Mac Maintenance Yourself

Part 3: Mac Maintenance You can do Yourself

Mac maintenance? The two words may not seem to fit together, after all you did pay a lot of money for that Mac, so shouldn’t it maintain itself for that price? Many Mac OS X users feel this way, or think this way; that needing to do any Mac maintenance is not necessary due to it’s beautiful design.

do it yourself mac cleaning

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true and this is actually part 3 of of a series on how to perform a little routine maintenance on your Mac so that you keep it running fast like it did when you first brought it home.

In the beginning of the series I covered why maintenance on a Mac is indeed needed, and really the short of it is that I compared it to a Chevy and a Porsche. Whichever you buy, the lower costing Chevy or the higher priced Porsche, you still have to perform some routine maintenance on both of them if you want them to keep running great, or even at all.

Just like maintaining your car, when maintaining your Mac you can do the maintenance yourself or you can get a little help. In part 2 of this series I went over what you may wish to use instead of doing it yourself, which would be with the use of a Mac cleaning software. There are dozens of them on the market but we at The High Tech Society broke it down to the top 3 Mac cleaners so that you won’t feel like you have to keep downloading and trying all sort of programs just to get your Mac all nice and neat.

mac and mercedes

This part though is all about doing it yourself. You can also do some yourself and some with a Mac cleaner, in fact the Mac cleaner called Magican is free, so it wouldn’t even cost you anything.  Knowing how to do some of these routine Mac maintenance functions is a good idea for anyone to know though, even if you do have a Mac cleaner. So let’s get on with it! Here are some great ways to keep your Mac clean, maintained and running snappy and happy!

How to Clean Your Mac Yourself

1) Hard Drive Cleanup:

Cleaning up your Mac’s hard drive is one of the most effective ways to keep your Mac running like new. Yes, a Mac cleaner can do this for you, but here are some things you can do yourself that are easy, free and safe:

Clean up your Applications: 

Go to Finder and then Applications. In your Applications, look through them and see what you use and what you do not use. Get rid of it if you are not using it. You can drag and drop it to the Trash bin but this will leave little bits and pieces scattered on the hard drive and eventually those little bits become lots of bits and take up lots of space. Mac cleaners will get rid of them permanently for you, but you can do it too with the use of a handy little app called AppZapper. This free app will zap away any unwanted apps on your Mac and all it’s bits and pieces too!

 Languages:

There are dozens of language packs on your Mac. While this is really cool of Apple to have done, most of us speak one, two or three languages at most so the dozens are simply not needed and are wasting valuable space. You can get rid of these extra language packs by downloading a free app called Monolingual.

 2) Memory Assistance

As we get older our memory starts to go, I know I am noticing it already! Well, this is true of our Mac’s too. Mostly though it’s not really due to age, it’s due to your poor Mac being a bit over full. It’s brain a.k.a. it’s processor or cpu, slows down when you don’t have enough memory and also your Mac’s hard drive being full can also have major effects on this. Below are a few ways to help out your Mac so that it won’t have to remember so much.

Clean Desktop:

A messy desk at home is just like a messy desk on your Mac, all the clutter makes you slower because you can’t find what you need. Some desktops are cluttered with images, files and more because it’s just the easiest place for you to find it. To clean the desktop up, Right click anywhere on your desktop and click on Make New Folder and give the folder a name. Drag and drop whatever you wish into the folder, such as personal photos. Then make other files for whatever else you need to organize, perhaps one for IRS documents during tax season. This helps your Mac and you.

 Background Image:

The more graphics there are involved in whatever image you have set for your background the more resources your Mac will need to run it. To change the background you can again Right click on your desktop and then click on Change Desktop Image.

Widgets & Dock:

Widgets and the items in your Dock all use your Mac’s resources, mostly RAM, to run these and this can slow down your Mac. Go through your Dock and remove anything that isn’t needed every time you start and use your Mac and do the same with your Widgets.

clean mac mainteance

3) Using Terminal to Clean and Maintain Mac:

Your Mac will run scheduled maintenance routines for you, they are known as maintenance scripts and they clean up a variety of System logs and temporary files. If your Mac is shut down or in sleep mode overnight, particularly between 03:15 and 05:30, the maintenance scripts will not run. This means you will end up with a lot of log files that will be consuming free space on your Mac OS X startup disk.

If your Mac is off overnight, you can do this cleanup yourself using Terminal, or you can use the Mac Cleaners or even another free app called Cocktail. Here is the DIY way:

Using the Terminal way to Run Maintenance Scripts

Make sure you are logged into your Admin account so that you can run all three maintenance scripts at once:

  1. Open Terminal, located in the Finder > Applications > Utilities folder.
  2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following, exactly as written:
    • sudo periodic daily weekly monthly
  3. Press Return.
  4. Type your Admin password when prompted, then press Return.

All three scripts will run in sequence. There is no visual feedback while the scripts execute. You will know they are completed when the Terminal prompt returns.

You can also run the scripts individually. For example, to run just the daily script, you would type the the following command in step 2:

  • sudo periodic daily

Purge:

Another way to use Terminal to maintain and help your Mac running fast is to Purge your Mac’s memory. Don’t be nervous, just type the word ‘purge’ (without the quote marks) into the Terminal command box and hit the Return button. It will think for a few moments and then it will be done. You won’t notice anything really at first, except that your Mac should be running faster!

Few Final Tips

  • A few last tips on keeping your Mac healthy: 
  • Remember to empty the Trash regularly
  • Use Dropbox or another way to store your large files
  • Periodically go through your downloads, music, movies, images, apps and docs and get rid of those you don’t use or need.
  • Use Command + Option + ESC to see what is running and if you don’t need it, shut it down.
  • You can also use Activity Monitor to see what is using up your Mac’s resources. 

If your Mac was slow and is still slow after doing all of these things, then try running a Mac cleaner to see if it remedies the issues. See part 2 of this series for which ones we recommend. If even after running a Mac cleaner the Mac is still acting up, you may need to go ahead and add memory or even a new hard drive to your Mac.

Both of these things are quite easy to do yourself and actually not that expensive. For example, I fixed my slow Mac after tidying and cleaning by installing more memory and it set me back only $45. I definitely recommend adding memory after your Mac is 3-4 years old, unless you loaded it with the max when you bought it that is.

So which method do you use to clean and maintain your Mac? Do you do it yourself, use a Mac cleaner, or both?

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About The Author
Kimberly Shalda Carver
Kimberly Carver is the owner and creator of TheHighTechSociety.com. She loves all aspects of technology and created this website in an effort to help others, which you can read more about HERE.

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