How to be a better macbook user

OS X is a great operating system. Its UX is craftly designed for intuitive use. Its robustness provide users with true productivity and peace of mind. Nonetheless, some knowledge of its functionality could lift your macbook experience even higher.

Power Management

Unlike PCs, macbooks have only one energy-saving mode i.e. sleep mode. Sleep mode is triggered by closing the lid. This is a natural design since closing the lid is what you do when you finish using macbook. It is the best practice to put macbook in sleep mode after use instead of powering off because the machine will wake up faster from sleep mode. Macbooks are designed to be able to stay in sleep mode as long as one month before the battery runs out. 

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When a macbook is connected to a projector, OS X is smart enough to detect this and therefore does not go to sleep. However, problems arise when you need to listen to iTunes music with the lid closed. In this case, you have to use third-party application such as InsomniaX (free) to control the lid. Otherwise, simply leave the lid open.

Also, In some cases, you need to download large data from the internet overnight. Again, you have to keep the lid open (or use InsomniaX). PowerNap feature could not solve this problem because PowerNap only do tasks related to synchronisation and backups. In fact, I personally do not enable PowerNap.

Virus Protection

I once believed OS X was virus-free.  After using it without protection for two years, I installed a anti-virus software and found some tens spywares/malwares on my macbook. Hence, it is recommended to install some antivirus software on your macbook such as AVG antivirus which is free. In addition, if possible, install softwares from Apple App stores. They have tested those softwares vigorously to ensure us safety.

Backup and Recovery

The best way to backup your macbook is through its Time Machine. With time machine, you can recover specific files as well as the entire system. In order to perform full recovery, restart the machine and hold down Command R at startup to fresh install OS X. Your macbook will download OS X media directly via the internet. In case you also need to reformat your hard drive, you have to create a bootable thumb drive first using DiskMaker X, a free utility. 

I strongly recommend every macbook user to invest in a Time Machine. It is truly a great design because 1) it backs up your data on different physical drive, 2) it backs up incrementally, not congesting the network and 3) it backs up everything.

Alternatively, you can rely on iCloud to back up documents, photos and application settings. However, iCloud don’t support third-party documents and application. Furthermore, if your photo and movie collections get very large, iCloud could become impractical and expensive backup solutions. 

Speed Up OS X

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Finally, after long period of use, your hard drive could run out of space and your machine could get slower. To fix this, first of all, go to System Preferences > Users&Groups > Login items and uncheck startup programs that you don’t really need. Then use third party software such as OS Cleaner Master (free) to investigate your hard drive and get rid of unused data. Do these tasks once in a while to keep your macbook in decent shape.

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