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Mac Maintenance: 15 Tips for a Smooth Experience

Optimize your Mac’s performance with these essential tips.

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Last updated: December 26, 2023

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TL;DR

Follow these Mac maintenance tips for a smooth experience:

  1. Keep your apps and macOS updated.
  2. Regularly clean cache files to free up hard drive space​.
  3. Manage startup items to reduce boot-up time.
  4. Adjust general settings to reduce hardware workload​​.
  5. Uninstall unused apps, delete extra files, and duplicate photos to improve system efficiency​​.

I’ve been using Macs for years and learned some great ways to keep them running smoothly. In this guide, I’ll share some of my go-to tips for Mac maintenance that have really worked for me. You’ll find simple, effective methods like regular cleaning and updating, plus a few tech-savvy tricks to boost your Mac’s performance. Let’s get started.

Before We Begin 

Regular Mac maintenance can prevent performance issues, hardware failures, and data loss. Download MacKeeper and use its Mac optimization features to enhance your system performance and security.

Mac Maintenance In Just a Few Clicks With MacKeeper

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MacKeeper is a handy tool to keep your Mac in top shape. It clears out clutter like system logs, caches, and temporary files, making your Mac cleaner and faster. Plus, its real-time antivirus scanner protects against malware and viruses, keeping your Mac safe. MacKeeper can also speed up your Mac‘s startup by turning off unneeded programs.

Below, I’ll show you how MacKeeper can be a reliable helper for maintaining your Mac.

1. Remove Junk Files From Your Mac

MacKeeper can scan your Mac for unnecessary files, duplicates, and cache files that take up valuable space. You can safely remove these files to free up space and improve your Mac’s performance.

Follow these steps to clean up your Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and go to the Safe Cleanup tab under Cleaning.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section
  1. Click Start Scan and wait for the results.
click start scan in safe cleanup
  1. Review the items you want to remove. Select them individually or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all
  1. Next, click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files
  1. You’ll get a Cleaning Completed notification on your screen. Click Continue to end the process.
click rescan to scan the system again

2.  Uninstall Unnecessary Applications

MacKeeper can also tidy up your Mac by removing apps you don’t use anymore, along with their extra files and settings. This frees up space and speeds up your Mac by getting rid of stuff you don’t need.

Here’s how to uninstall any app on Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and navigate to the Smart Uninstaller under Cleaning.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. Wait for the scan to complete, click Applications in the left panel, and select the apps you want to delete from the list. Tap Remove Selected.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. Confirm the deletion by clicking Remove on the pop-up.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller
  1. This will remove unnecessary apps from your Mac, and you’ll get a Removal Completed message. Click Rescan if you want to scan your Mac again.
click rescan in smart uninstaller

3. Secure Your Mac

Securing your system against malware is an essential Mac maintenance step, and MacKeeper can improve your Mac’s security by detecting and removing viruses and malware. It can also protect your online privacy by protecting your emails against data breaches.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper to run a virus scan on your Mac:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and click the Antivirus tab in the left sidebar.
click antivirus under the security section
  1. Select the features you want to use to secure your Mac. For example, you can enable real-time antivirus protection.
click enable to allow real time protection
  1. Once you have configured your security settings, MacKeeper will continue to protect your Mac in the background, scanning for threats and blocking malicious activity.
  2. You can also run an instant virus scan by clicking the Start Scan button.
click start scan in mackeeper antivirus
  1. If the scan finds any viruses, click the Fix Items button.
  2. If there are no issues in your system, click Restart to run the scan again or close the program.
click restart to finish the process

12 Tips for a Smooth Experience on Mac

I’ve found that doing a few things like removing unneeded files, tweaking system settings, and clearing the cache really makes a difference in how it performs. Below, I’ll share some Mac maintenance tips that have worked well for me and can improve your experience too.

1. Keep Your Mac Up to Date

Keeping your Mac up-to-date with the latest software updates and security patches ensures optimal performance and security. macOS updates give you access to the latest features and improvements by fixing bugs and improving system performance.

To update your macOS, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select Software Update.
click general and select software update
  1. If there is an update available, click Update Now.
click the update now button
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update process.

