There are so many different users within the macOS ecosystem. Most Mac users, such as content creators, developers, editors, filmmaking professionals need speedy performance, while others value the overall convenience that Macs offer.
However, there is something that all Mac users hate:
A slow Mac.
Yeah, as you all know, Macs also become slow over time. That is why you cannot see the same smoothness and performance on your Mac a few years later. Nevertheless, you can fix this. Unless your Mac faces some kind of hardware issue, you always have the option to fix things up.
And, there are two types of methods to speed up a Mac, regardless of whether it is a MacBook Air, Pro or an iMac.
- Tips to speed up Mac for current performance. That is, while you are using multiple apps.
- Ways to speed up your Mac’s booting-up speeds, overall loading speeds, etc.
Well, we wanted to compile all the available options to speed up your Mac. That is what we have done here. In this article, we have prepared a detailed guide to speed up your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac with ease.
You can do most of these tasks by yourself. You just have to tinker around macOS system preferences. If you don’t like that, there are always macOS speed optimization software in the market. So, we have included a few products that we were sure can help you.
#1 Close Unnecessary Apps
Closing unnecessary apps can help you reduce the load on CPU and speed up your Mac. This is the problem. Users may install a lot of apps over time, and many of them start running in the background. It might happen that these apps are running all the time, thereby taking up processing speed.
For instance, if you have some syncing apps running on the background, you don’t have to look further. Such apps can use internet bandwidth as well as other resources. Merely quitting these apps can make a notable difference as well. But, of course, if they seem to auto-start, you have to try different methods.
The best way is to use the app switcher built into macOS. You can access this feature by pressing “CMD + Tab.” Doing this will show you an interface with icons of apps that are currently running. The best part is that you may find apps that may not be present on the Dock.
Once you are in this interface, you can select the unwanted app and press “CMD + Q.” This action will instantly quit the application and its agents. If this does not work, though, you can go to the “Force Quit” menu and deal with the app.
There are apps like CleanMyMac X and Sensei that can give you detailed statistics. However, in this case, the built-in macOS options do a good job.
#2 Use Activity Monitor to Find Resource-hungry Processes
Activity Monitor on Mac is perhaps the most overlooked utility. This simple monitor can help you understand why your Mac is running slow and help you to speed it up. And an instance where you can use it for is to find resource-hungry processes that are running.
Processes are different from running apps. You may not be able to find processes of the Dock, app switcher, or even the Force Quit menu. To find them, you have to go to the “Activity Monitor” and choose the “CPU” tab. Here, you can find all the processes that are running.
How To: As said, you have to open Activity Monitor first. Then, in the CPU tab, you can see a humungous list of processes that are currently running. The problem is that you can’t just delete/stop all the processes. So, we recommend going to the “View” menu and choosing the right viewing angle.
One of the viewing settings you can choose is Windowed Processes. That is, you can see the processes of all the apps whose windows are available. You can also sort between system, User, GPU, and inactive processes on your Mac. Once you find the resource-consuming ones, you can just stop/close the process.
#3 Edit Preference Panes
Preference panes are third-party elements that attach to your “System Preferences” window. You can find an immense number of them if you have installed apps like Hazel, FUSE, Flash Player, etc. These are generally found on the bottom part of the “System Preferences” window, under another grid.
Depending on the app, these preference panes may consume system resources. If you have so many, these may cause your Mac to slow down as well. So, removing these unnecessary preference panes is an effective way to boost your Mac’s speed.
How To: The conventional way to remove preference panes is to remove it from the “System Preferences” window by right-clicking. However, doing this may not altogether eliminate the element. So, we recommend using a powerful Mac speed-up utility like CleanMyMac X.
Once you have opened the CleanMyMac X window, you can go to the “Extensions” module under the sub-set called Applications. After you have scanned, you can choose “Preference Panes” from the search results. You can remove the pane in just a click.
You can use other apps such as MacClean and Nektony App Remover & Uninstaller, but CleanMyMac X seems to be the most user-friendly one so far.
#4 Manage Startup Items
Startup items are programs that can start automatically when you boot up your Mac. You may have noticed that your Mac becomes incredibly slow after a restart. This could be because of so many startup items that are running on the system. Many of them may be unwanted apps, as well.
Most third-party apps come with a login item. Many of them want you to deactivate them manually. It can be a tedious task for most people on any day. Thankfully, there is a built-in option to remove login items on a Mac.
