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Maintaining Your Mac: A Joe On Tech Guide
Jun 22, 2016
The Author

Joe Kissell has written more than 50 books about the Mac, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He runs Joe On Tech and is also a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.

Maintaining Your Mac: A Joe On Tech Guide

Keep your Mac running smoothly and prevent common problems with a simple, do-it-yourself maintenance program!

Macs, like all machines, are prone to break down eventually—in either a physical sense (a component going bad) or a logical sense (files becoming corrupted, apps misbehaving). You can reduce the risk of such problems, and minimize the damage when they do occur, with a regular maintenance regimen. This 118-page book by best-selling author Joe Kissell shows you how to keep your Mac humming. Joe starts with a good spring cleaning and then adds simple daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks, as well as ongoing monitoring.

This ebook is for all Macs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, or 10.11 El Capitan.

Hey, What’s This?
We can focus our attention on only so many books, so when our friend and longtime collaborator Joe Kissell proposed revisiting this topic and creating a new book on his own, we jumped at the chance to bring it to you. It’s his book, not ours, so it looks a little different, but the content is great.

More Info

You’ll find advice for how to:

  • Start on the right foot by addressing common maintenance issues.

  • Eliminate disk clutter and free up storage space.

  • Make sure your software is up to date.

  • Check your hardware for hidden faults before they become major problems.

  • Choose useful maintenance utilities (and know which ones to avoid).

  • Perform simple daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance tasks.

  • Learn why you should skip certain frequently recommended tasks.

  • Understand what to do when Apple releases a new version of OS X.

  • Monitor your Mac’s health as you use it.

What's New

What's New in Version 1.1

Version 1.1 is a minor update to address a few small issues that appeared after the book’s original publication:

  • Added A Note to Readers, which describes all four “Mac fitness” books from Joe On Tech

  • Changed all the and links to use HTTPS

  • Switched to using the term “macOS” (the new name for OS X starting with Sierra, due in late 2016) where possible

  • Updated names, URLs, and pricing for various products

  • In the sidebar Other RAM Tests, added Atomic to the list of tools for testing your RAM

  • In Exercise Your Notebook’s Battery, mentioned Apple’s advice to calibrate batteries in notebook Macs with removable batteries

  • Corrected the name of the link to click for updating Take Control ebooks in Check for Ebook Updates

  • Updated the sidebar RAM Usage Meanings to reflect the correct labels for memory usage categories in Mavericks and later

  • In Monitoring Utilities, added Checkmate to the list and included a note about a version of MenuMeters that works on 10.11 El Capitan and later

What’s New Since Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac

This book is based on an earlier title of mine called Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac, which was last updated in 2012 and has now been retired. With the kind permission and cooperation of the folks at Take Control Books, I’ve “adopted” that book and turned it into this one. The overall structure is nearly the same, but I’ve thoroughly updated the text so that it reflects modern tools and techniques, as well as my latest thinking about Mac maintenance. (And, of course, I’ve altered the look and feel of the book to reflect the Joe On Tech brand.)

If you’ve already read Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac, you can think of this new book as being equivalent to a major new edition. I’ve made hundreds of small changes (mainly to reflect the changes in OS X 10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite and in third-party software and services), along with numerous larger ones:

  • Removed the conversations with other Mac experts, which were outdated and included inconsistent advice

  • Revamped the discussion of software updates to reflect the way the App Store works in Mavericks and Yosemite; see Turn On Automatic App Store Updates

  • Completely rewrote the topic Clean Out Accumulated Cruft, which now contains much newer and better advice

  • Moved Make Sure Scheduled Maintenance Tasks Run to the list of things you might never need to do, with a revised explanation

  • Explained how to use Apple Diagnostics; see Test Your Hardware

  • Reworked the discussion about surge protectors and added advice about using a voltage regulator or power conditioner; see Use a Surge Protector or UPS

  • Added two significant topics to the Start on the Right Foot chapter: Update Weak Passwords and Consider a Maintenance Utility (or Two)

  • Added a potentially controversial daily task: Empty Your Inbox

  • Moved Consider Clearing Certain Caches from the weekly task list to the monthly list

  • Expanded the monthly task that was formerly checking for Take Control updates, to be Check for Ebook Updates

  • Significantly revised the instructions to De-Dust Your Mac

  • Revised the discussion of archival backups to favor the use of hard drives or cloud storage and downplay the use of optical discs; see Make Archival Backups

  • Moved the discussion about changing your passwords from its former status as a yearly task to a maybe-never task and updated it accordingly; see Change Your Passwords

  • Added another task to the list of those you can probably skip: Delete Your Cookies

  1. Maintaining Your Mac Erratum

    The “RAM Usage Meanings” sidebar on p. 103 of Maintaining Your Mac needs updating, because OS X no longer labels RAM as “Active” or “Inactive.” I’ll address this, along with a number of other minor changes, in version 1.1 of this book, which I plan to release as a free update in mid-2016.

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