Stop Doing These 8 Things On Your Mac

As someone who has been helping people with their Macs for a long time, I see lots of things people do with their Macs that if they stopped it would solve a lot of problems. Learn from my past experience and years of teaching to prevent current and future problems.

Comments: 33 Responses to “Stop Doing These 8 Things On Your Mac”

    Jane
    7 months ago

    Gary, with iCloud for everything does one really need to backup?

    Rocky
    7 months ago

    Hi Gary, Can you tell us the printer you use? I’m looking for a reliable laser printer that will last for years like yours.

    7 months ago

    Jane: It is less critical, since you do have a safety net if someone steals your Mac or it breaks. But it is better to backup with Time Machine as well as this will protect you incrementally and from disastrous mistakes. So if you make a change to a file and want to revert to the one from last week, you can. Or, if you delete a file, you can find it in your backup. I wouldn’t go without a backup myself.

    Rocky
    7 months ago

    Hi again Gary, I agree with your advice about not shutting down your Mac, but I would add a little caveat, which is that you should ALWAYS have a voltage regulator between your Mac and the wall plug. They aren’t very expensive (about $30) and it will save wear and tear on your Mac’s life from extended brown-outs and surges that can cause system gremlins. Surge-suppressors are NOT sufficient for stopping these.

    7 months ago

    Rocky: The one I have is so reliable that it is old now, and not produced anymore, but still works great. It is an HP LaserJet 100 M175nw. But there are current ones in the LaserJet 200 model line you can look at.

    B. David Cathell
    7 months ago

    Great tips all. One other tidbit related to the last point about things not working correctly, Apple Support is really good about helping even if your AppleCare has expired on your hardware. If you have been keeping your system updated, per Gary’s recommendation, Apple Support will generally help you with problems that have crept in because of the new version of the OS.

    Russ Tolman
    7 months ago

    Backup, backup, and keep backing up. You are so right about backup. I have been doing Mac support for over 20 years. It is always the person that has no backup that runs into the problem. I have gone to suggesting that they keep on off site TM that they update at least once a month. To me you can never have enough backups.

    Great info. and super suggestions. Thanks Gary

    Will
    7 months ago

    Great post and all very helpful. The other thing I would say about Time Machine is that it takes on board all your programs (not just your files) so that when you change your laptop or MacBook, Time Machine transfers everything over to the new device including, of course, all your settings.

    Helen
    7 months ago

    Jane — Remember that not everything is backed up to iCloud. Your iTunes library, Movies folder and Downloads folder, for example, are not included.

    DIEGO
    7 months ago

    HELLO Gery , TI SEGUO DA POCO E SONO UN UTENTE APPLE DA UN ANNO. QUINDI DATO CHE HO MOLTO DA IMPARE, TI CHIEDO SEV POTRESTI ELENCARMI LE 8 COSE DA NON FARE COME UTENTE NEL UTILIZZARE IL MAC.SEGUO I TOI VIDEO, MA IL MIO INGLESE NON E TANTO FLORIDO. QUINDI FACCIO UN PO DI FATICA.

    Dave Hall
    7 months ago

    I have a new iMac with Catalina (old 2015 model a dud) . Shutting down each day means a much quicker start-up the next morning than putting the computer to sleep. I also have stability issues with exporting photos from Photos to a desktop file – I can’t export and get error messages after the computer sleeps that is resolved by re-starting the machine. Presumably these will be resolved in a future update of Catalina (taken it up with Apple Support) – so for now I am shutting down each night.

    7 months ago

    Dave: Shutting down should in no way be faster than sleep. Waking from sleep should take seconds. Even if you need to restart to fix an issue, just restart, don’t shut it down. Let it sleep for the reasons I state in the video.

    mike dowling
    7 months ago

    re backups . i have an external 2 tb drive connected to my 2017 imac. should i use time machine to back up to this drive. i keep my photos library on it. i back up once a month but not anymore after taking your advice.Just need to set it up the most efficient way. thanks

    7 months ago

    mike: Do NOT use a Time Machine drive for anything else except Time Machine. For one, that means the stuff on the other part of the drive won’t be backed up. Get a new drive, one much larger than your internet and external together. Make that your Time Machine drive.

    Elaine
    7 months ago

    I’m confused by Gary’s last msg re Time Machine. I have a 2TB LaCie External drive dedicated to Time Machine. When you say “stuff on the other PART of the drive won’t be backed up”, what are you referring to? I do note that LaCie has two icons on my computer: Lacie Share and LaCie. I also have separate external drive which I use for backing up photos, iMovie projects primarily (things I don’t want to lose ever).

    7 months ago

    Elaine: Thanks for the question as a lot of people don’t understand this important part. If you have one external drive with two partitions, A and B. On A you store stuff (photos, whatever). On B you have your Time Machine backup. They are on the SAME DRIVE. So even if Time Machine creates a second copy of the files on A in the backup on B, there is still a single point of failure. That drive breaks or is stolen or lost, and your original AND backup are gone.

