As good as apple made computers are, Macs are still susceptible to slowing down over time. As resource requirements for apps and programs skyrocketing, you’ll gradually lose the quick responsive performance that Macs are typically known for. Common systems include slow loading times, apps and programs crashing or refusing to run, or the device itself just seems to freeze up… seemingly forever.
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean it’s time to fork out for a new Mac device. Instead, there are certain steps you can take to reclaim your Mac’s past “smooth as butter” glory – or at least let it grow old beautifully.
Yup, that right! Continue reading to know about some common issues causing Mac slowdowns and some of the best tricks and tips to improve your Mac speed in no time.
How To Speed Up Your Mac? Let’s Try Some First-Aid Measures…
Before heading for the solutions, one needs to understand the many underlying problems that may cause a Mac to slow down. Major culprits include low storage (a Mac needs at least 10% free space to function properly) and running heavy apps like games and video editing software – both can, over time, because your Mac to slow down noticeably.
While we are on the topic, stay away from programs that promise to “optimize” your Mac, and make it run faster. Some apps – like CCleaner for Mac – can remove temporary files and free system space, but they won’t make the Mac’s runs faster.
In most cases, a simple reboot can fix most Mac slowdown issues as this will clear the system memory out and gives the device a somewhat “fresh start” of sorts. If this doesn’t fix it (and in most cases, it will), then & then only you need to try out the following steps;
Speed Up Your Mac – Top 9 Tips For A Snappier, Better Mac Experience!
Before we begin, a word of caution; backup your data before trying out these tips. For Macs, it’s easy, get an external hard drive & run Time Machine. This will backup your data & will be useful in recovery should something goes haywire.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed for a faster Mac experience;
1) Find Resource-hungry Apps & Close Them Out
Some apps (like Chrome) are more power-hungry than others and, if left open in the background unnecessarily, can slow your Mac down to a crawl. To see which apps are devouring your precious system resources, use an activity monitor. You can open it from the utility folder of your Mac application folder or use Spotlight to find it directly.
Activity monitor shows the state of 5 resources: CPU, Memory, Energy, and network usage. To get a speed boost, you’d want to check out the CPU session and close out the apps that are unnecessarily trying to hog it down.
Also, try & get into the habit of full closing apps if you don’t need it for a while. Look for such applications marked with a dot on your Mac’s dock. Right-click on them & tap on “Quit.”
2) Clean Up Start-up Items
If your Mac feels immediately slow after you woke it from sleep or shutdown, it may have too many start-up programs slowing it down.
To manage start-up items, open the system preferences window on your Mac by clicking the Apple menu icon & selecting “system preferences.” Then click on the “users and groups” icon, select your current user account, and click on “login items.” Then it’s just the matter of un-checking the applications you don’t want starting after logging in.
If these steps are too complicated, you can avail the help of apps like CCleaner & its start-up manager to achieve the same results, but without much hoopla.
3) Dial Back On System Visual Effects
While it’s true that Apple has taken a step back from being eye candy, Mac OS is still cluttered with a lot of special effects that may put a heavy tax on older Mac hardware. This affects battery performance, as well.
Sure, you’ll lose some visual aesthetics, but who cares if your Mac is running slowly? Turning some of these animations can greatly speed up your iMac or Mac Book.
Here’s how to do it;
- Go to system preferences, and then tap on the dock.
- Uncheck the following boxes: Animate opening applications, automatically hide and show the dock
- Click on Minimize windows using and change Genie effect to scale effect.
4) Clean Up System Junk
A cleaner Mac is a faster Mac. Having your file system cluttered can lead to unresponsive applications and, obviously, reduced disk space. This can, in turn, slow your Mac down quite drastically – thankfully, this is easy to fix.
Just browse through your Disks and remove old/large junk files, system and app caches, uninstalled app residue, duplicate files, broken downloads, etc. If you have time, do it manually. Otherwise, enlist the help of apps like CleanMyMac X to do the same This junk cleaning app can scan your Mac & detect junk files in a jiffy – you can then clean it with a few taps.
To use it:
- Launch CleanMyMac X
- Select system junk in the left sidebar and initiate the scan
- Once the scan is completed, click on clean
In most cases, CleanMyMac X can help clean out up to 10-15 GB of junk from your system.
For reliable results, clean your Mac every two to three weeks. This will ensure that there’ll be no excessive junk accumulation and, thus, no slowdowns.
5) Check For Malware In The System
Contrary to the popular notion: Macs can get viruses – and it might be one of the common reasons why Mac computers may get slower over time. Infections usually occur when you install or download files from unverified sources.
To ensure they don’t affect your system performance, and more importantly, not steal your data, its important to do health checks with good anti-virus software. CleanMyMac X is a great solution for this endeavor.
