Macbook Air: Maintenance Suggestions?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DistantOrigin, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. DistantOrigin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #1
    Hi,

    I would like to extend the lifetime of my MacBook Air as far as I can. I am planning on keeping it for 3 to 5 years, maybe more.
    here is my normal routine in regards to maintenance
    Physical:
    1. Remove my plastic Speck shell every 2 to 3 weeks and clean beneath it, rubbing down the aluminum casing with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
    2. Clean the keycaps and screen with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
    3. Place in front of fan over night (or used compressed air) to remove dust. I don't have any compressed air at the moment, so have been using a fan passively every few weeks. Compressed air has a tendency to compress into a freezing cold substance if you blow too hard, so I tend to avoid it sometimes (especially when I lose the little straw that comes with the bottle).
    4. Wrap MagSafe adapter up, leaving a little breathing room at the top so the connector isn't stressed (I usually just leave a small loop). I usually fail at this, opting to leave my MS2 plugged into my surge protector at my desk.
    Hardware:
    1. Ensure when I am doing intensive tasks, such as a Virtual Machine or video editing, that I am plugged in.
    2. Watch Activity Monitor if my fan speeds up for an unapparent reason.
    3. Don't use MBA on a bed or other fabric surface without the shell; it will trap air and make the MBA hotter.
    Software:
    1. When excessive memory is being used, run MemoryClean. If you don't know this app, search it in the app store; it's mighty useful.
    2. Run Disk Doctor to clean caches.
    3. Empty trash.
    4. Every week or so repair permissions.
    5. Use Time Machine on a regular basis.


    Is there anything that anyone else does to ensure their MBA is pristine and in great working order? Am I being too OCD ( :p ); is there anything I could change? I want resell value to be as high as I can make it in a few years, as well as having a great laptop to use over that time.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #2
    I vacuum the breadcrumbs out of my keyboard every week or three. I prefer that to compressed air, which I worry will just push things deeper.

    A.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    Personally I wouldn't use compressed air either. And I don't understand the fan idea, seems like that would just bombard it with more of the same crud in the air.
     
  4. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #4
    To the OP:

    Relax. You will wear out your spec cover removing it that often.

    I know it is new and you are proud but after time you will relax and just enjoy the great hardware.

    Dropping it is it greatest risk !

    You new MBA should last the 3 to 5 years with no problem.
     
  5. outlawarth macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    #5
    I would only add that I highly recommend getting a Moshi ClearGuard keyboard protector. It's super thin but protects your keyboard from dust, spills and wear.
     
  6. abbeybound macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2014
    #6
    OP, you can typically avoid spraying out the propellant (functioning as a refrigerant) in compressed air by holding the can upright and not shaking it.
     
  7. cbdilger macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    Location:
    West Lafayette, IN
    #7
    Agreed 100%. $20 buys you protection against day-to-day dirt and a few precious seconds to clean up a liquid spill.
     
  8. DistantOrigin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    How is typing with this? Does it change the travel of the keys or anything that would be noticeable?

    ----------

    What vacuum do you use? Are there cheap handhelds online...?
     
  9. outlawarth macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    #9

    It takes a little bit to get used to it. But then you don't even notice it's on.
     
  10. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Belgium
    #10
    I beg to differ. I have used one for a couple of months now on my MBP and while I find it a lot less disturbing now than in the beginning, I am still not able to type as fast as I would like. No problem if you type with two fingers etc. but I am a very fast 10 finger typer and there this silicon extra makes a difference.
     
  11. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #11
    No matter how good of care you take of your new MBA it value will be greatly diminished in 5 years.

    When you look at the cost of a new MBA today and what yours will be worth in 5 years, you are going to a great deal of trouble to protect while taking away from the joys of using it.

