by Mat Bitner
As with most things in life, your Mac needs to be maintained. If you don’t maintain the hardware and software, you may become very frustrated with what used to be an amazing piece of technology. Here are a few ways to maintain or even boost your computer’s performance.
1. Desktop Backgrounds
One nifty feature that comes standard with all Mac computers is the ability to change your desktop’s background wallpaper automatically. In the “Desktop” section of System Preferences under the “Desktop & Screen Saver” setting, there is an option to have this automatic feature happen at different intervals. If you’ve selected “Every 5 seconds” or “every minute,” you can be taking away a hefty amount of system resources from your Mac. I’d say “Every 5 minutes” is even a stretch. The less frequent you have your Mac changing your desktop background picture, the more responsive it’ll be with all the other activities you have it doing.
2. De-Clutter Your Desktop
If you’ve tranitioned from a PC to a Mac, you’re probably used to loading up your desktop with icons. After all, they’re just little icons. Because of the way OSX handles its graphical system, the icons on your desktop take up a lot more of your resources than you may realize. Finder has all the organization you should need right within your user folder. Put all your documents in the documents folder, copy your photos to iPhoto, move your files around so that they fit an organization that makes sense to you. Give your files a home, and don’t keep them on the desktop for too long.
RAM, or random access memory, also referred to as memory, (not hard drive storage) is one of the best ways to boost your Mac’s performance. Depending on how long you’ve had your Mac and how much came with it, you may or may not need more RAM. However, it’s always a fair bet that increasing your RAM will give your Mac a noticeable speed boost. Upgrading RAM usually shortens shutdown and startup times, and drastically limits how often you see the spinning beach-ball when accessing files, like pictures or videos.
HDD stands for hard disk drive, and is the device that stores all of your digital delights. Documents, movies, pictures, music, apps, all of it is stored on your hard drive. The thing is, the more stuff you’ve got, the more the space on your hard drive gets used up. I tend to lean towards the notion that if you have less than one tenth of your hard drive’s original capacity remaining, it’s time to look for a bigger hard drive. You can also backup the files you use less frequently to an external hard drive or flash drive, or delete the files you no longer need, to recoup more space on your hard drive.
Try out these tips the next time you notice your Mac acting sluggish. Got a suggestion for speeding up your Mac that I missed? Add your input to the comments section, or post it on our Facebook wall. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and add Simply Mac to your circles on Google+.