The best way to cope with the situation is to choose a trusted cleaning software that can scan the system, delete dozens of unnecessary files and make your mac work smoothly. There is currently a wide choice of many different mac cleaners in the market and it is not too easy to decide which one must be given a preference. Apple Computer Clean-up 101: Quick Tips on How to Clean Mac Hard Drive Take a few simple steps to quickly free up disc space manually, find out what storage cleaners do, and why do you need one, or let MacFly Pro do all the dirty work for you. Have you ever wondered which Mac cleaner is best? There’s hundreds of apps out there that all promise to do the same thing: Clean up your Mac and free up some much needed space.
Spring comes with its own rituals. Here at Macworld, we like to throw open the windows, beat the dust out of the rugs, and straighten up our Mac desktops. Don’t stop at cleaning your home this season. Clean up your Mac.
If you're using macOS Sierra, it has a feature that will help tremendously with your Spring cleaning: Optimize Storage. You can use Optimize Storage to activate the Store in iCloud option, remove iTunes videos you've watched (they can be re-downloaded), set it to empty the Trash automatically, reduce clutter caused by large files and downloads, and a lot more. Optimize Storage is especially handy if you're using a Mac laptop with flash storage. You usually don't get the same amount of space as you would with a hard drive, so managing your space becomes more important.
Learn more about Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra
Beside Optimize Storage, there are other way to keep your Mac digitally clean. These tips from our editors will help you keep your Mac fresh and organized, whether you're using macOS Sierra or an older version of OS X.
Tidy up your desktop
Light Pillar’s wonderful app Desktop Tidy ($8; available on the App Store; requires OS X 10.8 or later) is a handy utility that cleans up your Mac’s desktop, keeping it free of clutter. It stores all desktop files and folders in a hidden Shadow Desktop, which you can access from the menu bar or in the Finder. That way, every file I download, each screenshot I capture, and every image I drag and drop to my desktop is stored and filed in an easy-to-reach location.
The utility quietly works its magic at scheduled intervals—as often as every minute or as infrequently as every seven days. It even organizes desktop items by file type, which makes finding and renaming files easy.—Leah Yamshon
Read our full review of Desktop Tidy ()
Delete unnecessary disk images
For most people, the Downloads folder is a dumping ground where files pile up in forgotten heaps. Go to the Downloads folder in the Finder and type
disk image into the search box. Select Disk Image under the Kinds header. Now, delete all of those downloaded DMG files that are just taking up space!—Jason Snell
In macOS Sierra, there's another way to delete disk images. Go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac, then select Storage and click on the Manage button. In the Reduce Clutter section, click on the Review Files button. In the main window, click on Downloads and the click on the Kind header to sort by that particular type. To delete a disk image. click on it, and then click on the X button that appears.
Empty out space-hogging Mail Downloads
I get quite a few attachments via email—PDFs, ePub ebooks, Word documents, images, you name it. Most of the time I save those files to my desktop or my Downloads folder, but on occasion I make the mistake of double-clicking a file. When you do that, the document saves itself to your Mail Downloads folder, hidden away in your Library file. Double-click enough files, and that folder can balloon in size. That’s why I make sure to check it and empty it every year or so.
The easiest way I find to do this is to use Spotlight—press Command-Space to see a search field appear—and then type
Mail Downloads. In the Folders section, you should see the Mail Downloads Data folder.
If this isn’t working for you, try getting to it the long way. In the Finder, select Go > Go to Folder. Type
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail Downloads in the text field. Click Go, and a Finder window will open showing the Mail Downloads folder.
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Once you get to the folder, you can select all files and delete, or rescue the few files you want to keep awhile in a more permanent location—say, the regular old Downloads folder.—Serenity Caldwell
Keep a clean cache
We’ve all heard “Empty your cache” as a web browser troubleshooting tip. As it turns out, a Mac stores a lot of information—not just browser-related details—in files called caches, allowing quick access to that data and reducing the need to fetch it from the original source again. Unfortunately, that information can sometimes become corrupted, or otherwise problematic. For example, you might end up looking at old data instead of the most current version of a website, or you may notice that a file’s icon doesn’t look quite right in the Finder.