    Not saying the OP is going overboard but there must be some "middle ground" that would work. A good significant "other" will change your priorities so you will worry less about your laptop!:p
     
  12. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Belgium
    #12
    I think you might be overdoing things a little bit but that's a personal decision ;)

    However with point 3 you might make things rather worse than better. Both a fan or compressed air will do the exact opposite of what you want: They push the dust further inside the machine. Other than opening it and cleaning it from the inside, the second best thing to remove the dust is to use a hoover to suck the dust out.
     
  13. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #13
    Either crack it open and blow the dust out, or use something like SMC Fan control to run the fans on full for a minute or so - this will cause the dust sitting on the fans to be chucked out towards the display.
     
  14. friedkimchi macrumors regular

    friedkimchi

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #14
    I'd remove the Speck case permanently.

    My experience with hard covers caused the fan to spin more often then not, which in turn, caused the fans to die out on me.

    I put it in a neoprene case when I'm travelling to school.
     
  15. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #15
    This fear of heat is overblown and misguided. Too much air blown inside a machine creates dust problems. Normal temperature for comsumer electronics is even a room at 100 degree F.

    Never have any cords connected to a machine if moving it. That accidental strike to a cord is far more destructive than most of your 'concerns'.

    Always transport it in come protective type case or bag. Again, that is where a significant number of failures originate.

    Power off when done. Myths about damage from power cycling have no basis in fact; are only junk science conclusons based only in observation and speculation.

    Almost never power using its battery. Battery is intended as temporary power - not constant power. Battery only has so many recharge cycles (maybe 500 full discharges). And degrades with each one. Best is to power most of the time from AC mains. Battery degradation also decreases significantly (battery life expectancy increases) when a battery routinely never goes below 90% or 60% discharge.

    Whereas higher room temperatures are not problematic when using it. Temperatures above 85 degrees F can cause its battery to degrade faster only when recharging. Limit recharging to cooler rooms (ie 70 degreesF)

    The system always uses full memory. Using more memory does not degrade or wear out any hardware. Use it with many large programs as you would one tiny program.

    Constant cleaning of cache, memory, etc is simple wasted time. Does nothing to perserve hardware (sofware does not wear out). Is done once every blue moon just to tidy things up.

    After many years, the heatsinks might be exposed to be cleaned with a soft paintbrush. Violently forcing air to remive dust typically only hardens some dust in air channels. Dust is not a problem until those air channels approach 80% or 90% restrictions. Dust cleaning should be done very infrequently - except when blowing too much air to keep it cooler.
     
  16. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #16
    I am currently using a Black and Decker Pivoting Hand Vacuum. It has a built-in brush - I run it over my keyboards from time to time to get rid of errant bits of toast, potato chips, expired nanobots, etc.

    A.
     
  17. GGJstudios, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    You don't have to plug in during intensive tasks. You can if you prefer, but it's not necessary.
    You don't need 3rd party apps to manage memory. OS X knows how to manage your memory, without your interference.
    Caches exist to improve performance. Cleaning them regularly when there isn't a specific problem with a specific cache will only degrade performance while the caches are being rebuilt.
    Emptying the trash has no impact on performance.
    Don't do this. Some people repair, or recommend repairing permissions for situations where it isn't appropriate. Repairing permissions only addresses very specific issues. It is not a "cure all" or a general performance enhancer, and doesn't need to be done on a regular basis. It also doesn't address permissions problems with your files or 3rd party apps.
    There are times when repairing permissions is appropriate. To do so, here are the instructions:
    If repairing permissions results in error messages, some of these messages can be ignored and should be no cause for concern.

    Unnecessary, and if you routinely power off every night, OS X maintenance scripts will never run. It's perfectly fine to use sleep mode, plugged in or on battery power.
    That is false and very bad advice. Batteries are intended to be used. Rarely running on battery power is a good way to greatly reduce your battery's useful life.
    Current Apple notebook batteries are designed to retain at least 80% of their capacity up to 1000 cycles, and they can still be used below 80%. Batteries will die over time, whether they are used or not. They die quicker if you don't regularly run on battery power.
    Your two statements contradict each other. It is not best to run most of the time plugged in.
    Also unnecessary. Macs are designed to safely operate within Apple's operating limits, which are 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C). This includes while charging.