To access the built-in option, you have to open “System Preferences” first. From the icons, you have to pick “Users & Groups.” In the upcoming window, you can see the available user accounts on the left side. You have to choose the User and go to the “Login Items” tab.
Now, you can easily select and remove the login items that you don’t want on your Mac. This requires user privileges, and you have to enter your Mac’s password. So, make sure that you have enabled apps that are completely necessary.
Alternatively, you can use apps like CleanMyMac X, CCleaner for Mac, and MacClean, which offer an intuitive interface to explore and remove startup items. In CleanMyMac X, you also have an option to disable launch agents, which also take up resources.
#5 Clean Up Mac’s Hard Drive
Unless you have a maxed-out MacBook Pro or iMac, you have low storage space on your Mac. It can be a problem while deciding the speed as well. That is why you should clean up your Mac’s hard drive if you are looking for maximum performance and speed.
Unfortunately, macOS does not have an all-in-one button to remove system junk, cache, or other temporary files from your system. Therefore, we have to use a third-party Mac cleaner like CleanMyMac X. These apps make it easy to manage all the junk in one click itself.
How To: We recommend using CleanMyMac X, which has a dedicated section called “System Junk cleaner.” It allows you to remove a variety of junk items on your Mac’s hard drive. These junk files not only take up data storage space but also slow down your user experience.
You have to open the “System Junk cleaner” and press the “Scan” button. The app smart-selects the temporary files, but there is an option to review before you go. You can click on the “Review” button and see which kinds of elements are taking up space.
The best part is that you can know which apps are making the most of system junk. Once you have selected the right files, you can hit the “Clean” button, and the app will do the rest. This process is way better than going to individual folders and removing junk files.
Note: You should also check if the hard drive is in good health condition. Hardware issues with the disk may also cause slow-down in general.
#6 Sort Out Syncs
Synchronization is a convenient feature in the Mac ecosystem. You can access the files you need from the multiple devices you own. All you have to do is just enabling iCloud Drive and sync options. However, syncing can also consume a considerable amount of resources from your Mac.
There are a few tips you can follow to prevent sync from slowing down your Mac device.
- If you have enabled iCloud Desktop, make sure that you do not put huge files on the desktop. If you do so, your Mac will dedicate a considerable amount of resources to upload the file to iCloud.
- You can go to System Preferences Apple ID iCloud Drive and select the apps you want to make use of sync. If you store huge document files with any of the apps, you can exclude the app.
- You should press the Optimize Mac Storage button for extra safety. This way, your Mac will manage data transfer between iCloud and Macintosh HD based on remaining space.
If you transfer so many photographs into your Mac, you may also want to disable iCloud Photos sync. Doing so will prevent a lot of waiting time and processing resources while trying to open photos. You need a higher storage space to do this, though.
You can save a lot of time and resources by optimizing how iCloud Sync works on your Mac.
#7 Manage Photos
Photo files are responsible for taking up a lot of space on every Mac. This might happen, especially if you’ve stored files locally. But you cannot change this if you are a professional photographer.
Something you can do is managing how the photo library works.
Here are some tips that you can follow to optimize photo storage on your Mac.
- You can export your photo library to an external storage device. After doing this, you can also set up the Photos app to use that particular drive as the primary source. You can use this simple task to save a lot of space and resources.
- You should use a dedicated photo management software like Movavi Photo Manager that helps you to find and remove duplicate/similar photos from your Mac. Such apps will also help you to optimize your photo libraries.
- If you are running short on Mac storage, make sure you use a third-party service to back up all your photos. Services like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox have their clients available for Mac. So, it won’t be a difficult task to set things up.
- You can also use some effective backup software for Mac, such as Backblaze for Mac, ChronoSync or Carbon Copy Cloner. These software help you take a full backup of your Mac in different ways.
To do these things, you need a combination of macOS settings and third-party applications. Once you have done all these, however, you don’t have to worry about slow-downs while opening photos, though.
#8 Manage Music
Music files also take up a lot of storage on your Mac. Before we deal with this, one question. When was the last time you played songs from local storage? Yeah, streaming has become the new normal. So, you might want to consider moving all your music from your Mac to another place.
Here are a few methods you can follow to do that.
- If you don’t access locally-stored music, you can consider deleting the entire library. Of course, with Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube at your disposal, getting any track is easy as ever.
- You should consider moving your music library to an external drive. Doing this will help you to save a lot of space from Macintosh HD drive.
