Year-end cleanup for your Mac: how to optimize performance

Has your Mac's performance suddenly plummeted? Here are some "maintenance" tasks that you can do during the Christmas holidays

The prolonged and continuous use of PCs (but also smartphones and tablets) has a far from negligible side effect on the usability of the device. Regardless of whether your computer is running Windows 10 or macOS, it will end up slowing down noticeably and, in some cases, become unusable.

That's why you should do a general system cleanup from time to time: this will free up memory space, fix any errors or configuration problems and give your PC a boost. And what better time to clean up your computer than during the winter vacations? By taking advantage of the Christmas and New Year's break, in fact, you'll have enough time to optimize your computer's performance without having to put aside work or study.

In case you have a Mac and want to spend part of your Christmas vacations "getting your PC back in shape", here are some tips on how to speed it up.

Update the operating system

First, check that there are no pending operating system updates to install. By upgrading to the new version of macOS, in fact, you will not only have a more secure system, but also a more stable one. Besides adding new features, in fact, system updates are necessary to eliminate security holes and bugs that can lead to glitches or other errors in your PC. So, check if any new version of macOS has been released and, if it has, download and install it.

Update (and delete) applications

Once the operating system has been updated, it's time for the applications. The reason for keeping the software installed on your Mac up-to-date is the same reason given above. In fact, new versions will not only have more functionality, but will be more secure and stable. And, while you're at it, make sure there's no unused program to delete: it's a good idea, in fact, to uninstall all programs that you haven't used for a long time, so as to free up space on your Mac's disk and make sure there are no programs with vulnerabilities that jeopardize the stability of the computer and data stored in memory.

Loose space on your hard drive

Another fundamental step to optimize Mac performance is to delete cache and temporary files and folders. Although we don't think much about it, when we surf online we download a huge amount of data (in the order of several gigabytes every day). A part of this data is stored in the cache and temporary files folder, so deleting them not only doesn't pose any risk, but also frees up a lot of space on your hard drive, which improves your Mac's performance.

MacOS also provides a tool that automatically optimizes the space on your hard drive, so you can delete old photos and heavy files from memory. Just click on the bitten apple icon in the top left corner, choose the About this Mac and then Archive. Then choose the Optimize... option to start the tool to clean up your hard drive. There are two tools you can use: Archive to iCloud (requires a paid subscription to the bitten apple cloud, though) and Optimize Storage. Choose the one that suits you best and wait a few minutes for the procedure to finish.

Optimize the system

The last step of the "winter cleaning" of the Mac goes through a more thorough optimization of the device. First of all, if you haven't already done so, install a Mac antivirus and start a memory scan: viruses, in fact, heavily affect the performance of the computer, often causing unexpected crashes and slowdowns. Check, then, that there is no minor system error that, however, could affect the speed of the system. Open Disk Utility, select the disk or partition you want to analyze and click on the S.O.S. button. This will start scanning the memory for any errors or problems.