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Clean & Organize Your Mac In Under 2 Hours

An in depth tutorial to organizing your documents, music, photos and applications for a faster Mac.
Luis Morales
1,111 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
By the end of this course, you will be able to organize your documents, music, photos and applications and never lose another file again.
You will learn how to organize your documents using tags, spotlight comments and smart folders
You will learn how to edit music information to create the best file structure
You will learn how to split Events and properly organize them with the aid of Smart Albums and Keywords
You will learn how to safely erase additional Application files left behind, creating more space on your hard drive
You will learn how to diagnose your computer using the Activity Monitor

The first time you got your new shiny Mac you swore to keep it clean and organized.

Today, your computer files are scattered between the Download Folder and the Documents Folder, your music is all over your computer and iPhoto takes forever to open with all the events you're Mac has automatically created. As a result, it has become disorganized and even slow!

But it doesn't have to be this way!

If you're like me, you use your computer on a daily basis for important tasks. Whether it be for school or business related projects, everyone wants to be able to access their files when they need them as soon as they need them! Nobody has the time or patience for a rainbow wheel or scavenger hunt through your hard drive.

Thats why in this course we will cover the best organizational tactics, such as:

  • Tagging your files for easy search
  • Automating file comments to keep documents organized
  • Using Smart Folders to sort lose files
  • An awesome music structure that will organize your music with one click
  • Organizing photo Events in iPhoto
  • Using Keywords and Smart Albums to organize photos
  • Deleting additional application files left behind for more free space!

If you're ready to regain full control of your computer, check out my 32 detailed videos below!

I will personally answer all questions twice a week so feel free to ask questions if you cannot apply any of the materials yourself!


Luis Morales

Managing And Organizing Your Documents

Organizing Documents: Overview

Welcome to the course!

This section is all about your documents and how you can enhance their organization by learning how to:

  • Tagging our documents for easy search
  • Batch tagging multiple files
  • Automating the tagging process
  • Introduction to Smart Folders and how you can use them to find any document on your hard drive
  • Dropbox and why you need it
Using Spotlight Comments For Easy Organization

Spotlight Comments And Tags

Tags are a way for you to reference your files with specific keyword or comments for easy search in the future.

An easy way to organize your documents with keywords is by adding spotlight comments. To do so:

  1. Open the File and click 'Get Info'
  2. Open the Spotlight Comment box and add your comment
  3. To add multiple comments, make sure you separate your keywords with commas

You have just added a keyword/tag to the file and can search for it in the future using Spotlight just by using the keyword!

Easily Batch Tag Existing Files

The Tags App

What happens when you have hundreds of files that you want to tag with keywords? Using Spotlight Comments can take a while, but with the Tags App you can easily batch tag multiple files at once.

Get it free at http://www.caseapps.com/tags/

To select multiple files, simply hold the Shift key.

To open up a tag window, use the keyboard shortcut Control+Space

To search keywords, use the keyboard shortcut Option+Space

You can manage and browse your tagged files by opening the Tag Browser under the 'Window' Section, or use the shortcut Command+1

Automate Tagging For Future Files

The Automator

Using the Automator, you can set a Folder Action that automatically adds comments to future files added to certain folders.

When you open the automator, choose:

  1. Folder Action
  2. Choose the Action called 'Set Spotlight Comments For Finder Items'
  3. Double Click/Drag to begin adding rules
  4. Choose your folder

Now you can choose the set of Spotlight Comments that you want to be applied to the files you will be adding to your preset folder.

Check 'Append to existing comments' if you want your new comments to be added to already existing comments in the files.To overwrite those comments and only use the ones set to the folder with the Automator, uncheck this option.

Master Organization With Smart Folders

Smart Folders

The Smart Folder is a folder that has preset rules and attributes which determine what kind of files enter the folder.

To create a Smart Folder:

  1. Go to File in the Finder and choose 'New Smart Folder'
  2. Add or Delete rules for your Smart Folder to follow
  3. To add more rules than those listed, hit 'Other' for a complete view of all the rules
  4. To change the rules of existing Smart Folders, right click on your folder and choose 'Show Search Criteria'
Access Files From Anywhere With Dropbox

Clear Up Some Space On Your Computer And Save Your Files On the Cloud

If you need some extra space on your hard drive, or want to access important files away from your computer sign up for Dropbox below!


