It’s getting to be that time of year. The following tips can help your Mac run more smoothly and efficiently:
- Really take out the trash :: Did you know that the items tossed into the Trash remain there until you choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu (or click and hold on the Dock’s Trash icon and select Empty Trash from the menu that appears)? Also, some applications (such as iPhoto and Mail) maintain a trash of their own that, left unemptied, can also add unwanted bloat to a Mac.
- Organize your stuff :: Many Mac users believe the Desktop is the perfect place to store files. After all, it puts the files you use most often front and center. The problem is that the Finder treats any folder or file on the Desktop as a window and it can slow the Finder significantly. Also, if you’re constantly dashing to Spotlight to find your files, your Mac’s probably not as organized as it could be.
- Get rid of old iChat logs :: If you use iChat, you can have the program store logs of your chats. (Go to iChat -> Preferences, click on Messages, select Save Chat Transcripts To, and then choose a folder.) By default, the program saves transcripts in a folder, which can eventually take up a lot of space. While you may want to save recent chat logs, you may have months of files you can trash, saving a lot of disk space.
- Delete application backups :: Many programs offer automatic backups, and store copies of files in a selected folder, just as iChat saves chat logs. If you use any application that saves backups, you may find that it has tucked away several gigabytes of duplicate files, depending on how the program saves them. Deleting these backup files can save space, and make searching via OS X’s Spotlight much easier.
- Get rid of Mail downloads :: When you receive attachments to e-mail messages in Apple’s Mail, the files are stored with your messages at first. But if you double-click an attachment to view it, or if you use QuickLook to glance at it, Mail stores a copy in your youruserfolder/Library/Mail Downloads folder. You may have dozens of files here occupying a huge amount of space. You can generally delete these without worry.
- Delete log files :: Your Mac stores lots of log files, most of which you never need to review. Open the Console application (in /Applications/Utilities), to see a list in the Console Messages window sidebar, which slows the different log files stored on your Mac. You can delete many of these files
Titanium Software’s free utility Onyx without affecting your Mac, and you can save significant space, since some of these files can be quite large.
- Weed out iTunes dupes :: If you’re cavalier about how you monitor your iTunes library, you may have a lot of duplicate files. iTunes has a built-in feature to help you find duplicates, to see if you copied some files twice, or if you have the same songs on original albums and others from best-of albums.
- Reset Safari :: If you use Apple’s Safari, some of the program’s features can take up unnecessary space. For instance, the cache file is intended to make your browsing snappier, but can easily consume hundreds of megabytes. When it gets too big, it can actually slow down browsing. History files can make Spotlight searching sluggish. And Top Sites, Website preview images, and Website icons (favicons) can slow down the program as well. Every now and then it’s a good idea to reset Safari. Choose Safari -> Reset Safari and check the options that interest you.
You can learn much more about these tips and view screenshots of some of them by clicking the links below.