- You can use a duplicate file finder like Gemini to find if you have multiple copies of the same song on your Mac. Most often, there are duplicate files. So, removing them can help you a lot.
- If you are still running iTunes, make sure that you haven’t stored offline backups of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
If you are an audiophile, you cannot do all these tasks. But you can try at least one or two of them.
#9 Empty the Trash & Downloads
Trash and Downloads are two folders that most users forget about. As it is, macOS does not notify you when there are too many files on the “Trash” or the “Downloads” folder. However, if you don’t notice, these folders can take up a lot of space and cause your Mac to slow down.
Emptying the “Downloads” folder is an easy task due to obvious reasons. You can simply open the folder and delete all the files. You can do the same for Trash, but there is a more comfortable option. macOS has a built-in feature to empty your Trash folder automatically.
To enable this feature, you have to open the “Storage Management” utility on your Mac. You can do this by finding the same through a Spotlight search. You can go to that window and press on “Turn On” near the “Empty Trash Automatically” option.
Once you have done this, macOS will automatically remove files that are older than 30 days from the Trash. You won’t have to do this if you are using third-party Mac cleaners, though. Most Mac cleaner apps remove Downloads and Trash (or at least notify) while cleaning up the system.
Merely doing this can make your Mac cleaner and snappier. However, make sure that you clean up your Mac more often. Downloads and App Data files are things that are usually updated. So, it’s always good to keep an eye out on these folders.
You can also use apps like Hazel to remove older/larger files from folders like Downloads and Documents.
#10 Delete Old and Large Files
Here comes the blockbuster method to speed up your Mac.
Due to the low storage space scenario of Mac, you cannot store huge files on the device. Older files also take up space from the device, which isn’t ideal. Considering all this, you should try deleting both types of files.
The default method to remove huge files is via the “Storage Management” utility we mentioned earlier. It allows you to find the largest documents on your Mac through the “Reduce Clutter” option. Using the same interface, you can explore Downloads and other folders on your device.
You can also explore the entire File System to find out what is causing the storage shortage. The problem is that the utility skips many files from various directories. For instance, you cannot remove app data files and other temporary files using this method.
The second method is using a Mac cleaning app like CleanMyMac or MacBooster. Both these apps help you to find and remove huge/old files from your Mac. The Cleanup interface will be finding out temporary files, language files, and other app data from the device.
On the other hand, CleanMyMac X has a section called “Large & Old Files.” This way, you can find large & old files and sort them accordingly. For instance, you get to sort the data by Kind, Size, and Access Date. So, if there are files that you haven’t opened in a year, you can delete them.
#11 Uninstall Unused Apps
Unused apps can spoil your Mac experience in two ways. First, they take up a lot of space from your Mac — which in turn slows down your device. Second, the apps may be running in the background, thereby reducing all speeds whatsoever. So, if you want better speeds, you should remove unused apps.
If you have installed only a few third-party apps, this task is simple. You can simply select the apps and clean them right away. However, if you have installed around a hundred apps, finding the unused apps and removing them can be a difficult task.
How To: Fortunately, macOS comes with a built-in utility to remove applications. You can open up the utility named “Storage Management” and choose “Applications” from the sidebar. This will show you a list of all those applications you have installed on your Mac.
Once you are on this window, you can sort the applications based on various aspects like name, kind, date last accessed, and size. If you want to remove unused apps, you can click on “Date Last Accessed” and choose apps that you haven’t opened up in a while.
You can multi-select these apps and click on the “Delete” button. macOS allows you to delete multiple apps at once as well. This isn’t a foolproof method, though. There is the issue of residual files. These are files that do remain on your system even after you have removed an app.
Because of this reason and extra convenience, you may want to use a third-party app like CleanMyMac X’s App Uninstaller or a dedicated tool like Nektony App Cleaner and Uninstaller. These apps allow you to remove multiple apps in a single click as well.
#12 Update Apps
Humans make apps, and apps also have errors. Therefore, one of your apps may have some running issues. There are also multiple security issues that developers fix through updates. Therefore, updating an app is an effective way to deal with this performance and security issues. As you may know, the Mac App Store has a feature that automatically updates all the app.
The limitation is that the App Store does not update third-party apps on your system. If you had downloaded an app from the web, you have to update it manually. Of course, this is a time-taking process, and not everyone wants to do this. Unless you want to spend this much amount of time in updating the apps, there are a few apps that you can try.
