Several factors are responsible for slow downloads on your Mac. Some of these can be addressed by you, while some cannot. If you are facing reduced download speed on your Mac, then here are ways to fix the issue and increase the download speeds.
Before you read, it is essential to know why your internet is slow. Also, in this post, I am mostly talking about increasing download speed on browsers. But many of the tricks here are equally useful if you are downloading files from App Store, iTunes Store, and elsewhere.
Why Are Downloads Slow on Your Mac?
You must be aware of your internet speeds. Some fluctuations in download speeds are normal. It depends on the number of users, location, time of the day, and even major events in the country or across the globe! Shocking?
Well, in India, whenever there is a big Cricket World Cup match or top Indian Premier League matches, the net speed of most mobile internet providers drop low. This is because a vast number of people are live streaming the game, and thus everyone in the area sees a reduction in speeds.
At times, it is possible that there may be some technical issues from your network provider’s end. It is also likely that an update may be downloading in the background that is slowing the download speed on your end. Some sites also reduce the download speeds or have an inferior server. ISP too may limit speeds for some sites, notably torrents. Similarly, there are multiple such reasons.
No matter what the causes are, in normal conditions, if you see exponentially reduced internet speed, then the first thing to do is to run a speed test. You may go to fast.com or speedtest.net and see what your download and upload speed on Mac is.
If you are disappointed by the result, read on. Here are ways to increase your internet download speed on Mac.
How to Speed Up Downloads on Mac
#1. Switch to a Different Website
If a website has set download speed limits on their end, or if their server is weak and cannot provide fast downloads, then there is not much you can do. In case, there is an alternate website from where you can download the same file, try to use that.
#2. Use Official Website for Maximum Speed
Multiple third party sites let you download Mac and Windows software. But try to use only the official websites instead of some third-party marketplace. You will get superior download speeds via the official sites.
#3. Restart your Mac
The first thing to do for better download speed is to restart your Mac. To do so, click on the Apple logo from top-right and then click Restart…
Note: Most websites, services, and browsers support resume downloads; however, if you have a big file in pending download that does not support ‘Resume Download,’ then do not restart your Mac. You may lose everything that you have downloaded up to this point.
#4. Reboot your Wi-Fi router
Another easy step to increase download speed is restarting your Wi-Fi router. Use the power button on the router or use the wall outlet switch to turn it off and then turn it on.
#5. Close Unnecessary Browser Tabs
Have too many browser tabs open? Close the ones you do not need. Tabs opened in the background might take up some bandwidth. Sites that show sports score (like Cricbuzz) constantly refresh to keep you updated.
#6. Close any Video You are Streaming
Are you streaming a movie on Netflix or watching our tutorials on YouTube? Maybe you are catching that new TV show on Disney+ and also downloading some files in the background? Well, when you close these streaming sites, the download speed will increase.
#7. Switch to a Different Browser
If you get less download speed in Safari, change to a different browser. I would recommend Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Opera in that order.
#8. Install Adblocker
Straight up, this will not increase download speed but will increase browsing speeds. Also, please understand that we and many sites depend and pay our employees from revenue generated by ads.
But I agree they are annoying and many rich ads consume a lot of data. So, if you are downloading something and simultaneously browsing, you may consider temporarily using an Adblocker.
#9. Use Download Manager Extension
Managing downloads with a Download Manager app, extension/add-on might increase your download speed. They even let you organize your downloads or prioritize one over another. There are plenty of these on the respective stores of the browsers. For Chrome one that caught my eye is Free Download Manager.
#10. Decrease the Number of Extensions
Another trick to get a better experience when you are using a browser is to remove unwanted Extensions. It happens that we install an add-on or extension for a particular task, and then it stays in the browser, even though we do not need it.
How to Remove Extensions in Chrome: Click on three lines icon → Settings → Extensions → and Remove the ones you do not need.
How to Remove Extensions from Firefox: Click on three lines icon from the top right → Add-ons → Extensions → three dots icon of an extension → Remove.
#11. Clear Browser Cache for Faster Downloads
Note: Before you clear cache, cookies, and browser history, make sure the pending download path is not lost. Save the link in notes app if needed.
Some browsers like Chrome and Firefox are known to handle it well, but Safari may struggle when the cache becomes too large. To clear Safari cache, follow the steps here.
To clear Cache in Chrome:
Step #1. Open Chrome and click on History from Menu Bar → Click on Show Full History → Click Clear browsing data.
Note: This method also deletes your History and the things selected in Step #2.
#12. Disconnect VPN to Increase Download Speed
One privilege of working for a media company is that I get to try several apps, services, and products. I have used, reviewed, and am acquainted with a dozen VPN apps. Let me tell you straight up, that almost every VPN (even with a premium subscription) slows down your speed.
So, to increase download speed, disconnect any system-wide VPN app or browser VPN extension you are using.
