How to speed up a MacBook Air or Pro

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
September 26, 2023
10 minutes to read

The problem when a MacBook is running slow may appear unexpectedly. Some Mac-addicted users will patiently wait for the next more powerful MacBook and macOS release to solve the problem. However, we recommend that you first try the easy tips and tricks that will help you to speed up a MacBook Air or Pro.

#1 Tip – How to speed up your MacBook in a few clicks

If you do not have time to explore why your MacBook is running slow and freezing and how to make it run faster, use the special software MacCleaner Pro.
This all-in-one solution will help you to clean up and speed up your MacBook with just a few clicks.
Duplicate File Finder icon

MacCleaner Pro

Free Download

Why is your MacBook Air (Pro) so slow?

To fix a slow MacBook, you should first understand why its performance speed has decreased. Here are some possible reasons why is your MacBook so slow:

  • You do not update your macOS and apps regularly.
  • You have a lack of free disk space.
  • Your disk is cluttered by cache, logs and other junk files.
  • You have a big number of active startup items.
  • You need more RAM memory in your MacBook for a fast performance.

Now, let’s see what to do when your MacBook is slow.

10 Steps to speed up a MacBook

1. Clean up Mac Desktop

The desktop is your working place and the first screen that macOS has to load. But if there is a mess of files and application aliases, it will prevent your MacBook from running fast. Considering the way OS X’s graphical system works, the items on your desktop use a lot more of your Mac’s resources than you may think.
cluttered mac desktop

Although some people prefer to keep their files on the Desktop, you should accustom yourself to organizing your files properly and avoid saving too many files in the Desktop folder. For quick access to the required folders, set up a Sidebar in Finder.

  1. Open the Finder Preferences from the menu bar.
  2. Switch to the Sidebar tab.
  3. Select the items you want to see in the Finder sidebar and close Preferences.
  4. Then just drag files from the Desktop folder to the suitable folders in Finder. Create as many folders as you wish to organize your files for convenient access.

finder preferences window

2. Stop apps from launching automatically at Mac startup

If you notice that your MacBook Air (Pro) is slow to boot up, you should check the number of startup programs. You may have more apps launching automatically than you really need. Some applications have an option to be launched by default after the installation. You can disable login items to speed up your MacBook. Here’s how:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Go to the General section.
  3. Click Login Items.
  4. Select unneeded startup programs and click to remove them.
System settings showing

A guide for old versions of macOS (Monterey and erlier):

  1. Go to the Apple menu → select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups section.
  3. Switch to the Login Items tab. Here you will see the list of all startup programs.
  4. Click the Lock icon and enter your User password to be able to make changes.
  5. Select the items you want to remove and click the ““(minus) button. Then click the Lock icon again to save changes.

system preferences-users and groups-login items

Please note, that in System Settings you can only disable login items of the apps. However, there are other types of startup programs, such as launch agents or system daemons, that make the apps to automatically run on Mac startup. You need a special tool to see them.

You can use the Pro tool from MacCleaner Pro bundle – App Cleaner & Uninstaller. With the help of this app, you can disable or even remove startup programs files.
app cleaner & uninstaller window-startup programs section

3. Update macOS and used applications

It’s likely that you haven’t updated your macOS for a while. So, you should check to see if you have the latest macOS version because it could fix errors that make your MacBook slow. Due to new technologies and consumer feedback, Apple specialists continue to make the macOS system more reliable, efficient, and responsive. So, don’t skip notifications of updates that can speed up your MaсBook.

How to check your Mac for updates:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Go to the General section from the sidebar.
  3. Click Software Update.
  4. Find here the information about your macOS and configure settings for automatic updates.
System settings showing software updates

Here is how to check updates on macOS Monterey and earlier versions of macOS:

  1. Go to the Apple menuSystem Preferences.
  2. Click on Software Update.
  3. You will see the information about your current macOS version. Here you can set up the preferences for automatic updates.
    software update window

Here is how to check apps downloaded from the App Store for updates:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Switch to the Updates section. Here you will find the information about the apps you need to update.
    app store window with arrow on updates section

If you installed apps directly from the developer’s website, you should check and update each application separately.

4. Stop memory-hogging processes

If you notice a performance drop while working on a MacBook, check the app’s memory usage.

  1. Open Activity Monitor application. You will find it in the Finder → Applications → Utilities. Activity Monitor shows the processes that are running on your Mac.
  2. Find which apps are using much memory.
  3. Click to close heavy apps.
    Activity Monitor window showing the CPU tab

Alternatively, you can use MacCleaner Pro to see the list of heavy apps and quit them.

  1. Launch MacCleaner Pro.
  2. Go to the Speed up section.
  3. Click Heavy applications.
  4. Preview the list of apps with high memory usage and select unused ones.
  5. Click on Review and Speed Up and confirm the action.
  6. maccleaner pro window showing -heavy consumers on mac

Note: If it’s technically possible, you can add more RAM to your Mac. In case you have taken all the steps of this tutorial, but your MacBook is still performing slowly, adding more RAM memory will certainly speed it up. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as using MacCleaner Pro, but in our previous article, you can learn more about how to change memory on Mac.