Tools like CleanMyMac X have a feature that helps you all apps on your system. It can deal with the apps you have installed from the App Store and other sources. The best part? You can click once, sit back and relax. The app would do all kinds of updates.
The bonus here is that updated apps offer better security than outdated ones. So, if you want to keep your Mac super-safe, look no further.
#13 Empty Mac’s Caches
A cache is a form of temporary storage that is used to make future access easier. That is, some kind of data is stored in a cache so that you don’t have to download/get the data the next time. The problem is that a Mac will accumulate a lot of data over time.
This accumulated data can slow down your Mac after some time as well. If the cache memory becomes full, your Mac may start showing a severe slowdown. So, the solution is to empty the cache. That way, your Mac would get rid of the remaining data and start again.
There are two types of cache on your Mac: system cache and user cache. You can securely clear both if you want to get a faster, more secure Mac experience. As you can guess, there are two ways to clear the cache from your device.
- You can go to the Cache directory of macOS and remove the files there. To do that, open up “Finder” and press “Shift+CMD+G.” In the upcoming box, enter “~/Library/Caches.” In the upcoming window, you can see a list of cache files. Simply delete them and you’re good to go.
- You can also remove the system and user cache by using Mac cleaning applications. You can use a variety of apps like CleanMyMac X and CCleaner to do this. All these apps have powerful algorithms that can tell you about the data that should be removed. So, this is an easy option.
This is not the only cache on your Mac, by the way.
#14 Empty Browser Cache
Just like the Mac system, your web browsers also store web cache content. The problem is that you cannot do this indefinitely. At one point or another, you have to empty the browser cache regularly. While this may slow your browsing experience, the overall speed will improve.
Once again, you get two options to deal with this issue. In the first option, you have to open individual web browsers and remove the cache. In Chrome, you can do that by pressing “CMD+Shift+Del” and choose Cache from the available options.
On Safari, the process is a bit more difficult. First, you have to go to “Safari Preferences” > “Advanced Settings” and enable the “Develop” menu. Then, from the Develop drop-down menu, you can choose “Empty Caches” and you’re good to go.
The second option is to use a Mac cleaner application like CCleaner and CleanMyMac X. In this way, you can clear all the browser caches in a single click and forget the rest. This is the best option if you use more than one web browser.
#15 Delete Browser Add-ons
Browser add-ons are additional software and extensions that install into your web browsers. However, these extensions will be using the system resources in addition to whatever your browser takes up. Chrome and extensions are notorious for RAM consumption, for instance.
Options like Mozilla are way better if you want to save RAM.
So, you have to remove unwanted extensions and add-ons from your browser. On Chrome, you can do this by going to “Settings” and “Extensions.” You can see a grid of extensions and remove/disable them. You have to do this with individual extensions, though.
Apps like CleanMyMac and MacClean also help you remove these extensions in bulk. Using a simple UI, you can select multiple extensions and remove them. You’d have to restart the browser after removing them, though.
Trust us; you’re probably running way too many extensions than you need. If you cannot remove these add-ons, you can at least disable them on Chrome. This itself can make a huge difference in speeding up the Mac as well as the web browsing experience.
#16 Repair Permissions
Disk Permissions can create problems that slow down your Mac. So, once in a while, you have to repair the disk permissions for extra security. Repairing the permissions will help you fix malfunctioning apps, get rid of file management errors, and delete tough-to-remove files.
Apple says that you don’t have to worry about this issue if you are running El Captain or later. However, we recommend repairing permissions often, using a third-party Mac cleaner. If you have seen file deleting issues with your Mac before, you should try this option.
You should try this if any of the installed apps are misbehaving.
#17 Turn Off Visual Effects
Visual effects contribute a lot to the macOS experience that everyone loves. However, if you have a low-end configuration Mac, the same visual effects can slow down the User Experience. So, an effective way to boost the speed of your Mac is to turn off the visual effects.
You don’t have to turn off all the effects, either. There are some particular features like Magnification, Genie Effect, and Automatic hiding of Dock that consume a lot of resources. So, you can go ahead and remove them for an even faster macOS experience.
To do this, you have to go to Preferences and choose Dock. From the options in the upcoming window, you can untick options like:
- Animate windows while opening
- Toggle Genie Effect to Scale Effect
While the macOS experience may become less attractive, you can notice the extra speed right away. You do not have to do this if you have a max-specification Mac with GPU and everything. Even then, though, it is an excellent way to extend battery life.
