5 Quick Tips to Reclaim Mac Memory and Disk Space

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Has your computer become sluggish all of a sudden? Two big things slow down your Mac– an over-stuffed hard drive and overworked RAM. Over time, users tend to accumulate a lot of unwanted files on their system– just like letting too much stuff pile up in the attic. These files hog disk space resulting and leave less room for new programs.

Cleaning up your system at regular intervals is the key to maintaining great Mac performance. Cleaning utilities such as Clean My Mac 2, EaseUS, CleanGenius, and OnyX provide a quick and easy way to remove unnecessary files from the system. Outside of these, here are 5 tips that can help you free up precious storage and system memory to reclaim your Mac.

  1. Clean Up Login Items

Some programs will launch every time you boot up your computer, and these are called “Login Items”.  Some applications ask for the user’s permission before creating an entry in the startup list but most don’t. These apps get loaded every time OS X boots. Having too many applications registered as Login items can slow down startup times.

Check your Login Items from time to time to make sure the list doesn’t get out of hand. Go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups and then click on the Login Items tab to see the list of apps that are loading during startup.

Uncheck the apps that you don’t need during startup to reduce the load on your system.  This will free up some RAM when your Mac starts up. Your computer will boot up much quicker than usual the next time you start your machine.

  1. Get Rid of Unused Apps

Apple includes pre-installed apps on your computer that you might not need. For example, language packs take up a lot of disk space. You probably don’t need language packs if you only speak one language (obviously).

There’s a good chance that you have several unused apps installed on your system. If you haven’t used an app in a month or two then odds are you probably don’t need them.

Don’t worry, if you ever need them in the future they’re not gone forever. You can always head over to the App Store.

  1. Create Backups

There is never enough space to store media on your computer! Many people accumulate more and music and pictures over time. The best way to reclaim your hard disk space is to get into the habit of creating regular backups on an external hard drive.

Moving your photos and music creates much needed space on your disk. Also make sure to empty your iPhoto trash– it contains a copy of all your deleted photos. You can also use the DiskInventory X app to see what types of files are taking up space on your hard drive. The app shows a graphical representation of the files on your disk.

  1. Update OS X

Stay current by updating your operating system to the latest version. Some people avoid updating their OS, but it really helps system performance. The latest edition will fix bugs and speed up the system overall.  For example, the Mavericks update included several performance improvements such as Timer Coalescing, Compressed Memory, and App Nap.

These enhancements can improve the way RAM is utilized and speed up an aging system.

  1. Beef Up System Memory

If all else fails, add more memory to your Mac. If you are using a Mac with just 2GB of RAM, you might want to consider adding more. Check if your Mac has additional free slots that can host more RAM. If not, you can upgrade your existing 2GB modules to 4GB modules. In contrary to popular belief, upgrading RAM on your Mac isn’t very difficult!

We want to note that adding more RAM isn’t a catch-all fix. If your Activity Monitor shows that your RAM is overused, you might need an upgrade. However, if you’re only using 2GB out of an available 4GB, upgrading to 8GB won’t speed up your system.

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About the Author
Divya Palaniappan is an engineer and an avid techie who considers information worthless unless verified. When she isn't wracking her brain over machines she loves spending time in her garden.

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