Photo: Courtesy Audi
Macs are expensive.If you throw down good money for one of your own, you probably don’t want to replace it every year.
Here are a few suggestions to make sure you get more life out of your computer and keep it running in tip-top shape.
Browse your Applications folder and see if there are any programs in there you don't use anymore. If so, use an uninstaller to get rid of them and free up hard disk space.
We recommend AppZapper to help with the uninstalls.
If you fill up your hard drive to the point that you have less than 10 GB of space left, this can cause some problems with virtual memory. If your drive is filled with stuff, either delete it or move it to an external hard drive so you can give your computer a break.
Your Mac and many of the programs you install come with alternative languages that you'll never use. You can delete them to free up hundreds of megabytes of storage space with a free app called Monolingual.
Start up Activity Monitor from your Applications folder to see if something is hogging a lot of memory. If it is, kill the process and give your computer a break.
Frivolous dashboard widgets are just one more way to throw your memory in the garbage. Pull up the dashboard, see what you still use, and get rid of everything else.
Pull up the Dashboard, click on the plus sign in the bottom left corner, then click on Manage Widgets. To get rid of widgets, click on the X that now appears in the corner of each one.
RAM is what lets you run multiple programs simultaneously. If your computer starts acting sluggish and it's been a while since your last upgrade, adding RAM is a cheap way to squeeze more life out of your computer.
It's a relatively low-level upgrade, but if you don't trust yourself, grab a tech-savvy friend to help you with it. You can pick up cheap RAM at a store like NewEgg.
Go to System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items. Browse the list of apps that appear there -- if any of them are apps that you don't immediately need when your computer starts up, remove them from the list.
It's just good practice to make sure you're running the most current software. Run Software Update every now and then to download the latest updates. They can fix problems behind the scenes that make your computer run slower than it should.
Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are all good options. They tend to run faster than Safari and won't hog your machine's memory.
Your Mac has a few tools that it uses automatically to help maintain itself. Some of these tools only run during shutdown and startup. Get into the habit of turning your computer all the way off every now and then.
Instead of a spinning hard drive, an SSD works like a souped-up USB drive and grants you much faster access to your files. It's a tricky installation, so we recommend you take it to a professional.
Alternatively, Apple now lets you buy a new Mac with an SSD preinstalled.
A hot computer is a suffering computer. If your computer gets too warm, arrange some fans near it or prop it up to get better air circulation underneath it.
This is commonly debated, but repairing disk permissions can supposedly help your computer run more efficiently. Open Disk Utility from your Applications folder and click on 'Repair Disk Permissions.'