To most people, the only solution to a slow Mac computer is purchasing a new one. But, in the current unpredictable economic times, you need to come up with ingenious ways of saving money. What if I told you that it is possible to speed up your Mac instead of ordering a new one? Yes, it is possible to do this without spending hundreds of dollars.
Here are five actionable tips that I have tested and found effective in speeding up Mac computers.
Tip 1# Get the Mac Hard Drive Replaced with an SSD (Solid-state drive)
Replacing the traditional spinning hard drive with an SSD (solid-state drive) is one of the most effective ways of improving the performance of your MacBook. Click here for instructions on how to go about this process. I was amazed by how simple it is to replace the hard drive with an SSD. I replaced it with the Samsung 500GB 850 Evo that I purchased online. The only challenge was locating the size 6T torx-head screwdriver to remove the four screws that are used to ensure that the hard drive does not detach even during transit.
Tip 2# Consider Adding More RAM
Before you reassemble the MacBook after installing the SSD, take this golden opportunity to increase its RAM (Random access memory). Unlike the process of installing the SSD, this one is easy; the only challenge is finding a RAM that is compatible with your MacBook model. It is also important to note that the brand does not really matter, just make sure that you buy the right size, speed, and type. Apple’s support page has a list of memory specifications for different RAM models that you can use to find the right one easily.
My MacBook Pro 2011 had two DIMM slots and each of them had a 2GB module. Because all the slots were occupied, I opted to replace the two modules with two 4GB modules since I needed to have DDR3 memory with a speed of at least 1,333MHz.
Tip 3: Clean up Mac’s Hard Drive
Sometimes, you do not necessarily need to replace the hard drive with an SDD or increase the RAM. Over the years, you have filled up your Mac with applications and files which you do not use anymore.
Uninstalling Old Mac Apps
Check the Download and Application folders to see all the installed applications. If you realize that there are some that you cannot remember installing, chances are that they are no longer useful. Relocate such apps to the Trash folder to free up some valuable hard drive space. Note that when you uninstall an app, some of the files associated with it still remain on the hard drive. A quick scan using a tuneup app will list these files as junk files. You can get rid of them by downloading and installing AppZapper from App Store. You can use the app for free to do five scans, but after that you will be required to pay $12.95 to continue using it.
Clean Up Useful/Essential Applications
Some of the application that you still use and consider valuable also need to be cleaned up. Whenever you install a program on your MacBook, it comes with a package of files such as permission files that direct the operating system how users should interact with the various files.
Overtime, the permissions can be corrupted resulting in your computer crashing, freezing or lagging. You need to periodically check these permission files to ensure that they are correct. It is not possible to do this maintenance task manually. Luckily OS X comes with Disk Utility, an inbuilt tool that you can use to reshuffle and re-deal with these app permissions.
Check Apps that Are Using the Most Resources
Activity Monitor will help you to know the amount of resources that each application that you have installed is using. Note that the numbers are not constant but will definitely give you an idea of the amount of memory resources and CPU that every program is using. In my case, Firefox was taking up more than three times to total amount of memory resources and so I opted to uninstall it and use other browsers exclusively. Surprisingly, iTunes does not utilize as much resource as most people perceive it does!
Delete Large Unused Files
Now that you have deleted apps that you no longer use and cleaned up those that you still use, it’s time that you pay some attention to files that have been lying on your hard drive. Finder is one of the best tools you can use to locate the large unused files. Here are the steps on how to do this:
- Open Finder
- Select the volume you want to search
- Choose File>Find or hit Command-F
- Click on Kind pull down menu then select “Other”
- The select a search attribute window will display
- Check this box for “File Size” and uncheck any other boxes
- Click OK
You should also change the “equals” pull-down menu to “is greater than”. Also, change KB to MB and indicated the minimum file sizes. You can delete or move the files which you no longer use but are listed here to an external drive for future use.
Tip 4# Cut-Down the Login Items
One of the plausible reasons why your MacBook takes long to boot up is because too many applications are set to open as it start-ups. You may never see them as them launch because they open by default.
To identify these apps, go to System Preferences, click on Users& Groups then Login Items tab. Highlight all the apps that you don’t want to open at startup and click on the minus sign to ensure that they do not launch next time you boot the MacBook.
Tip 5# Retain the Current OS X
Apple usually provides new versions of OS X as free updates and so there is absolutely no reason why you should not upgrade. One of the things that you need to know about these new versions is that they contain security improvements as well as performance enhancements that will ensure that your MacBook continues to function efficiently and safely. So, do not ignore the new updates notifications.
Tip 6# Prune Animations and Transparency Effects
Unknown to most people is that animations and transparency effects can work down the graphics hardware on older MacBook models. Reducing them will greatly help to increase the rate at which your computer processes data. Open the System Preferences, click on “Accessibility” icon and check the “Reduce Transparency” option to prune down the transparency effects. Go an extra mile and click on “Dock” preferences and select “Scale Effect” to minimize the animations.
Tip 7# Consider Lightening Your Browser
Your web browser could be the reason why your Mac is operating at a snail speed. One of the guaranteed ways of lightening your browser is by reducing the number of browser extensions and opening fewer tabs at the same time. These two actions will help to not only save on CPU resources but also save memory. Safari browser performs better than Google Chrome on Mac OS X, you can redefine your browsing experience downloading and setting it as the default browser if there is no specific Chrome extension that you use.
Tip 8# Reset System Management Controller (SMC)
Resetting SMC (System Management Controller) will help to fix a broad range of system issues from startup issues to slow performance and Wi-Fi connection problems. This is like a lower-level reboot that will revamp the efficiency of the computer without deleting any data or corrupting your folders.
Refine the performance of your Mac by applying these five actionable tips. Be sure to contact a professional if you are unsure of how to go about any of these processes to avoid compromising other features.