How to Keep Your Mac Running Like the Day You Bought It

Is there anything better than working on a brand-new computer? Everything is fast, your apps all work the way they should, and life is good.

For Mac owners, that honeymoon period often lasts for quite a while. But, much like any other machine, eventually Macs do start to show their age. They become slow and sluggish, and doing anything seems to take an eternity. If you see that perky little spinning beach ball one more time, you’re probably going to lose it.

Before you head out and start pricing a new iMac, though, there are some things you can do to clean it up and improve its speed. If you do these things on a regular basis, your Mac is likely to keep running like new for a long time. You can expect to spend upwards of a few hours completing these tasks, depending on how bad of shape your computer is in, or you can invest in the best Mac cleaner software that will take care of these problems for you on an ongoing basis.

Clean Up Your Mess

If you have been using your Mac for a while, stuff has been building up for a long time — stuff that you probably don’t need or even know is there. Spend some time conducting a big cleanup to clear out unnecessary or unused files, apps and other things that will bog down your machine’s performance.

Start with your apps. Simply delete any apps that you don’t use. Next, get rid of large and duplicate files, as well as downloads and installers that are unnecessarily clogging the computer.

If you are running macOS Sierra, this is actually quite simple. Click on the Apple menu and then About This Mac > Storage > Manage > Recommendations. You’ll see a menu of options for getting rid of clutter, including sending photos and videos to iCloud (you’ll probably have to pay for extra storage to take advantage of this option, but it’s worth it), deleting iTunes videos that you’ve already watched and cleaning out large files. It might take a little while to scroll through all the files and determine what to keep and what to trash, but you can organize your files by size to easily dump those unwanted files that are taking up too much space.

Finally, don’t forget to empty the trash. When you’re in the manage storage menu, you have the option to turn on automatic trash removal every 30 days. It’s not a bad idea to do so, so nothing hangs around too long.

Update and Protect

Sluggish Mac performance can also be caused by running old operating systems — and malware. Now, you’re probably thinking “But Macs aren’t supposed to get viruses!” The fact is, these days Macs are becoming just as vulnerable to malware as any other device, and malicious programs can cause huge problems.

Therefore, check to ensure that you are running the most up-to-date version of the operating system (which will also help prevent security vulnerabilities) and that all your apps are up-to-date. If you aren’t running antivirus software, consider adding that protection. At the very least, scan your machine for malware and remove any programs that could be wreaking havoc on your machine. Getting rid of malware can make a measurable difference to your computer’s performance.

Change the Drive

Owners of MacBooks have found that replacing the hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD) and adding more RAM have done wonders for speeding up their computers. Apple makes it quite easy to make these changes, with dedicated support pages that will tell you exactly which drives and memory to purchase for your machine and how to install them. You can also pay a professional to handle these tasks, and the entire cost is generally around a few hundred dollars — far less than buying a whole new computer.

Conducting regular maintenance on your Mac is the best way to keep it running like new for many years. Investing the time (and money, if you use a maintenance program) a few times a year to get rid of unnecessary files and apps, and make sure everything is up-to-date will save you a lot more time, money and aggravation in the long run.

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