How to Make Your Mac Computer Faster

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How to Make Your Mac Run Faster

As a Mac ages, it tends to progressively run slower until you are eventually left looking for how to make your Mac run faster. This problem can be easily avoided by cleaning your Mac on a regular basis.

These quick steps don't take very long to do, but they'll make a big difference in your Mac's performance. If you perform these tasks on a regular basis, your Mac will consistently run faster.

Check for macOS software and driver updates

Software updates frequently repair problems and issues that may be slowing down your machine. Make sure you are running the latest version of OS X and that you have the most up to date drivers installed on your Mac. This can be accomplished by hovering your cursor over the Apple icon in the upper-left corner and choosing App Store from the menu. When updates are available, your Mac will most likely notify you via a desktop notice.

Use Mac's Optimize function

In MacOS Sierra, Apple added Optimize Storage, which helps free up space and improves performance.

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner and then on the drop-down menu, select About This Mac.
  2. In the pop-up window that appears, select the Storage tab.
  3. Select to Manage.
screenshot of Mac's Optimize Storage feature

Here you'll find a variety of useful tools, such as methods for storing files in iCloud and identifying clutter that can be deleted. The most useful tool, however, is Optimize Storage, which enables you to delete downloaded television shows, email attachments, etc. Try using Optimize Storage if you're a heavy media user on your Mac!

Disable startup items

It will take a long time for your Mac to start up if you have a lot of apps set to run when you boot up. Click the Apple icon and go to System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Items, you can see which apps are programmed to launch on startup#. All of the startup items for your Mac are listed here. To uninstall an app, check the box next to it and then click the minus symbol.

For a more complete guide, read how to remove startup programs on mac.

Use Activity Monitor to find problem apps

Certain applications are more especially resource intensive and can bring your Mac to a grinding halt. Use Activity Monitor to determine which applications are consuming the most system resources. You can access it via the Utilities folder within the Applications folder, or via Spotlight.

The Activity Monitor displays information about five different resources: CPU usage , Memory, Disk, Energy, and Network. If your Mac is experiencing slow performance, pay close attention to the Disk usage and CPU sections.They illustrate the impact of processes on CPU (processor) activity and disk workload. To sort all programs by their CPU usage, click the percent CPU column.

Halt and restart Spotlight to make your computer faster

If you've recently updated your operating system, you're probably aware of the lag time that occurs while Spotlight indexes. This process takes several hours to complete and your Mac will be back to normal. However, indexing can become sluggish or even get hung up at times, causing your Mac's performance to slow considerably. To resolve this issue, navigate to System Preferences > Spotlight and select on the "Privacy" tab.

From Finder, drag your hard drive to the "Privacy List". Once added, click the "-" sign to remove it. Indexing will restart totally and will improve your Mac's performance once it completes successfully.

Clear your Mac's caches

Over time, your Mac accumulates a variety of junk that takes up increasing space on the computer. Web browsers are notorious for this, as their massive caches degrade their overall performance. That is why you should periodically clear their cache.

They are not, however, the only applications that accumulate cache and temporary files with use. CCleaner for Mac is one of the best free ways to clean out your Mac.

How good is CCleaner? This app can clear both the caches of your browsers and the caches that your system accumulates over time. While the company does provide a premium version, the free version is perfectly suitable for the majority of customers.

Read our guide to how to clear cache files on mac.

Disable FileVault

It's common to enable FileVault Disk Encryption to protect your private files from unauthorized access. However, this feature can cause boot or login troubles. On a Mac, you can deactivate this functionality by following the instructions below:

disabling FileVault Disk Encryption on Mac
  • Select the icon 'Apple'.
  • Click 'System Preferences'.
  • Select 'Security & Privacy'.
  • Select the FileVault tab and disable this feature.

Use an app to make your Mac faster

By now, you can see that thoroughly cleaning your Mac may take some time. And once you've done so, a large number of temporary files will swiftly reappear during normal computer use.

The best long-term solution for speeding up your Mac is to utilize a dedicated Mac cleaner like CleanMyMac by MacPaw. It'll look for background programs, startup items, temporary files, cache files, and duplicate pictures, among other things. Additionally, it can perform maintenance automatically at the push of a button, ensuring that your Mac remains a lean, mean, and swift machine.

Reduce iCloud file syncs

If you use iCloud to sync files or photos between different computers, you may experience slow performance while your Mac syncs your files in the background.

If you're using iCloud Desktop, avoid storing huge files on your desktop. By storing only the files that you need access to from other devices on your iCloud desktop, you can spend less time waiting for the items that require sync to complete.

If your Mac uses iCloud Photos and you don't want it to be constantly synchronizing photos, avoid launching the program when it is not needed. If this proves to be a problem, disable iCloud Photos on your device and only re-enable it at set intervals.

reducing iCloud file syncs

Ensure that your Mac has sufficient storage space

The amount of free space on your hard drive affects your Mac's performance. Contiguous free space aids your Mac's ability to work with swap files. This raises the tricky problem of Mac defragmentation.

MacOS includes built-in mechanisms that keep files from getting fragmented during use, so defragging isn't necessary. This is most likely why Disk Utility lacks a defragmentation option.

However, you must leave at least 10% of your storage space empty for these precautions to work. One solution is to replace your disk drive with a larger capacity one, although it will eventually become full if it is never cleaned.

As a result, if you want your Mac to perform at its optimum but only have 10% of its storage space accessible, you'll need to unload larger files to iCloud or an external drive.

