How to speed up the slow Mac that has become so because of age or for not really appropriate use? The unpleasant feeling that the computer – fixed or portable – loses performance perhaps shortly after purchase. The reasons can vary and range from tired hardware – and therefore improvement – to an internal space that is running out, suffocated by useless programs. But nothing is unrecoverable with a little patience, also thanks to features already prepared by the operating system or by third parties.
We have compiled a collection of twelve tips to follow to try to bring the Mac back to almost new, with minimal slowdowns and an experience optimized to the best for personal needs. Dutiful premise: speeding up a dated Mac is possible, but one cannot think that it can compete with the latest models by supporting all the latest versions of the heaviest programs.
1) Update the operating system
As already seen also for the advice for speed up iPhone, Android and Windows, the first and necessary step is to update the operating system to the latest version available.
The latest OS release, in fact, optimizes performance, fixes bugs, increases safety and decreases battery consumption.
As is natural, for a software update, space is required on the internal memory and before carrying out the procedure it is always recommended (read mandatory, to avoid risks) to proceed with a complete backup of all contents.
If you have not received (and ignored) the notification of the availability of the new os, to update the Mac just click on the top left on the apple and on Information on this Mac. At the bottom right of the window is a Software update and the game is done.
You can set automatic updating from System Preferences> App Store and tick Install OS X updates
2) Delete unnecessary software
The second step is to make a good purge of all software that is not needed and that does nothing but take-up memory unnecessarily. These are ballasts that must be canceled as soon as possible.
From the Finder go to Applications and check the list manually. Sincerely ask yourself « Do I need it? » And « How many times have I used it in the last month and year »? Once you have located the targets, highlight the folder with a click and choose the Move to Trash option from the menu. Or drag the icon to the trash directly. For some programs, the system password may be required.
You can be assisted by a free app (with in-app expansions) external called App cleaner & Uninstaller which facilitates everything and which also deletes files and folders attached to the program.
3) Update software and applications
After cleaning, the same applies to update the remaining applications and software. It is always better to go to the latest version available so as to guarantee greater optimization and safety.
You can proceed from the App Store if they have been downloaded from there or otherwise by opening the app, clicking on the name at the top left and on Check for Updates.
Even for apps, you can always set the automatic update from System preference> App Store with a tick on Install app updates. It does not apply to those downloaded externally.
4) Check the running software and close the ones you don’t need
How many software is running on your Mac right now? Hold down the command key and the tab key and a window will open ( App Switcher ) with the icon list, in which you can move by holding down command and clicking on the tab.
To close the unwanted ones, use the command and the « Q » key. If you have any problem closing the apps you can perform a forced shutdown from Apple and Forced exit.
5) Check for software that uses more memory
As an additional level of cleanliness of the software, at least on those that remained during the gradual skimming, it is better to take advantage of Activity Monitoring, which is found in the Applications> Utilities or more easily is called from the spotlight with command + space bar and starting to write the word monitoring.
From here, click on View> Processes with Window to thin out the list to what is most urgent and least dangerous to stop. With a click on CPU and on « % CPU, » you will discover the most demanding software.
If you have identified one to close, you must highlight it with a click and then pressing on the X. A heavy request for resources could be an indicator of software that needs to be updated (see point 3).
6) Erase everything you don’t need
A lean and light computer will benefit in speed consistently. In addition to the useless apps, a good job of cleaning files must also be done. You can click on the Apple and Information on this Mac and then on the Archive tab to get a quick overview of the saved files and what type.
Having seen the situation, it is advisable to move forward in layers. The first is to open the Downloads folder and get your hands in your hair for how much useless stuff you are keeping. It will take some time, but it will serve. The second monster folder is Desk.
After the first manual pass, you can resort to the help of third-party software that accompanies in the identification and elimination of the ballast. Dr Micro Cleaner by Trend Micro is a free solution (with in-app expansions) to bet on because it easily discovers junk files, duplicates and utilities that are no longer such.
At the same time, the program informs about the use of CPU and real-time memory. The big files option, as the name suggests, highlights the gargantuan documents that have taken root in the hard disk. Useful quick links to clean email and browser caches and temporary iTunes files.
A possible alternative, free, very similar is Elite Version.
7) Save photos, videos, and documents to the cloud
As can be foreseen, photos and videos together with particularly heavy documents can be felt on the scales of the GB. The advice is always to keep only the files you really need going to make a constant and safe saving on the cloud.
You can take advantage of the proprietary iCloud service that offers 5gb of space for free. But just sign up for some other platform to increase memory on the clouds. The names are always the same:
Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google’s Drive (if you use an Android do not save your photos on the Mac but use Google Photos which is unlimited up to 16 megapixels and full HD) as well as Dropbox.
8) Check for viruses or malware
Everyone says the Mac is safe from viruses or malware, but that’s not true at all. Speeding up the Mac is also possible to freeing it from any unwanted presences that occupy important resources for illicit and dangerous purposes.
There are several paid and free solutions. We highlight the light and complete tool called Malwarebytes which scans and proposes solutions to remove these uninvited guests.
9) Check System Preferences
Open System Preferences (the icon is the gear icon) and check the bottom row. It is occupied by installed applications such as Flash Player. If they are numerous and if they are rarely used, it would be better to consider eliminating them since they only occupy important resources for the system.
To do this, you will have to right-click and then select Remove from the preferences panel.
10) Clear the caches
With the combination Command + Shift + G and typing ~ / Library / Caches / you will immediately have an eye on the situation of the cache or of the memory that is used to quickly recover files and the software in anticipation of imminent use.
Easily, there will be heavy numbers in correspondence with browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.), music programs such as Spotify and iTunes itself as well as Google Earth. You can go and delete these files, especially for not very used apps.
11) Restrict programs that open on startup
The programs that open when the computer starts can weigh it down, especially if you do not need it. To check which can have this privilege you can open System Preferences> Users and Groups> Login Items.
The list of programs enabled to open when the computer starts will open. Simply highlight the unwanted element and click on the « - » sign to remove it.
12) Install one SSD memory and multiple RAM
The privileges of flash memory compared to traditional is soon said: there are no moving mechanical parts with the result that performance increases, there is less overheating, wear and life is longer.
Replacing the storage medium is not cheap and not that simple. It can be considered an extremely invasive (invasive) intervention. And it can be accompanied by an increase in RAM if the Mac model allows it.
A corollary (or if the Mac is already equipped with SSD) you can consider the idea of investing a few euros in the Trim Enabler 4 app which constantly monitors the health of the memory, allows you to perform the test benchmarks and improve performance.