Mac Running Slow? It’s well known that all computers, including Macs, slow down over time. This drop in performance can be frustrating and it’s easy to think you need to spend more RAM, or even buy a new machine, sooner than you’d like. But there are a number of simple tweaks that can improve your computer’s performance and speed up that slow Mac, and they won’t cost you a dime.
Mac Running Slow? A slow Mac is never fun. Whatever the reason your computer is running slowly, it’s frustrating to deal with a Mac that doesn’t respond quickly to your input. All Macs slow down over time. No matter how much you spend on them or which model you choose, they start to slow down and can overheat. A slow Mac can cause anxiety-inducing productivity issues, especially if you have a deadline to meet.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do. No need to rush out and buy a new Mac right away. Macs slow down for many reasons, from heavy start menus to apps running in the background, to disks full of files, apps, pictures, and documents you no longer need. Outdated hardware can also slow down Macs.
First: Mac Running Slow? errors that slow down your Mac
We already covered some causes of a slow Mac when we looked at the common mistakes that slow down your Mac. Before you continue, you should read this guide to learn what not to do.
It covers quick fixes like closing demanding programs and clearing their caches, which immediately improve your Mac’s performance. But if your computer still isn’t working the way you want it to, continue with the tips below.
Mac Running Slow? Before heading to the solutions, one should understand the underlying issues that slow down a Mac. Often running heavy applications at the same time makes your Mac slow and sluggish. Newer Macs, like the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) with up to 64GB of RAM, promise flawless performance, even if you’re editing a video or developing a game.
But even what looks like a perfect Mac on both can slow down. with age. Don’t worry though, your Mac can go back to its original speed, so don’t give up just yet.
Read on and you’ll find out what causes slowdowns and some of the best tips and tricks to speed up your Mac and improve performance in no time. So, are you ready to learn how to clean up your Mac so it runs faster? Here are the most effective tips to speed up your Mac:
1. Mac Running Slow? Update macOS
Mac Running Slow? Many people still believe in the myth that OS updates always slow down your machine. And while they can sometimes have performance issues on very old computers, these updates generally do more good than harm.
They include bug fixes, fixes, and improvements that often increase the speed of your Mac. However, these operating system update files can be quite large. So if you’re running low on hard drive space, you’ll probably want to free it up first (see step 2 below).
To update your operating system, make sure your laptop is plugged into a power outlet and back up your Mac first in case something goes wrong. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and navigate to About This Mac > Software Updates. If a software update is available, you’ll see an Update Now button. Click on it and the download will start.
After a while, your computer will reboot itself and go through the installation process. This update process will not only update the operating system, but also many of the default Apple apps.
2. Free up hard drive space
Mac Running Slow? As your storage drive reaches its maximum capacity, performance drops rapidly. Large files have been shown to have a greater negative effect on the speed of your Mac than small files.
Therefore, it is always advisable to keep at least 25% of the disk space free if possible. To check how much free space you have on your hard drive, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage.
If you’re running low on space, as shown in the image above, it’s worth checking out our guide on how to free up space on your Mac. This walks you through each of the following steps:
- Empty the trash
- Uninstall apps you don’t use
- Find and delete large files
- Delete iTunes files and iOS backups
- Explore cloud storage apps
- Optimize storage in the Photos app
- Store your Desktop and Documents folders in the cloud
Mac Running Slow? Hardware is Old
We’re here because Disk Cleanup and Software Updates can’t do much. If your Mac is very old, it will slow down no matter what you do. Before you bite the bullet and buy a new Mac, there are a few hardware upgrades to consider. They won’t be expensive, but they could breathe new life into your tired Mac.
Upgrade memory to speed up a Mac
Mac Running Slow? Memory is a determining factor in how well your Mac runs. It’s also one of the easiest upgrades because adding a new RAM module is easy. You don’t need to do anything else on your system. Best of all, it won’t hurt your wallet too much. To make your Mac faster, check out our Mac RAM installation guide here.
Add an SSD to speed up your Mac
Compared to installing RAM, adding an SSD (Solid State Drive) is a bit more expensive (but still a lot cheaper than a new Mac). But if your Mac is running slow, it will greatly improve performance.
And this is how you speed up Mac
If your Mac has been running slower over time, these solutions should get your Mac running faster right away. You might even feel like you bought a new Mac, without a big bill. Don’t forget to perform occasional system cleanups with CleanMyMac X to keep your Mac clean and fast.
3. Mac Running Slow? Delete startup items
Do your Mac Running Slow? To help your Mac start up faster, you should minimize the number of background processes that load each time you restart. To do this:
- Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and select your account name in the left sidebar.
