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5 MacBook Maintenance Tasks You Should Perform Regularly



MacBooks are some of the most efficient laptops on the market, but it takes some effort from the user. Here are five MacBook maintenance tasks that you should be performing regularly.

Cars need oil changes regularly. Instruments need tuning after so much playing. Even people need to perform some maintenance on their own bodies in order to stay in tip-top shape. MacBooks need the same regular care in order to run smoothly.

A lot of times users will simply buy a MacBook, but never take any time to maintain it throughout its life. Because of this, applications build up, there are random files strewn everywhere, and it’s all bogging down the MacBook making it slow and sluggish to work with.

However, spending just a little bit of time maintaining your machine — even if it’s just once a month — is a great way to speed up your MacBook and keep it great shape so that it’ll last as long as possible.

So without further ado, here are a few maintenance tasks that you should be performing regularly on your MacBook.

Go Through Old Files and Apps

More than likely, you have a ton of apps that you installed and only used once for a special purpose of some kind. These apps are now pointless and are just taking up precious disk space on your MacBook.

Open up a Finder window and click on Applications in the sidebar. This will list all of the apps that you have installed. If you see an app that you no longer use, feel free to drag-and-drop it into Trash.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.52.09 PM

It’s also a good idea to do the same thing with general files. Over the years, you’ll download and accumulate a lot of different files, including .DMG install files for applications. However, these can build up and turn your MacBook into an unorganized mess. If your desktop looks like a digital tornado just went through it, then it’s probably time you clean it up.

I usually like to go through my apps and files about once a month and get rid of anything I no longer need.

If you absolutely must keep a file but don’t particularly need to access it, put it on an external drive or flash drive to keep it out of sight, but still available whenever you need it.

Back Up Your MacBook

This one almost goes without saying, but it still needs to be said. Make sure you regularly back up your MacBook, so that if anything bad happens to it, you won’t lose any of your files.


It’s ultimately up to you how often you want to back up your MacBook, but the more often you do it, the better off you’ll be. You can easily set up Time Machine to automatically back up your MacBook to an external hard drive on a daily basis, or you can experiment with other backup options.

Backing up your computer is one of the most crucial things you need to do when it comes to maintaining your devices. We’re guessing it’s where most of your photos, videos, music and pretty much all of your other files are located, and if something were to happen to your computer, like a failed hard drive, you would lose absolutely everything, unless you had all those files backed up.

Maintain Login Items

Every time you install a new application on your MacBook, it might be adding itself to the list of items that start up automatically whenever you boot up your MacBook. This isn’t a huge problem, per se, but the more items that join the list, the slower your MacBook will be when it’s booting up, since it has all of these apps that it needs to open and load.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.52.30 PM

Open up System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, and then click on the Login Items tab toward the top. Before continuing with editing the list, you may need to click on the padlock in the lower-left corner and enter in your admin password to be able to make changes.

To remove an item from the list, simply just click on it and then click the minus icon to remove it. Poof! This should hopefully speed up your MacBook’s boot time.

I like to do this about once a month, alongside going through older applications that I no longer use.

Restart Your MacBook Regularly

With the way that MacBooks are made nowadays, along with how they’re being used, we rarely actually shut down your MacBooks at the end of every day, and instead just put them to sleep so that we don’t need to wait for it to boot up in the mornings.

MacBook Pro

However, it’s a good idea to shut down and reboot your MacBook around once a week. Doing this is the equivalent of restarting a router in order to clear it out and give it a fresh start.

Rebooting a MacBook clears the RAM and frees it up so that you have a clean slate. This is why a lot of computer technicians will recommend rebooting your computer if you’re having issues with it, as it can clear out any noise and give it a fresh start.

Avoid Most “Tune-Up” Apps

There are plenty of Mac applications that say they will tune up your Mac and make it run smoother, but you have to be careful with these claims.

One of the biggest culprits are apps that free up RAM so that your MacBook can run more efficiently, but they really just mess with the natural process that OS X uses to manage memory, so it’s best not to use apps that mess with the process.


However, apps like Onyx and CCleaner are good apps to run about once a month.

Onyx does a handful of different things, like verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files so that there are no errors anywhere on the system. The utility also can run miscellaneous system maintenance tasks and delete unwanted and unneeded files to free up disk space.

As for CCleaner, it has an easy-to-understand user interface that allows you to get rid of hidden temporary files that are no longer being used by applications on your Mac. With the app, all you have to do is checkmark the items that you want deleted, and then click Analyze to see how much space deleting these files would save. If you’re happy with that, click Run Cleaner and let the app do it’s thing.



  1. Anitmony

    08/11/2014 at 7:56 pm

    With the possible exception of keeping Login Items pruned, none of these so-called “tips” are going to do anything for the performance of your Mac, and certainly not for it’s “health”, whatever the heck that even means.

    Having applications installed that you may, or may not, be using doesn’t “bog down” your computer. Never has, never will, it’s a patently ridiculous statement.

    Regularly rebooting your Mac isn’t going to improve performance in any meaningful way. I go weeks without rebooting with no loss of performance that’s noticeable to human senses.

    Seriously, why write this?

    • Loudguitr

      08/12/2014 at 3:53 am

      Incorrect. Restarts commonly solve erratic behavior. Onyx makes things launch faster. Try to know what you are talking about before you post.

  2. Tim

    08/11/2014 at 11:38 pm

    I suppose one could make a case for cleaning files to improve performance if the hard drive is 90+% full! though no mention of that was made in the above article. Further, no mention of de fragmenting the hard drive, either. Some apps do have daemons or background processes that could be chewing up small amounts of CPU, that, collectively, if there were several, may improve performance somewhat.

    If that is the case, I would recommend starting with Activity Monitor and seeing what’s using the most CPU and/or memory an deciding if those apps are worth keeping. This might require some research, as the process name may not always clearly indicate the app to which it is related.

    In general, I agree that this article was not the help I had hoped it might be. I thought maybe I’d learn a trick or two I didn’t already know.

  3. dsteeleRealEstate

    08/12/2014 at 5:44 pm

    I can’t get Onyx or CCleaner to launch because they weren’t downloaded from the App Store, where they aren’t available. Wassup?

  4. Dave Horsfall

    09/13/2014 at 2:46 pm

    The only time I reboot is after a major update; it’s not a poxy WinDoze Pee-Cee, wherein three-finger-salutes are the order of the day. “Windows has detected that you moved your mouse; please restart.”

    My trusty FreeBSD server, for example:

    7:41AM up 659 days, 17:26, 4 users, load averages: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

    And the MacBook himself:

    7:42 up 10 days, 4:14, 6 users, load averages: 1.32 1.72 1.63

    (I went from Snow Leopard to Mavericks)

    — Dave

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