How to Speed up a Slow Mac

If your Mac has become slow and you’re finding it difficult to get it to complete basic tasks like loading documents, rendering files, or opening apps, there are a number of steps you can take in order to speed it up. Before you go out and get the latest Mac, see if any of these tips and tricks to speed up your Mac are any help.

Close any unnecessary apps
A good place to start is restarting your Mac. Many of us are guilty of keeping our Mac turned on at all times, and often it won’t have been restarted in weeks or even months. If this is the case, it’s possible your RAM could be maxed out, and restarting your Mac will free up space. Alternatively, you can manually close any apps you have open. Programs running in the background can use valuable CPU space, preventing your Mac from carrying out tasks. Unwanted programs running in the background can also drain your Mac’s battery, so be sure to close any. Use Activity Monitor to find the apps that are using the most CPU, memory, energy, and disk space, and close any that are not in use.

Ensure you have enough free space
Your Mac’s performance is based partly on empty drive space, as it needs to be able to read and read swap files, which help keep your Mac running smoothly by giving the appearance of your system having more RAM installed than it actually has. Defragmenting your Mac is unnecessary, as the operating system has a built-in way to prevent files from becoming fragmented. However, this requires at least 10% of your disk to be free. Check how much disk space you have free by clicking on the Apple logo in the top left, and then About This Mac. In the Storage tab, your Mac will calculate how much disk space is free, and what sort of files are using valuable space. Newer versions of macOS allow you to click a Manage button, which brings up some solutions to clear out your disk, including by storing files in iCloud rather than locally, emptying your Trash automatically, and a Reduce Clutter function that sorts through and finds files that haven’t been used in a while. Unwanted apps can often take up a huge amount of your Mac’s storage space, so delete any that you aren’t using.

Update your operating system
If you’re using an outdated version of macOS, you could be limiting your Mac’s speed, as there’s every chance that your apps will be optimised to perform better on new version of the operating system, not to mention the version you’re using may be full of bugs that cause performance issues. Click the Apple logo in the top left, followed by About This Mac. On the Overview tab, it will inform you which version of macOS your Mac is running, and whether it is the latest version or not.

Upgrade your hardware
You can boost the performance of your Mac by adding more RAM, and free up space by getting a higher capacity drive if you’re having trouble deleting files or applications. While adding RAM is a relatively simple process on older Macs, newer models make things a bit more difficult. Currently, Macs ship with no less than 8GB RAM, and you can find out how much your Mac has by clicking the Apple logo in the top left, then About This Mac, followed by System Report. Opening Activity Monitor will tell you how much RAM you’re using at any one time. If you’re pushing the RAM to its limits, it might be a good idea to upgrade. As we mentioned above, upgrading your Mac’s RAM can be a difficult task. Apple provide details on which models can have extra RAM installed, based on the type of Mac you have: MacBook Pro or iMac. The standard MacBook only allows additional RAM to be installed for the 2008-2011 models.

Speed up Mac