Dear Lifehacker, I’m a new Mac user and would like to know what sort of maintenance I need to do for this computer. Should I be defragging the drive or running something like scandisk like I did on Windows or…something else? Thanks, Mac Newbie
That’s a good question. Apple’s marketing suggests Macs and their other products “just work”, so many people never consider regular maintenance for their Macs. For the most part, there’s really little upkeep that you need to do, and many of the maintenance tasks are ones you would do on a PC as well.
For example, just as you would run Windows Updates on a PC, you’ll want to perform regular software updates on the Mac (under the Apple menu > Software Update). You can configure Apple’s Software Update to automatically check for updates regularly.
Regular backups are also an essential part of computer maintenance. (We’ve written a lot about backups, including an automated system for both on-site and off-site backups, but Apple’s built-in Time Machine backup program is pretty good. You’ll find Time Machine in the Applications folder.)
Besides those two things, the Mac maintenance article on Apple’s support site recommends organising your files, archiving old files, and physically cleaning your computer.
But we would also suggest you run the built-in Disk Utility to scan your drive for errors and repair disk permissions. My fellow Lifehacker writer Alan Henry, who used to be an Apple technician, says you can avoid problems by proactively running the disk utility every two to three months. You’ll find Disk Utility in the Utilities folder on your Mac.
That’s pretty much it. If you find your Mac has started to get slow and bogged down, there are other things you can do to clean and revive your Mac, like cleaning up your startup programs or maybe running a Mac optimization and maintenance program like OnyX.