Your laptop will be very fast when you purchase a new MacBook or MacBook Pro. Applications will open stunning fast surprising you, especially when you are moving from Windows to macOS. Unfortunately that will not hold long if you never worry about cleaning up things. You need to maintain the computer properly in order to avoid lagging in speed and improve your daily routines. In this article, we will offer tips to fix slow Mac.
Related: Fix slow Safari in Mac.
Symptoms of Slow Mac
Obviously it is easy to find the slow symptoms on your Mac:
- Frequent spinning wheel when you open or process.
- Long time for booting.
- Apps crashing without any reason.
- Apps not responding and you need to force quit.
- Slow loading of webpages.
- Spotlight Search takes long time and show indexing progress bar.
1. Cleanup Desktop
If you notice long delay between the time you see the desktop and all icons are enabled then it’s time to cleanup your desktop. The cluttered desktop not only affects the speed of your Mac but also affect your productivity in searching files.
Spend some time on housekeeping to arrange files and folders. You can create new folders in Documents and move all desktop files there. This will ensure your Mac will not wait for the large files when loading.
MacOS Mojave also introduced a new stacking function you can use to combine same type of files together. Simply right click or control + click on the desktop and choose “Use Stacks” option to auto arrange your files.
2. Startup Apps
Some apps will automatically load when starting your Mac. It will increase the loading time and you may not need those apps on the startup. Follow these instructions in this article to cleanup startup apps.
3. Close Background Apps
On Windows based computers, closing all windows will close the app. However, this is not the case on Mac. Even you close all open applications the apps will be running in the background. If you have the app on Dock, you can see a dot under the app indicating it is running on background.
4. Have Sufficient Storage
All Mac models come with limited SSD storage. You need to keep the working files on your Mac and move all other files to external or cloud storage. Keeping full disk of content with movies, songs and documents will completely slow down the performance.
Click on the “Apple icon” and go to “About This Mac” option. Under “Storage” tab, you can view the available space on your disk.
Click on the “Manage” button and cleanup the files. Check out our article on how to cleanup and increase storage space on your Mac.
5. Delete Big / Duplicate / Junk File
The default cleanup tool offers limited features for finding and deleting unnecessary files. In most cases, you may need third party apps to delete the junk files easily.
Go to App Store and install Dr. Cleaner app. This is a free app with option to upgrade. The free features are sufficient to cleanup the disk data on your Mac.
6. Clear App Cache
Each app you install on your Mac will have cache files to speed up the activities. In addition, Mac also uses system cache and user cache for each user profile. Corrupted and accumulated cache files may affect the speed when accessing apps.
- Open Finder and press “Command + Shift + G” shortcut keys to open “Go to” popup box.
- Type ~/Library/Caches and click “Go” button.
- You will lots of folder each containing lots of cache files.
- Open each folder and delete the cache files.
- After that again press “Command + Shift + G” and go to /Library/Caches to go to system caches folder.
- Delete all the cache files inside folders.
You can only delete the cache files and not the folders. Otherwise take a backup of all the folders and delete them, in case of any issue you can restore the backup folders.
7. Disable Graphical Effects
Excited with the transparent background and window minimizing effects. All those animations will come at the cost of speed. If speed is important for you then disable animated effects on your Mac.
- Remove genie effect of minimizing by going to “Apple menu > System Preferences > Dock”. Choose “Scale effect” for the “Minimize windows using” option.
- Also disable “Magnification”, “Animate opening applications” and “Automatically hide and shoe dock” options.
- Go to “Accessibility” preferences and enable “Reduce transparency” and “Reduce motion” effects.
8. Disable FileVault Encryption
FileVault is a built-in option to encrypt and protect files on your Mac. Encrypting the content may slow down the activities and you may not need this when using Mac for normal use.
- Go to “Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy”.
- Click “FileVault” tab and click on the padlock.
- Provide your admin details for editing the settings.
- Click on “Turn Off FileVault…” to disable.
