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MAC MAINTENANCE – What you can do

New Mac users and customers ask us what they need to do for maintenance on their Apple computers. That’s a good question. Apple’s marketing suggests computers “just work,” so many people never consider regular maintenance. For the most part Apple is correct. However, there are some things that you can do monthly and annually to keep your Mac running smoothly.

First, regularly update your software. Unlike a Windows update on a PC, your Apple OS and app updates will not mess everything up and you don’t need a tech friend to tell you which ones to do and which ones to skip. Access software updates from the Apple menu, then select Software Updates. For those of you with a newer OS, updates will be completed through the App Store. All of these updates include little and big fixes for issues that have been reported to Apple.

Next, get in a habit of organizing your files and archiving old files. This means if you standardly save files to your desktop, moving like-files to a folder or within your documents or picture folders. The more files that are not contained in folders on your desktop, the longer the desktop will take to open when you start up. Another good habit is repairing your disk permissions with the Disk Utility app that is built into the Mac OS. You can avoid problems by proactively running the disk utility every two to three months. This utility examines certain files and folders on your Mac’s hard drive to see if their current permissions settings are what Mac OS X expects them to be; if discrepancies are found, the offending permissions are changed to match the expected settings. That’s just a fancy way of saying that it makes sure all files are where they need to be.

Lastly, you need to periodically physically clean your computer – especially laptops. If you regularly eat while browsing the Internet or Facebook – all those good crumbs and gunk on your fingers are getting all inside your computer and on the keys. The best way to clean your laptop is first to turn it OFF. Next get a soft fiber cloth or old t-shirt and lightly spray it with Windex. Now you can use the rag to wipe both the keyboard portion, the display glass/screen, as well as the top and bottom of the laptop. Desktops and keyboards need to be cleaned as well with the same process. And for those of us with 4 legged friends, canine or feline, it is important to remember that all animals have dander, whether they shed a lot or not. Therefore, animals lovers (I am one too) will need to take your laptop to a professional to get it cleaned internally – where all that dander likes to go. It shouldn’t cost much or take very long. Computerlab charges just $20 for an internal cleaning.

That’s pretty much it. If you find your Mac has started to get slow and bogged down and you exhausted all that you know to do – take it to an Apple Authorized business with technicians that have current certifications. It is within your right to ask a business to see their tech’s certification. Apple requires technicians to obtain new certifications on each line of product because the new MacBook is internally different than a MacBook Pro Retina. Also, certifications expire! A “certified technician” who received his certification in 1999 is not qualified for a 2012 anything.

Oh and let me mention one way to NOT clean your Mac. At NO time should you ever download or run a program intended to clean your computer – this will cause you many more problems than it will ever solve. After downloading and running this type of program, you will have to see a professional for why your computer is running so poorly. We will talk more about these programs in a later blog.