2. Clear the Cache Files

When you use your Mac, it stores temporary files and data in its cache to speed up certain processes. However, over time, the cache can become bloated and cause performance issues. Clearing the cache can free up space on your Mac and improve its performance.

Although I recommend using MacKeeper to clean your cache files quickly, you can also do it manually. Here’s how:

  1. Open Finder, click Go in the menu bar, and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
  1. Type the following path and press Enter:
~/Library/Caches/
type library caches in the window
  1. Select all the files in the folder and delete them. Alternatively, you can select specific files to delete if you know which apps they’re associated with.
right click system folders and select move to bin
  1. Empty the Trash on your Mac to delete the files permanently.
right click the bin and select empty bin

3. Remove Unnecessary Files

Be careful not to delete essential system files, as this can cause serious issues with your Mac.

Over time, your Mac accumulates various types of files that can take up space and slow down your system. These files can include:

  1. 💾 Temporary Files: These files are created when you use an app or browse the web. They can accumulate over time and take up space on your hard drive.
  2. 📚 Duplicate Files: These files have the same content and can take up space on your hard drive. They can be created when you make copies of files, import photos or music, or sync data between devices.
  3. 📜 System Logs: These are files that record system events and errors. They can be useful for troubleshooting, but over time they can accumulate and take up space on your hard drive.
  4. 📲 Unused Applications: These are apps you no longer use but are still taking up space on your hard drive.

To clear unnecessary files on your Mac, you can follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select About This Mac.
click apple icon and select about this mac
  1. Click General and select Storage.
click general and select storage
  1. Review the categories of files listed and identify any large or unnecessary files by clicking the small i button.
click the i button next to categories in storage
  1. Select unnecessary files and click the Delete button.
select a large file and click the delete button
  1. Empty the Trash to permanently delete the files.
right click the bin and select empty bin

4. Optimize General Settings on Mac

By adjusting Bluetooth, display, and video quality settings, you can control how much power your Mac uses. This can affect the speed and responsiveness of your Mac by reducing the workload on the system’s hardware.

Here’s how to optimize your Mac’s settings:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Lock Screen and set your Mac to automatically Turn display off on battery when inactive after a certain time or put it to sleep when it’s inactive for a while.
      set turn display off on battery when inactive to 2 minutes
      1. Use the Automatic graphics switching feature, which allows your Mac to automatically switch between the integrated and dedicated graphics card based on the task. Go to Battery and click the Options button at the bottom.
      go to battery and click the options button at the bottom
      1. Toggle on the Optimise video streaming while on battery switch and click Done.
      toggle on the optimise video streaming while on battery switch and click done
      1. Turn off Bluetooth from the Control Center as it can drain your Mac’s battery.
      click bluetooth in control center

      5. Keep System Resources in Check

      Overloaded resources can lead to system slowdowns, app crashes, and reduced overall performance. Tools like Activity Monitor can help you identify and close resource-hungry apps or processes.

      Here’s how to monitor your Mac CPU, GPU, and RAM usage using Activity Monitor:

      1. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find it in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.
      launch activity monitor from utilities
      1. Click the CPU tab to view the processes using CPU power.
      click the cpu tab in activity monitor
      1. Click the % CPU column to sort the processes by CPU usage, with the highest usage at the top.
      cpu usage by percentage in the cpu tab
      1. Identify the process or application with high CPU usage on Mac, and take appropriate action to reduce its usage.

      Now, follow the same steps for monitoring RAM in the Memory tab of Activity Monitor.

      To monitor GPU usage on your Mac, follow these steps:

      1. Launch Activity Monitor. You can find it in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.
      launch activity monitor from utilities
      1. With the Activity Monitor open, click Window in the menu bar and select GPU History from the drop-down menu.
      click window and select gpu history
      1. This will launch a new window called GPU History, showcasing the utilization history of all GPUs presently accessible to your Mac.
      gpu history graphs
      1. You can adjust the size of each graph by clicking and dragging the tiny dots between each one.

      6. Delete Duplicate Photos

      We often end up with multiple copies of the same picture, which takes up space and makes finding the photo you want harder. I always use MacKeeper’s Duplicates Finder to find and delete duplicate photos.

      Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Duplicates Finder to delete duplicate photos on your Mac:

      1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
      2. Open MacKeeper on your Mac and click Duplicates Finder in the left sidebar.
      click duplicates finder in mackeeper under cleaning
      1. Click Start Scan.
      click start scan in duplicates finder
      1. Select a folder in the left menu to review duplicate files before deletion.
      click a folder in duplicates finder
      1. Alternatively, you can click Check All and tap the Remove Selected button to remove all duplicate files at once.
      click check all and tap remove selected
      1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up to confirm the deletion.
      click remove on the pop up window in duplicates finder
      1. This will remove the selected files, and you’ll get a Removal Completed message. Click Continue to end the process.
      click finish in duplicates finder to complete the process

      You can also use the Photos app to find and delete duplicate photos. Here’s how:

      1. Open the Photos app by searching for Photos in Spotlight search (Command ⌘ + Space).
      type photos in spotlight search
      1. In the Photos app, navigate to the Duplicates tab in the sidebar to see all your pictures.
      click the duplicates tab in the photos app
      1. Select the duplicate photos you wish to merge. You can pick photos from a single row or from multiple rows to merge them all at once.
      2. Then, click Merge Photos.
      3. By doing so, your Mac will retain the original image and remove the duplicates.

      7. Manage Startup Items

      Startup items can really slow down how quickly your Mac boots up and might even affect how well it runs overall. I recommend using MacKeeper to handle those hidden startup items on your Mac quickly. With just one click, you can clean up your login items and make your Mac start up faster.

      Here’s how to remove login items on your Mac using MacKeeper:

      1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
      2. Open Login Items under Performance in MacKeeper.
      tap login items under performance
      1. Click Start Scan.
      tap start scan
      1. Select unnecessary items from the list and click Remove Selected Items.
      select the login items you want to delete and tap remove selected items
      1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up.
      tap remove on the pop up
      1. It will remove your selected items from the system startup list. You can click Rescan to repeat the process.
      tap rescan

      What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

      Besides cleaning junk files, uninstalling unwanted apps, and running a virus scan, MacKeeper can delete duplicate files on Mac, update apps on Mac, and remove browser extensions on your Mac. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about these features.

      You can also use System Settings to manage your startup items. Follow these steps to change your startup items on Mac:

      1. Click the Apple icon and select System Settings.
      click the apple icon and select system settings
      1. Select General and click Login Items in the right menu.
      click general and select the login items tab
      1. Here, you’ll see the items that launch when you start up your Mac.
      2. Select the login item you want to remove and click the  button at the bottom of the list to remove the login item.
      select an item and click the minus icon to delete it

      8. Empty Your Trash Regularly

      Files in your Bin occupy disk space until permanently deleted. Not emptying your Trash can accumulate gigabytes of unnecessary data, which may consume space and potentially slow down your Mac.

      To manage this, regularly empty your Trash folder. You can empty your Trash in a few ways:

      1. Right-click the Bin icon in the Dock and select Empty Bin.
      right click the bin and select empty bin
      1. Double-click the Bin icon to open it. Press Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + Delete on your keyboard.

      In both methods, confirm the action by clicking the Empty Bin button when prompted.

      click empty bin on the prompt

      9. Restart Your Mac Occasionally

      Many Mac users rarely shut down their computers, which is generally okay. However, I still recommend periodically restarting your Mac. Restarting helps clear temporary data and completes pending updates.

      To restart your Mac, follow these steps:

      1. Click the Apple icon located at the top left corner of your screen.
      2. Choose Restart from the menu.
      click the apple icon and select restart
      1. Confirm by clicking the “Restart” button.
      click restart on the confirmation pop up

      10. Declutter Your Desktop

      To declutter your desktop as part of maintaining your Mac, follow these steps:

      1. 📁 Organize Files into Folders: Group similar files together into folders. For example, you can create folders for different types of documents, projects, images, etc.
      2. 🗑️ Delete Unnecessary Files: Remove any files you no longer need. This can include old documents, redundant downloads, and temporary files.
      3. 📚 Use Stacks on macOS Mojave or Later: Right-click the desktop and select Use Stacks. This feature automatically organizes files into neat stacks based on file type, date, or tags.
      4. 📦 Archive Old Files: If there are files you don’t frequently use but need to keep, consider moving them to an external hard drive or cloud storage.
      5. 🖼️ Use a Desktop Organizer Wallpaper: Consider using a wallpaper with designated areas for different types of files or tasks. This can keep your desktop organized visually.

