5 Ways to Speed up a Slow Running Mac

Is your once powerful Mac running slower and slower every day? Sounds like you have a need for (Mac) speed.

Rest assured that you are not alone. All Mac owners experience this sooner or later. As the months and years go by, their best buddy that used to do everything at the speed of light begins to slow down and take ages to load.

Slow Mac issues and speed up solutions

Before heading for the solutions, one needs to understand the underlying problems causing a Mac slow down. There are many different factors that could be making your Mac slow. Often it’s a combination of many small things that pile up to a monumental problem.

However, don’t worry, your Mac can get back to its initial speed so don’t give up on it just yet. Continue reading and you will discover what are the issues causing the slowdown and some of the best tips and tricks on how to speed up your Mac and improve performance in no time.

So, are you ready to make your Make run faster? Here are the most effective tips on speeding up your Mac:

Slow Mac issue #1

Your system slows your Mac down

There are two components that make up your Mac: hardware and software. Let’s take a look at your software first. An updated macOS is essential to your Mac working fast. Every next system brought performance improvements and bug fixes, so it’s a good idea to keep up.

However, old Macs can’t always update to the latest OS. To check your version, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner and go to “About This Mac.” If you can’t update to the latest version (macOS Sierra) then at least update to the latest version possible.

Solutions: System Tweaks

Speed up solution 1.1

Update your OS

To update your OS, open App Store and click on the Updates tab. If you’re not running the latest possible OS, you should see the next one you can update to on the list.

Keep in mind that updating OS takes time. In order to avoid frustrations, choose a proper time to update, preferably when you can leave your Mac to do its job unhindered: maybe right before bedtime or when you’re going out for the day.

Speed up solution 1.2

Reindex Spotlight Search

Spotlight reindexes on its own after each update, so if you’ve recently updated your OS, you’re fine. In case you haven’t, you should probably try this tweak.

On rare occasions, Spotlight indexing will produce duplicate entries or, even worse, get stuck indexing forever. To solve this, simply download CleanMyMac X and launch the Maintenance tab. Run Reindex Spotlight and give it a little time to process.

Reindex Spotlight in CleanMyMac X

Speed up solution 1.3

Turn off visual effects to speed up a slow Mac

A great tip for older Macs is to turn off some of the visual animations. Sure, they look pretty, but who cares when your system is grinding to a halt? Definitely not the person using the Mac at that moment.

So try turning off some of the worst offenders to make Mac run faster. Open up Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and try these commands:

Turn off dock animations - defaults write com.apple.dock launchanim -bool false

Turn off window animations - defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

Turn off quick look animations - defaults write -g QLPanelAnimationDuration -float 0

Turn off windows adjustment animations - defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001

Disable the visual effects

Slow Mac issue #2

Your hard drive is nearly full

Now let’s turn attention to your drive storage. A full hard drive creates multiple troubles: slow startup, slow Finder, and slow apps. Everything is lagging and dragging like it’s siesta in the very heart of Spanish riviera.

To check how your hard drive storage is doing, open the Apple menu and click “About this Mac.” Choose the Storage tab and wait for it to calculate space division. If your drive has little free space left, time to clean it. The less free storage you have, the slower your Mac gets. At the very least systems need 10% of free space on a startup disk.

Solutions: A thorough disk cleanup

Speed up solution 2.1

Move files to clean up Mac storage and improve performance

The first thing you can do is look through your personal data and delete or move what you don’t need on your Mac. Put movies and music on an external drive, for example. A big storage waster that get’s overlooked is the Downloads folder. Clean it out (remember to also empty the Trash) and you could free up gigabytes. Don’t forget about Photos and iTunes, they can hog tons of space.

Speed up solution 2.2

Use Mac cleanup tools to remove junk and get a faster Mac

Manually moving your personal files will help with cleaning but there’s more to your Mac that you can’t clean on your own. Mac creates heaps of “temporary” junk files like cache and logs, and while they start small, over time they take up gigabytes of your precious space.

