11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac
To make our Macs run faster we don’t always have to dip into the wallet to improve them by adding more RAM or a faster hard drive. Sometimes it is as simple as optimizing the use of the processor and memory that we already have by limiting the number of active processes, conserving free space on the hard disk or running a few utilities.
Below you will find a series of 11 tips with which to get the most out of the team you already have. Keep reading and don’t miss it.
Clean the boot. Some applications add themselves to the startup items of our user account, which slows down the login by having to run them every time we start the computer. Some are necessary (make sure you know what you are removing) but others are quite dispensable and to eliminate them we just have to go to System Preferences / Accounts / Startup, select them and click on the minus sign.
Disable Universal Access, Bluetooth, Talk and Internet Sharing if you don’t use them. You will find them all in the System Preferences and although many of these options are really useful, it is likely that you can disable most of them (if you do not use them, of course) and save the precious resources of our processor and memory. Specifically, under the Sharing / Internet option we find that by default, on computers with Airport, it is enabled without us giving it any use in 90% of cases.
Clean the add-ons from the Preferences Panel. Don’t close the Preferences Panel yet and take a look at the Plugins section. How many items do you have down there? Do you use them all? If the answer is no, you can disable them or directly remove them from the ~ / Library / PreferencePanes folder (look at both the team library and that of your user).
Check the Class of your Applications. If you have a Mac with an Intel processor, be sure to use Universal apps instead of PowerPC. These run under Rosetta, a “translator” which, although it works quite well, is a resource hog. To see it, you can click on Get Information and look at the Class section in General or run the Activity Monitor and look at the Class column (it is usually the last one on the right). Nowadays 99% of applications have universal versions so it is only a matter of updating (for which a widget like “App Update” could come in handy: https: //www.SamaGame.com/2006/07/21 -app-update-keep-up-to-date-your-applications).
Eliminate unnecessary code. Some developers not only offer the universal version (for Intel and PowerPC) but also others exclusive to each processor that, although they do not represent a significant difference in speed in their operation, they do occupy practically half of our hard drive. In any case, the applications that are presented in these three versions (Universal, only Intel and only PowerPC) are the least, so if you want to recover until the last MB you will have to resort to applications such as “XSlimmer”: http: // www. xslimmer.com/ that eliminate the excess code part of the Universal Binary depending on our machine (at your own risk, of course). Of course, if you have a PowerPC and you plan to jump to Intel shortly, it is not highly recommended since you will have to download all the applications again so that they do not work under Rosetta.
Delete the languages you don’t use. Both Apple and other developers care about offering a lot of languages so that everyone can understand their programs. However, it is unlikely that you will use those unrelated to yours, so as in the previous case, deleting them will recover space on the hard disk. For this you can use both the aforementioned “XSlimmer”: http: //www.xslimmer.com/ and “Monolingual”: http: //monolingual.sourceforge.net/.
Keep it cold. Some Macs, especially laptops, are famous for reaching temperatures typical of h**l so it is advisable to get a utility like “Fan Control”: http://www.lobotomo.com/products/FanControl/ to lower the fumes. A cold processor will perform more efficiently, although we will have to give up part of our battery life due to the intensive use of the fans.
Evaluate the usefulness of your widgets. If you use Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger you probably have a lot of widgets in your Dashboard and although many can be very useful, surely others are not. Widgets consume resources even when they are hidden so it’s time to ask yourself: Do I really look at the time in the Dashboard instead of in the upper right corner? Do I need to know the state of the ski slopes around the world? Well that.
Keep an eye on the Activity Monitor. This application included as standard in Mac OS X can be very useful to discover those applications that are running with or without our knowledge and the resources they consume (CPU, real memory, virtual memory …) so that if we detect that any reaches especially high levels, we can consider replacing it with a more efficient one or eliminating it if it is not really necessary. Obviously, applications like Final Cut capturing video or Photoshop applying a filter will grab the attention of our machine but hey, that’s what it’s for, right?
Clean your hard drive. No matter how big the hard drive is, with time, everything becomes small. However, keeping our hard drive as light as possible will help Mac OS X perform better (as it uses it heavily for virtual memory). Empty the trash, delete the programs you don’t use, put the 50 movies you downloaded this week onto DVD and, in short, try to keep at least 20% of the total free.
Run OnyX. There are many utilities to optimize our system but “OnyX”: https: //www.SamaGame.com/2007/02/09-onyx-178-available is one of the most popular (another interesting one is “Mac Pilot”: https: / /www.SamaGame.com/2006/05/22-mac-pilot-activa-opciones-ocultas-de-mac-os-xy-optimiza-el-sistema). Run it from time to time and you will notice the difference.
If you follow these steps I can assure you that you will keep your Mac fresh as a rose performing at full capacity.