5 Tips on How to Clean Your Mac and Make It Faster

5 Tips on How to Clean Your Mac and Make It Faster

While macOS does a good enough job at keeping itself clean, there are times when you have to manually clean your Mac so that it is running without any hiccups. It is especially important for older mac devices as the mileage you have put on your machine does come with some consequences. While there is nothing you can do to solve a problem which is occurring due to an outdated hardware or any other hardware related issues, more often than not, your Mac has slowed down because of a number of software related problems. In this article, I am going to give you 5 tips which can help you keep your Mac clean and running at its full capacity. So whether you are using an older MacBook Air or the latest MacBook Pro or the 5K iMac, here are some of the steps you can take to clean your Mac and make it faster. 

Why Cleaning Your Mac is Important

While it is not required to clean your Mac on a daily or even monthly basis, it is a good practice to tidy things up once every few months. The main reason why we should clean our Macs is that there are just a ton of residual files on our Macs which fill up our storage and make it slower. Cleaning our Macs once every few months not only ensures that our Macs are running at their full potential, but it will also help you release lost storage which you never thought existed before. While this is the main reason Macs slow down over time there are other reasons too including and not limited to residual files from apps, large number of start-up apps, malware (Yes! Macs can get infected too), and more. In the next section, I am going to tell you how you can solve all these problems to clean up your Mac and make it faster. 

5 Tips to Clean and Speed Up Your Mac

1. Remove Junk Files

2. Release Hidden Storage

3. Make Clean App Uninstalls

4. Manage Your Startup Items

5. Remove Malware

1. Remove Junk Files

When your Mac is brand new it has no junk files, however as you start using it more and more and months pass, your Mac starts accumulating junk files which include system junk files, residual files, browser caches, mail attachments, iTunes junk files, and more. The worst part about these junk files is that you cannot manually find and remove them by yourself. Thankfully, there are apps which can help you do just that. My favorite app which helps me do that is the CleanMyMac 3 from MacPaw software. CleanMyMac has been around for quite some time and it has only gotten better over the years. Currently it’s at version 3, and it is all you need to remove junk files from your Mac and more. The best part about using CleanMyMac 3 is that it literally just takes a minute if not seconds to scan your Mac and find all those residual junk files. 

I use CleanMyMac 3 to scan my Mac on a monthly basis and it finds anywhere around 3 to 5 GBs of junk data to clean. When I first used the app to scan my Mac, I still remember that it was able to release more than 12 GB of storage. I mean just install the trial version of the app and see for yourself. You will be shocked at the amount of junk data which is on your Mac filling up your precious storage. CleanMyMac can not only remove junk files but it also has tons of other features which can help you in carrying out the next few tips too. That said, CleanMyMac is a costly piece of software and if you cannot afford it, there are cheaper alternatives out there. Dr. Cleaner Pro is the best cheap alternative to CleanMyMac and the one you should buy if CleanMyMac is out of your budget. However, if you can afford it, CleanMyMac 3 is the best utility you can buy for your Mac. 

Install: CleanMyMac 3 ($39.95)

CleanMyMac 3 is not to be confused with MacKeeper. MacKeeper is a sham and will break down your Mac instead of improving it.

2. Release Hidden Storage

2a. Find and Delete Old Files Which Are No Longer Useful

Over the years that we have been using our Macs, we download a lot of files that we forget to delete even when they have served their purpose. This leads to accumulation of a number of files on our Macs which just sit there and do nothing other than eating our Mac’s precious storage. macOS doesn’t come with any utility tool which can help us figure out where those files are which makes it a pain to find and remove these files. That said, there are third-party apps which can help us find and delete those old files. My favorite app to do this is an app which I have already mentioned a couple of times in my previous articles. The app I am talking about is called DaisyDisk and it’s an awesome tool to find and delete old files on your Mac

For those who are not familiar with the app, it basically scans your entire Mac and gives you a beautiful graphical representation of its storage. The app represents all the folders and files occupying your Mac’s storage in easy to navigate and color-coded concentric circles. The bigger the circle is the bigger is the size of that folder on your Mac. Clicking on a circle is equivalent to opening a folder. Using its graphical interface, you can easily find out those pesky large and old hidden files and delete them to release storage on your Mac. While DaisyDisk is the best app to do that, there is another app called GrandPerspective which performs almost the same function and is way cheaper. That said, DaisyDisk brings a far more beautiful UI and makes it way easier to find and delete old files than GrandPerspective. 

