What are the top ways to speed up your slow Mac?

The idea of Macs being the beast among all computers and always running light-faced is so ingrained that it frustrates the users when the system starts showing signs of slowing down. There are very few things that make Mac owners pull out their hair than poor and sluggish performance. 

However, Macs are machines at the end of the day. Like all computers, they slow down over time and need some fine-tuning to get their pace back. 

To save you from the epic frustration of staring at the spinning beach ball, here’s some of the best Mac optimization tips. Use them to make your system perform to its optimum capacity. 

Use the Activity Monitor to kill resource-hungry applications 

Activity Monitor is the task manager for MacBook, and it shows which applications are currently active and how much memory is used by the different processes. If your system is running slow, it’s because the resources of your Mac are split up among several processes. 

You can speed up your system by hunting down and closing the resource-hungry programs and apps in the Activity Monitor. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Go go Finder > click Applications > click Utilities > select Activity Monitor 
  • Click the CPU tab > double-click on the apps using a lot of CPU > select Quit to disable the app or process > confirm your action. 

When in the Activity Monitor, focus on unfamiliar programs running in the background, hogging resources. They might be viruses, and you’ll have to get rid of those processes to help your system pick up the pace. 

Clear the hard drive to make space for system files 

Macs need some space to function effectively. So, all the available hard disk space must not be used if you want your system to run lightning fast. Your Mac must have about 20GB of free space on the hard drive for cache files, swapping files for your applications, etc. 

You can clean the hard drive by going to the Apple Menu > selecting About This Mac > clicking Storage to check the amount of free space on your system > select Manage > click Optimize in the Optimize Storage section and remove movies or shows you’ve watched already. Then, you can click Review Files in the Reduce Clutter section and get rid of data you don’t need anymore. 

Free system resources to decrease visual effects 

Most Mac users don’t realize the user interface’s visual effects like dock animations or subtle transparency. But your Mac notices these effects, and they often take up a lot of processing power.

You can adjust the visual effects to boost your system. All you need to do is reduce resource usage by going to System Preferences > clicking on Dock > untick the box next to Animate Opening Applications and Automatically Hide and Show the Dock. Then, it would be best if you disabled transparency by going to System Preferences > clicking Accessibility > clicking Display and checking the box next to Reduce Transparency.

Replace your HDD and get an SSD

One of the quickest ways to speed up a Mac is swapping the HDD for an SSD. SSDs use faster and newer technology, use less battery power, and augment battery life.

Even though SSDs cost more than SSDs, they can write and boot data five times faster than HDDs. Moreover, SSDs produce less noise, heat, and even vibration while writing data. 

Uninstall the unnecessary applications and extensions 

Do you have unused applications on your Mac? While there isn’t any limit to how many apps you can install on your Mac, it is always a smart choice to keep the number low. 

If you have apps you needed once but don’t need anymore, get rid of them immediately. Unused or unnecessary applications consume a lot of available space, which can restrict your Mac’s performance. The same applies to browser extensions. If you have too many, your system may come to a halt. 

To remove unused apps, open Finder > select Applications > peruse the list of apps and choose the ones you don’t use > press Command + Delete to remove the apps > clear the Trash. 

Emptying the Trash is an important step because deleted files or apps are sent to the Trash, where they remain for thirty days. If you don’t empty the Trash, your deleted files will continue taking up space on your Mac. 

To delete Safari extensions you don’t use, open Safari > click Preferences on the Menu > click the Extensions tab > browse through extensions and choose those you don’t need anymore. 

Manage startup programs 

If your Mac takes ages to boot up and start working smoothly, you need to disable some startup programs, cut down on background processes and boost boot time. All you need to do is click the Apple icon > go to System Preferences > click Users & Groups > click Login Items > select the items you don’t need on startup and click the minus button. 

There are also hidden locations where you can find startup items, and to access these, select Go in the menu bar of your system and hold the Option key. It will bring up a Library where you need to scroll down until you see LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons. Both of these launches automatically, and if you don’t need them, you can remove them. 

Upgrade your RAM

If the tricks mentioned above don’t help, your hardware might be limiting your system from performing its optimal. You can increase the speed of your hard disk by adding more RAM. 

Unfortunately, not all Macs can be upgraded, and you’ll need to contact the service center to find out if your system can have a memory upgrade. Also, upgrading is only recommended if you’re using less than 4GB RAM. 

Wrapping up

Besides these, you can check if there are any macOS updates that you’ve forgotten to install. Typically, macOS updates come with bug fixes, and they might automatically speed up your system. 

If nothing else works, you may have to consider visiting the Apple service center or getting a new Mac.

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