Mac Running Slow? 10 Tips to Speed It Up

Is your Mac running slow? There could be several reasons behind it, such as low-disk space, outdated macOS, opening many memory-hungry apps at once, etc. If your Mac is performing up to mark, don’t panic, there are various ways to speed up your Mac. Let’s take a look!

1. Use Activity Monitor to identify Memory Hogs

The Activity Monitor provides a convenient way to check which apps are consuming most system resources. You can access it through FinderApplicationsUtilities → Activity Monitor, or open Spotlight by pressing the Command and space bar keys and then type in ‘Activity Monitor.’

Click on Applications and Then Click on Utilities in Mac Finder

Click on Activity Monitor on Mac

In Activity Monitor, you can see all the processes running on your Mac, and there are many you cannot or should not close. So before you do anything, go to the menu bar at the top of the screen and click on ViewWindowed Processes.

In Activity Monitor Menu Click on View and Select Windowed Processes

Now, click on the CPU button in Activity Monitor and the “%CPU” column. This will list all apps according to the amount of CPU they are using. If you notice that any specific app is hogging a lot of CPU power, then you can close it by clicking on it in the list and then clicking the x button in the left corner of the Activity Monitor.

In CPU Tab Select App and Click on X icon

Also, note that if some apps are using a lot of power, it may be time to update them so that they can function more efficiently.

Quit App Using Activity Monitor App on Mac

2. Prefer Safari over other browsers

Many apps can be a drain on your Mac, but Google Chrome is especially notorious. Even though it may be your favorite browser, there’s no denying that it hogs more RAM and processing power than others.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you use Safari or Firefox to keep your Mac running fast. Another option is to only open a few tabs in Chrome at a time, but you will need to check if this makes much of a difference.

3. Close Unnecessary Apps

Running a lot of different apps at once consumes plenty of memory and power. So it’s a good practice to close the apps that you’re not actively using. A quick way to see which apps are open is to check the Dock on your Mac. Open apps have a dot under their icon. To shut down an unwanted app, right-click on its icon in the Dock and select Quit or ‘Force Quit’ if you see the option.

Right Click on App and Click on Quit

Alternatively, if you press Cmd + Tab, you can access the App Switcher and see all open programs. As you tab through them, you can select an app and press Cmd-Q to quit it.

If you’re not able to quit the app and only see the colorful spinning ball, you can close apps from the Apple menu. Click on the Apple logo at the left corner of the menu bar and then click on Force Quit.

Click on Apple Logo and Then Click on Force Quite on Mac

You will then see a list of all open applications, from which you can select which to quit.

Force Quite App on Mac

4. Stop Programs from Opening at Startup

Sometimes, a lot of apps may be automatically opening up when your computer powers up, which can be a drain on the system. So it’s a good idea to manage these as follows:

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar and go to System Preferences.Click on Apple Menu and Select System Preferences on Mac
  2. Click on Users & Groups.
  3. Next, click on the Login Items tab to see all the programs and services that are launched when you first startup or login to your Mac
  4. Now highlight the apps you don’t want to open at startup and click the minus (-) button below the list of apps. Close the window when done.In Login items Tab Select App and Tap on Minus to Stop it from Opening at Startup on Mac

5. Empty the Trash & Downloads

This one sounds obvious, but you may often let files pile up in your Downloads as well as in Trash. So be sure to look through the Downloads folder in the Finder and delete everything you no longer need. Similarly, discarded files in Trash take up unnecessary space, which you can reclaim by right-clicking on Trash in the Dock and then selecting Empty Trash.

Moreover, if you’re running the latest version of macOS, you can choose to let Trash automatically delete items every 30 days. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar and then click on About this Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Select the Storage tab.Click on Storage on Mac
  3. Now, click on Manage.
    Click on Manage in Mac Storage
  4. Turn on the option to Empty Trash Automatically.Click on Turn On Empty Trash Automatically on MacClick on Turn On to Confirm Empty Trash Automatically on Mac

6. Delete Old and Large Files

Over time, you can gather a lot of files on your Mac and often forget about them. Too much clutter can clog up your system, so you should get rid of old files as well as huge files. You can search for large files using the method below:

  1. Launch Finder and then hit Command-F or go to FileFind.
  2. Now click on Kind drop-down menu → Select Other.Click Kind Dropdown and Select Others in Finder on Mac
  3. In the window that opens, look for and select File Size and then click OK.Select File Size and Click on OK in Finder on Mac
  4. Now, change the “equals” drop-down menu option to “is greater than.” Also, change KB to MB
  5. Now type in minimum file size; for example, 50 MB.Find Old Large Files in Finder on Mac
  6. This will show you all the files with 50MB or more in size. You can then choose Move to Bin to delete these large files to create some space and speed up your Mac.Click on Move to Bin to Delete Old and Large Files on Mac

7. Remove Unwanted Programs and Widgets

Now and then, you should take stock of the apps you have installed on your Mac and remove all the unwanted ones. This can help clear out space on your system to keep it running smoothly. You can delete apps by merely dragging them into the Trash icon at the bottom of the screen.

Further, you can also delete unwanted widgets from the Notification Centre as described below:

  1. Click on the three-lined bullet list icon at the top right of the menu bar to show today’s view.Click on Three Lined Icon in Menubar on Mac
  2. If you see any widgets that you do not use, such as Stocks, for instance, click on Edit at the bottom of the pane.
    Click on Edit in Today's View on Mac

Now, remove any unwanted widgets by clicking the red-colored minus icon beside them.

Remove Unwanted Programs and Widgets on Mac

8. Keep your Mac up to date

Usually, your Mac automatically updates to the latest version of macOS whenever it becomes available. This helps keep your computer speedy and safe. You can manually check for software updates by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and then selecting About This Mac.

Click on Apple Logo and Then Click on About This Mac

Click the Software Update button to check if any new versions are available.

Click on Software Update in About This Mac

9. Delete Cache and Temporary Files

Caches are groups of files that usually help you to speed up your Mac. They are retained to be reused. For instance, a web browser caches web pages to make them load faster the next time you visit them.

The problem is that caches and temporary files can also clog up your disk space, so you should clear them to speed up your Mac. Bring up Go To Folder by hitting Command+Shift+G from your desktop or in the Go menu in Finder.

Click on Go and Then Select Go to Folder on Mac

In the Go To Folder box, type in: ~/Library/Caches/

Enter Path and Click on Go

Now, delete the files that are taking up most space. You can even delete them all because they will be automatically recreated as needed when you use your Mac.

Select Files and Click on Move to Bin to Delete Temporary Files on Mac

10. Upgrade Your Mac RAM

The more RAM that you have on your Mac, the more windows or tabs you can keep running without slowing down the system. The standard RAM on most Macs in 2020 is 8 GB or more. You can check the RAM on your system by clicking on the Apple icon in the menu bar, selecting About This Mac, and clicking on the Memory tab.

You should consult a professional to work out if it’s possible to add more RAM to your system and how much to add.

Summing Up

There are several things you can do to speed up your slow Mac and get it running efficiently again. Perhaps the most important is to have enough space on your disk. If you have a lot of data, you can invest in some of the best external SSDs to keep your computer light and unburdened. Let us know in the comments below if you’re looking for any more Mac tips and tricks.

Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of iGeeksBlog.com who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.