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Mac Maintenance

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Support.com Tech Pro Team
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1 Introduction: Mac: Maintenance

Over time, you may notice your Mac is slowing down. Keeping it up to date and running smoothly is a relatively simple task when you know what to do. This guide aims to walk you through several ways to maintain your system.

In this guide we'll cover:

  • Enabling Automatic Updates
  • Checking for Updates
  • Use iCloud to optimze storage
  • Storage Cleanup
  • Removing a program
  • Run First Aid

2 macOS: Automatic Updates

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Apple Menu open with system preferances highlighted

  2. Click App Store.
    System Preferences with App Store highlighted

  3. Ensure all items in this section are checked. This will allow for Automatic updates to happen and for them to install automatically.
    App Store settings with update options highlighted

MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air must have the power adapter plugged in to automatically download updates.

3 macOS: Software Updates

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on App Store.
    apple menu with app store highlighted

  2. Click Updates on the top-right.
    app store with Updates highlighted

  3. Click Update All to perform your software updates.
    app store updates with update all highlighted

4 macOS: iCloud Storage Setup

iCloud securely stores your photos, videos, documents, music, apps, and more. iCloud can also be used to manage your storage.

First, we need to log into iCloud.

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences

  2. Click on iCloud.
    System Preferences with iCloud highlighted

  3. If you are not already signed into iCloud, enter your Apple ID and password, and then click Sign In.
    iCloud settings with sign in highlighted

  4. Ensure to check the box that says "Use iCloud for your documents and data" and choose whether or not you want to use iCloud to locate your device. Click Next to continue.
    use icloud for your documents and data box is highlighted with the next button highlighted

  5. Now we will pick what you wish to sync with iCloud. We want to be sure that iCloud Drive and Photos are both checked.
    list of items that you can sync with iCloud with icloud drive and photos highlighted

  6. Open the Apple menu and click About This Mac.
    Apple menu highlighted with about this mac highlighted

  7. Click on Storage.
    about this mac page with storage tab highlighted

  8. Click on Manage.
    storage tab with the manage button highlighted

  9. Click Store in iCloud and choose from the options below.
    Storage options with store in icloud button highlighted

    Desktop and Documents Will store all files in these locations in iCloud. If you get low in storage, only recently used items will remain on the computer. You can download any file back to the computer by clicking the cloud icon.
    Photos Will store full resolution images and videos in iCloud. When space is needed, only optimized versions remain on the computer. You can download the original item by opening it.

Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan.

5 macOS: Storage Cleanup

  1. Open the Apple Menu and click About This Mac.
    Apple menu icon highlighted with about this mac highlighted in the menu below.

  2. Click on Storage.
    macOS about window with storage button highlighted.

  3. Click on Manage.
    macOS about window displaying the storage tab with manage button highlighted.

Optimize Storage

  1. Click on Optimize.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the optimize button.

    When storage space is needed, iTunes movies or TV shows that you already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the cloud icon next to a movie or TV show to download it again.

Empty Trash Automatically

  1. To automatically delete your trash, click Turn On.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the turn on button.

    Enabling this feature will permanently delete any items that have been in the trash for 30 days.

Reduce Clutter

  1. Click the Review Files button, then choose any of the categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, GarageBand, iOS Files, iTunes, or Trash.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the review files button.

    You can delete files or programs by either clicking on the "x" when hovering over the item or by right clicking and choosing delete.

6 macOS: Uninstall a Program

You may need to remove an app because you need the space or simply don't need it anymore. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

Before uninstalling, we must exit the program we wish to uninstall.

  1. Right click the icon of the program you wish to exit and then click Quit.
    macOS exiting a currently running application. Illustration.
  2. Alternatively, you can click the Title Name of the program in the upper-left-hand corner of your screen, near the Apple logo, and then click Quit.
    macOS menu bar method of exiting a running application. Illustration.
  3. Make sure the application leaves your Dock at the bottom or no longer has a dot underneath it.
    Running Application Closed Application
    Dot underneath an application indicating it is running. No dot indicating an application is not currently running.
     
  4. Click Finder from the Dock across the bottom of your screen.
    macOS dock highlighting the finder icon.
  5. Click Applications from the left-hand column, then locate the program you wish to uninstall. Click and hold the mouse button on the program you wish to uninstall and drag it to the Trash Bin. You can let go of the mouse button once you are hovering over the Trash Bin.
    macOS dragging an installed app from finder to the trash bin. Illustration.

7 macOS: First Aid

  1. In the Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility & click on Disk Utility.
    spotlight highlighted with the disk utility application highlighted

  2. Select the Drive to check and then click on First Aid.
    Disk utility with the hard drive selected and then the first aid button is selected

  3. Click on Run.
    Would you like to run first aid notification box with the run button highlighted

  4. If you are checking a drive with files in use (such as your boot drive), then you will be prompted to temporarly lock the drive. Click Continue.
    First aid needs to temporarly lock the boot volume notification with the continue button highlighted

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Over time, you may notice your Mac is slowing down. Keeping it up to date and running smoothly is a relatively simple task when you know what to do. This guide aims to walk you through several ways to maintain your system.

