10 Reasons for a Slow Mac Computer
10 Reasons for a Slow Mac Computer
Whether you have an old Mac or a brand new one, they will sometimes slow down and you might spend a significant amount of time on load screens or waiting for apps to start responding. Whatever the reason, if your Mac is running slow, you want to fix it.
Worst case scenario, you can always take your Mac in for maintenance at your local Apple store. However, this is time consuming and may be expensive if you no longer have warranty or the issue isn’t a hardware problem. Instead, run through this quick troubleshooting of the top 10 reasons your Mac computer is running slow.
Memory is Low
Your computer uses a significant portion of access memory to manage applications. Unfortunately, this builds up over time and if you haven’t restarted your computer in some time, you may find that your Mac runs slow.
The easiest fix is to simply restart your computer. Unfortunately, if you have an old Mac and a new program, you might have an incompatible program on your hands.
You can also attempt a reset:
- Restart your computer
- Hold Command (⌘), Option, P, and R just before the startup screen appears. (You have to hold these down simultaneously)
- Turn your computer off. If you’re using a laptop, plug it into a power source
- Press Shift-Control-Option and the Power Button at the same time. The computer should not boot
- Turn your computer on normally
These will reset your PRAM and SMC. They will not hurt your computer but you certainly don’t have to do it unless there is a problem.
Your Hard Drive Is Full
If your hard drive is more than 80% full, you will likely experience a slow computer. You can check this very quickly with the following process:
Apple Menu (Top left menu) > About This Mac > Storage
If it’s more than 80% full, review your files and consider removing or deleting some of them. For example, your downloads and images folders are often prime places for unnecessary data buildup. If you need to keep everything, consider investing in an external hard drive and storing some of your data off your Mac.
If you need help, CCleaner is a free program that will find duplicate files and will allow you to sort files based on size.
Too Many Login Items
If your biggest issue with your Mac is that it takes too long to start up, the issue might actually be your Login Items. You can clear this by:
- Removing items from your desktop
- Going to the Apple Menu (Apple Logo top left of the screen) > System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Remove any items that you don’t use when you start up the computer.
You’re Overusing Your CPU
If you’re running an hourly antivirus, hourly Time Machine backups, and other random things, you will notice significant lag on your computer. Check anything that’s set to run automatically and try to schedule it for when you least use your computer. For example, most people can benefit from a daily backup set to right before they log off of the computer rather than hourly. Similarly, you can set an antivirus scan to once per day rather than hourly.
You can also open Activity Monitor (Finder > Applications > Utilities) to see what’s using the most CPU and to force-quit applications that are frozen or hogging CPU.
System Preferences is Full
If you frequently install and uninstall apps, your system preferences is likely a mess. You can clean this up manually or you can download a free program like CCleaner for Mac to do the work for you.
- Go to the Apple Men > System Preferences > Other (Old Mac) Bottom Section (New Mac). Delete any applications there that you have deleted and which are still there.
- Visit: ~/Library/PreferencePanesand delete files you no longer use and have deletes from your computer
You Have Malware
While not extremely likely it is a possibility that your Mac is infected. Malware, trojans, and even spamware can all affect Macintosh computers, especially if you frequent forums, HMTL-based websites, or download content. You can also get computer viruses by downloading illegitimate software, downloading torrents, and installing programs or apps from places you don’t know.
Consider running an antivirus scan or downloading an antivirus program like:
- Trend Micro
Your Mac Needs an Update
Unfortunately, Apple pushes updates to your Mac, which can slow your computer down significantly. This also holds true for app updates like for Microsoft programs. If your computer is unexpectedly lagging, open the applications app and check if you have any pending downloads or computer updates.
Your OS is Outdated
If your operating system is old and out of date, you might slowly begin to experience lag. You should usually update your OS to the latest offered for your computer model. To see if you have the option, go into the App store (Applications).
Unfortunately, if you have an older Mac, you cannot always upgrade so you might not be able to fix the problem.
Your Browser is Full of ExtensionsG
If you’ve installed 30 plugins into your browser, you can expect it to run very slowly. Why? Your Internet browser is likely running all of these programs at once, which can significantly affect your computer’s speed.
Open your Browser, hit the Browser Name next to the Apple Logo and choose Extensions, Plugins, Extras, etc., depending on which browser you’re using. Simply uninstall any that you don’t use or need.
Your Caches are Full
Your Mac will log cache files just like any Windows computer, and you can find them for your browser, Finder, and any applications you use. If you’ve never cleaned your caches, you could find several GB of data there, especially if you use apps like Google Earth.
What should you know? Caches aren’t actually bad, they just build up significantly over time. In the short to medium term, like over a period of a few months, caches work to speed up your computer by keeping access files handy, a bit like short term memory. However, this can build up significantly over time, especially if you have a caching error or delete apps that you no longer use.
You can delete your caches by hitting Command + Shift + G and typing “~/Library/Caches/” into the search bar that appears.
You can also use CCleaner to clean up your caches, but again, doing it frequently can actually slow your computer down.
Did any of these 10 ways to speed up your Mac help?