Fixing a Slow Mac: Incompatible and Third-Party Software

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Fixing a Slow Mac: Incompatible and Third-Party Software

Fixing a Slow Mac: Incompatible and Third-Party Software

In some cases, your Mac may be slow because of software incompatibilities. This can happen when downloading and installing third-party software not explicitly created and run by Apple.

Reasons that software may be incompatible with your Mac include:

  • The program is for a different bit rate than yours (check 32 vs 64 bit)
  • The program is for a newer version of OS X
  • The program is for an older version of OS X
  • The program is corrupt
  • The program is not designed properly

Incompatible software can slow your computer by causing issues with startup, with apps running in the background, and by using a great deal of your system resources.

However, third-party programs can slow your computer down without being incompatible. How? Many developers set their programs to open immediately in launch, to run in the background while your computer is on, and to always be on. This can be convenient if you use it non-stop, but is most likely just using resources that you don’t have to spare.

How can you check it? Start your computer in safe mode and see if the problem goes away.

How to Start a Mac in Safe Mode

  1. Turn your Mac off
  2. Restart your Mac using the power button
  3. Hold the Shift key down during startup
  4. If your problems with your Mac go away in Safe Mode, the problem is definitely third-party software.

Checking for Incompatible Software

Checking for software in your boot and background can be slightly complex and technical if you are unfamiliar with your Mac or not a tech person. For that reason, we’ve recommended two tools that you can use to find and remove third party software.

CCleaner – CCleaner is a free tool that you can use to manage all programs on your computer including files in your boot drive and files that start up automatically when you run your computer.

Clean My Mac – Clean My Mac is a premium tool that you can use to manage and uninstall third-party apps on your computer. It is ideal for nontechnical users because it makes everything simple.

Manually Checking Applications

There are three specific areas where programs typically slow your computer. Login items, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons.

Login Items

Login Items are apps that launch immediatley when your computer restarts. This can be convenient, but the more apps you have set to launch immediately, the slower boot will be. You can easily check and remove these items:

  1. Open System Preferences (Gear on bottom menu)
  2. Open Users & Groups
  3. Check that you are on your User account, and click the “Login Items” tab
  4. Review login items. The fewer you have the better.
  5. To remove a login item, select it so that the check box is blue. Click the (-) button at the bottom. What can you remove? Literally everything on this tab if you desire.
  6. Applications that start up during boot are not necessary for your computer, but can be convenient. However, too many will slow your computer down. If you don’t need a program every time you open your computer, take it off.

Launch Agents

Launch Agents are files designed to automatically launch software in the background or keep it running to perform a task. In some cases, these are necessary and in others they are not.

This step may be slightly technical.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click Go in the top menu bar and choose “Go to Folder”
  3.  Paste ” ~/Library/LaunchAgents ” into the search bar that comes up.
  4. Review your Launch Agents.
  5. In my case, I have only 4 because I largely keep my computer clean.
  6. If you see launch agents that belong to apps that you don’t need, simply uninstall that App by opening Applications and dragging and dropping it to the trash.
  7. In some cases, for example if your app has Kernel access, you may have to use a specific uninstaller provided with the tool. You may also be able to use a tool such as CCleaner or Mac Cleaner to fully uninstall the program.
  8. Check your computer after uninstalling an app to see if it makes a difference. Is your computer faster?
  9. Repeat the process from step 1 but paste ” /Library/LaunchAgents ” into the Go to Folder search.
  10. Repeat the process from step 1 but paste ” /Library/LaunchDaemons “

Third Party Kernel Extensions

Some third-party apps like Mac cleaners and antivirus apps install kernel extensions. These can stay on your computer even after you’ve uninstalled the app and may slow your computer down. A good rule of thumb is that if you have a lot of Kernel extensions belonging to programs you don’t need, uninstall them.

Mac Cleaner – Tools like Mac Cleaner allow you to clean up old kernel extensions and to fully uninstall programs with Kernel extensions when you no longer need them. This can help you to fully remove apps from your computer. However, Mac Cleaner is not free.

Manually Checking Third-Party Kernel Extensions

  1. Open Finder
  2. Go to Applications
  3. Open Utilities
  4. Open Terminal
  5. Paste the command ” kextstat | grep -v com.apple ” into Terminal and hit Enter to execute. In my case, I don’t currently have 3rd party kernel extensions. However, if yours show up, they will appear in the margins of a text like this.

What can you do with this data? If you have a large number of kernel extensions or ones that you don’t use, work to uninstall the applications running them.

Hopefully you’ve fixed your slow Mac computer. If not, click through to the next page to learn how to diagnose hardware problems using Apple’s built in software.

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About The Author
Brandy

Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don’t judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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