Tips to keep your Mac in top form
- Keep things up-to-date
From the Apple menu, choose Software Update (your Mac needs to be connected to the Internet). Software Update will check for new versions of your Apple software. If it finds any, the updates will appear in the Software Update window. Click the Install button to download and install the software.
You can configure Software Update to automatically check for updates either daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Organize and name your files
Put your files where you can easily access them. This can help prevent accidental file deletion and help you find things much more efficiently. You can organize by creating new folders (in the Finder, press Shift-Command-N) and arranging them however you wish for your files at hand, or you can move your files into existing folders. If you lose track of a file or folder, you can use Spotlight to quickly find it.
Tip: Go through any generically-named files and folders and give them more descriptive names so you can find what you need fast. This can help you get organized and makes it easier for Spotlight to search and find what you're looking for, especially one file among your digital photo collection with names like "DSC_0431.jpg".
Note: If you use iPhoto to manage your photos, don't use the Finder to rename the photo files.
Note: This advice does not apply to applications in the Applications folder, such as Mail, iTunes, Safari, and so forth. You should leave applications in the Applications folder, and not rename them, to avoid issues. You can drag an application to the Dock if you want a quick and easy way to open it from the Dock.
- Back up data regularly
In the event that you accidentally lose files, or need to restore your entire system from a backup, you should perform regular back ups of your computer. You can use Time Machine in Mac OS X v10.5 and later, which offers an easy way to back up and restore files to and from a different disk. You can also manually back up files to a CD, DVD, external hard drive, iDisk, or other storage device.
- Archive seldom-used files if you need more disk space
You can free up some disk space by archiving large, seldom used files (learn how in Compressing files and folders). Be sure to name the resulting archive file appropriately too, so you know what's in it. You can delete any unnecessary or outdated personal files and anything that you no longer want or need—just drag them all into the Trash and empty it.
- Clean your Mac
See How to clean Mac products for information about cleaning your Mac, display, keyboard, mouse, and more.