How to Outsmart the 3-Year Lifespan of Apple Products
Chances are you've had more than a couple MacBooks and other Apple products throughout your lifetime. No matter how many Genius Bar appointments we have to make for faulty mouse pads, overstuffed memories, or other dire dilemmas, we always seem to come crawling back through the glass doors of an Apple retailer.
If you’re as loyal a MacBook user as we are, you might be aware that Apple designs its computers to self-destruct after three to five years of use. It’s a very clever marketing ploy—what better way to ensure repeat customers than by giving them an incredible but completely unsustainable product? But the MacBook life cycle is not very well suited toward our frantically busy and overly digital lives. In pursuit of fewer errands and a more efficient desktop, we’ve researched some of the best ways to outsmart the short lifespan of a MacBook, or at least extend it a little. Read on for our simple yet surprising tips to keep your Apple computer in tip-top shape.
This is not just about closing applications that you’re not using. This is about closing everything you’re not using. If you don’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, turn off your AirPort. Wi-Fi absorbs a significant amount of energy, and when you have your AirPort on, all of the apps that run when connected to the Internet (like your email program and web browsers) will purge your computer of power faster than you'd imagine. We know it’s not possible to stay offline 24/7, but the next time you want to focus on an important project, consider closing yourself off from the Internet.
You may not be familiar with this ingenious tool, but Apple really did us all a favor when it built the Energy Saver preference pane. This tool makes sure your computer is running as efficiently as possible, eliminating useless drainage of your battery. Just make sure you enable the “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible” option and select the “Better Battery Life” optimization configuration for when your MacBook runs. This prevents your hardware from spinning (and usually making a lot of noise) when you aren’t using it.
Avoid overcharging, please. This could have gone in the “Unplug” section, but it is so crucial. Don’t go to sleep night after night with your computer plugged in. This will inevitably shorten your computer’s lifespan. Instead, give your hardware a night off once in a while and let it die completely. Apple views the lifespan of its products in terms of operational hours, not hours of existence. So, if you shut your computer off for 12 hours a day, you are effectively doubling its life span.
Do not download everything that interests you. Make sure it passes the “Do I really need this” test. If you decide a certain application is worth the space, go for it. But we suggest opting out of having downloaded apps, such as Spotify and Photoshop, launch automatically when your computer starts up. Go to System Preferences > Users & Grouped > Login Items to prevent downloaded programs from opening automatically.
Your MacBook’s display is a huge drain on your battery. That’s why it’s best to put your computer to sleep whenever you walk away from it. Also, while working, it’s best to keep your screen brightness as dim as possible. No, you don’t want to go blind from squinting, but keeping your brightness as dim as comfortably possible will greatly extend your battery life.
A memory upgrade can go a long way in terms of preserving your MacBook. We wouldn’t necessarily call RAM a computer accessory, but if you’re considering buying a new part as opposed to an entirely new computer, this could also prolong your Apple device's longevity. Around age 3, you’ll likely start to notice your mouse acting up or maybe having a longer lag time as you drag it. Try a magic mouse or a wireless keyboard to revamp your old hardware. We promise it will feel as good as new!
Always, and we mean always, update. Every so often, it’s also crucial to completely reinstall the optimal version of OS X for your Mac. Make sure you back up all of your important files and then let your update rip. This will clear all of the random clutter that has been bogging your computer down since the last time you installed your operating system. Not only will you feel lighter, your computer will run a lot faster.
Hire a (digital) cleaner. Apps such as AppCleaner or Onyx are great tools when it comes to computer maintenance. They delete unnecessary files and uninstall unused applications from your computer. Plus, they are a much less time-intensive alternative to a complete operating-system reboot. You should also perform a bit of manual upkeep on your Apple products. Keep a can of compressed air in your desk to help you clean out all of the dust that collects in the inside of your computer. Getting rid of the dust helps your computer run cooler and, thus, faster.
Unplug all of the accessories, external hard drives, cameras, memory card, SD cards, and anything else you may have attached to your device. We often get lazy and keep a USB or memory card in our computer ages after we are finished with it. But those two seconds of reorganizing will drastically save your battery in the long term.
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Have you uncovered a lifesaving trick for your MacBook? Share with us in the comments!