How to Speed up Mac? — 10 Steps to Improve MacBook Performance

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Remember the feeling of a brand new Mac? A Mac without rainbow wheels. A Mac that didn’t cause headaches or frustration. Everything was just perfect! However, with all apps, documents, photos, and a full iTunes library, your Mac starts to act as if it’s hiking 20 miles uphill in the snow. We’ll show you 10 ways to speed up your Mac.

Here’s How to Speed Up Your Mac

These simple steps won't take much time, but will greatly help to improve your Mac's performance. If you do these activities regularly, you won't have to worry about the need to speed up your Mac again.

1. Find resource-hungry processes

Some apps are more power hungry than others and can slow your Mac to a crawl. To see which apps are eating up your system resources, use Activity Monitor. You can open it from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.

Activity Monitor details five different resources: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network usage. If your Mac is running slowly, pay special attention to the CPU section. It shows how processes affect CPU (processor) activity. Click a column name, such as % CPU, to list all programs by the amount of CPU they’re using.

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If you see that some app is using a lot of CPU power, you can close it from here by choosing the app with the mouse and clicking the X in the left-hand corner of the Activity Monitor.

2. Manage your startup items

It goes without saying that a clean startup helps speed up slow Mac. When your Mac launches faster, it takes less time to do anything. No waiting for Safari, Chrome or Firefox to launch — they open instantly. How do you get such speed? Well, when your Mac boots up, it runs a lot of unnecessary apps. But it’s quite easy to take control of it. Go to your System Preferences > Users & Groups and then click on your username. Now click on Login Items and select a program you don’t immediately need when your Mac starts up, and click the “-” button below.

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3. Turn off visual effects

A great tip to help you when you wonder how to speed up your Mac is to turn off visual effects. Sure, they look pretty, but who cares if your Mac is running slowly? Turning off some of the features can greatly speed up iMac or MacBook.

Here’s how to speed up a Mac by turning off some visual effects:

  1. Click System Preferences > Dock.

  2. Untick the following boxes: Animate opening applications, Automatically hide and show the Dock.

  3. Click on Minimize windows using and change Genie effect to Scale effect.

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4. Repair disk permissions

When you install an app on your Mac, the piece of software arrives as a package of files, including permissions that tell OS which users can do what things with specific files. These permissions are file settings that affect the ability to read, write, or execute (open and run) the file. Over time, these permissions can get changed, and software that uses the file might not work correctly. It results in your Mac lagging. A quick and easy fix is to repair disk permissions.

Follow these steps to repair disk permissions:

  1. Open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities).

  2. Choose your startup disk.

  3. Click the First Aid tab.

  4. Click Repair Disk Permissions to repair any inconsistent permissions.

Note that beginning from OS X EI Capitan, there is no need to repair disk permissions. System file permissions are automatically protected, so it’s no longer necessary to verify or repair permissions with Disk Utility. But if your Mac runs OS X Yosemite or earlier, repairing disk permissions can help speed up old Mac.

5. Reindex Spotlight

If you recently updated your OS, you would be aware of the slowness that occurs when Spotlight is indexing. This only takes a few hours and then your Mac will be fine. But sometimes the indexing gets stuck, and you need to speed up a Mac. To solve this problem, you need to reindex Spotlight by going to System Preferences > Spotlight and clicking on the “Privacy” tab.

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Now drag your hard drive from Finder into the Privacy List. Once added, remove it by clicking the “-” sign. The indexing will start again, but hopefully, after a few hours, it will finish properly and boost your Mac speed.

6. Uninstall applications

Another proven way to speed up MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac is to uninstall the application you don’t need anymore. So how to remove unwanted apps on your Mac? You may be surprised to find out that simply dragging them to a Trash bin is not enough. It leaves gigabytes of junk behind. Dragging documents and movies to Trash works fine but apps should be uninstalled completely.

7. Update your Mac (OS and hardware)

Typically, Macs take care of themselves. Having the latest software from Apple makes speeding up your Mac simple. To check your version of the operating system, click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and then About This Mac. Make sure you have the latest macOS/OS X installed (or the latest you can install since not all Macs upgrade to macOS Mojave).

