How to keep your mac squeaky clean
Clients often ask me how to avoid a mac becoming slow and unresponsive with apps that get stuck, etc.... What they are really trying to say is 'how can I avoid needing to call you out to fix this mess in the future?' I'm going to refer to macs in my this blog just because the majority of my clients are apple'd up to the eyeballs, but these rules work just as well for PC's.
Think of your mac like your body..... for sure if you ignore it, it will just carry on working ok, and at some point, it may crash and burn. If, however, you eat healthy, exercise and treat it with the odd scrub and massage, chances are there will be less crashing or at least lesser crashes!
Like bodies - there is no guarantee. You can take the best care of your mac and it might still have issues, but experience shows me that generally, that's not the case.
Frustrated clients say 'but it's new' when in fact it's 5 years old. Not that that's old, but it is if you've never upgraded or cleaned it out. Another favourite phrase is 'but it was so expensive!'. All the more reason to take care of it. You don't chuck your silk evening gown in the washing machine and hope for the best, no you invest time and money getting it dry cleaned.
So set yourself a monthly reminder, or even quarterly is better than nothing and sit down and give your mac some 'me time'.
Upgrades and updates - Upgrade regularly. I know plenty of you are anti-upgrade. The last one 'ruined' your mac etc... And don't get me wrong, it can be worth waiting a while for any teething issues to be ironed out, but if you don't upgrade at all, sooner or later things will go wrong, apps will stop working and eventually you won't even be able to upgrade any more and you have to wipe the whole thing and start again. Also, unless you're using your mac excessively with complex software, there is little to fear. These upgrades are tried and tested for months before they are released.
Cleaning - the outside. Filthy screens and keyboards are neither healthy for you nor your mac. Be safe - power it down - so much work has been lost and files deleted with a quick swish over a keyboard. Use a dry microfiber cloth to clean the keyboard and screen, with maybe a small squirt of glasses cleaner on the cloth - never directly onto the screen. Like pots and pans, also clean the outside. You can use a stronger cleaner on the case. Your laptop is a dirt magnet from being shoved in bags and used on random tables. Today more than ever, wipe it down regularly with a gentle cleaning solution and keep it in a case or sleeve as much as possible
Cleaning - the inside. There are loads of programs to do this so I'll talk about my favourite. Clean my Mac X. It's not cheap - between 30 and 100 EUR depending on number of licences you choose. But it cleans up your drive, removes malware and suggests extensions that you might not need and applications that you don't use for removal. It finds large files for you to review and remove or move to a cloud, and it generally helps everything function smoother and faster.
Back-up - Macs have Time Machine built-in that can back up your mac hourly so that no matter what happens, you can restore it. Deleted those important files yesterday then emptied the trash? You can restore to 2 days ago. Regret all that file reorganisation? Restore it to 2 hours ago. Invest in a WiFi accessible hard drive and Time Machine will work hard in the background to keep your data safe. Worst case scenario - plug in a portable hard drive and back up your folders and photos intermittently.
Power down - Close down all your apps and power your mac down for a rest every so often. Same goes for your phone and iPad. It doesn't have to be every day, but every week or so to avoid apps getting stuck and needing to be 'Force Quit' or using excess RAM and slowing things down.
Battery life - many of you complain that your mac runs out of battery faster than it used to. Like all batteries, life span decreases with age. To maintain optimal battery life, keep your laptop plugged in as much as possible, as when it is plugged in, the battery won't drain as the power comes straight from the socket. Don't wait till it dies on you before charging to avoid 'deep discharge state' which reduces battery lifespan dramatically.