5 Things You Should Definitely Not Do with Your Mac

By Bob LeVitus

Following is a list of some bad stuff that can happen to your Macintosh running OS X El Capitan if you do the wrong things with it.

  • Don’t unplug your Mac when it’s turned on. Very bad things can happen, such as having your OS break.

    Note that this warning doesn’t apply to laptops as long as their battery is at least partially charged. As long as there’s enough juice in the battery to power your Mac, you can connect and disconnect its power adapter to your heart’s content.

  • Don’t use your Mac when lightning is near. Here’s a simple life equation for you: Mac + lightning = dead Mac. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and don’t place much faith in inexpensive surge protectors. A good jolt of lightning will fry the surge protector and your computer, as well as possibly frying your modem, printer, and anything else plugged into the surge protector.

    Some surge protectors can withstand most lightning strikes, but those warriors aren’t the cheapies that you buy at your local computer emporium. Unplugging your Mac from the wall during electrical storms is safer and less expensive. (Don’t forget to unplug your external modem, network hubs, printers, and other hardware that plugs into the wall as well; lightning can fry them, too.)

    For laptops, disconnect the power adapter and all other cables because whatever those cables are connected to could fry and fry your laptop right along with it. After you do that, you can use your laptop during a storm if you care to. Just make sure that it’s 100 percent wireless and cableless if you do.

  • Don’t jostle, bump, shake, kick, throw, dribble, or punt your Mac, especially while it’s running. Many Macs contain a hard drive that spins at 5,200 revolutions per minute (rpm) or more. A jolt to a hard drive while it’s reading or writing a file can cause the head to crash into the disk, which can render many — or all — files on it unrecoverable. Ouch!

    Don’t think you’re exempt if your Mac uses a solid-state drive with no moving parts. A good bump to your Mac could damage other components. Treat your Mac like it’s a carton of eggs, and you’ll never be sorry.

  • Don’t forget to back up your data! If the files on your hard drive mean anything to you, you must back up. Not maybe. Must. Even if your most important file is your last saved game of Bejeweled, you still need to back up your files. Fortunately, El Capitan includes an awesome backup utility called Time Machine. (Unfortunately, you need either an external hard drive or an Apple Time Capsule device to take advantage of it.)

  • Don’t kiss your monitor while wearing stuff on your lips. For obvious reasons! Use a clean, soft cloth and/or OmniCleanz display cleaning solution (made by RadTech) to clean your display.

    Don’t use household window cleaners or paper towels. Either one can harm your display. Use a soft clean cloth (preferably microfiber), and if you’re going to use a cleaner, make sure it’s specifically designed not to harm computer displays. Finally, spray the cleaner on the cloth, not on the screen.