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As for the hardware upgrade, as you’ve probably guessed, it is costly. But if your OS is the latest possible version and you’ve cleaned up the hard drive, and you still have troubles with speed, this could be your solution. Keep in mind that upgrading some hardware is not possible for certain Macs.

Upgrading to the latest OS and upgrading your hardware will typically solve a bunch of slowness issues.

8. Manage syncing photos to iCloud

You may be surprised by how much of your Mac’s storage is taken up by photos. And syncing them to iCloud may take plenty of time, and as a result, slow down your Mac. You may think that deleting photos from your Mac may resolve the problem. But, unfortunately, that’s not how iCloud Photo Library works. When you remove photos from your computer, they are also deleted from all your devices. So how to speed up your Mac and don’t lose your photos?

One of the possible solutions might be turning off iCloud Photo Library on your Mac. If you still want to back up your photos in the cloud, you may use another device, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. That’s up to you! But note that taking control over syncing your photos to the iCloud may speed up your Mac.

9. Restart your Mac

If your Mac is acting sluggish or some programs are failing to run, try to restart your computer. When you restart your Mac, it closes all running programs and offers to save any files you’re working on. Once you choose to save the file, your Mac will boot up again. The result is a refreshed Mac that should perform better.

To restart your Mac, do the following:

  1. Click the Apple menu button in the top-left corner of your screen.

  2. Click Restart.

  3. Click the Restart button in the pop-up menu to confirm.

If you need to reboot your Mac but want to reopen apps automatically after rebooting, check the Reopen windows when logging back in box in the pop-up menu.

10. Replace your HDD with SSD

You can breathe new life into your Mac by replacing its traditional hard drive with a solid-state drive. Adding an SSD will make your computer boot faster, copy files in the blink of an eye and make the system really fast when multitasking.

A word of caution: it’s recommended that you consult a professional before attempting any hardware upgrades yourself because the process is quite challenging. And don’t forget to make a complete backup of your data before replacing your HDD with SSD, so that you’ll be able to restore all important files if something goes wrong.

This Is What A Social Security Scam Sounds Like

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Earlier this month, the FTP warned about a growing scam: people pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and try to get your Social Security number or your money. That scam is now growing exponentially. To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us they’ve lost $10 million.

Here’s what one of those scam calls sound like:

Scammers are saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he’ll say your bank account is about to be seized – but he’ll tell you what to do to keep it safe. (Often, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes – which, of course, means that your money is gone.)

Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

Here's what to know:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.

  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.

  • The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.

  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.

If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

New Facebook Bug Exposed 6.8 Million Users Photos to Third-Party Apps

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Facebook's latest mishap — a programming bug in Facebook website accidentally gave 1,500 third-party apps access to the unposted Facebook photos of as many as 6.8 million users.

Facebook today quietly announced that it discovered a new API bug in its photo-sharing system that let 876 developers access users' private photos which they never shared on their timeline, including images uploaded to Marketplace or Facebook Stories.

"When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories," Facebook said.

What's worse? The bug even exposed photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post or didn't finish posting it for some reason.

The flaw left users' private data exposed for 12 days, between September 13th and September 25th, until Facebook discovered and fixed the security blunder on the 25th September.

"Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorized to access their photos," Facebook said.

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The social media giant has started notifying impacted users of the flaw through an alert on their Facebook timeline that their photos may have been exposed, which will direct them to its Help Center page with more information.

Facebook also says the social media network will soon be rolling out "tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug."

Facebook also assures its users that the company will be working with app developers to delete copies of photos that they were not supposed to access.

Cyber Security Worst Practices – 8 Must-Break User Habits

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People can be a business’s greatest asset, but they can also be its biggest cyber security liability. Cyber criminals are drawn to the path of least resistance and, when compared to today’s highly advanced security solutions, that’s often what users represent.

Using data collected in Dell Technologies’ End User Security Survey, our team has compiled a list of eight all too common cyber security worst practices.

