How to Maintain your Mac

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

Adapted from Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps by Drew Provan

Macs do not need much looking after, although in the past we were advised to defragment our hard drives and carry out other household cleaning tasks. Now with OS X there is little that needs doing on a regular basis!

Maintenance worth carrying out:

  • Clear Safari history and caches
  • Clearing cookies from Safari and other browsers
  • Clearing old logs and User cache folder

Automate the Cleaning!

There are several apps that can clear out all of the unwanted files. Some are free and others are paid apps.

Three useful maintenance apps:

CCleaner is a very simple app, ported over from Windows. It carries out a very limited range of cleaning functions and does not clean out the User cache. It does, however, deal with the internet debris and temporary browser files pretty well. OnyX and MainMenu are more powerful than CCleaner but perform similar functions.




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Defragmenting your Drive

Hard drives can become fragmented over time. This is because, as the drives fill up, there is no space to write large files so they end up being split into several parts across the drive. When you open the file, the Mac has to look around for all the pieces and join these in order to open the file.

Note: There is no defragmentation app built into OS X (unlike Windows which includes an app to defragment your drive)


There are several apps available for defragmenting drives running OS X. iDefrag ( is probably the best.




Never defragment an SSD drive. They have a finite number of read/writes and the drive will fail faster if you defrag!



Clear the Desktop!

The Mac has to keep track of many items and the Desktop is one of them. The more files and folders you have on the Desktop, the harder the Mac has to work to keep track of all these files. With the speed increases seen with newer Macs you may not notice the slowdown so much, but it is good practice to keep your Desktop as clear as you can.

  1. Regularly file your documents in the Documents folder (create sub-folders within the Documents folder)
  2. If you must keep some items on the Desktop, consider creating a folder on the Desktop and dropping them into that
  3. Try creating aliases for frequently accessed folders

Find out more great Mac ideas in Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps, by Drew Provan or visit us at!