#18 Free Up RAM
Your Mac can never have too much RAM. Well, almost every macOS app out there competes when it comes to RAM consumption. Topping the list would be Google Chrome. So, even if you have a few tabs open, RAM consumption will be high.
As you can guess, high RAM usage and swap memory usage can slow down your Mac. So, freeing up RAM in any device becomes an easy way to fix things up. The problem is that you don’t have a one-click free RAM button on macOS.
So, once again, we have to use third-party apps like CleanMyMac X. These apps have a built-in option not just to find out RAM-consuming apps but also to stop the apps. Only by stopping background apps, you can free up a lot of RAM.
Before you do this, however, you should have an idea about how your Mac is consuming the RAM resources. You can check this through Activity Monitor, under the Memory tab. The tab also shows other information such as cached files, swap usage, and memory pressure.
You should never let your Mac be under memory pressure if you’re looking for speed and performance. It is good to have a one-click utility to deal with RAM management on any day.
#19 Update macOS
With each version of the OS, macOS developers implement new ways to boost the speed and performance of the device. So, ideally, if you are running a previous version of macOS, your Mac may slow down at high levels. That is why experts recommend updating macOS regularly.
When compared to Windows, macOS updates are straightforward. System-level updates come at intervals that are convenient for most people. While the updating process takes up a few hours, you are good to go after that. They also tend to take up a lot of internet resources.
There is a catch to this tip, though. You can’t have a faster experience with every Mac by updating macOS. Here’s the thing. One thing we should understand is that the minimum requirements also change with new versions of the OS. So, there will be a point when your hardware cannot wholly accommodate macOS.
If you think your laptop is at that stage, you should stick with the previous version. Updating macOS at that stage will complicate things further.
#20 Create a New User Profile On Mac
Let’s just say that you have a messed up Mac. You don’t want to spend hours trying to fix what is wrong with the files and everything. At the same time, you don’t want to reinstall the OS either. If you are in such a situation, you should consider creating a new user profile on Mac.
You can do that by going to “Preferences” and choosing “Users & Groups.” Make sure that you provide full access to the new user. Now, you can log out from the old account and log into the new account. Trust us; it will be like starting your Mac experience from the very beginning.
As we said, you can have a cleaner macOS experience by following this tip. You can still access the old files if you want to. Once you have migrated the necessary data to the new account and desktop, you can even get rid of the old account.
This is a less-nuclear option than reinstalling macOS.
#21 Upgrade RAM
As we said earlier, your Mac can never have too much RAM. RAM is a hardware resource that you can add to your Mac with some sure-shot results in the future. So, if you think your Mac is running so slowly, the best option in the market is upgrading the RAM. Here, too, you have multiple options to choose from. However, you cannot do RAM upgrades on all Macs.
1. You can follow plenty of online resources to learn how to upgrade the RAM. Then, you can easily purchase a compatible RAM from online and upgrade the device all by yourself. Now, this process is straightforward and is no rocket science. The problem is that opening up your Mac may void your existing warranty.
The following Mac devices allow you to upgrade the RAM by yourself.
- MacBook Core 2 Duo
- MacBook Unibody
- MacBook Pro 13” (Mid 2009-Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro 15” (Late 2008-Mid 2012)
- MacBook Pro 17” (All Models)
- iMac 17” (All Models)
- iMac 20” (All Models)
- iMac 21.5” (All Models)
- iMac 24” (All Models)
- iMac 27” (All Models)
- Mac Mini (Mid 2010-Late 2012)
- Mac Pro (All Models)
On other Macs, Apple has soldered the RAM into the motherboard. So, upgrading the RAM won’t be such an easy task on the following devices.
- iMac Pro (All Models)
- Retina MacBook (All Models)
- MacBook Air 11” (All Models)
- MacBook Air 13” (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 13” with Retina Display (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 13” with Touch Bar (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 15” with Retina Display (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar (All Models)
In that case, you need to approach the official Apple channel. You can approach your local Apple service center for an assisted upgrade. The team there would take care of the entire upgrade and give you a (hectic) bill in the end. This is the most comfortable option for most people.
However, if you are purchasing a new Mac, you can get an upgraded version from Apple or the store. This is an expensive choice, because, you know, Apple.
So, if you sadly have a non-upgradable Mac with you, you will have to visit the Apple store or service center for a better experience. RAM sticks have become incredibly expensive over these years, by the way.
