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.
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.
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:
Click System Preferences > Dock.
Untick 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. 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:
Open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities).
Choose your startup disk.
Click the First Aid tab.
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.
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).
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:
Click the Apple menu button in the top-left corner of your screen.
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.