Organize Your Music Files With iTunes

Understanding Your Music Metadata

Your Music Information

The metadata of your music is a portion of information attached to a music file that determines how it will be organized within Folders and how it is displayed within iTunes.

To edit the metadata of your music file, right click a song and select 'Get Info'

Make sure the Track Name, Artist, and Album are all filled in!

Sift through your library to make sure Artist and Album names are spelled properly and match to avoid having unnecessary folders.

Batch Edit Multiple Music Files

Edit The Metadata Of Multiple Files

To edit the metadata of multiple songs at once, sort the songs by Artist or Album and right-clicking them to get to 'Get Info'.

This will open a 'Multiple Item Information' that will allow you to batch edit all songs under this Album/Artist.

Make sure the fields that you want to edit are checked.

Clean Your Library By Identifying Duplicates

Deleting Duplicates From iTunes

To find and erase any duplicate songs you have in iTunes:

  1. Go to View and Select 'Show Duplicate Items'
  2. Determine which songs you want to keep and which you want to erase
  3. When you find a song you want to erase, delete it and make sure you choose 'Move To Trash' to erase it from your iTunes computer folder as well
Isolate Tracks With Missing Information

Adding Missing Song Information

Sometimes you will notice some songs missing Artist and Album names. To better organize our iTunes, we should fill in any missing information.

Edit Information Easily With Smart Playlists

Using Smart Playlists To Edit Song Information

Smart Playlists have rules that determine which songs are added into this Playlist. We can use these playlists to find and edit songs with missing information.

To do so:

  1. Go to File > New > Create Smart Playlist
  2. Choose Artist/Album, then choose 'is'
  3. Leave the the third section blank

This will create a Smart Playlist with all the songs that are missing Artists/Albums and give you a chance to edit them!

The Most Organized Music File Structure

Save Up Space With A Proper File Structure

Sometimes, we have our songs scattered all over our computer. This not only makes them harder to find, but these songs are vulnerable to be lost and deleted at any time. iTunes allows you to create an organized file structure that makes your music easy to find.

  1. Choose iTunes and click 'Preferences'
  2. Go to the 'Advanced' Section
  3. Check the options 'Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized' and 'Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder When Adding To Library'

This will ensure that each song imported to iTunes is neatly organized into folders on your computer by Artist and Album.

This also gives you the ability to safely delete any songs outside of the iTunes folder and clear up some space.

Add Some Album Artwork To Your Music

Adding Album Artwork

If your songs are missing artwork and have at least the Name, Artist and Album, iTunes can retrieve album artwork for you.

Go to File > Library > Get Album Artwork

Cleaning Up A Messy iPhoto

Organizing iPhoto: Overview


Does opening your iPhoto slow down your computer and give you the rainbow wheel of death? Chances are your events take a while to load and a lot of processing power.

In this section you will learn how to:

  • Organize Your Events
  • Merge Events
  • Split Events
  • Use of Keywords
  • Albums Vs Events
  • Using Smart Albums
Create A New Event From An Existing Photo

Multiple Unrelated Events

iPhoto creates photo Events by days. This results in Events having multiple unrelated photos that have nothing to do with each other. To properly organize photos, you first have to remove them from the Event.

To do so:

  1. Select the photo you want to remove from the event
  2. Go to Events > Split Event

This removes the photo from an event and creates it's own event.

Create A New Event From Multiple Photos

Remove Multiple Photos From A Single Event

To extract multiple photos from an Event:

  1. Hold down Shift and select the range of photos you want to remove
  2. Go to Events > Split Event

Now you can merge similar events together for easy search.

Create A New Event With Flags

Create A New Event With Photos Across Different Events

Sometimes the photos we want to use to create a new event aren't all stored in a single event, but rather scattered across multiple events.

To easily create an event when your photos are scattered across iPhoto:

  1. Find all the photos you want to merge
  2. At the top left corner of each photo, click the flag
  3. Once you have flagged all the photos you want to merge, go to Events > Create Event From Flagged Photos

This extracts the respective photos from their old events and creates a new event with your selected photos.

Add Keywords To Events And Photos For Easy Search

Add Keywords To Your Photos

Keywords are a great way to easily find photos in iPhoto. Make sure that you have the 'Keyword' option checked so you can add keywords to your photos. (View > Keywords)

To add keywords to photos, albums or events:

  1. Select your photo and click 'Info' located at the bottom right
  2. Open the Keywords window
  3. Add all desired keywords by writing it down and then hitting enter
Merge Similar Events To Stay Organized

Merge Similar Events Together

Once you've batched similar events together into mini events and added keywords to all appropriate photos, go ahead and create a single event that hosts all your photos.

