Guide to Apple OSX Maintenance

Unlike Windows, Apple OSX needs very little maintenance. Viruses are not a major issue on OSX and with all the computer hardware made or assembled by Apple themselves, hardware errors are also very rare. But there a few steps you can take to keep your system running fast and stable.

Step 1 – Update OSX Regularly

Apple provides updates for OSX, Safari, iTunes and and its other software, to fix stability issues, block security holes and add extra features.

Simply click on the Apple logo on the top left hand side, then select “Software Update” then simply follow the step by step instructions.

Apple advise updating everything that is listed, including firmware updates for the hardware.

Step 2- Use Time Machine

Time Machine is a backup utility developed by Apple. It is included with Mac OS X and was introduced with the 10.5 Leopard release of Mac OS X. The software is designed to work with the Time Capsule as well as other internal or external drives.

If you insert a properly formatted hard drive into the USB or Firewire socket, OSX will ask you if you want to use this device to Backup. Clicking yes will open Time Machine.

Alternatively, open Applications and load Time Machine from there.

If you have never used Time Machine it will ask you if you want to set it up. Click yes, then select the backup hard disk you want to backup your data on to.
And then switch on Time Machine.

You can leave it to backup automatically or you can run a backup whenever you wish to.

Running backups regularly will protect your data should your computer or operating system fail, and is highly advisable.
For information on backup methods and hardware please visit our Guide to data protection page

Step 3- Repair Disk Permissions

When installing programs certain files are created which store the permissions of individual files in the installed application.

Running “Verify Disk Permissions” checks that these files contents match what is on the computer. And running “Repair Permissions” fixes any issues.

Open up “Disk Utility” in “Utilities”. Select your Operating System Hard disk from the list on the left hand side. Then click “Repair Disk Permissions”.

Step 4 – Scan for Viruses

As mentioned above, viruses are very rare on OSX, and if they download on your computer they will have little to no effect on the operating system. But it is worth running the occasional Virus scan to make sure your system is clear because you can still forward viruses in your emails or external hard drives.

Intego VirusBarrier X6 is the current top ranking OSX Antivirus Program.

Free alternative would be Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition

Install and run your chosen Antivirus program and run a scan once a month. Make sure to run scans on external hard drives.

Step 5- Delete Temporary Files and Cache.

In Safari, Chrome or Firefox regularly delete the Cache.

Step 6 – Keep Desktop clear

Each little desktop icon is treated as if it isa little window which consumes your Apples memory. Fine for one or two icons, but having hundreds of icons can slow down your Apple so organise them in the relevant folders.

Step 7 – Free up disk space on your hard drive

As you use your computer it is constantly writing data to the hard drive. If that hard drive is full then you’ll notice slow down as it tries to write to a full hard drive. So try and keep about 10GB of free space on your hard drive. If you are approaching the maximum storage amount empty out the trash and try and move little used files such as videos and pictures to an external drive to free up space.

Step 8 – Disable your startup items

You don’t need programs to start as soon as you switch on your Mac, and having them load on boot just has the effect of slowing down the boot time of your Apple computer. Open up System Preferences and click on accounts. Select your username and you should see an option to see all your startup programs. Disable any you don’t want to start with OSX. These programs will still all be perfectly usable.
For looking after your hardware please have a look at our guide to Laptop maintenance.

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