How to solve slow Mac performance

7:02:00 PM |

1. Restart your Mac

Granted the Mac can be turned on for weeks or months without any serious problems, every now and then a restart is recommended. It is usually applications that "leak" memory that in the end makes the computer feel slow and sluggish. So if you haven't already please start this guide with a restart. I promise this guide will be here when you come back online again.

2. Check your Startup Items

When you install applications during the time you use your Mac some of them might add themselves in Startup Items. This causes them to start at every login and thus take up a little memory and a little CPU usage. If you do the following: Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items. You will see how many startup items you have. If you want to remove some of them just click the name of the startup item and then hit the minus button. Just make sure you know what you remove so you do not remove any critical system component.

3. Clean up in System Preferences

While we still have System Preferences open take a look under the section called Other. If you have a lot of items down there there is a chance that some of them is not in use by you. They might be left overs from some application you might have tried out, or something else. You should clean out these too. In most cases you can turn it off from the preference pane itself. If that doesn't work you will need to remove it from the folder ~/Library/PreferencePanes.

4. Clean up the Dashboard

All these widgets are nice to have but they also take up valuable resources from your computer. Make sure you have no unnecessary widgets running. If you do, close them down to get a little more system resources. Remember that each widget creates a background process that use some of the available system resources.

You can actually close down the dashboard completely if you seldom or never use it. This requires some "hacking" in the terminal. If you want to do this, open up terminal and type the following:

defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES
killall Dock

This will close down the dashboard completely and not load it at all. If you want to re-activate it again you replace the YES with NO, and it will be activated again. I personally have the dashboard inactive.

5. Make Time Machine backup when YOU want

Time Machine is a good backup solution. But it takes backup every single hour and if you work on heavy files it will be noticeable slow Mac performance when it starts the backup process. Time Machine apparently doesn't have settings that can enable you to start the backup off working hours but there are people that have solved this problem. If you read this you will learn how to change the backup interval to suit your needs.

6. Clean up your hard drive

Eventually your hard drive will fill up, it doesn't matter how big it is. Many people experience this and many also ask themselves where all the free space have gone? Maybe your iPhoto library starts to grow? Maybe you are editing some videos that takes up a lot of space, maybe you have imported a few new CDs in iTunes. Or you might have a lot of downloaded stuff you never got around to delete. What you need to know is that the Mac works best with a little free space to work with. Your Mac uses the free space on your hard drive as virtual memory and that memory is important for your Mac. Please make sure to delete unneeded files and alsoremember to empty your trash!. If you forget to empty the trash you will still have the free space problem and slow Mac performance.

7. Download Onyx, Now! (it is free)

Onyx verifies the Startup Disk and the structure of its System files, it also allows you to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance. It can clean the cache, repair system permissions and also execute maintenance scripts.
Onyx is recommended for every Mac owner. It is wise to run the application now and then (once a month probably) to keep your Mac in shape and in some cases to solve slow Mac performance.

8. Keep your Mac up to date

Once in a while Apple releases software updates. It is wise to install these because they often contain improvements. It can be security improvements or performance enhancements that can solve slow Mac performance in some cases. Even firmware updates in some cases. Also check if you can download updates to your already installed third party applications, this can also improve performance and stability.
I hope this guide has helped you to get your Mac in shape. As you can see there is a lot we can do ourselves with minimal of effort. Maybe this will save you that upgrade you thought of ;)

Slow Mac, Did You Solve It?

Did this article help you get your slow Mac faster again? If so, share with us what you did. Also if you did something not mentioned above.