Although you can manually go in and find some of OS X’s most commonly used cache directories (
~/Library/Caches is a good place to start), plenty of tools will handle this job for you. Cocktail, from Maintain, is among the longest-running and best of these. Not only can it clear your caches, but it can also perform assorted other maintenance tasks, such as deleting your browser’s cookies, looking for corrupted preference files, rebuilding certain databases, and way more. You can download it and use it for free for up to ten launches, but at $19, it’s a pretty good buy.—Dan Moren
Purge unwanted apps
As someone who reviews products for Macworld, I regularly try new apps and then delete them. For the most part, you can drag an app from the Applications folder to the Trash, but often an app creates folders and files outside of the app package and in various locations on the drive, which makes those files and folders difficult to find and toss out. For this reason, I use AppTrap, a free utility that installs as a System Preference pane and runs in the background.
When you Trash an app, AppTrap finds all the associated files and folders and moves them to the Trash—there’s no need for you to find those files on your hard drive yourself. Sometimes, however, when your Mac is updating an app, you want to keep the associated files but discard the old app; AppTrap will ask if you want to leave the files (which you want to do) or move them to the Trash. You can find other, just-as-capable utilities that do the same thing, but I’ve used AppTrap for years, and it has never given me problems or affected my Mac’s performance.
In macOS Sierra, you can also remove apps through the Optimize Storage feature. In the Apple menu, select About This Mac. Select Storage and click on the Manage button. In the left section, select Applications. The main section of the window will show a list of your applications. Select the app you want to remove, and then click on the X button to remove it. One caveat with this method: Only apps downloaded from the App Store will have all its components removed. If you got an app outside of the App Store and use this method to uninstall it, all the components may not be removed. Under the Kind header, you can see if an app was from the App Store or not.—Roman Loyola
Disinfect your grubby keyboard
My ergonomic keyboard accumulates so much dust and crumbs that occasionally I have to turn it upside down and shake it just to get the keys to work. But a thorough cleaning, even just once a year, can knock away the grime and germs. Unplug your keyboard or, if it is wireless, remove its batteries. If you’re cleaning a laptop, shut it down and unplug it. Blow the dust out from between the keys with a can of compressed air.
To finish the job, all you need is a package of disinfecting wipes. Apple recommends Lysol Wipes or Clorox Kitchen Disinfecting wipes by brand name. The basic idea, however, is to wipe your keys gently with something alcohol-based. (Before you use a wipe, squeeze out any excess liquid.) As tempting as it might be when you’re feeling germophobic, do not use wipes with bleach, or spray everything with Lysol; you might damage the keyboard.—Scholle Sawyer McFarland
Editor’s note: This article originally posted on March 21, 2013. It has been updated to reflect macOS Sierra.
There is no garbage in the system, or if there is, it's software such as 'cleaning apps.'
How to maintain a Mac
Make two or more backups of all your files
One backup is not enough to be safe. A copy of a backup doesn't count as another backup; all backups must be made directly from the original data.
Keep at least one backup off site at all times in case of disaster. Backing up to a cloud-data service is one way to accomplish this, but don't rely exclusively on such backups.
In fact, don’t rely exclusively on any single backup method, such as Time Machine.
If you get an indication that a backup has failed, don't ignore it.
Keep your software up to date
In the App Store or Software Update preference pane (depending on the OS version), you can configure automatic notifications of updates to OS X and other Mac App Store products. Some third-party applications from other sources have a similar feature, if you don’t mind letting them phone home. Otherwise you have to check yourself on a regular basis.
Keeping up to date is especially important for complex software that modifies the operating system, such as device drivers. Don't install such modifications unless they're absolutely necessary. Remove them when they are no longer needed. Before installing any Apple update, you must check that all system modifications that you use are compatible. Incompatibility with third-party software is by far the most common cause of difficulties with system updates.
Don't install crapware
...such as “themes,” 'haxies,' “add-ons,” “toolbars,” “enhancers,' “optimizers,” “accelerators,” 'boosters,' “extenders,” “cleaners,” 'doctors,' 'tune-ups,' “defragmenters,” “firewalls,” 'barriers,' “guardians,” “defenders,” “protectors,” most “plugins,” commercial 'virus scanners,” 'disk tools,' or 'utilities.' With very few exceptions, such stuff is useless or worse than useless. Above all, avoid any software that purports to change the look and feel of the user interface.