      11. Flush Your DNS Cache

      Flushing your DNS cache on a Mac is a useful maintenance step, especially if you’re experiencing internet connectivity issues or updating your DNS settings. Here’s how to flush the DNS cache on your Mac:

        1. Open the Terminal application by navigating to Applications > Utilities > Terminal or by searching for it using Spotlight (Command ⌘ + Space).
        type terminal in spotlight search
        1. In the Terminal window, input the following command and then press Enter:
        sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
        type sudo dscacheutil flushcache sudo killall HUP mDNSResponder in terminal
        1. You’ll be prompted to enter your Mac’s admin password to proceed. Do so and press Enter to execute the command.

        After you enter the command and authenticate, your Mac’s DNS cache will be flushed. You’ll usually see no output if the operation was successful, which is standard for most Unix-based commands.

        12. Run First Aid

        Running First Aid through Disk Utility is an important maintenance task for your Mac. It checks for and fixes various file system issues, ensuring your disk is in good health. Here’s how to run First Aid on Mac:

        1. You can find Disk Utility in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder.
        launch disk utility from utilities
        1. In Disk Utility, you’ll see a list of all available drives and volumes. Select the disk you want to run First Aid on. Typically, this would be your main drive, often labeled as Macintosh HD.
        select the container that contains the unnecessary volume
        1. With the disk selected, click the First Aid button at the top of the Disk Utility window.
        click the first aid button in the top toolbar
        1. You’ll be asked if you want to run First Aid on the disk. Click Run to proceed.
        click run on the first aid prompt
        1. If you’re running First Aid on your boot drive, you may need to restart your Mac and boot into Recovery Mode (holding down Command ⌘ + R during startup) to perform the check.
        2. Disk Utility will check the disk and attempt to fix any errors it finds. This process can take some time, depending on the size of your disk and the number of issues it encounters.
        3. Once First Aid is complete, Disk Utility will display a summary of its findings. If any issues were found, run First Aid again to ensure all problems were addressed.

        Why Is Mac Maintenance Important?

        Mac maintenance is crucial to keep it running smoothly and prevent performance issues. Here are a few reasons why maintaining your Mac is essential:

        • 🚀 Performance Optimization: Regular maintenance ensures your Mac runs smoothly and efficiently. This includes managing storage space, updating software, and running system optimizations to prevent slowdowns and crashes.
        • 🔒 Security: Keeping macOS up to date is crucial for security. Updates often include patches for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware or hackers.
        • 🕰️ Longevity: Proper maintenance can extend the lifespan of your Mac. By keeping the hardware and software in good condition, you reduce the need for costly repairs or early replacement.
        • 🛡️ Data Protection: Regular backups and disk checks help protect your data from loss due to hardware failures, accidental deletion, or corruption.
        • 🌟 Improved User Experience: A well-maintained Mac provides a better user experience. It boots up faster, runs applications more smoothly, and is less likely to encounter errors or issues that can disrupt your work or entertainment.
        • 💰 Cost-Efficiency: By maintaining your Mac, you can avoid issues that might require professional repair services, thus saving money in the long run.

        Keep Your Mac Optimized and Running Smoothly

        Regular Mac maintenance is essential for a smooth experience. Here are some more tips for the future Mac maintenance:

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. How do I know if my Mac has a virus?

          If your Mac has a virus or malware, you’ll notice it runs slowly or displays unexpected pop-ups. You can also run a virus scan using reputable antivirus software to detect and remove malicious files.

        2. How often should I update my Mac?

          You should update your Mac as soon as new updates become available. Keeping your Mac updated with the latest software updates and security patches prevents performance issues. Check for updates regularly and install them as soon as they become available.

        3. How do I clean up my Mac’s hard drive?

          To clean up your Mac’s hard drive, you can use the built-in Disk Utility tool to check for and repair any issues with your disk and use the Storage Management feature to identify and remove large files and applications you no longer need.

        Hashir Ibrahim

        Author

        I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

        Ojash

        Reviewer

        Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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