In this guide we'll cover:

  • Enabling Automatic Updates
  • Checking for Updates
  • Use iCloud to optimze storage
  • Storage Cleanup
  • Removing a program
  • Run First Aid
  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Apple Menu open with system preferances highlighted

  2. Click App Store.
    System Preferences with App Store highlighted

  3. Ensure all items in this section are checked. This will allow for Automatic updates to happen and for them to install automatically.
    App Store settings with update options highlighted

MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air must have the power adapter plugged in to automatically download updates.

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on App Store.
    apple menu with app store highlighted

  2. Click Updates on the top-right.
    app store with Updates highlighted

  3. Click Update All to perform your software updates.
    app store updates with update all highlighted

iCloud securely stores your photos, videos, documents, music, apps, and more. iCloud can also be used to manage your storage.

First, we need to log into iCloud.

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences

  2. Click on iCloud.
    System Preferences with iCloud highlighted

  3. If you are not already signed into iCloud, enter your Apple ID and password, and then click Sign In.
    iCloud settings with sign in highlighted

  4. Ensure to check the box that says "Use iCloud for your documents and data" and choose whether or not you want to use iCloud to locate your device. Click Next to continue.
    use icloud for your documents and data box is highlighted with the next button highlighted

  5. Now we will pick what you wish to sync with iCloud. We want to be sure that iCloud Drive and Photos are both checked.
    list of items that you can sync with iCloud with icloud drive and photos highlighted

  6. Open the Apple menu and click About This Mac.
    Apple menu highlighted with about this mac highlighted

  7. Click on Storage.
    about this mac page with storage tab highlighted

  8. Click on Manage.
    storage tab with the manage button highlighted

  9. Click Store in iCloud and choose from the options below.
    Storage options with store in icloud button highlighted

    Desktop and Documents Will store all files in these locations in iCloud. If you get low in storage, only recently used items will remain on the computer. You can download any file back to the computer by clicking the cloud icon.
    Photos Will store full resolution images and videos in iCloud. When space is needed, only optimized versions remain on the computer. You can download the original item by opening it.

Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan.

  1. Open the Apple Menu and click About This Mac.
    Apple menu icon highlighted with about this mac highlighted in the menu below.

  2. Click on Storage.
    macOS about window with storage button highlighted.

  3. Click on Manage.
    macOS about window displaying the storage tab with manage button highlighted.

Optimize Storage

  1. Click on Optimize.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the optimize button.

    When storage space is needed, iTunes movies or TV shows that you already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the cloud icon next to a movie or TV show to download it again.

Empty Trash Automatically

  1. To automatically delete your trash, click Turn On.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the turn on button.

    Enabling this feature will permanently delete any items that have been in the trash for 30 days.

Reduce Clutter

  1. Click the Review Files button, then choose any of the categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, GarageBand, iOS Files, iTunes, or Trash.
    macOS manage storage window highlighting the review files button.

    You can delete files or programs by either clicking on the "x" when hovering over the item or by right clicking and choosing delete.

You may need to remove an app because you need the space or simply don't need it anymore. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

Before uninstalling, we must exit the program we wish to uninstall.

  1. Right click the icon of the program you wish to exit and then click Quit.
    macOS exiting a currently running application. Illustration.
  2. Alternatively, you can click the Title Name of the program in the upper-left-hand corner of your screen, near the Apple logo, and then click Quit.
    macOS menu bar method of exiting a running application. Illustration.
  3. Make sure the application leaves your Dock at the bottom or no longer has a dot underneath it.
    Running Application Closed Application
    Dot underneath an application indicating it is running. No dot indicating an application is not currently running.
     
  4. Click Finder from the Dock across the bottom of your screen.
    macOS dock highlighting the finder icon.
  5. Click Applications from the left-hand column, then locate the program you wish to uninstall. Click and hold the mouse button on the program you wish to uninstall and drag it to the Trash Bin. You can let go of the mouse button once you are hovering over the Trash Bin.
    macOS dragging an installed app from finder to the trash bin. Illustration.
  1. In the Spotlight Search, type in Disk Utility & click on Disk Utility.
    spotlight highlighted with the disk utility application highlighted

  2. Select the Drive to check and then click on First Aid.
    Disk utility with the hard drive selected and then the first aid button is selected

  3. Click on Run.
    Would you like to run first aid notification box with the run button highlighted

  4. If you are checking a drive with files in use (such as your boot drive), then you will be prompted to temporarly lock the drive. Click Continue.
    First aid needs to temporarly lock the boot volume notification with the continue button highlighted