5 ways to clean and maintain OS X Mavericks

“One of the great things about OS X is that it basically runs itself,” Apple Gazette reports. “Left to its own devices Apple’s operating system will keep itself pretty clean and issue-free, but even with this there are times that you need to intervene to do some good old-fashioned manual maintenance.”

“The 5 tips outlined below can be done whenever your Mac is starting to run slower or if random issues start to pop up,” Apple Gazette reports. “You won’t hurt anything by running these actions, so if you’re experiencing any issues give them a try first.”

Covered in the full article:
1. Verify and Repair Permissions
2. Verify and Repair Disk
3. Running Maintenance Scripts
4. Clean Your Desktop
5. Manage Login Items

Each of the five points above detailed in the full article here.


    1. I never bother to run “Verify Permissions” I go straight to the repair. Because running “Repair Permissions” has no risk to my knowledge, and has never done any harm even if it wasn’t needed. It can only help not hurt so if I have to wait through this process I’ll just run what would have fixed something in the first place. It might even fix something I don’t know is wrong yet.

  1. Or, you could spend a whopping $19 and get “Cocktail for Mac.” It is a general utility and maintenance software package that does all of the things listed plus many more with one click of the “Pilot” tab. I have used it for several years on all versions of OSX with no problems.

    1. I’ve used Cocktail for years, too.

      If $200 is too big a bite… 😉 … there’s the freeware Onyx which does similar system cleanup and adds the ability to activate some interface tweaks.

      Either way, there’s no need to bother doing this sort of basic maintenance step-by-step.

    1. If you have administrator privileges, you can override that default security setting:

      System Preferences :: Security & Privacy –> select Anywhere

      There is also a keyboard option to enable a one-time exception to your default security setting, but I forget what it is.

    2. Actually, the simplest way to run an app from an unidentified developer is simply to right click on it and choose “open”. You’ll be given the “this came from the internet” warning. Click past that and you’re good. No need to disable any protection.


  2. “Verify and Repair Permissions” — I don’t think I’ve done this in five years, maybe longer. This rarely ever fixes a serious issue. It’s the “zap the PRAM and rebuild the desktop” of OS X.

    I mean, seriously, the thought of OS X, possibly the most advanced OS on the market, being so self-destructive that it will break its own ability to access files unless you manually fix permissions is more than a little silly. If it were that necessary, I’d think OS X would regularly run it in the background.


  3. Permissions do get corrupted from time to time, especially after installing a new app. On many occasions when the OS is behaving abnormally, if a simple reboot doesn’t clear things up Repair Permissions often does. On rare occasions a third step is curative, which is zapping the PRAM. It is a bit of voodoo, but it works.

  4. at work, i’m current with iMac and OSX and for whatever reason the finder often acts like it belongs in special ed …like it’s really, really, really super busy in the background doing background things like mission impossible. lots of spinning beach balls. it starts to show up as delay, delay, beach ball in other apps, as well. very frustrating. maybe all this will help.

    1. Do the 5 things on this list, either manually or with the software others mentioned above.

      Then, to really save CPU background processing and internet bandwidth, install Little Snitch. You will be amazed at how much internet activity Apple and app developers choose to do behind your back.

  5. Repairing permissions is such an easy step to help to ensure the health of your system. That being said, the argument’s out as to how necessary it actually is, but as I said, it doesn’t hurt, so why not.

    I do so regularly myself.

  6. Booting to Safe Mode will also run repair and cleanup utilities. So, Get to your sign in screen then choose reboot.

    After boot sound hold down Shift key.

    Starting up in “safe mode” may help you diagnose problems you’re having with your Mac.

    1. Shut down your Mac and wait 10 seconds.
    2. Press the power button.
    3. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold down the Shift key. You should press the Shift key as soon as possible after you hear the startup tone, but not before.
    4. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple logo and progress indicator (spinning gear).

    To leave safe mode, restart the computer normally without holding down any keys during startup.

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