MacMost Now 218: Mac Spring Cleaning

Look at a variety of ways to clean out old files and information from different programs like iCal, Address Book, Safari, Mail, iMovie, etc.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 218: Mac Spring Cleaning.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now, brought to you by SquareSpace. For a great way to build your own web site, check out Well, it's the first day of spring, so let's check out some ways to do some spring cleaning on your Mac.
So after a while, files and information can kind of pile up on your computer. Every once in a while it's a good idea to do a bit of a spring cleaning. Go through and throw away some old data, archive old files, things like that. Let's take a look at some techniques that you can use for different Mac applications.
So in iCal it's always a good idea to take a look at your To Do items, see if there is anything you need to get off of there, or see if there's anything you can get done today. But also, you can go ahead and delete old events if you're not interested in keeping them around. The easiest way to do that is to go into iCal Preferences, and under the Advanced tab you'll find 'Delete events 30 days after they have passed' and 'Delete To Do items 30 days after they are completed.' If you check one of these off, you get a warning dialog box because it's going to delete them right away. One of the things you may want to do in iCal and in everything that we talk about today is go ahead and back up or archive before you clear anything off, and you can certainly do that in the File menu in iCal.
Now in Address Book is a good time to go through all your contacts and see if anybody's information has changed. People move, people change jobs, people get new cell phones, and new email addresses. Then also you can go ahead and go to the Card menu and you can say 'Look for Duplicates' and it will try to find out if there's anybody in your address book that has the same name and you can merge those. You can also merge any two, say an email address and a phone number, in two different cards by selecting them both and then selecting Card, 'Merge Selected Cards.'
Now there's a bunch of different things you can do in Mail. One of the things that I like to do is to archive some old emails in another folder. So I usually move everything from my Inbox to a Saved folder. I can create another folder called Archive and put mail that's, say, more than a year old in there. And then I can go ahead into these and I can sort them by file size, and usually the larger ones are the ones with attachments. Now I look at these attachments and any ones that I don't think I'm ever going to need, like maybe a picture somebody sent me--I want the message but I don't want the picture, or I've already saved the picture somewhere else--I can go ahead and remove by hitting Message, 'Remove Attachments.' If you do that with a lot of attachments, you'll find that you can halve the size of your mailbox by only removing a few attachments and no emails. Now once you've done that, you can select a folder, and you can go to Mailbox and 'Rebuild.' Now this will rebuild the mailbox, getting rid of extra space left by deleted messages. You may also want to go ahead and check in your junk mail at this time to see if there's anything in there that isn't really junk. Then you can go ahead and add addresses to your address book so it won't think it's junk in the future, or simply hit 'not junk' and hope that the junk mail filters are a little better trained in the future. Then you can also go through your email and you can hit 'Erase Deleted Messages' in the different accounts and folders, and you can erase old junk mail.
Now there's not really much spring cleaning to be done in iPhoto. After all, the whole idea of iPhoto is to archive all your photos and have them all there. So I don't want to delete any old photos, but you may want to take some time to go through it. For instance, I've got a lot of photos of items that I've put up for sale on ebay, things like that, that I don't really ever need again. You can go through that and clean those out. You can do the same thing for iDVD and Garage Band. Look for any old projects, maybe experiments, maybe just playing around with Garage Band one day, and get rid of those files as well.
Now iMovie's got some cleaning up functions as well. You go in and you can use 'Space Saver' to consolidate media. It usually works best if you select some events and then you go into 'Space Saver' and this will allow you to basically remove videos in your events that aren't used in any of your projects. Of course, before you do that you probably want to go through and delete some old projects, maybe delete events you're not using, maybe some fun test that you did with your camera but you don't really want to save forever.
Another place for some cleanup is Safari. You can go into Bookmarks, 'Show All Bookmarks,' and this is a good time to go through your bookmarks menu and any other folders you've created, and maybe get rid of some old stuff. Maybe review the ones that are there. A lot of times web sites change or go away and you don't really need to keep those bookmarks around any longer.
In iTunes you can go through your music library and look for exclamations points next to some of the songs. That might mean that the song is actually missing from your hard drive but you still have an entry for it in the iTunes library. You can just get rid of those entries. Or you can also go to the File, 'Show Duplicates,' and it will try to tell you which songs you've got two copies of or more. And then you can go ahead and get rid of the extra copies. You can also go in maybe to your iPhone Preferences and look at the apps that you've got. There are a lot of free apps out there and I'm sure we've all downloaded some that we no longer use, so you can clear off those apps from iTunes and from your iPhone.
Of course you probably want to look at files on your hard drive as well. Open a Finder window and do Command-F and you can go ahead and do a search for files, say, that the size is larger than some large amount, like maybe 1 gig. We'll do that . . . 'is greater than' . . . '1 GB' and we'll find these files and maybe allow us to get rid of some of them. You can also go ahead and look for files that are older than a certain date, maybe in your Documents folder. For more tips on how to go and look for files no longer needed on your hard drive, go back to Episode 116 of MacMost Now.
So there's some suggestions. On this lazy Friday first day of spring, it might be a good idea to set aside some time, go through your Mac, do some spring cleaning, do some archiving, and get ready for the new season. 'Til next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 218: Mac Spring Cleaning”

    10 years ago

    Thanks Gary! I need to do some spring cleaning! I didn’t know about the address book merging thing!

    Jim Fain
    9 years ago

    I would like to get rid of some of these items that were bookmarked.

    How do I do it? I have a Mac-Safari

    Jim Fain

      9 years ago

      Do you mean you want to delete Safari bookmarks? Just choose Bookmarks, Show All Bookmarks from the menu bar. Then browse through your bookmarks and select and delete any you don’t want anymore — just press the Delete key with a bookmark selected.

    Clare du Bois
    7 years ago

    Thank you Gary for the great tips. I really want to get rid of all the languages off my mac, can you tell me how to do that?

      7 years ago

      I don’t think there is any easy way to do so. I don’t recommend doing this — it would mean tampering with the insides of your OS. And these don’t take up much space.

Comments Closed.