10 Ways To Speed Up A Slow Mac

Macs don’t always run at the fastest speeds, despite what Mac users might think. All computers wear down over time, and Macs are no exception. Fortunately, you can fix the issues and speed up your Mac with some techniques.

Mac systems are renowned for their fast performance, but if you install the incorrect software or programs, your machine will operate slowly. A slow machine isn’t always a consequence of corrupted files or programs but frequently has a less severe cause. 

However, you don’t need to settle for a slow computer. Our expert guide will teach you how to speed up your Mac to enjoy better performance again. 

10 WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR MAC

Macs can be notoriously sluggish, but there are a few simple tricks that can significantly boost their performance. Let’s get straight to the fastest Mac performance optimization techniques to speed up your Mac.

1. UPGRADE MACOS

Every year, Apple releases the latest version of macOS, so it’s essential to keep your Mac running the latest version to benefit from any performance enhancements. 

Operating system updates frequently include bug fixes, patches, and improvements that boost the speed of your computer. Although the macOS upgrade files can be large, you may wish to free up hard disk space before installing them if you run out of space.

To speed up your Mac, ensure your computer is connected to a power source before updating macOS. Back up your computer system first, just in case anything goes wrong. 

On the About This Mac page from the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, select Software Updates. You’ll see an Upgrade Now or Update Now button if an update is available. 

Software update for Mac

After a while, your computer will reboot and guide you through installation. This process will not just update the operating system but also Apple’s default applications.

2. FREE UP HARD DISK SPACE

When your storage drive fills up, performance plummets quickly. It has been discovered that large files have a more detrimental impact on your Mac’s performance than small ones. Keeping at least 5 to 20% of your disk space free is always advisable. 

To see how much free space you have on your hard drive, open the Apple menu and select About This Mac > Storage.

In Mac storage showing disk space

Macs tend to run out of space quickly, so it’s worth freeing up some space if you’re experiencing issues. 

You can speed up your Mac by emptying the junk folder, uninstalling applications you do not use, locating and deleting big files, deleting iTunes files and iOS back-ups, looking at cloud storage services, optimizing storage in the pictures application, storing your Desktop and Document folders in the cloud, and optimizing storage in the pictures application.

You can also utilize an external hard drive to store your photo and music libraries, which can consume a great deal of space. Make sure to keep at least two copies (or back up with a cloud provider) if one of your drives fails.

3. MANAGE STARTUP PROGRAMS

Are you sick of your Mac taking forever to boot up and be ready to use? Learn how to disable startup programs, improve boot times, and reduce background processes to speed up your Mac.

  • If a program starts automatically when you boot up your Mac, it means you have it set to launch automatically. To change this setting, open System Preferences and then Users & Groups. You can do this task by clicking the Apple logo in the top-left corner. 
  • Click Login Items. Do you see anything that you don’t need when you boot up? Click the ‘minus‘ icon to remove it. You must click the lock and enter your password to change this menu.
  • You can also find startup items in more hidden spots on your Mac. Click Go in your macOS menu bar and hold the OPTION key to get there. You will see the Library listed. Click it.
  • Look for LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents listed in the Library. Both of these are pieces of software that start automatically. If you do not require it, remove it.
Manage startup programs in Mac under users and groups

This should eliminate any unnecessary startup items from starting up on your Mac and will help you to speed up your Mac. 

4. FREE UP RAM

You should check your computer’s memory usage by clicking on Applications → Utilities → Activity Monitor → Memory. The Memory Pressure window at the bottom of the screen will tell you how your computer performs. 

If your computer’s RAM operates appropriately, it will be predominantly green. If it frequently turns red, your computer may need additional memory. RAM keeps temporary data for your applications as you use them. 

If your Mac is slowing down due to excessive app usage, use RAM optimisation to speed up your Mac. You may even boost the performance of an old Mac by adding more RAM.

Here’s how to unleash some RAM using the Terminal application: 

Open Applications → Utilities → Terminal. Type in sudo purge -a command that clears RAM and cache. Press Enter. Enter your administrator’s account password in the prompt window.

Type sudo purge command in Mac terminal to clear RAM and cache

Using a RAM cleaner for Mac can help you recover some speed by halting background processes. If you want to boost the RAM on your Mac, buy an authentic RAM module from Apple—not an imitation one. 

Apple lists the memory specifications for iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini on its website. If money is tight, you can purchase a cheaper aftermarket module.

5. REDUCE VISUAL EFFECTS

If you use a Mac, you’re probably so accustomed to the visual effects in the user interface that you don’t notice them, like subtle transparency or dock animations. 

Your Mac, on the other hand, is not so oblivious, as those effects often consume a significant amount of processing power.

Macs can run more quickly if you disable visual effects. Here are some techniques to speed up your Mac by altering the visual effects.