- Click Login Items.
- Select the items you no longer want to load at startup.
- Delete them by clicking the minus button.
4. Mac Running Slow? Remove unnecessary widgets
Mac Running Slow? Having a bunch of widgets running in the background can also affect the speed of your Mac. To remove some of them:
- Open the notification center by clicking the button in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Go to the Today tab.
- Click the red remove button to remove all unnecessary widgets.
5. Rebuild Spotlight Index
Mac Running Slow? If Spotlight has stopped returning the expected results or is running particularly slowly, rebuilding the Spotlight index should help. Follow these steps to do it:
- Go to System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy.
- Click the More button and select the drive or folders you want to re-index.
- Confirm that you want to (temporarily) exclude them from Spotlight.
- Select the same drive or folder, then click the minus button to delete them again.
This will force Spotlight to re-index that drive or folder, which should make it easier to find. This can take a while, so be patient if Spotlight seems complicated at first.
6. Mac Running Slow? Disable visual effects
The barely noticeable visual effects of macOS can affect your computer’s performance more than you think. To turn them off:
- Go to System Preferences > Dock.
- Uncheck Animate opening apps.
- Set Minimize windows using the scaling effect.
7. Don’t sync too much data to the cloud at once
If you try to sync large folders to the cloud using services like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, everything will likely slow down. Be sure to check regularly what files and folders are uploaded.
8. Set a default search folder
Every time you open Finder, it should load the folder that is set as default.
9. Remove browser plug-ins
The easiest solution is to remove unnecessary and bulky plugins/extensions from the browser you are using. We have shown how to easily clean extensions from your browser.
- How to manage extensions in Safari
- Manage extensions in Chrome How to remove add-ons from Firefox
10. Mac Running Slow? Keep your apps up to date
Outdated apps that haven’t been optimized for the latest macOS update can make your Mac slower than it really is. Therefore, it is always useful to keep your computer software up to date.
11. Mac Running Slow? Declutter a messy desktop
Ideal for things you need to remember and access quickly. Along with many other apps in the Dock, it quickly becomes a go-to place for everything you need. Unfortunately, when you have a lot to do, it can slow down your Mac.
Even a few weeks after allowing the hoarding of documents, files, downloads, and application shortcuts, anyone may wonder where they last saw something they needed. It can seriously hurt productivity when you have to search your entire desktop or deeper into your Mac just to find a single file.
12. Mac Running Slow? Configure your SMC and STROLLER
Two things to update before or after downloading and installing the latest version of macOS are the System Management Controller (SMC) and Configuration RAM (PRAM). Both of these are small cogs in a larger wheel and can be done by rebooting your device for 5-10 seconds, but it can make a big difference in speed.
Do your Mac Running Slow? there are times when a Mac doesn’t work properly for no apparent reason. Systems crash, the battery doesn’t charge or takes longer than usual, the Mac goes to sleep or even shuts down unexpectedly. If you’ve tried other solutions and these issues persist, you may need to reset your SMC (System Management Controller) and PRAM (Parameter RAM).
Note: You can only reset SMC and PRAM on Macs with Intel processors. Do not try these steps on a Mac M1.
When a battery is removable, turn off your Mac, remove the battery, press the power button for 5 seconds, then reinsert the battery and turn on your Mac.
For newer MacBooks, including Air and Pro, resetting the SMC and PRAM involves shutting down the Mac and then pressing Shift+Control+Option on the keyboard along with the power button for 10 seconds. Then release all keys and press the power button to turn it on.
Other Macs, especially the iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro, involve a slightly different process to reset the PRAM. So, here is what you need to do to fix slow iMac performance:
- Turn off your computer
- Press the power button followed by Command + Option + P + R keys
- Once your Mac restarts, release the keys.
- While not all of these processes are simple, they can do wonders when trying to speed up a slow Mac.
Mac Running Slow? Use Mac cleanup tools to remove junk files and get a faster Mac
Mac creates a lot of junk files like cache and logs, and although they are small at first, over time they take up gigabytes of your precious space.
13. Speed test and tune up your Mac often
Mac Running Slow? Following the tips above will help you speed up your slow Mac again. All the apps mentioned in this article, such as iStat Menus, CleanMyMac X, Spotless, and App Tamer. Now you can go ahead and make your Mac life a little easier and a lot more productive.
14. Shut down or restart your Mac more often
We hardly take care of our Macs: we turn them off at night, then open them the next day to give them even more power to handle ever-increasing workloads. We forget that computers need a break too. Instead of just shutting them down and letting them sleep, we should be shutting them down or restarting them more often, reducing the load on processors, software, applications, and hard drives.