#22 Update Drivers
This step applies to those who have installed third-party software to manage extra hardware. This may happen to you if you use MIDI instruments or other accessories. These accessories need a software driver to talk to your computer.
Running a slow driver software can slow down your Mac in the long run. So, you have to make sure that your system and third-party drivers are up to date. Sometimes, new versions of drivers have bugs in them. And, you will have to fix the driver issue before you can go back to normalcy.
Most of the trusted software will have an option to check for driver software automatically. You just have to enable the installation when you get a prompt. Simple, right?
#23 Upgrade SSD
Just like the case of RAM, having a better SSD storage can improve the overall performance and speed. This is an essential option if you want high-speed storage for your workflow. For instance, if you use your Mac to edit video or photos, you can’t survive with HDDs or Fusion drives.
Fortunately, thanks to Thunderbolt 3, you have multiple way-outs.
You can upgrade the core SSD of your MacBook through the official channel or by yourself. The issue is that the process is tiresome, and you may come across problems. Also, not all Macs allow you to change the SSD by yourself. For instance, you cannot replace/upgrade the SSD in the following models, because the drive is soldered onto the motherboard.
- Retina MacBook (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 13” (2016-2017)
- MacBook Pro 13” with Touch Bar (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar (All Models)
You can use a Thunderbolt 3-enabled portable SSD as the storage option. Samsung makes some of the fastest SSDs out there, and you can even arrange the proper hardware.
No matter which way you follow, the objective here is clear. Your Mac should have enough storage space to accommodate all the necessary apps as well as storage files. As it goes without saying, upgrading the SSD by yourself is the economical solution.
#24 Reduce Desktop Clutter
This is a no-brainer tip when it comes to speeding up your Mac. Your desktop is probably the central place in your Mac. Each time you open up the desktop, it will refresh the contents. It’s just that you don’t see it. But, if you think about it, too many icons on the desktop can make things worse for you.
That is why experts recommend reducing desktop clutter. You don’t need to have an empty desktop. You can follow any of the following methods:
- You can create folders and arrange the files into easy-to-access categories.
- You can use the built-in Stacks feature in macOS Mojave and later to arrange the files.
- You can use third-party desktop organizing software like Declutter to control how the icons appear and arrange.
Here’s what you want to achieve. At any given point of time, your Mac should have the least number of file and folder icons to display on the desktop interface. This change can transform the way you deal with your Mac, though.
#25 Restart Regularly
We often forget that computers are also machines and that they also need some rest. The problem with MacBook devices is that you mostly don’t shut them down, thanks to the lid-up-and-go design.
However, the same issue can slow things down over time. That is why you have to restart your Mac regularly and thoroughly. As we mentioned earlier, the Mac will remove many types of cache and other temporary files as you restart it.
So, with no noticeable effort, you can speed up your Mac and enjoy the best performance. We recommend restarting your Mac after you have completed a project. This way, you can clear all the temporary files that this project would have created.
Again, simple enough.
#26 Manage Spotlight
Managing how Spotlight works on your Mac can improve the overall speed, at least in the long run. You may have noticed that Spotlight takes a considerable amount of time to load the results. This happens when there are a lot of files on your disk.
There are two ways to go about this problem. The first way is to control how much you have stored on your Mac. This may not be possible if you store all your essential files on your Mac. So, we need the second way, in which we optimize the Spotlight working.
The idea here is to limit how much Spotlight is indexing. That is, you should prevent Spotlight from scanning your entire hard drive when you enter a search string. To do this, you have to use a privacy-friendly feature in the Apple ecosystem.
You can go to Preferences and choose Spotlight. In the main tab, you can control what happens in the results page of a search. If you go to the Privacy tab, however, you get to control what Spotlight can index. So, you can drag and drop files that you want to remove from indexing.
So, the next time you search for something via Spotlight, it won’t show you the indexing delay. Again, this is not a permanent solution. However, for someone who just got started, you can count on this way to boost the overall speed of workflow.
#27 Turn Off FileVault Encryption
FileVault is the advanced disk encryption technology that Apple uses on Mac devices. While this provides an impressive level of security, you have to give up some speed. Every time you make changes to something on the Mac, the system has to encrypt and decrypt.
If you are desperate to speed up your Mac, you can consider turning off FileVault encryption on the disk. Of course, this will lower your security and increase the risks of threats. Having said that, you can have better speed and browsing experience throughout macOS.