Here’s how to free your Mac from malwares using CleanMyMac X;
- Launch CleanMyMac X
- Select the malware removal module tool from the left side tool pane
- Select scan
- If you find malware, the tool will guide you through the next steps to completely purge them from the system.
To get the best results, make sure to run CleanMyMac X’s Malware scan every other week and make it a part of your Macs maintenance routine.
6) Cleanup Desktop Clutter
Every file that shows on the desktop is a window with an image in it – and they are all stored on RAM so the system can load them faster when needed. The fewer the icons you have, the more the free RAM available – and faster your Mac will run.
To solve this issue, eliminate unwanted icons from the desktop, and keep only the most needed ones. Don’t keep files out on the screen; instead, organize them appropriately into respective user folders – Documents, pictures, Movies, etc. This can give you a noticeable improvement in system performance, not to mention a cleaner desktop look.
On Mac OS Sierra and later, you can choose to share the desktop across multiple Macs to keep desktop files on the iCloud.
7) Manage Spotlight Search Indexing
Especially with the recent Mac OS versions, Spotlight – a local file searching tool – has become even more useful. But if you use a system with multiple drives, it can take Spotlight time & effort to index & re-index the file-system. This, in turn, will slow down the Mac.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, try & limit the files spotlight indexes. This can be done in the Spotlight pane in the system preference. Once you’ve opened the pane, click on the Privacy tab. You can now easily drag any folders or volumes that you don’t want or need to be indexed on to the search window to prevent them from being scanned.
This will prevent unnecessary Spotlight indexing and reduce the files it needs to index, meaning your Mac can spend less time indexing. This should help improve your Mac’s performance quite considerably in the long run.
8) Keep Your Mac Updated
Every new iteration of Mac OS tends to come with performance enhancements. So if your Mac is feeling slow with the current OS, updating to the newer one might just do the trick to improve your system performance better.
How to update your Mac device? Well, this depends on what Mac OS version you are running.
If you are running Mojave, Catalina, or later, just open system preferences, click on the software update, and wait while your Mac checks for updates. If there is one available, update to that (after taking a backup, of course). If you are on an even older version, click on the Apple logo in the menu bar and choose software update; if it’s there, else App Store > update.
9) Consider Getting Hardware Upgrades
Depending on how old your Mac is, you might not have a solid-State-Drive (SSD). Unlike traditional hard disk drives (HDDs that have moving parts, the stationary SSD drives offer improved performance and reliability.
Naturally, ditching an old HDD for a new SSD can offer massive performance gains – up to 50 times, in fact! The same also goes for Mac RAMs (not for Mac Books, which has soldered RAMs). You can either swap out the old RAM or add to it with an expansion slot for more memory – the more the RAM, the faster your device will perform on an everyday basis.
You can either upgrade the SSD & RAM yourself (there are plenty of guides online) or take t to an authorized expert or Genius Bar to get them to do it for you. Either way, this can give a very noticeable power boost to your Mac experience.
10) Use Mac Optimization/Cleanup Tools
If you want to optimize your Mac for speed but don’t have the time for it, consider using a Mac optimization/cleaning tool. There are a number of such tools available, our favorite: CleanMyMac X from MacPaw.
Unlike other Mac utility tools, CleanMyMac goes much deeper in scanning system junk, especially killing unwanted cache files. You can use it to eliminate broken downloads, empty folders, old updates, system/app caches, non-needed backups, etc. The built-in auto-run manager optimizes start up items, so your Mac boots up even faster.
Adding more utility, CleanMyMac further comes with an anti-malware scan, privacy controls, file shredder, app updater, and more.
11) Reinstall Mac OS System
If all the above steps fail, and you’ve exhausted every option to speed up your Mac, there is one more option: a clean reinstallation Of the Mac OS.
It’s not an easy job – and you’ll need to delete your entire boot drive. But it will definitely all the unwanted files accumulated in the system library and the user libraries over the years, causing your Mac to slow down. Before getting started, make sure to make one, preferably two, complete system backups to an external drive so that you can copy documents, images, music, and other files you need back once you installed the new Mac OS version.
How To Speed Up Your Mac – The Conclusion
That’s it, folks! These are the top steps you can take to better remedy your Mac’s sluggishness and other issues. These are all trusted methods and, in almost all cases, should be enough to help you get more life & longevity out of your expensive Mac.
If these steps, too, don’t work, including OS reinstallation, hardware upgrades, or CleanMyMac X, then for sure, it might be time for a new Mac altogether. Fortunately, you can still save money. The second hand Mac market offers some seriously big savings on older models. Just don’t expect rock bottom prices, though – Apple devices tend to retain value better than others.
So hey, did we help fix your slow Mac? Which method worked the best? Let us know in the comments below, as well as any queries or suggestions you may have.