How to Perform a Disk Cleanup for a Mac

Macs are renowned for being user-friendly and fast, which leads to a tendency of users stuffing them full of photos, files and music just because they can. Although they don’t tend to crash, they can start to get sluggish when overloaded.

It’s easy to spot when you’ve reached this point because the rainbow coloured spinning wheel will appear, signalling it’s time to have a bit of a spring clean.

The following steps by Sophie Southern outline the cleaning process.

Step 1

The Activity Monitor will show you which applications are taking up the most RAM (Applications – Utilities – double click Activity Monitor).

The click on the ‘System Memory’ tab to see how much memory your applications are using.

Step 2

Next you need to eliminate startup menu items (applications that launch automatically when you log in to your Mac).

To do this go to System Preferences – Accounts panel – click Login Items and then review your list.

Step 3

Using a memory analysis programme like DaisyDisk or Disk Inventory X you can find which files are taking up the most space. Trash any large files you don’t need.

Step 4

Next is to clear out any applications you don’t use any more. You can do this by dragging and dropping to the Trash, but if the app creates folders in your library or caches its best to use AppCleaner (a free download) to make sure all related files are deleted.

Step 5

Removing or reducing your desktop clutter will also help. Your Mac will create separate windows for each desktop icon so removing unnecessary ones or grouping them together will help.

Step 6

Although your Mac’s RAM is more important than your hard drive space, freeing up at least 20% of your hard drive space will improve the speed and performance of your Mac.

Step 7

Use the “Software Update” function to make sure all your software is kept up to date. Any applications not managed by Software Update can be managed using the free AppFresh download.

Step 8

Although restarting your Mac for every use isn’t required, make sure you do it fairly regularly. Especially once you’ve performed any of the earlier steps.

Regular maintenance will keep your Mac in tip top working condition.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.