To do so, simply drag and drop any event of your choosing into the host event.

Tidy Up a Messy Event Library

Putting It All Together

By this point, you have separated new events and added keywords. Lets put it all together for a neatly organized Library.

Albums Vs Events

The Difference Between Albums & Events

Events are photo collections sorted by time and date, while albums are curated collections created by you.

To create a new album from events:

  1. Choose the events or photos you want to add into an album
  2. Go to Create > Album
Easily Find Photos With Smart Albums

Using Smart Albums To Find Photos

In iPhoto, Smart Albums can identify title, description, keywords, dates, places, faces, rating, type of camera, image info, focal length, flags and much more. You can also have the folder match conditions individually or collectively for different search results.

If you choose for it to obey any, the album will pull in the results of every rule, no matter the order; if you choose for it to obey all the rules, it will check for them one at a time.

What You've Learned So Far

Properly Deleting Unwanted Applications

Discarding an Application Doesn't Always Delete All It's Files

Self Contained Applications

Apple makes it easy for us to delete applications by 'bundling' all the necessary folders and masking it as a clickable icon.

To find out whether an application is bundled, Right Click > Show Package Contents

However, even after deletion, application bundles can leave behind preference files and application support files that occupy space on your hard drive.

Preference Files And Application Suppor Files

Preference Files

Preference files contain a list of parameters that the system software uses to define your preferences. In essence, they store your user settings.

Preference files end in .plist

Sometimes, deleting preference files erases the serial number and important application settings, so make sure you really want to erase the application in question before doing so and always back-up the application in case you change your mind.

The Library And Why It's Hidden

Why Is The Library Hidden?

The Library folder, which stores the preference files, is located at the root level of your system and contains all the data required to operate your laptop.

Never delete, rename or remove the Library folders as you will lose system files and will be unable to use your Mac!

Since it is deleted for your own safety, I'm gonna show you a safer way to delete preference files and application support files.

To find your Library folder:

  1. Go to Finder > Go
  2. Hold down Option to reveal the hidden Library
Safely Deleting Additional Application Files

Deleting Application Files Within The Finder

You can access all the application files and additional files straight from the Finder.

To delete additional files:

  1. Type in the application name in the search
  2. In the second search bar below the first use the rule: System Files are included

This will reveal all preference files, application files and application support files right in the Finder. You can now safely delete the application without having to enter the Library

Wiping Your Hard Drive (OPTIONAL)

Reboot Your Computer To Delete File Traces


To back up your mac:

  1. Turn Time Machine On
  2. Select Disk > Use Backup Disk

To wipe your mac:

1. Restart the computer while holding down the COMMAND and R keys until the Mac OS X

Utilities window appears.

2. Select Disk Utility from the Mac OS X Utilities window and click on the Continue button.

3. After DU loads select your startup volume (usually Macintosh HD) from the left side list. Click

on the Erase tab in the DU main window.

4. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Optionally, click on the Security button

and set the Zero Data option to one-pass.

5. Click on the Erase button and wait until the process has completed.

6. Quit DU and return to the Mac OS X Utilities window.

7. Select Reinstall Lion/Mountain Lion and click on the Install button.

8. Upon completion shutdown the computer.

Understand Your Computer With The Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor: A Hidden Gem

The Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is located in the Utilities Folder and informs you of all the processes currently running on your computer. This lets you know which applications are taking up the most processing power and how that is affecting your computer.

Do not close any running processes that you do not recognize. To find out whether they are safe to close, Google the name of the process in question to determine what it belongs to and if it needs to currently be opened.

Real Memory Vs Virtual Memory

Real Memory & Virtual Memory

These sections inform you on how much memory current applications are taking up. If you find yourself using a lot of Virtual Memory, consider closing applications or increasing your RAM so applications can open faster.

When To Use Activity Monitor

Thanks For Stopping By

A Deeper Look At Tags

Get Tags At A Discount!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope I was able to help you clean up your Mac.

I went ahead an contacted Tags to get the students of this course 20% off the user license fee.

Use promo code: maccourseudemy

Effective until November 1st, 2013

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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