CleanMyMac X is a professional Mac cleaning app. It will scan every inch of your system to find all the hidden system junk for easy, one-click removal. Download it for free and use the Smart Scan or System Junk modules to reclaim disk space in minutes.

Smart Scan Tool in CleanMyMac X

Slow Mac issue #3

You have too many startup items

When you first got your Mac and turned it on, it took seconds before you were able to start working. Now your Mac starts the day slowly like a grumpy old grandpa. Partially it’s because a new Mac only has a few important startup items. But as time goes on, more and more apps shoulder their place among them.

Now when you Mac boots, there’s a long queue and each app uses resources, even when they aren’t being used. The result? Your Mac running slower and slower every day.

Solutions: shrink down your startup list

Speed up solution 3.1

Remove startup items: the fast way

An easy way to get rid of extra startup items is to use CleanMyMac X. It also allows you to permanently remove app from the startup items list if you feel that you don’t need it there.

Follow these steps:

  • Open CleanMyMac X
  • Go to Optimization > Login Items
  • Disable the items you don’t want loading
  • Done!

Manage all of your widgets, plugins, and extensions in CleanMyMac X

Speed up solution 3.2

Remove startup items: the manual way

To manually remove apps as startup items (don’t worry, the apps will still be installed) you need to visit your System Preferences.

Follow these steps:

  • Go System Preferences > Users & Groups
  • Select your name
  • Click on Login Items
  • Select startup items that you know you don’t need loading on start
  • Then click the “-“ at the button to remove them from startup
  • Reboot your Mac

Manage startup items manually

Slow Mac issue #4

You have too many apps running

Remember the startup items problem? Too many apps are a bad thing whether we’re talking startup or regular work. When you’re having a browser with a hundred tabs open, a photo editor, and a video player running together with a dozen other everyday apps, your Mac is going to raise a white flag. It’s heating up and trying to tell you that you should choose some apps you really need and close the rest.

Solutions: keeping the number of apps in check

Speed up solution 4.1

Close running apps to speed up macOS

When your Mac is running slow because of app overload, you need to find the ones that cause the problem.

Follow these steps:

  • Navigate to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
  • Click on the Memory tab
  • Click on the Memory column to sort the memory hogs from worst to least

Manage processes in Activity Monitor

Now you can simply highlight an app and then click the X in the top left corner to close it. You want to make sure you’re not closing an app you either a) need open or b) don’t know what it is.

Slow Mac issue #5

Your hardware is old

We’ve finally arrived at the hardware part. We’re here because drive cleaning and software updates can only do so much. If your Mac is very old then it’s going to get slower, no matter what you do. Before you bite the bullet and buy a new Mac, there are a couple hardware upgrades that you should consider. They won’t cost a lot but they could give your tiring Mac a new lease on life.


Speed up solution 5.1

Upgrade memory to speed up a Mac

Memory is a massive factor in how smoothly your Mac runs. It’s also one of the easiest upgrades as adding a new RAM module is simple. Nothing else needs to be done to your system. Even better, it’s also not going to hurt your wallet too much.

To make your Mac faster check out our guide to Mac RAM installation here.

Speed up solution 5.2

Add SSD to give your Mac a big speed boost

Compared to RAM installation, adding a SSD (Solid State Drive) is a bit more expensive (but still much cheaper than a new Mac). It is also more disruptive (you’ll need to make it your system drive), and challenging to install. But if your Mac runs slowly, this will provide a big performance boost.

And that’s how you speed up Mac

If your Mac was running slower over time, these solutions should immediately make your Mac faster. It could even feel like you bought a new Mac, without a hefty bill. Remember to run occasional system cleanups with CleanMyMac X so that your Mac remains clean and fast.

Be sure to check out our video tutorial below. It shows how step by step cleaning with CleanMyMac, basically everything we’ve got here in the article and a little more.