  • To minimize resource utilization: Go to System Preferences → Dock and uncheck the boxes that appear next to Animate Opening Applications and then Automatically Hide and Show the Dock
  • You can also reduce transparency by going to System Preferences → Accessibility → Display and checking the Reduce Transparency box.
Reduce transparency in Mac under display settings

Learn how to speed up slow android phones here.

6. STOP UNNECESSARY SPOTLIGHT INDEXING

Spotlight indexes your Mac to track where files and applications are located. Even though indexing can eat up to 70% of your CPU, deleting Spotlight is out of the question because it is critical to macOS functioning properly.

There’s no need to worry about Spotlight indexing everything on your Mac, as it only does so after an update. However, it would help if you still didn’t allow the indexing of unnecessary files or apps.

To speed up your Mac, keep Spotlight from indexing files and folders that you don’t want to be indexed by visiting System Preferences → Spotlight → Privacy. To accomplish this, drag the files and folders into the list of locations. 

Doing this will lower the amount of indexed data and, consequently, accelerate your Mac.

Spotlight privacy settings in Mac

7. SWAP YOUR HDD FOR SSD

Is your old Macbook still slower than you’d like it to be? Have you considered upgrading its hardware? One feasible approach to speed up your Mac is switching your hard disk drive (HDD) for a solid-state drive (SSD). 

SSDs use new, faster technology and draw less power, resulting in longer battery life. An SSD may boot and write data significantly faster than an HDD (on average) while producing less heat, noise, and vibration.

Replace HDD by SDD for better performance

Before upgrading to an SSD, make sure to back up your data.  Use Apple’s Time Machine tool to accomplish this. However, you can restore deleted files from HDD if your data gets deleted.

You may require to visit an Apple Store or seek a proficient computer specialist to set up an SSD in your Mac. APFS+ is a Mac-friendly format you should seek when purchasing a new drive.

You can also learn to format an external hard drive for Mac here.

8. UNINSTALL UNUSED APPS AND EXTENSIONS

Do you have too many unused apps? It may be the case if you have too many browser extensions. You may have as many apps as you like, but keeping them low is smart. 

Why is this? Unused browser extensions consume a lot of free space on your Mac, which can cause it to crash. Remove unused extensions and apps to speed up your Mac and clean it up. 

You can use an app cleaner to list everything in one place to speed up the process. 

Here’s how to remove unused applications: Open Finder, go to Applications, then go through the list of applications and select the ones you don’t want. Finally, press Command + Delete and empty the Trash. 

List of applications installed in Mac

Here’s how to remove unused Safari extensions: In the Safari menu, select Preferences. Click the Extensions tab and go through the list to find any you no longer need. Select them and click Uninstall, then confirm the action.

Your unused extensions have been removed. Unfortunately, you may still have some space-eating software on your system. In the System Preferences, you can find unnecessary applications using your computer’s energy and draining your battery life. 

From the Apple menu on the top of the screen, select System Preferences to access it. Look at the lower portion of the window to see whether you have any custom items. If you don’t utilize something, remove it since it will use up your system resources.

9. CLEAR YOUR CACHE FILES REGULARLY

Having many cache files accumulated by macOS, applications, and browsers can improve user experience. However, having too much of any good thing can cause performance problems in the future. Cache files can grow gigantic, so keeping an eye on them is essential.

Clearing out the user cache on your Mac will speed it up. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Finder window and click Go from the drop-down menu.
  2. Select Go to Folder from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter ~/Library/Caches and click Go.
  4. When you find a cache file, drag it to the Trash.
  5. When you have finished, empty the Trash.
Clear caches in Mac using ~/Library/Caches/ command

To clean up application caches, perform the following steps:

  1. Open a new Finder window, choose Go From the drop-down menu, select Go to Folder, click on /Users/YourUserName/Library/Caches, and then click Go.
  2. Visit each folder and drag cache files to the Trash.
  3. Empty the Trash.

Is your Google Chrome slow? Learn how to speed up Google Chrome here.

10. RESET SMC AND NVRAM

All your Mac’s power functions, including sleep and boot-up, are controlled by the System Management Controller (SMC). If something goes awry with your computer, your computer will not function properly. 

To reset the SMC, turn off your Mac, then hold the Shift, Control, Option, and Power buttons for 20 seconds. Your computer should begin working much faster after you press the power button again. To reset the SMC on older Mac models, visit the Apple website for instructions.

Macs store the language and time zone information in the NVRAM. Upon resetting the NVRAM, these features return to their default states, resulting in a performance boost. If you want them to persist, you’ll need to redo any custom settings you altered after restarting the NVRAM.

To readjust the NVRAM, reboot your Mac and hold Command + Option + P + R until the Apple logo appears twice. Then release the keys.

WRAPPING UP

These straightforward techniques should improve and speed up your Mac significantly. However, if your machine is still running slowly, you may want to consider reinstalling macOS to see if that fixes the problem. Otherwise, you may want to get a new Mac after all.

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