Install: DaisyDisk ($9.99)

2b. Find and Delete Duplicate Files

One of the biggest culprits of lost storage on your Mac is duplicate files. We copy and move a lot of stuff on your Macs and sometimes we just forget to delete the original file and are left with two copies of the same files. It also happens when we are taking pictures. I personally tend to take multiple shots just to be sure that my picture came out right. Since everything is synced back to my Mac, those multiple shots eat up a lot of storage. Thankfully, there is an easy way to find and delete duplicate files on your Mac. My personal choice of app to do this is Gemini 2 which is from the same folks which make the CleanMyMac

Once installed you can use the app to scan your Mac and in a few seconds or minutes it will catalog all the duplicate files and show it to you. The best part is that it doesn’t automatically delete duplicate files but give you an option to pick and choose the version that you want to keep. Another good app which can help you do that is the Duplicate File Finder Remover which is also a cheaper alternative to Gemini 2. That said, for me, Gemini 2 has worked great and I prefer it over any other duplicate file finding apps for the Mac. 

Install: Gemini 2 ($19.99) (Get Free Trial)

3. Make Clean App Uninstalls

If you are an avid Mac user, chances are that you are used to installing and uninstalling a ton of apps. Although you might think that uninstalling an app removes it completely, more often than not, the apps leave residual files which clutter up your Mac’s storage. The problem becomes even bigger if you uninstall apps which you have been using for a long time as it will leave much bigger residual files. If you have already bought CleanMyMac 3, it allows you to uninstall apps cleanly which removes any and all residual files which the app would have left behind if you have uninstalled it normally. To uninstall an app with CleanMyMac 3, click on the Uninstaller tab, select the app or apps (yes, you can uninstall multiple apps at once), and click on the Uninstall button. 

If you don’t have CleanMyMac, the next best app to cleanly uninstall apps is the App Cleaner & Uninstaller (Free - $3.99). The free version of the app only lets you see all the apps that you have and the amount of space that they are taking on your hard drive. If you want to uninstall them using this app, you will have to upgrade to the pro version. My favorite feature of this app is the Remains tab which lets you see all the junk files which previously uninstalled apps have left behind. This allows you to easily uninstall the remains of the past apps which you didn’t uninstall cleanly. 

Download: App Cleaner & Uninstaller ($3.99)

4. Manage Your Startup Items

One of the major reasons that your Mac slows down while booting up is if you have a ton of startup items. Startups items are basically apps which you have knowingly or unknowingly granted permission to launch when your Mac boots up. If you have a number of startup items, your Mac will launch them simultaneously while it boots up which will slow down your Mac. In the worst case scenario it might even make your MAC unusable for a few minutes. To check up which apps have permission to launch when you boot up your device, go to System Preference→Users & Groups →Login Items.

Here, you will see a list of all the apps which have the permission to launch when booting up. Take a look at your list and remove the items that you don’t need to start when booting up. To remove an item, first, click on the lock icon and enter your password to make changes. Now, select the items that you want to remove and click on the minus sign (−). CleanMyMac 3 also allows you to remove login items. Just launch the app and go to ExtensionS→Login Items. Here select the items that you want to remove and click on the Remove button. 

5. Remove Malware

While it's true that Macs are inherently safer against viruses than Windows machines, they are not invincible against every type of malicious attacks. Just in the last year malware attacks on Mac has increased by 270%. These malware can be anything, ranging from a simple phishing attack to get your account information to ransomware which completely locks down your Mac leaving it unusable unless you pay a hefty ransom to attackers. One of the most prominent attacks on Macs happens in the form of adware which is a kind of malware which shows you a plethora of ads thereby slowing your system. 

If your Mac is suddenly feeling slow or you are seeing more ads than you usually do, chances are that you have been attacked by a malware. The best tool for you to fight against malware is Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes has been the best defense against malware for Windows users since a couple of years, Just recently, the company has also launched its Mac version. The app is free to download and use for a trial period after which you will have to upgrade to paid plans to continue using it. If online security matters to you and you want to keep your Mac clean and run it efficiently, do give this app a try. At the very least, download the app and scan your Mac once to see if you have been infected or not. If you have been infected, Malwarebytes will find the malware and remove it for you, making your Mac clean again. 

Install: Malwaerbytes (Free, $39.99)

Read More: MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks: Get The Most Out of macOS

5 Tips to Clean and Speed Up Your Mac: Final Thoughts

While Macs are quite efficient machines, it doesn’t mean that they do not require some tune-up from time to time. In fact, since Macs are so efficient, users normally take less care while using them, resulting in slowing down of their Macs. Rest assured, the 5 tips that I have mentioned in this article are enough to keep your Mac in a good shape, and will allow you to use it without bogging it down with unwanted files and residues. If there are any tips that you would like to share with us, you can do that in the comments section below. You can also put in a requests for any apps or services that you want us to cover next. 

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