Your Mac isn’t what it used to be, it starts to feel sluggish, slow and unresponsive. Sometimes when this happen people go out and just buys a new computer or learns to live with it.
Want a quick fix to try right now? Jump down to number 7 in this list.
I dont get it. Usually there is nothing wrong with the computer, the problems is fixable. This guide will help you fix slow Mac performance and you will hopefully see some good speed improvements depending on the type of issue your computer have.
Granted the Mac can be turned on for weeks or months without any serious problems, every now and then a restart is recommended. It is usually applications that “leak” memory that in the end makes the computer feel slow and sluggish. So if you haven’t already please start this guide with a restart of your computer. I promise this guide will be here when you come back online again.
When you install applications during the time you use your Mac some of them might add themselves in Startup Items. This causes them to start at every login and thus take up a little memory and a little CPU usage. If you do the following: Apple Menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. You will see how many startup items you have. If you want to remove some of them just click the name of the startup item and then hit the minus button. Just make sure you know what you remove so you do not remove any critical system component.
While we still have System Preferences open take a look under the section called Other. If you have a lot of items down there there is a chance that some of them is not in use by you. They might be left overs from some application you tried out, or something else. You should clean out these too. In most cases you can turn it off from the preference pane itself. If that doesn’t work you will need to remove it from the folder ~/Library/PreferencePanes.
All these widgets are nice to have but they also take up valuable resources from your computer. Make sure you have no unnecessary widgets running. If you do, close them down to get a little more system resources. Remember that each widget creates a background process that use some of the available system resources.
You can actually close down the dashboard completely if you seldom or never use it. This requires some “hacking” in the terminal. If you want to do this, open up terminal and type the following:
defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES
This will close down the dashboard completely and not load it at all. If you want to re-activate it again you replace the YES with NO, and it will be activated again. I personally have the dashboard inactive.
Time Machine is a good backup solution. But it backups every single hour and if you work on heavy files it will create some noticeable slow Mac performance when it starts the backup process. Time Machine apparently doesn’t have settings that can enable you to start the backup off working hours but there are people that have solved this problem. If you read this you will learn how to change the backup interval to suit your needs.
Eventually your hard drive will fill up, it doesn’t matter how big it is. Many people experience this and many also ask themselves where all the free space have gone? Maybe your iPhoto library starts to grow? Maybe you are editing some videos that takes up a lot of space, maybe you have imported a few new CDs in iTunes. Or you might have a lot of downloaded stuff you never got around to delete. What you need to know is that the Mac works best with a little free space to work with. Your Mac uses the free space on your hard drive as virtual memory and that memory is important for your Mac. Please make sure to delete unneeded files and also remember to empty your trash!. If you forget to empty the trash you will still have the free space problem and slow Mac performance.
Slow Mac Performance: Onyx verifies the Startup Disk and the structure of its System files, it also allows you to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance. It can clean the cache, repair system permissions and also execute maintenance scripts.
Onyx is recommended for every Mac owner. It is wise to run the application now and then (once a month probably) to keep your Mac in shape and in some cases to solve slow Mac performance.
Once in a while Apple releases software updates. It is wise to install these because they often contain improvements. It can be security improvements or performance enhancements that can solve slow Mac performance in some cases. Even firmware updates in some cases. Also check if you can download updates to your already installed third party applications, this can also improve performance and stability.
If nothing of the above helps maybe a full format of your hard drive and a reinstall of the OS may be the only viable solution. If you have a fairly new Mac (2010 – 2011 ish) you should be able to start from the recovery partition if you hold CMD and R when you restart. From there you can reinstall OS X.
Max out the RAM in your computer, especially if you run a lot of apps at the same time. Another extremely recommended option is to replace the hard drive inside your Mac to an SSD. If you havent tried SSD yet do it! It will blow your mind in terms of speed and it can breathe new life into older computers for sure. Solving slow mac performance using money to buy new hardware is one option of course. But you should try the others first. (Although SSD is extremely nice to have, you never want to go back!)
PS. Stay away from MacKeeper. Its just bad. They want to pay me to recommend it to you but the free alternatives are just as good. I have blocked their ads on this site but they tend to change the URLs so let me know if you see ads for MacKeeper and I will remove them pronto!
I hope this guide helps you to get your Mac in shape. As you can see there is a lot we can do ourselves.