How to Clean Up Your Mac When It's Behaving Erratically

by James Wright

If your Mac is performing less efficiently or starting to experience glitches, it could be a sign that it needs basic maintenance performed or that you need to free up some memory. Check for any disk errors, free up memory and clean up some extra space on your hard disk to troubleshoot any slowness or performance issues. You can perform many of the troubleshooting steps yourself without needing to take your computer to an Apple store.


Open Disk Utility, click "Macintosh HD," then click "Repair Disk Permissions." This checks your disk's current permissions against what they should be and modifies them accordingly. When this process is complete, click "Verify Disk." This process checks your disk for any serious errors, and if any are found, attempts to correct them. You will be notified if any are found during the scan, as well as if it succeeded in fixing them.


Open Activity Monitor to view which processes are currently running, then click "%CPU" to sort them by what percentage of the processor each program is using. Select any programs that you don't want running, then click "Quit Process" to close them. This helps your other programs run faster because you'll have more memory available; when your memory isn't stretched so, it is less likely that crashes and slowing will occur.


Uninstall any unused programs and delete any files you no longer need to clear space on your hard drive. A full hard drive rarely has any repercussions apart from not being able to install new programs or save additional data, but if your hard drive is almost completely full, your computer may slow down. When your computer's memory is nearly full, a small part of your hard drive -- typically 1 percent or less -- is allocated to serve as "overflow" memory. If your hard drive is completely full, it won't have room to do this, so your computer may slow down. Additionally, you may not be able to run larger programs. Try to make sure you have at least a few gigabytes of free space.


  • close If operational problems persist after performing maintenance, or if Disk Utility shows serious errors that cannot be repaired, you may need to take your Mac in for servicing or additional troubleshooting.

About the Author

Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.

Photo Credits

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