    Run on battery whenever you need to and plug it in whenever you can. You can plug or unplug any time you need to, regardless of the charged percentage, and you never need to completely drain your battery. Just make sure you don't run on AC power exclusively, as your battery needs to be used regularly to stay healthy.
    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
     
  18. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #18
    Just reading posts around here, I would say that spilling liquids is the greatest risk. Keep all drinks away from your computer. You could also elevate it on a stand or even a big book if using it at the dinner table.
     
  19. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030

    AppleFanatic10

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Location:
    Encino, CA
    #19
    Also, Moshi has the Palmguard (protects the space surrounding the trackpad) and the iVisor (screen protector).
     
  20. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #20
    So batteries in this heavily used computer are 12 years old and still operate for at least an hour. I guess the engineer did not know his stuff.

    Topic is not about what is safe. Apple only says what is safe; not what the OP has asked for. Operating a computer mostly from batteries (especially during high energy consumption) will degrade battery life. But when hyping convenience over life expectancy, the manufacture will recommend using it mobile. It makes the machine appear easier to others - increases sales.

    Batteries have a life expectancy of over 500 recharges. Every recharge degrades battery life for each next charge. That well defined science is directly related to what happens to a battery's cathode.

    Because NiCd batteries needed a periodic full discharge, a popular urban myth persists. Many assume lithium has same requirements. Fully discharging a lithium battery causes exponentially greater battery degradation.

    IOW, only use batteries for short periods. Since the deeper the discharge, the exponentially greater that degradation.

    Apple also says recharging at almost 100 degrees F is safe. Nobody said anything differently. But to diminish battery degradation, always recharge at temperatures below 85 degrees. Batteries can be used just fine at 40 degrees or 100 degrees. But battery recharge should be performed at lower temperatures. Again, we are discussing prolonged life expectancy - not safety discussed in that brochure.

    If using in hot environments but always on AC, then the battery will not be recharged at those higher and undesireable temperatures.

    A popular urban myth says upgrades and maintenance occurs at night. If I was Apple, I would also tell you to leave your computer powered on so that Apple machines have work to do at night. Reality. Those upgrades and maintenance occur at any time. Even during periods of no hardware activity when one is reading text.

    Best is to power off when one. Best for many reasons including increased hardware life expectancy. If that was not true, another provided numbers that say why leaving it on is better. But then urban myths are popular when the reasons why and numbers are missing in each recommendation.

    Discharging batteries rarely or only a small amount will significantly increase battery life expectancy. That is not just from the science. But confirmed by an engineer who did this stuff and still has good lithium batteries a decade later. I operate almost always on AC. My experience is in total agreement with the science.

    What is safe does not also mean increased longevity. Apple mostly recommeds only what is safe.
     
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #21
    As already stated, battery life declines whether you use them or not, and it will decline faster if you always use it on AC power.
    It's far more than that.
    No one said anything about fully discharging the battery, but they do need regular use to prolong health.
    It's not a myth, and if you believe it is, you're sadly misinformed. The late night maintenance is well documented.
    That is false. The maintenance scripts are scheduled for particular times, late at night. If the computer is off during those times, the scripts will not run. If the computer is sleeping at the scheduled time, the scripts will run when the computer is awake. Try to learn the facts so you don't post misinformation.
    That is false. Please read Apple's documentation to learn the facts.
     
  22. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #22
    I try to always use my iPads at the dinner table as the screen cleans up more easy.
     
  23. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #23
    Those myths are legacies of NiCd technology.

    Yes, a battery will decline if not used. Since all batteries have a shelf life. Then we add numbers. That lithium battery 'declines' at an almost zero rate. Serious degradation only occurs when recharging. IOW when its cathode degrades. That degradation increases when recharging at higher temperatures (which is why Tesla has a cooling system attached to its battery system and why Nissan Leafs have such a high failure rate in Arizona). Learn the science rather than quoting from and making assumptons from an Apple Users Manual. Apparently you did not learn Tesla's research into this degradation process. Only know what the User's Manual says.

