Why my Mac is Running Slow | Tips to Speed up Your Computer

Wondering why your Mac is running so slowly? Do you want to speed up your computer? Here are some tips on how to improve the performance of your macOS computer and make it run faster.

Table of Contents

  • Close Unnecessary Applications
  • Use the Activity Monitor to Identify Unnecessary Processes
  • Check the Amount of Free Space
  • Increase the Amount of RAM
  • Get Rid of your Desk Clutter
  • Disk Replacement
  • The Final Solution

If you’ve had a Mac for several years, you may have been looking at Apple’s website for a while to justify the cost of purchasing a new Mac. Fortunately, you don’t have to go radical and buy a new computer right away to enjoy the speed and performance gains.

In this article, we’ve gathered some simple tips to improve the performance of your current Mac.

There are several reasons why a Mac is slow. This may be due to its age and obsolete components, the use of an HDD disk drive or the hard disk drive is full. Perhaps you are using an old version of the operating system that is not designed to work with some of the applications you are using, or maybe some background processes are causing increased consumption of hardware resources and unnecessarily wasting computing power. You may have too many processes that start automatically when your operating system boots or you may just run too many programs at once. Mac users are known to keep their computers at the end of the day, so some apps can run in the background for weeks.

Spending a small amount of time organizing and cleaning your operating system will allow you to speed up your computer.

Close Unnecessary Applications

Speed Up your Mac

It may seem obvious, but the best place to start speeding up your computer is to quit any programs that are not in use and are running in the background. Your Mac can dedicate RAM and CPU resources to program processes that you haven’t been using for a long time instead of the applications you need.

A quick way to see which applications are running is to look at the Dock at the bottom of the screen. Running programs will have a dot underneath (if you don’t see this dot, open System Preferences, and click the Dock button, then make sure that the “Show open application indicators” option is selected).

Alternatively, you can press Cmd + Tab to view open applications and switch between them.

There are several ways to close the application. Right-click their icon in the Dock and select Quit, or if you are using the Open Applications view (CMD + TAB), select the application and press CMD-Q to close it.

If, after right-clicking on an icon in the Dock, you see the Force Quit option, you have probably identified the culprit, as the problem with this application may slow down the entire system.

Use the Activity Monitor to Identify Unnecessary Processes

Some applications are more resource-intensive than others, and sometimes applications have problems that cause them to use more resources than needed and possible.

If you want to see which applications are using up system resources, open the Activity Monitor window in the other folderYou can also press the CMD-space bar and start typing “activity”, then click enter to open it from there.

The Activity Monitor shows all the processes on your Mac (some of them cannot or should not be closed), so click View> Windows Processes before taking any action. This will prevent you from closing processes that may be necessary for the proper functioning of the operating system.

Now click the CPU button and the “% CPU” column to display a list of all programs by CPU resource usage. You can also use this button to see which Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network processes are excessively using these components.

If you see that one of the applications is taking up CPU resources in particular, you can close it by selecting the application with the mouse and clicking on the x in the left corner of the activity monitor. Before closing, make sure that it is not an application you are working in – e.g. a browser.

Some applications may temporarily consume more resources than normal, e.g. during an update.

Check the Amount of Free Space

Part of your Mac’s performance depends on the space on your hard drive (or flash memory). The Mac must be able to overwrite and read swap files, and free space helps significantly. It also ties in with the defragmentation issue, which is a sore point in the case of macOS.

Defragmenting your Mac is unnecessary as the system has its built-in security to prevent file fragmentation in the first place. This is probably the reason why you vainly look for a defragmentation option in Disk Utility. After all, computers with HDDs slow down even more over time and there is no way to manually call the disk defragmentation function.

Additionally, for these protections to work, you need at least ten percent of an empty hard drive. One solution is to replace the hard drive with a larger capacity model, but it will continue to fill up eventually.

Therefore, if you want your Mac to perform at its best and you don’t have ten percent of the available disk space, you need to clean the disk of unnecessary files.

There are many large files and folders on the hard disk. These include email files and backups, old versions of applications that you no longer need, and photos. If you frequently upload photos to your Mac and download music, you may find that you are using up space quickly.

There are several ways to find out how much space you have available. One way is to open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen and then clicking the About Mac button. Select Tabbed Storage to see how much storage is in use as well as show what is using it.

Increase the Amount of RAM

Improve Mac Speed

Historically, upgrading your RAM has been the best solution to improve your Mac’s performance. However, before you go ahead and spend money, it’s worth finding out if your computer can expand RAM. Before starting to check if your Mac is expandable, open the activity monitor, and see how much RAM you are using as you work on your computer daily. It may turn out that you don’t need to expand it at all, and the reason for the slowdowns lies elsewhere.

Get rid of your Desk Clutter

Each file on the desktop has a preview window. Each of these windows and their contents is stored in RAM, thanks to which after switching to the Desktop or using a quick view, a Mac can immediately show what is in a given file.

In other words, the more files you have on your desktop, the more data is stored in RAM. This can cause your Mac to run slower, especially if your computer’s memory is already running to its limits.

The files should be properly organized in the appropriate user folder – Documents, Photos, Videos, etc.

Disk replacement

If you have a Mac computer that is several years old, it likely has a slow HDD. Its parameters are weak and limit the smooth operation of the system. Consider upgrade HDD to SDD for improved system performance or installing the system on an external storage medium.

The Final Solution

If you have already tried all the ways we presented in this article and your Mac is still free there is one more option: a clean reinstallation of the operating system.

This is not a task to be performed without thinking – you will have to wipe the entire boot drive. This will remove all the files that have collected in the system library and user libraries over the years and that may be making your Mac run slow.

Be sure to make at least one, and preferably two, complete backups of your startup disk along with a copy of all your data before reinstalling the system, so you can copy documents, pictures, music, and anything else you need back after installing the new operating system.