To do this, you have to open up “System Preferences” and go to “Security & Privacy.” Now, go to the FileVault tab and press the “Turn Off FileVault” button. Your Mac will ask you to provide the password, since this is an important task.
We repeat, this option is only for those who can trade security for extra speed. In an ideal environment, we won’t recommend turning off encryption. Anyone can access a non-encrypted disk if your Mac gets lost.
#28 Reset SMC & PRAM
Did you know that issues related to battery, power, and fan can also slow down your Mac? Similarly, issues with PRAM and NVRAM can also cause problems with the system. So, merely resetting both these things is a great way to speed up your Mac.
We recommend following the official tutorial from Apple Support.
These guides are pretty straightforward and get the job done. You don’t have to worry about other issues either. You can use these steps as a way to confirm whether there are issues with power, battery, RAM, or the fans.
For instance, if you think thermals are causing your Mac to slow done, you should try these steps before you go ahead and reinstall the OS.
#29 Start Laptop In Safe Mode
Sometimes, you cannot understand where the issue is coming from — hardware or software. However, Mac has a built-in Safe Mode, which allows you to find if the software is causing the problem. In Safe Mode, your Mac won’t open up third-party programs.
That is, you can start up your Mac as if you are turning it on for the first time. So, if you find the slow down issue that you had before, you can make the decision afterward. In addition to this, Safe Mode will clear several caches and temporary files.
Apple recommends Safe Mode as the step before you reinstall the OS. That is, if you don’t find the issue in Safe Mode, some software is responsible for the issue. That means you can easily reinstall your Mac and get things back on track.
Here is a complete guide from Apple on starting your Mac on Safe Mode.
#30 Remove Duplicate Files On Mac
Duplicate files are the worst thing you can have on a Mac, especially if you have a low-storage one. And the worst part is that you cannot merely ask macOS to remove all the duplicate files. You have to open up Finder, go through individual folders, and find out the potentially duplicate files and folders.
Even if you have a typical user, this can take hours. Things are worse for photographers and developers who keep a lot of files and folders. Making matters worse, though, these duplicate files can slow down your Mac and eat up storage space.
We recommend using a professional tool to find duplicate files on your Mac, not just photos and music. You can use a tool like Gemini, which is a popular duplicate file finder for Mac. Using this app, you can find not just duplicate but also similar files.
This is a great way to save up space on your Mac. By the way, if you don’t want to play for a duplicate finder app, you can go for the free alternatives or the manual mode.
#31 Cool Down Laptop Physically
Another effective method to speed up your Mac is cooling it down physically. Not everyone can keep their Mac devices at recommended temperatures. So, something you can do is purchasing a cooling pad for your Mac.
This is the best option if you have a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. In both these cases, you can see a notable increase in performance as well. Good thermals always help laptops in gaining the best performance the processor can provide.
So, if you can afford a dedicated cooling solution, you should try that. Advanced users may also try a better coolant for the heat-zinc of your laptop processor. This is a geeky step, and we won’t recommend this to all users.
#32 Enable SSD TRIM
SSD TRIM is a method that can improve the speed and reliability of the SSD storage on your Mac. If you have an older Mac with SSD, you should perform TRIM to get the best speed the hardware can provide. It should be noted that Apple does not automatically enable TRIM for third-party SSDs.
So, just as a measure to ensure the best performance, you can try enabling the TRIM feature. There is a method via command prompt, but this is quite complex. That is why we recommend a tool like Sensei, which has an easy-to-use way to enable TRIM.
Given that you are on an old SSD, you can definitely see a difference after enabling TRIM. You may not find any difference in newer Macs since TRIM is already enabled. Therefore, you have to make the right choice after considering the condition of your Mac.
#33 Optimize Your Dock
The Dock is an important part of the macOS UI. But, did you know that Mac draws a considerable amount of resources from the Mac? Every app icon you have placed on the dock will retrieve some level of resources from the CPU and RAM, since the processes are running. So, you can optimize the dock for the best speeds.
Here are some things you can do to optimize the dock.
- Turn of all sorts of animations on Dock
- Keep only the most wanted app icons on dock. You can use Spotlight search for other apps.
- Turn off the Auto-Hide feature of Dock
The lack of animations alone can make your macOS experience snappier. You may also end up extending the battery life.
#34 Use Disk Utility and First Aid To Boost Drive Health/Speed
Disk errors and other software issues with your hard drive can slow down your Mac experience noticeably. So, you have to ensure that your SSD/HDD/Fusion drives are in the best condition possibly. Fortunately, all Macs come with a powerful disk utility.
