OS X Mavericks: 4 speed secrets

April 18, 2014 10:13 AM EDT

If you've followed my earlier tips to help you squeeze more performance from your OS X Mavericks Mac, but crave a little more zest, these suggestions may help you get slightly more performance from your Mac.

4 speed secrets

These tips tend to boost single application performance more than overall system performance, but if you run multiple apps at once you should feel a little benefit.

iTunes tip

iTunes contains all your media and as you add more it grows larger and less responsive. If you've ended up with an incredibly bloated and slow-performing iTunes Library, try this tip: build a second library. You'll use this library to archive music and/or other media you don't use any more.

  • To create a new Library open iTunes and immediately press the Option key.
  • The Choose iTunes Library dialog will appear
  • Choose Create Library… and name it
  • iTunes will launch with a blank library

Swapping media between libraries is cumbersome as there's no direct way in which to do it. One way is to create a playlist of items you intend moving from your original library to the new, and then drag-&-drop the contents of this playlist into a new folder on the Desktop. When you open your new (archive) library just drop these files onto iTunes and check all are carried across. You can then delete these items in your original iTunes library, (make sure to delete it properly).

As you archive your less well-used media items you should see performance of the original library improve.

4 speed secrets

Really delete files

Keeping drive space free helps boost Mac responsiveness. Files aren’t truly deleted when you delete. Traces of them continue to exist until the now "free" space they used to occupy is overwritten. To make the most of the space you've created on a hard drive (HDD) Mac by deleting things you don't need anymore, follow this tip:

  • Empty Trash in Finder
  • Launch Disk Utility
  • Select your computer hard drive
  • Select the Erase tab
  • Now press Erase Free Space… button
  • You'll see a new dialog appear, (pictured). The sliding scale lets you choose between the Fastest and Most Secure options to write over unused space.
  • Choose Fastest for a simple free space over write.
  • Click Erase Free Space

Now all your deleted items will truly disappear.

Safari

While the way Safari handles memory has improved and the browser no longer tries to run Flash video unless you ask it too, you still need to keep Apple's browser under manners. For example, if you open multiple tabs or browser windows, you may experience performance strain. (One way to watch for this is to install Memory Clean, which shows you how much active memory you have on your Mac at any time, and lets you reclaim unused portions of that memory).

Most Safari performance guides suggest you Empty the Cache; Reset Safari; Erase favicons; Delete preferences and disable plug-ins

Whenever Safari begins to lag it makes sense quit and relaunch the app. Additionally, if you use your browser to access Twitter or Facebook, quit those sites rather than run them in the background -- I get better performance by just closing down those memory-hogs.

Disable Finder File Previews

Each time your Mac opens a new Finder window in icon view your Mac quietly takes a look at each listed file to generate a thumbnail preview for that file. You can make Finder a little more responsive by stopping this.

  • View>Show View Options (Or Command + J in Finder)
  • Uncheck Show icon preview

In future your Mac won't attempt to show icon previews in Finder, which can speed things ever so slightly.

I hope these tips help you.

Mavericks Tips and Tricks

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