How to Speed Up a Slow Mac, 7 Ways

By: | October 11, 2019 | Tags: , , ,

This post was contributed.

A slow running computer is frustrating, saps productivity, and leaves you with the potential nightmare of having to find the money for a replacement.

Buying a new Mac might not be on your list of expenses for the month but, fortunately, there are steps you can take that will allow you to eek a little more life out of even the oldest Mac. Below are seven tips to try before you grab your wallet and buy a new computer.

1 – Close Unused Apps

If you’ve had your Mac a while and you don’t routinely check for unused apps that are running when your system is on, there’s a good chance that there’s a ton of them running. Take a look at the Dock at the bottom of your screen, and especially at those programs on your Mac with a dot under them. These programs are running and if you haven’t used them in some time, there’s no need for them to be using system memory

Rightclick and choose Quit to close any software. If you have to choose Force Quit, there’s a good chance this is the program that’s been slowing your system, and it needs to be removed.

2 – Identify and Eliminate Memory Hogs

How to free up memory on Mac

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Some apps use a mass of memory while they’re running. Having one of these apps open could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and could be the reason that it’s taking an age to do anything. 

Open the Activity Monitor and click on the CPU button. Click on the %CPU column to order the list with the apps that are using the most memory at the top. Identify the apps using the most power and either close them or check to see whether there are any updates that would improve their performance.

3 – Prevent Startup Programs

Click Users & Groups from the System Preferences menu and then click Login Items. This presents you with a list of those apps and programs that open when you start your Mac. Go through the list, keep those programs that you do need to open every time you start your computer, but delete those that you don’t use.

4 – Prevent, Or Time, Syncing

iCloud is one service that enables you to save files from your desktop and other devices to cloud storage. It offers users the chance to automatically sync between the cloud and their desktop, too, which is a convenient way of ensuring that you don’t forget to backup files. If you’ve ever lost work or photos and had no way of getting them back because you hadn’t manually stored them to your cloud, you’ll understand the importance of automatic syncing. 

However, background syncing takes up memory and this can slow your Mac down. Ensure that your computer syncs at a time that is convenient to you or, if convenient, turn off automatic syncing and save files manually.

5 – Use Cloud Storage For Photos, Videos, And Music

When it comes to cloud storage, this is the best option for storing files like photos, homemade videos, and your music. These files can be extremely large and take up a lot of hard drive space. As your hard drive fills up, it slows your Mac down. However, this doesn’t mean you should store them on iCloud and delete them from your desktop, because deleting from the desktop removes them from all devices. Use an alternative file storage service, save your personal files, and then delete them from your Mac.

6 – Remove Unnecessary Files

Whenever you delete items, including entire programs that you no longer use, they are not really deleted, just moved to your Trash. They still reside on your Mac and they still take up space. 

Routinely empty the Trash and also remove old files from your Downloads folder, because this can also become filled with unused and unnecessary files and programs. You can also clear out old files that you never use. Open the Finder and then sort by date. Locate anything that you haven’t opened in months or years, and determine whether you really need it, before deleting.

7 – Clear Cache

Cache is a small file retained by your Mac for reuse at a later date. While a single cached file might not take up a lot of room, it is not uncommon for a cache folder to be packed full of these files. Clearing cache helps free up space and can also improve the performance of your Mac. Clear cache in your browser, Spotify, iTunes, and other software to give your Mac a really good spring clean and to reap the speed rewards yourself.

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