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Once it's open, click the Memory tab at the top to assess your RAM needs.

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Don't be intimidated by the confusing list of file processes. Your main concern is the box at the bottom of the window which gives a "Memory Pressure" visual and lists how much of your memory is in use at the present. To most accurately assess your needs, view the Activity Monitor during your typical workflow. If you're a graphic designer, for example, check the Memory Pressure while you're using heavy-duty apps like the Adobe Suite.

A real-time look at RAM usage while you're just surfing the web won't tell you enough about your more demanding needs. You'll find specifications for purchasing RAM, instructions for adding it yourself, and model-specific precautions. Why not wind up your cleaning and maintenance efforts by organizing your desktop and cleaning up the outside?

A cluttered desktop on your computer is just like a cluttered desktop in real life: It counteracts productivity by distracting you, obscuring important info, and feeling generally un-zen-like.

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Deleting old screenshots and working files from your desktop probably won't make a dramatic difference on your hard drive, but it will feel a lot better. As far as cleaning the external parts of the machine, you don't need to do it, but the attention to detail enhances the overall package.

Restart your computer

After all, you didn't likely choose an Apple PC just because of its inner beauty. It also helps keep your hardware in good condition. When you clean a Mac, unplug it and allow it to cool off first. Never spray anything directly on it especially the display and make sure to keep moisture away from all openings. A wipe down with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth like the chamois cloth that arrives in the box is effective for removing dust and debris from the display. For more stubborn spots, or for cleaning more rugged areas of the build, lightly dampen the cloth with water. Upgrade your operating system.

Restart your computer. Manage startup items. Clear up hard drive space. Start with apps. Delete large files, duplicates, downloads and installers. Empty the trash. External storage. Maintenance with Disk Utility. Adding more RAM. Checking your current RAM. Viewing the Activity Monitor. Polish it off. For more productivity and maintenance tips, check out these articles from New Atlas: Over , people receive our email newsletter See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning Your Email.

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AI neural network builds new virtual cities by studying real ones. Editors Choice. As it turns out, a Mac stores a lot of information—not just browser-related details—in files called caches, allowing quick access to that data and reducing the need to fetch it from the original source again. Unfortunately, that information can sometimes become corrupted, or otherwise problematic.

Mac tip: 6 easy ways to tidy up your desktop

Cocktail , from Maintain, is among the longest-running and best of these. As someone who reviews products for Macworld, I regularly try new apps and then delete them. For the most part, you can drag an app from the Applications folder to the Trash, but often an app creates folders and files outside of the app package and in various locations on the drive, which makes those files and folders difficult to find and toss out.

Sometimes, however, when your Mac is updating an app, you want to keep the associated files but discard the old app; AppTrap will ask if you want to leave the files which you want to do or move them to the Trash. In the Apple menu, select About This Mac. Select Storage and click on the Manage button. In the left section, select Applications.

What does the "Clean Up" function do in folders

The main section of the window will show a list of your applications. Select the app you want to remove, and then click on the X button to remove it. One caveat with this method: Only apps downloaded from the App Store will have all its components removed. If you got an app outside of the App Store and use this method to uninstall it, all the components may not be removed.

Under the Kind header, you can see if an app was from the App Store or not. My ergonomic keyboard accumulates so much dust and crumbs that occasionally I have to turn it upside down and shake it just to get the keys to work. But a thorough cleaning, even just once a year, can knock away the grime and germs. Unplug your keyboard or, if it is wireless, remove its batteries. Blow the dust out from between the keys with a can of compressed air. Now you can quickly launch the application by clicking the icon, or—before you even open the app—holding on the icon to bring up a list of its various settings screens.

Just as you open multiple tabs in a browser, the latest versions of macOS let you arrange the windows of other apps the same way. This only works for certain programs, including all of the Apple-developed applications, such as Apple Maps. In any app that supports tabs, choose Window from the bar at the top of the page. Then click Merge All Windows to bring several windows together in a series of tabs.

When you're browsing through your files in Finder, you don't have to accept the default view. Open a new window, head to the View menu at the top of the page, and choose Show View Options. The next dialog box lets you set icon size, grid spacing, text label size and positioning, and more. Once you decide on these new settings, macOS will apply them to any Finder windows you open in future. Deleted items don't simply disappear from your computer—instead, they sit in the Trash folder until you empty it. If you're tired of your Trash filling up or you're worried about someone recovering one of your deleted documents, you can completely erase a file.

In Finder, select the files you want to permanently delete. The item will skips the Trash entirely and disappear. When someone emails you about a party, macOS can automatically add that event to your calendar.

How to: Clean Install macOS High Sierra

To enable this feature, open the Mail app and click Mail in the bar on the top of the screen. Choose Preferences , and under the General tab, turn on the Add invitations to Calendar automatically option. Now, emails with times and dates in them will receive a Calendar banner across the top, which asks if you want to add the event to your schedule. Every time macOS starts up, it can automatically launch certain programs. While this is convenient, if too many applications take advantage, they can damage the system's overall performance.

Under the Login Items heading, you can remove apps with the minus button or add new apps with the plus button. As cloud-storage app iCloud matures, Apple has given it new abilities—like syncing desktop folders to the web if you have the space to spare. Open System Preferences and go to iCloud.

From this menu, look next to iCloud Drive to find Options , where you can pick which folders and apps you want to sync automatically to your cloud storage account. Autoplaying ads and videos can make the internet a noisy place. To stop them, open Apple's web browser, click Safari from the bar at the top of the page, click Preferences , and head to the Websites tab. Here, you can stop audio and videos from playing automatically in the future, or block videos that have sound attached. To adjust the brightness of your Mac's screen, you can hit the shortcut buttons on the keyboard.

However, this brings the brightness up or down in discrete steps. To fine-tune it in smaller increments, hold the Shift and Option keys while tapping the brightness buttons.

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You can also toy with the light level in the Display menu of System Preferences. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, macOS remembers it so you can join it more easily in the future. However, when you rely on a laptop, you can amass a lengthy list of saved networks, which makes it more difficult to find the one you need. Instead, tweak the settings to push your favorite networks to the top of the pile and forget the ones you'll never visit again.