    Will
    7 months ago

    Call me obsessive but I actually have two Time Machine drives connected with my iMac in case one of them fails. As you say the cost of these drives is small and there are enough USB ports at the back of my screen to accommodate what I need.

    hwhuyler
    7 months ago

    I decided to use Google Photos to back up my ipad and iphone, primarily to save space. Wife and have 8,000 plus photo now i don’t know how to ensure all were copied and the delete Photo app. YOUR SUGGESTIONS PLEASE

    Kym
    7 months ago

    Gary I agree with you on using laser over inkjet except…I went through half a dozen inkjets until someone told me to NEVER use unbranded refills, so I didn’t. Since then I have had an Epson inkjet, paying for genuine ink refills and no problems for 7 or 8 years. When this one dies I’ll get a laser but until then, the genuine refills seem to do the trick.

    7 months ago

    hwhuyler: I’m not a Google Photos user, so I can’t help too much. Why not just archive them to an external drive (a good idea to do periodically anyway) and then you know you have them there if all else fails. Plus your normal Time Machine backup too.

    hwhuyler
    7 months ago

    re: speed up loading from start on MacBook air and Mac 21″ desktop. The UPLOAD bar always starts when I start my Macs but my Dell PC loads to basic screen immediately.. Is this the way Mac always loads at start up?

    7 months ago

    hwhuyler: You see a progress bar, yes. Maybe your Dell is sleeping/hibernating instead of shutting down?

    Lauren Eisen
    7 months ago

    backing up right now, thanks for the reminder!

    Hubert
    7 months ago

    Totally agree Gary with laser instead of inkjet. My Epson’s clogged (don’t use the colour enough), my Samsung printer (now handled by HP) had been excellent for 5 years. Didn’t work though with Catalina so bought new HP laser (4 in One) and works great. Model HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw at a price of AUD 299 (USD 184), discounted to AUD 224 (USD 153) for being a Samsung user before. On top of a great output, the HP has s small foot print as well.

    Bert Mullemeister
    7 months ago

    Hi Gary,good stuff and i would like to add another one.I teach many people how to use iMac,MacBooks and iPads,iPhones . I have seen screens fullly taken up with shortcuts making it very difficult to find the right one to use. I show them how to crelate folders or use stacks but a few weeks later it is a mess again they are generally ex PC users

    Ray Urban
    7 months ago

    Re printers clogging up: print at least one page every day (a page that uses a lot of different colours). I rarely have any problems with ink drying up in the printer. Or do print head cleaning regularly.

    Karl
    7 months ago

    Gary, how many email addresses does iCloud allow you to have? Gmail? Is it bad to use your full name, or any part of your name, in your email address? My current ISP stopped handing out email addresses with new accounts and is not allowing current customers to add any new ones, they allowed up to five, but still support current ones.

    7 months ago

    Karl: You can only have one iCloud email address, but 3 aliases with that (https://macmost.com/creating-icloud-email-aliases.html). You can create as many Gmail accounts as you like, but those are separate accounts. I suppose you can create more iCloud accounts too. But both could be problematic as you do things like make purchases or sign up for services with those accounts. Best to stick with one. Why do you want to have more than one?
    Some people suggest it is bad security-wise to use your name. But I think that is mostly because of phishing concerns. If your email is firstnamelastname@example.com then it is easy for some stranger to email you and pretend to know you since they can call you by your name. But it is also easy for you to see around that. On the other hand I think it looks more professional to use your name.

    Lucas Hutton
    7 months ago

    I appreciate your point of view re: LaserJet printers. I just retired an HP PhotoSmart C6280—still in working order—that I bought in 2008. I always used OEM ink and paper. Also: I’d like your thoughts on printing photos with a LaserJet. Inkjet printers have always been first choice for photos, it seems. I’m totally with you on limiting the printing of documents. I print very few documents—mostly photos.

    7 months ago

    Lucas: I don’t do much printing of photos, but when I have to, my color LaserJet works fine. I suppose if I needed to do more than a few, I would use an online service or just send online to the local pharmacy and pick them up.

    Jane
    7 months ago

    Gary (or anyone else): Are you able to respond to Rocky’s comment above (4th post), about using a voltage regulator, please? At our house the lights dim occasionally then go back to normal, and I have wondered if this power fluctuation could affect my Mac desktop. I have a surge protector on it but nothing else. Thanks.

    7 months ago

    Jane: A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) with a voltage regular sounds like a good idea for you. Mainly, it will protect you if there is a power outage. But it may also help reduce the strain on the iMac’s power supply. But then what about your other electronics? Might be worth it to have an electrician check out your electric box.

    John Stires
    5 months ago

    My experience with a UPS (equivalent to a high-end battery) : It muted any voltage spikes headed into my business’s computer as it kept itself well-charged. The UPS was plugged into the wall and computers into the UPS, a win-win-win. it paid its way more than I could count before I retired to laptops.

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