Is your Mac terribly slow? Here are 7 tips to improve performance – XDA Developers

Is your Mac terribly slow?  Here are 7 tips to improve performance – XDA Developers

The best Macs last incredibly long, but all computers tend to slow down over time. If you’ve had your Mac for a while and are slightly bored with its performance, upgrading to a shiny new computer is certainly tempting. But before you make this incredibly impulsive decision, there are a few things you can try to speed up your Mac first.

Some of the fixes we’ll talk about in this guide are obvious things that we often forget: updating macOS, closing unnecessary apps, etc. You’ll also find plenty of hidden tips and settings that work incredibly well for older Macs. Hopefully you won’t end up buying a new Mac after doing all the fixes.


Mac FAQ: How to fix common issues with macOS

Serious macOS problems sometimes require a simple solution.

1 Delete login items

Applications launched at startup can take up a lot of system resources

How to Delete Login Items on Mac

You’re probably used to all your favorite apps launching automatically when you start your Mac. It’s a useful feature, sure, but launching lots of unnecessary apps at startup is a recipe for poor performance. This is especially true if you’re using an older Mac with 8GB of RAM or less. The more applications launched at startup, the fewer resources are available for the programs you are actively using.

These applications are known as Connection elements on macOS, and you can add or remove them by going to System Settings > General > Login Items. Get rid of any apps you don’t need as soon as you log in.

2 Free up storage

Delete unwanted apps, files and photos

macOS screenshot showing a breakdown of storage consumption in the Settings app

The correlation between storage and speed is a story as old as time. When your Mac is low on physical RAM, it must rely on some of your storage to create swap memory. This memory serves as an extension of RAM and is also often called virtual memory. A full or almost full storage disk means less space available for swap memory. The operating system also needs some free space for temporary files, caches, and logs to keep things efficient.

Go to System Settings > General > Storage, and wait for your Mac to calculate the remaining storage. From there you can go through Applications, DocumentsAnd Pictures to see what’s hogging all your storage.

3 Check CPU usage via Activity Monitor

Find the culprit

How to Check CPU Usage on Mac

If your Mac doesn’t feel snappy or smooth, it’s likely that some apps are using a lot of processing power. It is important to check CPU usage through Activity Monitor so you can identify these intensive applications. The Activity Monitor app will also give you a full breakdown of GPU, threads, and memory usage for each application.

If you notice that certain applications are consuming more resources than they should, chances are there is a bug that needs to be fixed. Try updating the app and see if that makes a difference. Creative apps like Final Cut Pro or Blender will naturally consume more resources, so make sure you don’t have too many apps running in the background when using them.

4 Reset NVRAM and SMC

Fix potential bugs and issues

A Mac’s NVRAM (non-volatile random access memory) stores information about the startup disk, speaker volume, display resolution, time zone, and more. On the other hand, SMC (System Management Controller) manages components such as fans, batteries, thermal performance and even USB ports. If you’re having trouble with everything we’ve mentioned so far, resetting the SMC or NVMRAN can fix the underlying issues that may be slowing down your Mac.

To reset NVRAM:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Press and hold Option+Command+P+R until you hear the startup sound on your device.
  3. On Mac computers with Apple’s T2 security chip (most of these models are from 2018 and later), hold down the keys until the Apple logo appears and disappears twice.

To reset the SMC on Macs with a T2 chip:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Hold it Right Shift + Left Option (Alt) + Left Control keys.
  3. press the Power button.
  4. Hold the keys for seven to ten seconds, then release them.
  5. press the Power button to start your device.

To reset SMC on older Macs:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Hold it Left Shift + Left Option (Alt) + Left Control keys.
  3. press the Power button.
  4. Hold the keys for 10 to 15 seconds, then release.
  5. press the Power button to start your device.

5 Reduce visual effects

Get rid of unnecessary animations

Dock Settings on Mac

Part of the charm of macOS is its vivid animations and visual effects. Most Macs can handle these fancy effects without much trouble, but if you’re using a relatively old machine, disabling them might have a slight positive impact on performance. You may notice slightly better battery life, but this depends entirely on the age of your Mac and the condition of the battery.

To disable certain effects, go to System Settings > Desktop & Dock. From here you can turn off effects like Magnificationminimization Genius Or Ladder effect, Automatically hide and show the dockand more.

6 Check disk and battery status

There may be a problem with your hardware

macOS battery health information displayed in the System Report.

You can usually resolve unexpected battery issues by resetting SMC. However, if you are using an older MacBook, there is a good chance that the battery is starting to degrade or is already degraded. You can check the battery status by going to System Settings > Battery > Battery Status. If you want to see the number of battery cycles, go to Settings > General > About > System Report > Power > Health Information. Apple lists the maximum number of cycles for each Mac model here.

While you’re at it, you should also check your disks and examine their health. Use Spotlight Search to find the Disk Utility app, which comes preinstalled on your Mac. Select your drives from the list and click the button FIRST AID button to examine the disk status. If the utility detects serious problems with your drive, you may need to have your Mac repaired. Likewise, if you have any problems with the battery, you will need to replace it.

7 Perform a clean reinstall of macOS

Start again from the beggining

macOS Sonoma 3

If your disk drives and battery are working fine and none of the fixes above have worked, a clean reinstall is your last resort. However, in addition to all the fixes above, make sure you don’t miss the obvious ideas: restarting and updating your Mac. It sounds silly, but both aspects are easy to forget.

In case you decide to perform a clean reinstallation, take some precautionary measures first. To avoid losing anything important, back up everything you can via iCloud or to an external drive. Once you’re happy with the backup, follow this guide to install macOS on any Mac computer.

Take back control of your Mac

Few things are more annoying than a slow computer, especially considering how much of our daily lives rely on having one on hand. However, some devices are just past the economy stage. If your Mac has poor battery life, poor performance, and isn’t receiving updates, you’re more than right to upgrade. Every time you buy a new Mac, make sure to install these must-have apps for a great experience.


Related posts