20 Ways to Speed up Your Mac

Right now, does everything from booting up your device to browsing the web or playing videos seem to make your Mac struggle? Age makes computers slower, but there’s a lot of things you can do to keeps yours running fast and smooth. In this article, we cover 20 ways to speed up your Mac to bring it back to health:

 

1 Turn it Off and On Again

If it’s been a while, restart your Mac. Doing so on a regular basis improves performance and gives the computer a chance to rest and recover before later use.

 

2 Close Your Apps

Apps eat away at the memory of your computer, making everything slower the more you have open in the background. Closing any that are running in the background that you’re not using or don’t need, can improve overall performance.

 

3 Prevent Login Items

If your computer is unusually slow just as you log on or start up your computer, it might be trying to do too much when turned on. By removing login items (apps which open the moment you log into your computer), you can make the whole startup process quicker.

Screenshot on a Used Apple computer of Login Items

 

4 Shut Your Tabs

Just like apps, having too many tabs open when you browse the web hinders your Apple computer’s performance. Try closing as many tabs as you can, or your web browser entirely, to free up RAM and speed up your computer.

 

5 Delete What You Don’t Use

Particularly if you are using more than 80% of your computer’s memory already, simply having downloaded too much onto your Apple device can slow it down. Delete anything you haven’t used in ages, particularly video and photo files, to free up space and improve performance.

 

6 Shrink Your Dock

Apple’s Genie Effect and Magnification effects might look good on your device, but they also can massively slow down your device! Go to ‘System Preferences’ and ‘Dock’ to close and turn off animated effects.

Screenshot on a refurbished MacBook Air of dock settings

 

7 Remove Your Screensaver

Just as the Genie and Magnification effects drain the battery, so does a screensaver – particularly an HD animated one. This is also true of animated desktop backgrounds. Instead, use a simple image or colour screensaver for a less processor intensive background.

 

8 Upgrade Your RAM

Mac OS X loves eating up your RAM. If you’ve got an older computer, purchasing and installing more RAM onto your device is the simplest and best way of improving your overall performance.

 

9 Switch to SSD

If you still use a Fusion or HDD storage system on your device, this is likely a big factor in your device slowdown. Since Apple switched to APFS, HDD has become practically obsolete, and if you want the best performance for your Mac, then you need to purchase an SSD upgrade.

used Apple computer circuit board

 

10 Update Your OS

If your computer meets the specs, upgrade to the latest Mac OS X. That way you have access to the newest operating system, and all the performance boosters that come with the update.

Here at Macbank if you buy a used MacBook from us, we will install the newest operating system available for your device free of charge.

 

11 Prevent the Visuals

Go to System Preferences, then click Accessibility, then Display. On the top-right of the box that then appears, turn on ‘Reduce Motion’ and ‘Reduce Transparency’. Though the performance improvement is slight, you will hardly notice the changes, and this can make a slow computer feel a little bit quicker.

 

12 Use Disk Utility

The Disk Utility tool on your Mac device allows you to perform first aid and fragment your disk to improve performance. Give your computer a checkup to see if anything needs fixing.

Screenshot on a used Apple computer of the disk utility menu

 

13 Check Preference Files

Preference files on a Mac hold the rules that define how applications behave. If they break due to crashes or corruption, this can worsen your Mac’s performance, as well as cause other weird device behaviours. Find the .plist file on your device, delete it, and your computer will rebuild the data as if it were new when you next open the relevant app.

 

14 Check Activity Monitor

If you open up the Finder and search ‘Activity Monitor’, a list appears of the applications and background processes that are running on your computer. If you see something you do not recognise taking up a large share of your CPU or RAM, you may have found the source of your computer’s slowdown.

 

15 Reduce iTunes Backups

iTunes holds all the backups of your device to prevent you from losing any meaningful data. However, they also can take up gigabytes of data on older devices. Consider removing iOS backups you no longer need to improve the amount of spare storage and overall speed of your computer. Go to iTunes > Preferences > Device Preferences to remove any unnecessary backups.

Screenshot on a refurbished Apple computer of iTunes backup

 

16 Change Finder’s Default Search

Is Finder running the slowest on your computer? There are some simple changes you can make to speed up its initial searches. Open Finder Preferences and in New Finder windows choose an appropriate default folder, such as Desktop, to replace All Files. When you open Finder you should have much less stuttering than before.

 

17 Clean Your Mail

If you have Mail running in the background when using your Mac, then reducing the clutter can improve your overall computer’s performance. Delete everything in your spam folder and empty your trash. You can also rebuild your mailbox, which empties and redownloads your inbox to improve overall performance.

 

18 Run an Antivirus Check

One cause of a slower computer can be malicious software taking up some of the processing power of your computer. Apple’s built-in malware detection and file quarantine capabilities make it less likely that you’ll download and run malicious software, but extra security always helps! Avast for Mac and Malwarebytes are both popular, and good quality antivirus software for Apple computers.

mouse cursor hovering over a security button

 

19 Reset your PRAM

Conserving your computer’s hardware health is vital to making your Mac last longer. Resetting and updating your PRAM, or parameter random access memory will improve the overall health of your device. This also resets your System Management Controller (SMC), which manages fans, lights, power, and system performance. To do this, turn off your Mac device. Then, when you turn it on again, immediately press and hold Command+Option+P+R until you hear a second startup ding.

 

20 Reinstall OS X

When all else fails, you can always do a fresh reboot and reinstall your OS onto your computer. This wipes your machine clean, deleting everything on the device and removing any clutter that has built up over the years. Just make sure to back up and save all your important documents on another device!

We perform fresh installations of OS X on all devices to make sure that when you buy a used MacBook, it is lightning fast from the moment you unbox it! If you have extra tips of your own, get in touch on social media – we’d love to hear from you!