Mac Users

The dos and don’ts

 

I have recently had to upgrade quite a few Macs, whether iMacs or MacBook Pro’s. Two of the most common mistakes people make are:

-      To add extra security in the form of various anti-viruses.

-      To add tools to keep their Mac tidy, optimised and clean.

If you really are concerned about security and feel that your Mac is slowing down, here are a few dos and don’ts…   

1. 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.

 

Keeping up to date is especially important for complex software that modifies the operating system, such as device drivers. Before installing any Apple update, you must check that all such modifications that you use are compatible. Incompatibility with third-party software is by far the most common cause of trouble with system updates.

   

2. 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.

  

The more heavily promoted the product, the more likely it is to be garbage. The most extreme example is the “MacKeeper” scam.

   

Use your computer; don't fuss with it.

   

3. Beware of malware. Malware is malicious software that circulates on the Internet. This kind of attack on OS X used to be so rare that it was hardly a concern, but it's now increasingly common, and increasingly dangerous.

 

There is some built-in protection against downloading 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 protection either. What you can rely on is common-sense awareness — not paranoia, which only makes you more vulnerable.

 

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.

  

4. Don't fill up your boot volume. 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 boot 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.

   

According to Apple documentation, you need at least 9 GB of free space on the startup volume for normal operation.

    

5. 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.


Happy computing!!!