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Maintaining Your Mac

30
Jul

This post was originally created for Belhaven University’s Graphic Design Blog.

So I hear all you new Belhaven University freshmen have to shell out a large wad of cash for a shiny new MacBook Pro! I love my MBP and I assure you, you will too and it’s worth every penny!

Now, how can you make the most of your investment? Being a good steward of your assets is a Biblical principle that we need to take note of. Macs are expensive (I like to think it’s because they have the pretty factor inside and out), but they are very upgradable and even though Apple tends to upgrade very quickly, your model might become obsolete in a few years, but if you take good care of it, you can keep it around and kicking way past your Apple Care 3 year warranty!

“Skin Deep”

The first part of Mac maintenance is “skin” deep. Your new mac is so shiny and pretty and you should do what you can to keep it that way! I clean mine with the microfiber cloth that came with it at least weekly. Dirt and oils from your skin and fingers can take a toll on the Mac’s keyboard, trackpad, screen and outer case so regular cleaning of your mac will help extend the life of your hardware and keep it looking new which increases resell value should you want to upgrade later. Also investing in a good case/bag to carry it in is a good idea. If you feel the need, you can get one of those snap on hard cases. I personally don’t like them as they add bulk and reduce the “pretty” factor of my mac. Incase and Speck are good lines to start with as they are made for Mac! If you are a notorious drinker/eater while you work and are nervous about the possibility of a spill on your keyboard, you can get a keyboard protector. I keep one around for when I’m with my 2 year old niece, or when I’m doing more eating and drinking around my laptop.

Battery Maintenance

Another part of your computer that is important to maintain is your battery. They loose capacity over time are expensive to replace and if you properly calibrate it about every 30 days you can extend the life and a higher capacity. The process is simple and basically involves draining your battery down until it goes to sleep and then letting it situncharged for several hours (overnight works well) to completely deplete the battery. Then you plug it in and charge it completely and let it rest for a couple hours in a fully charged state. A nifty little app you can use to help you go through this process and keep more accurate tabs on your battery called Watts. Learn more about it here.

A Clean Mac is a Happy Mac

It’s also important to periodically clean out your cashes, repair permissions, check for extra languages taking up space on your hard drive. Periodically doing these things will keep your mac fast and peppy! You can do these things for free by running scripts in the terminal, but I like handy little apps that make my life easier. One is Cocktail and another that includes many, MANY more features is MacKeeper. Another way to keep your mac happy and your sanity is to limit the number of files you keep on your desktop and to have a file management system. I keep 2-3 folders on the desktop and use a simple, but organized file system. Every file has it’s place and gets put in a folder somewhere. Folders are your friends! This is especially important for designers who have many versions of the same file. It will make your life easier if you name them properly. Also, it’s a good idea to NOT use spaces in file names as it can cause problems (not usually, but better be safe than sorry). Rather use an underscore and capitals like this: VictoryLogo_01.ai.

Backup, Backup, Backup

I can’t stress the importance of backups enough. It’s important to backup, and have redundant backups and update them at least weekly. It’s also a good idea to have a backup drive that’s not in the same place where you keep your computer and update that monthly because you never know… I’ll be writing more on this subject in another post later on!

If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to ask! This isn’t a comprehensive post, but just a few of the things I do on a regular basis to keep my mac pretty, happy and clean.