Disk Utility is the built-in macOS utility to manage the Mac hard drive. You can also use the program to keep an eye on the drive health and other removable media. There is a popular feature called First Aid, which can help you diagnose and fix issues with the drive.
So, if you are facing low transfer speeds or frequent disk errors, you should use Disk Utility. You can run the First Aid program and it will do a basic check-up of the drive. You can use the utility to create and manage multiple partitions and volumes, as well.
You can open Disk Utility by searching for the same via Spotlight.
#35 Use Tab Suspender on Google Chrome
It’s true that Google Chrome takes up a huge amount of RAM and CPU resources. Even if you have some idle tabs open, you can see the Mac running a bit slower. One method to solve this is to use a tab suspender on Chrome.
Tab suspender is an extension that prevents idle tabs from taking up system resources. When you suspend a tab, it won’t impact RAM or CPU usage. You can use Google Chrome extensions like The Great Suspender to make your life easier and faster.
#36 Check System Health
macOS comes with a feature called System Report. This report helps you understand the various aspects of your Mac with such depth. You should keep an eye on system health if you want to know when there is any hardware issue.
You can create a System Report by going to “About This Mac” > “System Report.” As you can see, the report is split into several categories like ATA, Ethernet, PCI, Power, SAS, Thunderbolt, etc. You can check each of the sections to understand if there is something wrong.
For instance, if your battery health is slowing down, you can find that in the Power section.
#37 Check Your Mac for Malware
It’s a myth that Macs don’t get infected by malware. There is a variety of malware threats that can impact the performance, speed, and security of your Mac. So, if your system is behaving very slowly, you can check the Mac for the presence of malware.
Unfortunately, macOS does not have a built-in malware detection feature. So, you have to use a third-party anti-malware suite to find and remove potential threats. You have options like Malwarebytes as well as all-in-one Mac optimization suites like MacBooster.
Both types of tools will analyze your Mac for potential threats and remove them.
#38 Use Web Apps over Native Apps
Running a native app on your Mac requires a lot of resources. So, if the app has a web version, you should go for it. For instance, let’s take the case of Spotify. In addition to Spotify’s app for Mac, you can access the web interface from any device.
So, quitting the native Spotify app and using the web interface can help you save a huge amount of resources. You can do the same when it comes to Word processors and other apps. As long as you have a good internet connection, using web apps won’t be an issue.
You can immediately get better performance with heavy apps like Photoshop.
#39 Fix Your Internet Proxy/DNS Issues
This is something we normally forget. Problems with your internet connection can also slow down your Mac experience altogether. You may have noticed this while using your Mac with a very slow internet connection. However, we’re not talking about speed alone.
Unlike Windows and Linux, macOS is an OS that keeps in touch with the internet at all times. So, if you face issues with the internet proxy or DNS, you may see some glitches in the performance. For instance, I had this issue with my internet proxy. As a result, my Mac was taking forever to save a single document.
So, before you jump into hardware upgrades and macOS reinstallation, you should check if the connection is secure and healthy. Even the slightest mistake in proxy and DNS servers can block Apple from syncing with the servers or getting necessary data.
You may also want to check if your internet connection has a good transfer speed, especially if you enabled iCloud sync. Also, make sure that your network provider has not blocked any URL that your Mac may need to function properly.
Some ISPs tend to block URLs in bulk, and this may cause problems while running macOS. If that’s the case, you have to contact your ISP and fix things.
#40 Reinstall macOS
Let’s imagine a scenario where you have tried all of the tips above. Still, your Mac is slow, and you can’t find any hardware-based issue. In that scenario, you should think about reinstalling macOS on your Mac. This can be a time-taking process, but you can do it.
Of course, the good thing here is that you can start a new life! Well, figuratively, yes. You can get the best-in-class performance that your Mac hardware can give you. And, that is something exceptional on any given day, you know.
Just like the other cases, Apple can give you a fully-fledged tutorial on reinstalling macOS. Ensure that you have backed up everything necessary before you set out to reinstall the OS.
These are the 40 tips and steps you can follow to speed up your Mac in the best way possible. As we have said multiple times, all the options are completely safe. You don’t have to worry about security or privacy issues while following these tips or using the recommended software. We have recommended tools that we have used and tested for years.
Do you think we missed any critical tips to make your Mac faster? Do let us know via comments.