Easy Ways to Improve Mac Performance: Part I – Finding Space

Noticing poor or slower response on your Mac?

myfacewhilewaitingforittoloadIf so, the first thing you’ll want to check is free space on the storage drive. Since everything is stored on it, space can run out quickly! In a perfect world, you would never go above 85% usage on your drive. Cloud storage and external drives are very helpful, but still don’t solve the issue completely. In part one of our two part blog on this topic, we offer some tips about how to identify how much space you have. 

If you’re running High Sierra or later, your Mac uses APFS (Apple File System) to store files more efficiently than ever before. If your Mac has a solid state drive (SSD), your smaller drive space goes a lot further, too. But even if you’re still on the old school SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) HDD (hard disk drive), you can improve performance and extend the life of your drive for *free*.

 

First, how much space do you have?

preview card for HDThe age old question. Let’s start by opening a Finder window. If your storage drive doesn’t already show in the left pane of the Finder window, you can grab the icon from the desktop and drag it there, it will automatically make the shortcut for you (it will still stay on your desktop, too). You can also go to the “Preferences” tab of the Finder menu and under “Sidebar” choose “Hard Disks” from the “Show these items in the sidebar” menu.

Now, if you select the drive from the sidebar and press “Command” + “I” a pop-up information card will show. Here you can see the file format type, size of the drive, when it was created .. you can even add comments to it if you like. If you want to know all the time how much space is on your drive, close that pop-up card and go back to the Finder window. Go to the “View” menu then select “show status bar”; this puts a line of information at the bottom of the Finder window showing various counts and the available space (if you use iCloud, some windows will show how much space is available in iCloud).finder-window-with-space-avail-showing-4115863596-1560295037911.png

As you’re knee deep in Finder windows now, do you see any that you don’t recognize? Is there a file with a name you don’t recognize? Is it a recipe or a Christmas list? Well, to quickly find out without opening another application (and potentially going down the proverbial rabbit hole), click on it ONCE to highlight it and then press the spacebar. This opens a preview window that should show enough to satisfy your curiosity without taking you too far off track. The window will also have a button in the upper right showing which application would open the file. You can close the window by clicking the “x” in upper left or just pressing the “Space” bar again. Pretty cool! (While you’re there though, you can select the file again – slowly – and change the name if you like.)

about this mac disk info viewDo you need color graphic representation and detailed graphs showing what kind of data is stored on your Mac? We got you! If you’re running Yosemite or later OS, click the Apple icon in upper left of your screen, select “About this Mac” then “Storage”. There is a LOT of information (hence the name) in this menu. You can check some other performance indicators here like flash memory and OS version. There are external links as well to see full specifications, check you Apple Care warranty status and several others. 

OS-X-El-Capitan-Disk-Utility-icon-full-sizeLastly, there is “Disk Utility”. Another simple graphic with much less detail about what type of files there are. From this summary window, you can also run “First Aid” to fix any potential errors on the drive and you can partition your drive. (If you are not sure what partitioning is, then now is not the time to play with that option button.)

In our next blog, we’ll show you some ways to weed out unneeded files in order to free up space. Not the temporary fix you can get by emptying a cache or the long drawn out (never finished) project of going over every single file. As you see in the screen shot above, there are some recommendations from Apple built into your OS, too.

Just so you know you’re not the only one who fills their computer with unknown files, check out this comedian’s perspective.

Wait, I have lots of space on my drive but my Mac is still slow!

If it looks like a full drive isn’t the problem after all, have us take a look at it for free. Our techs will perform a diagnostic to find the most common causes of degraded performance, then give their recommendations to fix it. Typically you will have an answer the same day. In many cases, we can even upgrade your storage to a higher capacity (not on some later models). In any case, you already know that TechRestore is here to help!

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