There are several methods for determining how much storage you have available. One method is to access the Apple menu by selecting on the Apple logo at the upper left corner of your screen, then selecting About This Mac.

Select Storage from the tabs to see how much storage is used and how that space is being used.

In later versions of macOS, you can choose to optimize your storage or store images and movies in iCloud instead of your Mac by clicking Manage.

Uninstall Un-used Software

If you have software on your Mac that you no longer use, it will contribute to the slowing of your computer. If you've updated to an SSD it's less of a problem, but when any internal storage device approaches capacity, your Mac can come to a halt. As a result, uninstalling anything you're not using is a good idea.

For more information, read how to delete applications from Mac.

Remove Web Browser Add-Ons and Extensions

Browser add-ons and extensions can significantly slow down the performance of the browser. Similar to the app market, there will always be add-ons that we enjoy the look of but do not require!

While some of the other features are quite useful, there are some that you will never use or require. You can resolve the issue by manually deleting undesirable browser extensions.

To uninstall Safari browser extensions, navigate to the main menu and choose Safari Extensions.

To remove extensions on Chrome, navigate to Menu > Settings and then the Extensions tab.

If you're using Firefox, click Tools and then Add-ons to remove add-ons and extensions.

Remove Duplicate Files

By deleting duplicated files, you can increase storage space while also improving your Mac's overall performance.

To locate and delete duplicated files, open Finder, click File in the upper taskbar, and then choose "New Smart Folder" from the bottom menu.

Within the smart folder, conduct a search for files by ordering them alphabetically. This manner, you'll quickly notice if the list contains two similar files. Once you've located the duplicated file, just delete it by placing it in the trash.

While this may seem like a lengthy procedure, using a duplicate file finder for Mac can make it painless.

Restart daily

The primary benefit of putting your Mac to sleep is that you can easily resume where you left off. Starting up your Mac again in the days of slow hard drives could take some time, but Macs are significantly faster to start up now.

The downsides of waiting a minute for your Mac to boot up will almost certainly be balanced by the speed gains if you're low on RAM.

When your Mac runs low on memory, it begins to use swap files as virtual memory. Essentially, using the hard drive as system memory lets your Mac keep working instead of crashing, but at the expense of working the hard drive hard and slowing your system down. When these swap files start to stack up, your Mac begins to slow down. After then, you need to restart to make your MacBook run faster.

If you perform maintenance or backup programs at night, you should configure your Mac to automatically shut down thereafter.

If you leave your Mac on all night, caches will not be flushed, and applications that need a lot of RAM will not let it go. Rebooting your Mac clears caches and terminates running applications. As a result, your Mac will be starting fresh and operate better.

Scan for malware

The claim that Macs don't catch viruses is a myth. While MacOS has some security advantages, Macs are nevertheless vulnerable to the occasional attacker. Unfortunately, most malware and virus infections will result in crippling performance losses with no way to make your Mac run faster.

If you are not currently running any virus or malware protection, Malwarebytes for Mac provides a free one-time check that detects and eliminates most malware on the platform. See our Malwarebytes review for more information.

Use Mac's Disk Utility

Disk utility is an application for checking and correcting file system issues on your Mac. It can also be used to resolve issues with your hard drive, such as apps closing unexpectedly, external devices not working, your Mac not booting up, and file corruption.

Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility to get started.

screenshot of Mac's Disk Utility

Disk Utility can be used to repair disk permissions, and it is recommended that you run it at least once every 2-3 months to keep your Mac's storage healthy and fully working. To discover more about what the disk utility can accomplish, go to Apple's guide to "How to repair a Mac disk with Disk Utility".

Reset PRAM / NVRAM and SMC

If you have tried everything else to make your Mac run faster, if can be worth trying to reset the PRAM. This will not result in any damage to your computer or deletion of data from your hard disk. However, it may resolve peculiar difficulties. If you are experiencing problems with sound, display resolution, initial drive selection, time zone, or kernel, a pram reset may be beneficial.

Switch off your Mac, then turn it back on while holding down all Option + Command + P + R simultaneously. After approximately 20-30 seconds, release the keys. Your Mac will almost certainly restart during this process.

When the Apple logo appears and disappears 2 times, you can release the keys.

Upgrade memory to get your Mac to run faster

Available memory plays a significant role in how quickly your Mac operates. Additionally, it is one of the simplest upgrades, as inserting a new memory module is straightforward and RAM is fairly cheap.

Switch to an SSD drive

In comparison to RAM installation, the cost of adding an Solid State Drive (SSD) is significantly higher. Additionally, it is more more difficult to install as you must copy all of the data from your current system drive to the new SSD and assign it to be the new boot drive. However, if your Mac is running slowly, this will result in a significant performance gain.

Physically cool your MacBook

Because computer components and CPU's generate heat during operation, your laptop includes a cooling fan, heat sink, and exhaust ports. However, some laptop computers are more well-designed than others, and many have a tendency to overheating.

Although this is more of a concern with gaming machines, any laptop is subject to overheating. If your computer is not adequately ventilated, you will notice decreased performance, poor speeds, and frequent crashes.

If your laptop frequently overheats, consider purchasing a cooling pad with additional fans to help keep the temperature within an acceptable range.

Author Katrina O'Reilly
About The Author
Katrina O'Reilly
Katrina goes by her gamer handle MissTRex. Born in Jaynesfield Wisconsin, she studied game design at Full Sail University. She has a penchant for anything "geeky" and is still a huge gamer.