Here at The MacSpa, we believe in preventive maintenance, educating, and helping our clients to avoid major problems with their Macs. Like a treasured car, a well-maintained Mac can have a useful lifespan of many years. Our customers keep and use their Macs from 2 to 10 years, depending on their preferences and needs. There are always advancements in technology, and hard drives always fail, but there are measures you can take to keep your Mac in great shape. Here are some tips to keep your Mac healthy:
1. Keep it clean. Cleanliness is a priority for us at The MacSpa. We all snack while we’re at our computers, but keeping sticky fingers and crumbs off your keyboard will keep those tiny particles from gumming up your keyboard, trackpad, and potentially other sensitive components inside the computer. Dirt and pet hair also get sucked into the cooling fans and can cause more stress on the computer, so keep the cat off the keyboard! A laptop’s worst enemy is liquid, so be careful not to have open drinks next to your Mac, and never spray any liquids directly onto the computer. You can get a keyboard cover for extra protection, use compressed air, or a duster to clean the keyboard. Oils from your fingers also transfer to the screen on laptops (when the lid is closed), so just use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe off the keys and screen from time to time.
2. Keep it maintained. We call our process the Spa Treatment. We have developed a custom treatment with a suite of software tools to determine the health and performance of your Mac’s hard drive, discover issues, and optimize the system. The MacSpa MD is the best way to have a continual record of your Mac’s health. If you ever have issues or cannot boot your computer, you can use the command-R key command at startup to boot into a recovery mode to troubleshoot or repair your drive with Disk Utility. The App Store has some great tools you can download, such as MemoryClean to monitor the usage of your computer’s memory. We recommend doing some “Spring cleaning” tasks occasionally, including keeping files on your Desktop to a minimum, cleaning out your Downloads folder, and deleting any unneccesary items from your Login Items in your System Preferences>Users and Groups settings. This will keep your Mac de-cluttered and more efficient.
3. Back it Up. We recommend always having at least one copy of your data. Read here for some easy ways to back up. If something bad does happen to the computer, at least you’ll still have your precious photos and documents copied somewhere else! Then you can get a new hard drive or new Mac and easily restore all your files back to the way they were.
4. Upgrade the hard drive or add memory. Standard hard drives seem to have a diminishing lifespan with the pace of technology and the increasing workload we impose upon them. The truth is, they have moving parts that just wear out over time. If performance is lacking, or if you are low on storage space, it might be time for a new hard drive. If your Mac is 3 years or older and has its original hard drive, you can breathe new life into it by replacing the drive with an SSD. If you have a slightly older Mac that came with 2GB or 4GB of memory, chances are you can upgrade to get instant performance boost. Memory upgrades are generally pretty quick and you get instant gratification!
5. Keep the software up to date. As things like malware tend to attack certain versions of software, keeping everything updated can be a really simple line of defense. Updates not only contain improvements to the software, but also include security updates when possible. Run your system updates using the App Store (on OS 10.7 and later); and just update the software you use regularly, and any other App Store purchased items.
6. Take care in transit. Macs are extraordinarily tough, but keep in mind they are made up of thousands of tiny components and circuits. A padded case for your Mac is like wearing a helmet–it can mean the difference between life and death in case of a nasty spill. Dings and dents can void your warranty, so take care of your precious cargo! If you have a standard hard drive (has a spinning disc–in most Macs older than 2013, and some newer ones), give it a few seconds to stop spinning–after putting the computer to sleep or shutting down–before moving the computer.