How to/ by Asya Karapetyan/ Last updated: May 26, 2022
Mac computers are known for having super-fast performance. However, over time you might start often seeing the spinning beach ball on your screen, which means that your Mac becomes slow. In this article, we will give you the reasons for a slow Mac and share tips on how to speed up your Mac.
Before we start, watch the video to see how easy it is to speed up a slow Mac with MacCleaner Pro.
Important notes about Mac’s performance and the methodology used to write this article
- This article is based on our 10+ years of expertise in cleaning a Mac and optimizing its performance.
- Usually the main reason for a slow Mac is a lack of free space on the disk. However, you might have malware or a damaged disk that makes the Mac run slowly.
- We will show you how to speed up a Mac manually and with the help of the utilities from Nektony. All the apps mentioned in this article are regularly updated and notarized by Apple.
- If you have any additional questions on how to speed up your Mac, you can contact Nektony’s team by email. Our Apple-Certified Support Professionals can help you to fix a slow Mac.
The reasons of a slow Mac
First, let’s have a quick look at the possible reasons why your Mac can become disappointingly slow.
Here is a short list of the reasons for a slow Mac:
- You have old apps not optimized for the latest macOS.
- Your Startup Disk is almost full and you have a lack of free space.
- You have too many startup programs automatically running at Mac login.
- The RAM memory is too low for a fast Mac performance.
- You have malware attacks that slow down your Mac.
- You have a lot of junk files, such as cache, cookies, extensions which take up too much space on your Mac hard drive.
Now, let’s turn to a complete guide on how to speed up your Mac.
12 Steps to make Mac run faster
Below, we are going to share the tips on how to manually speed up your Mac. Also, you will learn a quick way to fix a slow Mac with the help of MacCleaner Pro.
1. Keep your software up to date
Check the installed apps for new updates on your Mac. All the apps should be optimized for the latest macOS to work smoothly and fast.
- For the apps downloaded from the App Store, go to the App Store and click on Updates.
- If you downloaded apps from the developers’ websites, you will need to update them separately.
Please note, keeping your macOS and used apps up to date helps not only to protect you from being hacked, but also allows you to keep your system working correctly. You need to regularly check your macOS system for updates as well. For this do the following.
- Click on the Apple icon in the Menu bar → select System Preferences.
- Click on Software Update. Here you will find the information about the version of macOS you use.
- Enable “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” to allow the system to always check for updates, download new updates, and install updates from the App Store.
2. Close memory-consuming apps
Every launched program on your Mac uses RAM memory. A large number of active applications can greatly slow down your Mac. To find and close heavy apps and make your Mac run faster, use the Activity Monitor app.
- Launch Activity Monitor.
- In the CPU tab, sort tasks by CPU usage.
- Find the most demanding processes and click to close them.
Alternatively, you can use one of the tools of MacCleaner Pro – Memory Cleaner. This app shows not only the memory usage of apps but also allows RAM to be cleared and inactive memory to be freed up.
3. Clear cache
Each program in macOS creates cache files and stores them on the local disk. Over time, the total size of caches will increase significantly. Moreover, sometimes for various reasons, this data can be damaged or you may have removed apps but their cache still remains on your Mac. As a result, your Mac runs slow. We recommend that you periodically clear the cache to speed up your Mac.
Here’s how to manually clear cache on a Mac:
- Open Finder and press Command+G key shortcut.
- In the search field enter the following location: ~/Library/Caches and press Enter.
- Go to each folder and clear cache files here. Please, be accurate and make sure you don’t need those files.
And again, with MacCleaner Pro, you can safely clear all cache with just a few clicks. Just launch MacCleaner Pro, select Caches, and click to clean up them.
4. Disable startup items
Some applications launch automatically after your Mac starts up or reboots. As a result, you have multiple apps running and your Mac’s performance will decrease. To stop apps from running automatically at Mac login and causing Mac to run slow, follow these steps:
- Go to Menu → select System Preferences.
- Click on the Users & Groups category.
- Switch to the Login Items tab. You may be surprised at the number of your login items.
- To remove a startup item, simply select it and press the “–” at the bottom of the list.
5. Disable unneeded widgets and extensions
Widgets are mini-programs that are constantly running in the background. A big number of used widgets also make your Mac slow, as they usually eat up a great deal of RAM memory. You should take a look at them and get rid of unneeded widgets.
- Go to the Apple Menu Bar → System Preferences → select the Extensions section.
- In the list of Added Extensions uncheck unneeded extensions.
6. Delete browser extensions
Your browser may start to slow down because of a large number of installed extensions. Some extensions may even be used as malicious software that changes your start page or the search engine or allows annoying advertising pop-ups. So, if you want to speed up your Mac’s performance, you should remove unused or rarely used browser extensions.
Here is how to disable or remove extensions for different web browsers.
For Safari users:
- Open Safari → in the menu bar click Safari → select Preferences.
