5 Steps to Speed Up Your Slow Mac

Speed Up Your Slow Mac

As of January 2021, there were approximately 1.65 billion active Apple products. More than a billion were iPhones, while Macs were in the millions. Mac sales have been on the rise, though, garnering Apple $8.68 billion in the last quarter of 2020 alone.

If you own one of those active Macs yourself, you’ve likely marveled at how speedy your device used to be. Unfortunately, though, you’ve recently noticed a drop in the speed of your Mac. 

Don’t pull out your hair just yet. Instead, try the tips we listed below on how to fix a slow Mac laptop or desktop.

1. Trim Your List of Enabled Login Items

Login Items are apps and services that launch and start automatically after you sign in to your Mac. They can be anything from anti-virus apps to browsers, text editors, or documents. Since they run upon login, they’d start to consume memory as soon as they launch.

That can then lead to a slow Mac computer.

The Login Items list was empty when you first got your Mac. After downloading apps, though, you may have added a few to the list without realizing it. For example, you may have agreed to the terms and conditions of apps without reading them at all.

Unfortunately, that’s a pretty common habit; one study even claims that 99% of users don’t read the T&C.

The thing is, you may have consented to the downloaded apps starting upon login, too. That’s why it’s imperative to review the boxes you tick whenever you install a new program on your Mac.

Fortunately, you can stop their startup upon login by deleting them from the Login Items list.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo on the top-left corner of your Mac screen
  2. Select System Preferences on the Apple menu
  3. On the System Preferences window, choose Users & Groups
  4. Select the Login Items tab
  5. Highlight all items you want to stop from launching upon login
  6. Click the – button at the bottom of the window

That should remove all the selected items from the Login items list. So, they should no longer start the next time you log in.

You can confirm that by restarting your Mac and then logging in again. It should start up and launch the desktop faster now what you have fewer login Items.

2. Ditch Unnecessary Memory-Hogging Processes

Processes refer to programs that run on your Mac, including macOS and third-party apps. Many of them are visible from your desktop, but others may be invisible and running in the background.

When your Mac slows down, lags, or freezes, it’s likely due to those processes consuming much of your memory. Fortunately, you can find out what these processes are using the Activity Monitor app on your Mac.

Here’s how to launch Activity Monitor:

  1. Open a Finder window and then click Applications
  2. Select Utilities in the Applications folder
  3. Double-click on the option for Activity Monitor

Alternatively, you can take the following steps to use Spotlight Search to launch the app:

  1. Press the Command (⌘) and the spacebar keys
  2. Type “Activity Monitor” in the Spotlight Search bar
  3. Hit enter or click on the Activity Monitor icon on the list

Once you have Activity Monitor up, click the Memory tab on the top-center area of the window. This should then show you a list of all active processes.

You can click the Memory column to view the processes by size, starting from the biggest memory user. Next, select a process you don’t need at the moment, and then click on the X button found at the top of the window. Finally, choose Quit to close that process and free up valuable memory on your Mac.

3. Delete Stored Data Using Finder

Finder is the built-in file management system found in every Apple Mac computer. Among its chief responsibilities are storing, organizing, and launching apps, files, and drives. It also lets you copy, duplicate, and delete applications, disks, files, and folders.

Since Finder’s primary tasks have to do with storage, it can start acting up if your Mac is short on space. Thus, if your Mac is running slow every time you try to use Finder, the problem may be excessive storage use.

After all, the more content that Finder has to load, the more data it needs to sift through. In this case, it may slow down during the initial launch, when opening a drive or folder, or when launching an app or file.

If any of that often happens to you, you should delete useless stuff that Finder uses memory to locate and load.

You can start with the Downloads folder; send everything you no longer need to Trash. From there, check the rest of your main folders and delete unneeded or unwanted items in them, too.

4. Trash the Duplicates

If Finder still lags even after you delete stuff, you may have duplicate files in other folders. Similar-looking photos and duplicates, in particular, are common culprits. Finder may also be loading and sifting through multiple backups of files and folders.

The best way to remove these unnecessary copies is to use a third-party duplicate file finder.

For example, there’s this app called Gemini 2 that can locate and delete all duplicate files on your Mac. It tracks replicas of text documents, photos, folders, and music, among many others. You can give it a try by downloading its free version from the Apple App Store.

5. Uninstall Unknown or Unwanted Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are add-on programs that improve or enhance browser functions. For example, they can block ads or sync with password managers. Some can even check your spelling and grammar.

As helpful as they are, though, they can sometimes cause speed issues on your browser. As a result, your browser may lag, ultimately affecting your Mac’s performance.

Worse, they can be a hotspot of cyber threats, exposing millions of consumers to malware.

So, if your Mac’s performance dropped considerably, check your browser’s extensions. You might have downloaded and enabled some of them by accident. Either way, uninstall all those you don’t use, or you’re not familiar with.

Try These Methods on How to Fix a Slow Mac Now

If your Apple computer lags so much you can’t do anything with it, don’t wait for it to crash completely. Instead, follow everything we listed in this guide on how to fix a slow Mac. The sooner you do, the sooner you can recover not only precious memory but valuable storage, too.

With more available memory and space, your Mac’s performance is sure to improve.

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