9. Monitor Apps Consuming High CPU and Memory
Most of the gaming, graphics and development apps will consume large CPU and memory. The problem is it will affect when you multitasking with other apps. You can monitor the resource consumption to find apps that consumes more CPU / RAM. Either delete those apps or find alternate apps for your usage.
- Press “Command + Spacebar” and open Spotlight Search.
- Type activity monitor and open Activity Monitor app.
- Find high resource consuming apps under CPU and Memory tabs.
- You can select the process and click on the X button kill.
10. Use FirstAid to Check Errors
Sometimes the volume errors on your disk may cause slow performance. Press “Command + Spacebar” and open “Disk Utility” app. Click on the “FirstAid” button to fix the volume errors and fix them.
11. Delete Preferences File for App
Individual apps store the custom settings in preference file. Sometime corrupted preference file may cause in slow loading of that app.
- Open Finder and navigate to “Go > Go to folder” menu item.
- Type “~/Library/Preferences” and click “Go” button.
- Delete the plist file for that app. For example, Google Chrome will store the settings in Mac with the file name “com.google.Chrome.plist”.
- Mac will automatically generate the preference file when you open the app next time.
You can also backup the preference file in different location and restore if required.
12. Change Default Folder When Opening Finder
Finder is the file explorer for your Mac. By default, it opens with the “Recents” folder showing all recently processed items. It may affect the speed when you have many recent items. You can change the default opening folder in preferences.
- Open Finder and press “Command + ,” keys. Or go to “Finder > Preferences…” menu item.
- On the popup click on “General” tab and choose “Desktop” or any other clean folder under “New Finder windows show” dropdown.
- Go to “Sidebar” tab and choose the items you want to show in the Finder sidebar.
- Under “Tags” tab disable or delete unused tags to reduce the clutter.
13. Cleanup Browsing History for Safari
If you have slow loading webpages on Safari then you can try clearing the browsing history on the browser. Go to “History > Clear History” to delete all saved historical items and caches in Safari.
If that does not help change the browser to Google Chrome.
14. Check Spotlight Search Indexing
Spotlight Search helps to find the files quickly on your Mac. It needs to index all the data on your Mac before suggesting the results. Good indication of slow Mac is seeing the indexing progress bar in Spotlight Search.
You can customize the indexing options on your Mac to improve the search speed of Spotlight Search.
- Go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences… > Spotlight”.
- Disable unnecessary categories to be shown in search under “Search Results” tab.
- Go to “Privacy” tab and add locations for excluding from searching.
15. iCloud Sync
The iCloud settings allow you to sync the content on your Mac and iCloud storage. You can enable automatic synchronizing of Mac data to iCloud account. This will dump to iCloud when you modify files on your Mac. In addition, any new file you create will instantly synchronized with iCloud. When this happens, you will see the circular progress bar running in Finder against iCloud Drive.
Though it will help to access your files across devices, ensure to select only the needed folders for automatic synchronization. Especially synchronizing “Desktop and Documents Folders” will consume resource on your Mac and affect your other activities.
- Go to “Apple menu > System Preferences… > iCloud”.
- Click on the “Options” button against “iCloud Drive”.
- Disable items you do not want to sync.
- Also, enable “Optimize Mac Storage” option to store old files only on iCloud without synchronizing to Mac.
16. Update macOS
Apple release upgrades frequently to address security and enhance features. It is a good idea to keep your Mac up to date so that it works fast. Software update option is available under System Preferences. Learn more on how to update macOS.
Remember, sometimes upgrade will make your old Mac very slow. So if you have older models then better to ignore the major OS version updates.
We hope one of the above mentioned solutions helped you to fix slow Mac. There are many other third party apps outside Mac App Store for speeding up your Mac. We have already mentioned Dr. Cleaner, an App Store app can help cleaning up the disk space. If you have serious lagging problems we recommend you to check with the Apple Store or with the authorized sellers.