- Switch to Extensions tab and click to uninstall unneeded extensions.
For Google Chrome users:
- Open Chrome → in the menu bar click Chrome → select Preferences.
- Click Extensions on the left.
- Take a look at the list of all installed extensions and remove unneeded ones.
For Mozilla Firefox users:
- Open Firefox → in the menu bar click Firefox → select Preferences.
- Click Extensions & Themes on the left → Extensions.
- Click the settings icon next to each extension (three dots icon) and select Remove.
7. Uninstall unused applications
Over the years, you’ve likely littered your Mac with applications you no longer use or need. Remember, that a lack of free disk space impacts on your Mac’s performance. That’s why you should remove unused apps.
- Open Finder and go to the Applications folder.
- Skim the list of your apps and remove unneeded ones to Trash.
- Keep in mind that, even if you empty your Trash then, the apps’ support files still remain in your Library folder. They are called app leftovers. So then you need to find all the cache, logs and other service files and remove them as well.
Please note that with MacCleaner Pro you can completely uninstall apps, find app leftovers, remove extensions, and manage startup items much more easily than doing it manually. Just launch a special tool App Cleaner & Uninstaller from the bundle and perform these tasks with just a few clicks.
8. Clean up unnecessary icons from your desktop
Too many icons on the screen can adversely affect macOS performance. The reason is that macOS treats each icon as a separate window. The impact may be negligible, but when you have a large number of icons, it slows down your Mac significantly. Thus, to speed up your Mac, remove files from the desktop or move them to another folder.
9. Remove malware
Your Mac is a secured device, so there is no need to install an extra antivirus program. However, there are different malware programs on the net that could harm your Mac. If you notice that your Mac is behaving strangely, for instance, its performance becomes very slow for no reason, or if there are uncontrolled advertisements in your browser, there may be malware on your Mac. To keep your Mac safe, use only the App Store and trusted official websites to download software, instead of using torrent-trackers and websites full of aggressive advertising.
10. Remove large unused files.
Large and unused files just clog your Mac’s hard drive space. If there is low free disk space on your Mac, it also makes your system run slow. You should skim all your folders step by step and delete the biggest files. Here is how to manually find the biggest files on your Mac.
- Launch Finder.
- In the menu bar click File → select New Smart Folder.
- Click the plus “+” icon.
- Customize the search filter by size, greater than, and type the size of files you want to find.
- Take a look at your large files and remove unneeded ones.
Using New Smart Folder is OK for finding big files, but it may take hours. Keep in mind that MacCleaner Pro can help you to find the list of big unneeded files more quickly and easily. For this, use the Disk Space Analyzer app from the bundle.
Disk Space Analyzer will scan your Mac hard drive, analyze your disk space usage and provide a convenient diagram to find the large files and folders on your Mac. Also, the app displays the list of top 30 big files and provides a special option to easily operate these big files.
11. Move media files to external storage
Photos, videos, and music files take up significant space in your Mac storage. Having a low free disk space negatively affects Mac’s performance. Use cloud storage services or set up a separate storage device for storing your photos, music, and videos.
12. Clean up your Mac hard drive from other junk files
We call junk all the files that are unnecessary and they take up useless space on your Mac hard drive. Duplicate files, logs, downloads, Trash, localization files – all of them are junk files. You should find and remove such files to recover some disk space and help your Mac run faster.
The good news is that you can easily find all types of junk files again with MacCleaner Pro.
What is the best way to speed up a Mac?
Now you know why your Mac can be slow. We provided the manual steps to clean up your disk, disable extensions, widgets and other items to speed up your Mac. Yes, the manual way of removing some files takes up a lot of time. Therefore, you can read our comparison article to find the best Mac cleaning software for yourself, which can do these tasks much faster.
Luckily, you can perform all these tasks automatically with the help of MacCleaner Pro. MacCleaner Pro is a set of tools to free up disk space and speed up a Mac.
Frequently asked questions
Does wiping your Mac make it faster?
Yes. Cleaning a Mac and making more free space on your disk can significantly help you speed up your Mac. Removing junk files will recover valuable disk space. If it’s not enough, you can also find old unused large files and remove them or migrate them onto an external drive.
Does resetting your Mac make it faster?
Resetting a Mac means that all your data will be removed, and all the settings will be restored to the state when your Mac was first turned on. If the reason for a slow Mac was a cluttered disk, too many startup programs, then yes. Resetting a Mac can help your Mac run faster.
Does the Time Machine slow down Mac?
When the first time you make a backup with Time Machine, this can significantly slow down your Mac. However, the future backups should not affect your Mac’s performance because Time Machine backs up only minor changes after the previous backup.
Why is my Mac suddenly running so slow?
One of the most common reasons of a slow Mac is a lack of free space on your startup disk. Also such reasons as using old outdated software, having a big number of startup programs automatically running at Mac login, malware attacks, and a low RAM make your Mac run slowly.