5. Clear RAM memory

Clearing RAM is one of the quickest ways to speed up the system. You can read our previous article on how to free up Ram with Terminal. However, you can do it in one click with MacCleaner Pro.

  1. Go to the Speed up Mac section.
  2. Mark the checkbox to Optimize RAM.
  3. Click the Review and Speed up button.
  4. Confirm performing this task.

maccleaner pro window with free up ram option highlighted

Also, you can set up an automatic clearing of RAM memory with an additional tool from MacCleaner Pro – Memory Cleaner.

Here is how to speed up a slow MacBook with Memory Cleaner:

  1. Launch Memory Cleaner.
    memory cleaner tool in maccleaner pro
  2. Switch on the option to automatically free up RAM.
  3. The application will free up memory each time when the memory usage on your MacBook is too high or CPU usage is too low.
  4. memory cleaner window

6. Clear cache

The more actions you perform on your MacBook, the more temporary caches and logs are stored there. Removing all these junk files will speed up your MacBook.

Here is how to manually clear cache on a Mac:

  1. In Finder press Command+G shortcut.
  2. Navigate the following folders:
  3. Go inside each subfolder in the Cache folders and remove cache files.

Finder window showing cache files on Mac

7. Delete Downloads

You may have tons of unneeded files that take up useless MacBook disk space. And most likely the Downloads folder keeps lots of such useless files. There you can find installation packages, media files and other documents you downloaded from the Internet and forgot about them.

  1. Open Finder and go to the Downloads folder.
  2. Skim the files inside Downloads and remove unneeded items.
  3. For your convenience, you can arrange files by type and date to easily find unneeded files. For this, in the Finder menu, choose the View option → select Arrange ByDate Last Opened.

Fownloads folder-arranging files by date

Please note that cache, downloads, and other junk files you can easily remove with MacCleaner Pro.

  1. Launch MacCleaner Pro.
  2. Go to the Clean Up section. Here you can see all types of junk files.
  3. Select alunneeded files: cache, installation files, language resources, downloads, etc.
  4. Click on Review and Clean Up to remove selected junk files.
  5. maccleaner pro-overview tab with junk files option highlighted

8. Uninstall unused applications

Over the years, you’ve likely littered your MacBook with applications you no longer use or need.

  1. Go to the Applications folder in Finder.
  2. Skim the list of your apps. If you have apps you can’t remember, no doubt, you can remove them.
  3. Make a right-click on the selected app and choose Move to Trash, or just drag an icon to the Trash.
    Application folder in finder showing removing apps to trash
  4. Remember to empty the Trash for the complete removal of the app.
Note, even after the app is emptied from the Trash, its remaining files still exist. These leftovers are service files that applications use to accommodate each user – cache, logs, preferences, extensions, and so on. You should remove them as well to reclaim hard drive space. This will help your MacBook to speed up.

We recommend using a special tool from the MacCleaner Pro bundle – App Cleaner & Uninstaller. It will help to uninstall any app completely, remove their service files and even find the leftovers of previously removed apps.

  1. Launch App Cleaner & Uninstaller.
    maccleaner window - app cleaner tool
  2. The app will automatically scan your programs.
  3. Select unneeded apps, extensions and remaining files.
  4. Click to remove selected items.
    app cleaner & uninstaller window - applications tab

9. Manage large files and folders

Big and unnecessary files just clog the HD storage and may keep your MacBook running slowly. You can skim all your folders step by step and delete the biggest files. But, it will take hours. Use a special tool from MacCLeaner Pro to analyze your disk usage, find the biggest files and folders and manage disk space.

  1. Open Disk Space Analyzer from MacCleaner Pro.
    disk space analyzer tool in MacCleaner Pro
  2. This tool will scan your hard disk and find the biggest files and folders.
  3. View the items that occupy significant disk space.
  4. Remove unneeded big items.
  5. disk space analyzer diagram showing large files on Mac hd

In case, you have large files that you need, store them in a cloud storage like Dropbox, iCloud, or on an external hard drive. This will free up much valuable space helping to speed up macOS.

10. Remove unneeded duplicate files

Sometimes when you download, create or copy files, you may create duplicates, which occupy important space on your MacBook and can hinder system performance. You can find duplicate files on a Mac manually. But instead of this boring process, we recommend that you remove duplicates using the appropriate tool from MacCleaner Pro bundle:

  1. Launch Duplicate File Finder.
    duplicate file finder in maccleaner pro window
  2. Select the folders you want to scan and click the Scan button.
  3. View your duplicate files and folders and similar photos, select unwanted copies and click to remove them.
    duplicate file finder showing duplicate images


We have shared the steps of how to speed up your MacBook. As you can see, these steps are really simple with the special macOS optimization software MaCleaner Pro. So, you don’t have to buy a new MacBook immediately. Remember to clean up your Mac regularly, and it will serve you as if it’s brand new for a long time.

MacCleaner tools

MacCleaner Pro – the best way to speed up a MacBook

Free Download

This article is based on our expertise in cleaning and optimizing Mac hard drive. We’ve been working 10+ years in developing special disk utilities for making a Mac work smoothly. We regularly explore the latest updates of macOS and update our apps and our articles according to system changes. If you have any questions related to this guide, contact us by email.

Scroll to Top