    A lithium battery will also degrade faster if charged slowly. Also completely different from other NiCd, et al technologies. So what happens when AC is constantly applied? A computer monitors its battery. And only applies a charge WHEN a battery can be full charged. Most of the time, a battery remains passive - in its longest life state.

    Many assume a battery is always charging (ie trickle charging) when AC power exists. Since that is how NiCd and NiMHd worked. Speculation misrepresented from other battery technologies was even posted above.

    Lithiums are so different than a computer must control how and when a lithium recharges. And even how much the battery can discharge. More reason why lithiums can last so much longer when only used lightly and only used as a backup power source.

    Another popular myth based only in speculation is that power comes simultaneously from AC and battery. That assumption was even posted previoulsy here. Clearly not true when one understands how lithium batteries work. When on AC, a lithium battery powers nothing. When AC power stops, a circuit disconnects from the AC power supply and connects to a lithium battery power supply. Battery can only power something or be recharged. And exclusive OR condition.

    Computer operates only from AC or only from battery. No computer must be powered simultaneously by both. That would quickly degrade a lithium battery.

    Best is to use a lithium battery only when AC power is not available. That will increase battery life expectancy greatly. AS made obvious even by my experience with numbers. As made obvious from design articles on how to design a lithium battery charger - not a simple task. A User's Manual and the resulting speculation does not provide techniques to extend battery life expectancy. Defined is how to extend life expectancy, the underlying science, and the many myths that even misrepresent how lithiums get used and charged. Please stop citing a User's Manual and speculating from it as if it was engineering documentation.
     
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #24
    Your "engineering" is obviously faulty or you would realize that an Apple notebook computer is NOT a Tesla, and the battery technology employed by Apple is quite different. It is also obvious that you're not familiar with the technology employed by Apple in its charging and power technology.

    When an Apple notebook battery is fully charged, it stops charging and runs on AC power while it is plugged in. It cannot overcharge and it does not trickle charge. In addition, the charging system is designed to avoid short discharges/recharges, which is why if you plug in a 95% charged battery, it will not charge from that level.

    It is absolutely possible for the computer to draw power simultaneously from AC power and from the battery during periods of high power demand, as clearly indicated not only in Apple's documentation but also by users' experience.

    Too many "engineers" have come into this forum over the years, spouting generalities based on textbooks or other sources, without first understanding that not all battery and charging technology is the same. Yes, many may use lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries, but that doesn't make them all identical in charging technology employed. Take some time to gather facts from the manufacturer, rather than trying to apply Tesla's information to Apple notebooks.
     
  25. westom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    #25
    A classic business school technique is to lie and attack others when technical knowledge is lacking. By your own admission, I am not the first engineer to discover your grasp is crap. You only know what a User's Manual says. Confuse 'safe' operation with how to 'optimize' use. Have confused lithium battery technology with other (ie NiCd) technology. And post cheapshots of engineers because engineers could not possibly know as much as you. After all, you read the User's Manual. You must know more.

    OP has useful techniques to extend battery life expectancy. Especially do not recharge at higher temperatures, power from its battery infrequently as backup power, and avoid deep discharges. Power off when done. Ignore that popular lie that says updates and maintenance do not occur if powered off overnight. Do not worry about dust buildup and be wary of using compressed air. Do not confuse what is only 'safe' operation in a User's Manual with what can increase computer longevity.

    Always disconnect cables before moving the machine. Best is to always travel with it in a protective case or bag. Keep concerns about heat in perspective. Do not fear dust as the significant reason for damage. Avoid using compressed air. And keep fluids away from the keyboard. Fluids are not destructive. But are difficult to get out especially if sucked in by pressing a key.
     

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