Additionally, if you have multiple VPN apps or VPN browser extensions installed, then consider deleting the unnecessary ones.
#13. Change to Different Networks
If you have access to multiple networks around you, then try to switch to a different Wi-Fi network. There are several reasons that the current Wi-Fi network may be slow and buggy. The second network you connect to may have fewer users and thus less congestion, that will ultimately deliver increased download speeds.
#14. Connect to 5-GHz Wi-Fi for Better Downloads
Here in our office, we have multiple Wi-Fi networks. We have the 5-GHz band as well as 2.4 GHz. If you, too, have such available options, then try to connect to the 5-GHz Wi-Fi network. It will yield better download speeds. But make sure you are not physically too far from the router.
#15. Move your Mac Near the Router
Moving near the router is also a handy and proven way. In case you have a fixed seat, then you may temporarily move to an area near the router for as long as your download is in progress.
#16. Set Your Router Near Your Mac
Do you repeatedly face poor download speeds? It is time to ensure that your Wi-Fi router is not placed in the corner of a room or hall. If your router is in a corner or too far from where you usually sit with your Mac like study table or bed, then try to change the Router’s location and place it as near as possible.
#17. Run Wi-Fi Network Diagnostics
Run Wi-Fi Network Diagnostics on your Mac to troubleshoot the Wi-Fi issues that you may be facing.
#18. Change DNS
Changing and configuring your network settings to use Google’s Public DNS may also improve your download speeds. If none of the methods above worked for you, then follow the official Google Steps and change DNS.
#19. Ensure Neighbors aren’t Enjoying your Wi-Fi
Whenever too many people use your Wi-Fi, it is bound to decrease your download speeds. Set a password for your Wi-Fi network to ensure that it is only you and your family that is using it. Also, if you believe your neighbors know your current Wi-Fi password, change it immediately.
#20. Close Torrent Apps to Increase Downloads Speed
Are you using a Torrent app in the background and downloading something in your Mac’s browser? Well, Torrent eats up the bandwidth. To have faster downloads in your browser, quit the Torrent app.
#21. Use Ethernet for Fast Downloads
Wi-Fi has seen various advancements, but still, when it comes to comparison between it and wired Ethernet, the later is faster. So, if your Mac has an Ethernet port, or if you have an Ethernet dongle, try to connect your Mac to it and use Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.
#22. Change Ethernet Cable
Is the Ethernet performing poorly? It can be due to low quality or faulty cable.
When we moved to a new (and bigger) office, I switched to Ethernet. The cable I initially used was giving me around 80Mbps speeds, which was far less than office Wi-Fi (and the speed my broadband company provided). I switched to a different cable, and immediately my download speeds touched 360Mbps. We threw the earlier cable away…
#23. Quit Unused Mac Apps
Are multiple apps and software running in the background on your Mac? Closing apps can also increase your download speed.
#24. Ensure macOS Software Update is not Downloading in Background
If you have automatic macOS updates, then a new version of macOS may be downloading in the background, which you are not aware of. To check and cancel this download and increase your other download speed, follow the steps below.
Step #1. Launch System Preferences by clicking on the Apple Logo and then System Preferences…
Step #2. Click on Software Update and see that nothing is downloading here.
#25. Make Sure App Updates are not Downloading in Background
Open Launchpad and see that no updates are being downloaded. If you notice one, wait for it to finish or cancel the download.
To improve the overall performance of your Mac, it is an excellent practice to be on the latest version of macOS.
#27. Split Downloads in Threads
You may use apps or torrent clients that split downloads into threads. This usually speeds up the download process. Folx is one such app that does this job in its premium version.
#28. Browser Updates in the Background
Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, etc. download updates in the background and, in most cases, install it automatically the next time you restart your Browser/Mac. It is effortless, and you do not have to bother about being on the latest and most secure version of your browser.
However, this also means that there may be times when this update is being downloaded. So it is quite likely that for a few minutes, downloads and web browsing inside your browser are slow. But after the updates are downloaded, your speed will resume to normal.
#29. Contact Internet Service Provider
Finally, when nothing works, it is time to contact your internet service provider and ask for his help.
Now, he may change your Wi-Fi router, or change some settings from their end, or ask you to upgrade to a higher and faster plan. Have a word with their representative and request them to address the issue.
These were the ways to increase the download speed on your Mac. Now, one last thing that I did not mention above is switching to a newer device. Most new Macs have better Wi-Fi antennas and can provide faster download speeds.
Improved and next-gen hardware also ensures superior download speeds. For a long term solution, you may consider this.
You may also like…
- Best Mac Monitoring Software
- How to Fix Google Chrome Crashing Issues in macOS
- 17 Mac Settings You Should Change Right Now!
Do you have any additional methods for increasing download speeds on Mac? Share it with us in the comments down below.