It's not much of an exaggeration to say that the whole 'utility' software industry for the Mac is a fraud on consumers. The most extreme examples are the 'CleanMyMac,' 'TuneUpMyMac,' and “MacKeeper” scams, but there are many others.
As a rule, you should avoid software that changes the way other software works. Plugins for Photoshop and similar programs are an obvious exception to this rule. Safari extensions, and perhaps the equivalent for other web browsers, are a partial exception. Most are safe, and they're easy to get rid of if they don't work. Some may cause the browser to crash or otherwise malfunction. Some are malicious. Use with caution, and install only well-known extensions from relatively trustworthy sources, such as the Safari Extensions Gallery.
Only install software that is useful to you, not (as you imagine) to the computer. For example, a word processor is useful for writing. A video editor is useful for making movies. A game is useful for fun. But a 'cache cleaner' isn't useful for anything. You didn't buy a computer so you could clean caches.
Never install any third-party software unless you know how to uninstall it. Otherwise you may create problems that are very hard to solve. Do not rely on 'utilities' such as 'AppCleaner' and the like that purport to remove software.
Don't install bad, conflicting, or unnecessary fonts
Whenever you install new fonts, use the validation feature of the built-in Font Book application to make sure the fonts aren't defective and don't conflict with each other or with others that you already have. See the built-in help and this support article for instructions.
Deactivate or remove fonts that you don't really need to speed up application launching.
'Malware' is malicious software that circulates on the Internet. This kind of attack on OS X was once so rare that it was hardly a concern, but it's now increasingly common and dangerous.
There is some built-in protection against malware, but you can’t rely on it—the attackers are always at least one day ahead of the defense. You can’t rely on third-party 'anti-virus' products for protection either. What you can rely on is common-sense awareness—not paranoia, which only makes you more vulnerable.
Never install software from an untrustworthy or unknown source. If in doubt, do some research. Any website that prompts you to install a “codec” or “plugin” that comes from the same site, or an unknown site, is untrustworthy. Software with a corporate brand, such as Adobe Flash Player, must come directly from the developer's website. No intermediary is acceptable, and don’t trust links unless you know how to parse them. Any file that is automatically downloaded from the web, without your having requested it, should go straight into the Trash. A web page that tells you that your computer has a “virus,” or that anything else is wrong with it, is a scam.
In OS X 10.7.5 or later, downloaded applications and Installer packages that have not been digitally signed by a developer registered with Apple are blocked from loading by default. The block can be overridden, but think carefully before you do so.
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Don't fill up your disk or SSD
A common mistake is adding more and more large files to your home folder until you start to get warnings that you're out of space, which may be followed in short order by a startup failure. This is more prone to happen on the newer Macs that come with an internal SSD instead of the traditional hard drive. The drive can be very nearly full before you become aware of the problem.
While it's not true that you should or must keep any particular percentage of space free, you should monitor your storage use and make sure you're not in immediate danger of using it up. According to Apple documentation, you need at least 9 GB of free space on the startup volume for normal operation.
If storage space is running low, use a tool such as OmniDiskSweeperto explore the volume and find out what's taking up the most space. Move seldom-used large files to secondary storage.
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Relax, don’t do it
Besides the above, no routine maintenance is necessary or beneficial for the vast majority of users; specifically not “cleaning caches,” “zapping the PRAM,” 'resetting the SMC,' “rebuilding the directory,” 'defragmenting the drive,' “running periodic scripts,” “dumping logs,” 'deleting temp files,' “scanning for viruses,” 'purging memory,' 'checking for bad blocks,' 'testing the hardware,' or “repairing permissions.” Such measures are either completely pointless or are useful only for solving problems, not for prevention.
To use a Mac effectively, you have to free yourself from the Windows mindset that every computer needs regular downtime for maintenance such as 'defragging' and 'registry cleaning.' Those concepts do not apply to the Mac platform.
A well-designed computing device is not something you should have to think about much. It should be an almost transparent medium through which you communicate, work, and play. If you want a machine that needs a lot of attention just to keep going, use a PC, or collect antique cars.
The very height of futility is running an expensive third-party application called “Disk Warrior” when nothing is wrong, or even when something is wrong and you have backups, which you must have. Disk Warrior is a data-salvage tool, not a maintenance tool, and you will never need it if your backups are adequate. Don’t waste money on it or anything like it.