Computer users are drawn to the Mac due to the elegance of the user experience combined with the power of the underlying operating system. Chances are when you first started using that new Mac you were blown away by its performance.
It was fast and you could easily find any files you needed to locate in the blink of an eye.
Over time you probably downloaded many apps, images, and files that contain audio or video content. That is perfectly normal and is the way that the majority of individuals use their computers.
If you have used the same machine for any length of time, you may have noticed that it has started to slow down a little. Perhaps it is taking a longer amount of time than normal to open apps or find files.
You might need to take some corrective action to restore your machine to its original levels of performance. You might be wondering, “How can I clean up my Mac?” We suggest you continue reading this article!
How to Clean Up Your Mac
There are a number of ways that you can perform a Mac cleanup. Here are some of the best methods you can use.
Perform a Cleanup of Your Desktop
The Mac Finder treats any folder or file on your desktop as if it was a window. This is not a problem when there are only a few items on the desktop, but when they start to accumulate, Finder will slow down considerably.
A quick and easy way to begin cleaning up your Mac is to take the icons spread out over your desktop and organize them into folders. In all likelihood, you already have folders where many of the desktop items can be stored. If not, create a few and cut down on the clutter to improve Finder’s speed.
Query Your Disk To See What is Occupying Space
As applications and files accumulate on your internal disk you may be subject to degraded performance and slower system response. What you need is an easy way to identify what is on your disk so you can decide if you still need it or if it can be deleted to free up space.
Knowing what is on your disk is the first step in performing a Mac disk cleanup.
Eliminate Duplicate Files
Duplicate files are another nuisance that can accumulate over time and result in performance issues with your Mac. Finding duplicate files manually can be an extremely time-consuming process, which is why many users never bother to address this potential problem.
The tool offers filters to assist with automatic removal of duplicate files that have been discovered. Ridding your system of duplicate files is a necessary step to clean up your Mac’s hard drive.
Clean up Your System’s Cache Files
Cache files are intended to store information required by applications on a temporary basis. These cache files can grow in size and cause your system to run more slowly than you would like. The main caches that can be cleaned on your Mac are the system, user, and browser cache.
You can use automated tools to clean the cache files or perform a manual cleanup. Here is a procedure to clear the user cache on your Mac manually:
- Navigate to
~/Library/Cachesin a Finder window.
- Go into each folder and clear out all the files.
- Empty your trash when finished to fully delete the files from your computer.
Review Your Startup and Login Items
If you are noticing that it takes longer than usual for your computer to boot up, it may be due to the apps which are being started automatically by your system. It is quite possible that some applications you do not need every time you start your machine are part of your login profile.
To see what is starting during login follow these steps:
- Open your System Preferences.
- Then the Users and Groups panel.
- Click on the user in question and then on the Login items tab located in the upper right of the window.
- Remove any applications that are not required each time you start up the machine. This will help speed up your machine when you restart it.
Delete Extraneous Email Attachments
Each time you receive an email that contains an attachment that you open, your Mac’s Mail application saves that attachment in a Mail Download folder. If you get a lot of messages of this type, you can quickly use up quite a lot of space on documents and images that you no longer need. The best way to address this issue is to clean out the Mail Download folder.
To accomplish this goal, open a Finder window and select Go and the Go to Folder.
This is the folder that you want to access:
You will probably be surprised at the age of some of the files found in this folder. If the attachment is still part of the email or if you have saved the attachment to another location, you can safely delete all of the files in the Mail Downloads folder.
Using these tips can help you maintain your Mac’s high standards of performance and allow you to have enough space to continue saving files that are important to you. A routine which involves a periodic review of these potential issues will keep you happy with your Mac for a long time.