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How to Clean Up Mac Computer: Complete Guide

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Your Mac computer is probably littered with desktop icons and invisible files, taking up valuable disk space. While this may not be an issue in the short term, it eventually becomes a major concern when your Mac starts experiencing problems related to low disk space.

Some common issues you’ll start experiencing are your Mac taking ages to boot, crashing when you try to open apps or even frequent reminders of low storage. These issues ultimately limit your device’s performance, and you won’t get as much benefit as possible.

Fortunately, it’s possible to restore your Mac to its previous state. You can roll your device back to its old self with the right maintenance routine. 

What takes up space on your Mac

Have you ever wondered what causes your Mac to fill up and slow down over time? Well, it’s a culmination of various files and data types. This clutter is categorized into several groups, each with its space-eating tendencies.

  • Large and Old Files: The forgotten files occupy substantial chunks of your device storage.
  •  System Residue: These are usually the remnants of your Mac’s daily operations.
  • Remnants of Uninstalled Apps: When you delete some applications, some remnants linger behind, cluttering your system.
  • Outdated Backups: Your Mac retains outdated backups that may no longer serve any purpose.
  • Photo Overload: If you’re passionate about photography, your image library can stealthily consume more storage than you realize.
  • Trash Accumulation: Empty your digital trash bins to avoid a buildup of unnecessary clutter.

Besides ensuring your Mac’s security by scanning for malware and keeping macOS updated, regular cleaning is essential to restore your device’s peak performance. The good thing is that your Mac shows you how much storage space is left, so you know the right time to clean it.

If you’re using macOS Ventura or later, follow these steps to check the available storage space.

  • Choose Apple menu
  • Click on System Settings
  • Click General and then Storage on the right.

For earlier macOS versions, go to the Apple menu for earlier macOS versions and select About This Mac. Proceed to click on Storage.  

Now, let’s delve into the key steps and tips to clean your Mac and give it a fresh start.

  • Delete unnecessary files and applications

The first step in rejuvenating your Mac is to declutter it by removing files and applications consuming your storage space. Too many of these files may accumulate over time, causing your Mac’s speed and performance to drop.

First, go through your Downloads folder, Documents, and Desktop, and delete any files you no longer require. This will free up storage space and make it easier to find the files you need.

Next, turn your attention to unused applications. Open the Applications folder and review the list of installed software. If you encounter applications you last used a while ago, consider uninstalling them.

Uninstalling an app from your Mac avails the storage space it was using available for other items. There are two ways to do this: Via Launchpad or the Finder.

If you downloaded the app from the App Store, Launchpad is the most viable way. Just open it from your Applications folder. Type the name of the Application you want to delete in the search field and follow these steps:

  • Press and hold the Option key
  • Click on the Delete (x) icon next to the app
  • Click Delete to confirm

You can also use Finder to delete apps you no longer use on your Mac. Just switch to Finder and choose the app that you want to delete. You can then click on the app and drag it to the trash or select the app and press Command-Delete on your keyboard.

  • Clear cache and temporary files

Your Mac generates temporary files and cache data as you use it. The system cache and other browser data improve your internet experience by speeding up the process.

However, they’re stored temporarily on your drive, meaning they take up a lot of unnecessary storage. Over time, they tend to create clutter that later sits in your system, inhibiting your Mac from performing at its best.

This is why removing them is a great optimization method to get your Mac back to normal functioning. However, you must still be careful as macOS depends on some of them to work properly. To clean up these files, follow these steps:

  • Open Finder
  • Select Go to Folder from the Go menu
  • Type the following ” ~/Library/Caches/” in the window and click Go.

You’ll see all the cache eating up space on your Mac. You can open each folder and delete the cache by dragging them to the trash.

  • Streamline your Mac’s startup items

The more you use your Mac computer, the more it accumulates startup items that can contribute to slower boot times and decrease overall system performance. Most of the items are helpful but may eventually strain your Mac’s processor and memory.

How to clear system storage on Mac? One way is to get rid of startup items for an optimal-performing device. Here are crucial steps to follow:

  • Go to the Apple menu
  • Click on System Preferences
  • Click on Users & Groups within the System Preferences window
  • Select your user account
  • Navigate to the Login Items tab.

Here, you’ll find a comprehensive list of all the applications and services set to launch at startup. Go through the list carefully to identify unnecessary items. You can remove them from the startup queue by clicking the “-” (minus) button below the list.

  • Organize your Mac’s desktop and files

A cluttered desktop with many icons makes focusing while working on your Mac challenging. Behind this clutter, files are taking up significant space and affecting your device’s performance. To clean your Mac, you’ll need to declutter the desktop and remove files that shouldn’t be there.

This is the first approach to give your Mac a cleaner appearance and improve its responsiveness. Here is a look at ways you can clean your desktop to and ensure a clutter-free Mac:

  • Organize files in folders according to categories to make it easier to find what you need.
  • MacOS has a built-in feature called Stacks that automatically groups similar files for a more organized desktop appearance.
  • Always review and organize your desktop by removing files you no longer need.

Final thoughts

Accumulating unnecessary files can result in slow performance and low disk space, ultimately impeding your Mac’s speed. Taking proactive steps to clean your Mac, including purging temporary trash data and eliminating unnecessary files, can effectively address these concerns and revitalize the performance of your Mac.

Following the above steps will help you clean up your Mac and give it a fresh start, making it faster, more responsive, and a pleasure to use.

Masri serves as the Chief Content Editor at BestKodiTips. With three years of experience, she excels in creating technical content, focusing on how-to guides, Android and Kodi tutorials, app reviews, and addressing common technological challenges. She ensures to stay abreast of the latest tech updates. Outside of work, Masir finds pleasure in reading books, watching documentaries, and engaging in table tennis.

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