Accessing confidential data over public Wi-Fi. The risks of connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi are plentiful and yet the message hasn’t connected with users. Despite the ease with which attackers can use these services to execute man-in-the-middle attacks, users continue to lean on public Wi-Fi. In fact, in Dell’s survey, 46% of respondents admitted to not just using public Wi-Fi, but using it to access company data.

Conducting work via personal email. IT teams can restrict the flow of information into and out of their company over corporate email. Personal email, however, is a different story. Yet, very nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said they conduct business using their personal accounts. This effectively shuts out those in IT tasked with keeping users and company data secure.

Emailing confidential data to those outside the company. Employees’ bad email behavior goes beyond blurring the lines between personal accounts and business workloads. Just under half (45%) acknowledged emailing sensitive files outside the organization. Even though controls exist for managing how data is handled, the risk of misuse remains high.

Taking information with them when they go. Far too often, when an employee leaves a company, he or she doesn’t do so empty-handed. Instead, 35% say it is routine to take data with them when they leave. While the exact nature of the data exiting end users are helping themselves to wasn’t specified, employers would likely prefer it to stay in-house.

Putting their faith (and company data) in over-the-counter cloud. For some users, Shadow IT has become a way of life. More than half (56%) said they use publicly available tools including Dropbox and Google Drive for storage and collaboration. It’s unknown whether or not they are aware of the dangers of this approach.

Seeing security as “somebody else’s problem.” First the good news: According to Dell’s research, 65% of employees see security as their duty. They believe it is up to them to educate themselves on threats and behave responsibly. What enters this into the domain of cyber security worst practices is the fact that 35% still see themselves as removed from their company’s security challenges.

Suffering from security overconfidence. Confidence is good, but too much can be hazardous. Dell’s study found just 22% of employees are worried that, someday, they might cause a cyber-attack or some other security disaster. In truth, any employee, regardless of position or age, could become a victim.

Failing to take training to heart. The majority of those Dell surveyed (63%) are required by their employers to attend cyber security readiness training. However, some are struggling to apply those lessons. Just under one-in-five (18%) engaged in unsafe behaviors post-training without realizing what they were doing was wrong. Furthermore, 24% knew their actions were unsafe, but carried on anyway.

500 Million Marriott Guest Records Stolen in Data Breach

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The world's biggest hotel chain Marriott International disclosed that unknown hackers compromised guest reservation database its subsidiary Starwood hotels and walked away with personal details of about 500 million guests.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide was acquired by Marriott International for $13 billion in 2016. The brand includes St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Element Hotels, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels.

The incident is believed to be one of the largest data breaches in history, behind 2016 Yahoo hacking in which nearly 3 billion user accounts were stolen.

The breach of Starwood properties has been happening since 2014 after an "unauthorized party" managed to gain unauthorized access to the Starwood's guest reservation database, and had copied and encrypted the information.

Marriott discovered the breach on September 8 this year after it received an alert from an internal security tool "regarding an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database in the United States."

On November 19, the investigation into the incident revealed that there was unauthorized access to the database, containing "guest information relating to reservations at Starwood properties on or before September 10, 2018."

The stolen hotel database contains sensitive personal information of nearly 327 million guests, including their names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, genders, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences.

What's worrisome? For some users, stolen data also includes payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates.

But, according to Marriott, "the payment card numbers were encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard encryption (AES-128)." Attackers need two components to decrypt the payment card numbers, and "at this point, Marriott has not been able to rule out the possibility that both were taken."

"The company has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property," the company said in a statement.

Marriott confirmed that its investigation into the incident only identified unauthorized access to the separate Starwood network and not the Marriott network. It has also begun informing potentially impacted customers of the security incident.

The hotel company has begun notifying regulatory authorities and also informed law enforcement of the incident and continues to support their investigation.

Since the data breach falls under European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, Marriott could face a maximum fine of 17 million pounds or 4 percent of its annual global revenue, whichever is higher, if found breaking any of these rules.