How to Speed Up Your Mac

Posted by Heather on August 19, 2016
How to Speed Up Your Mac

After a while, your Mac may seem to become sluggish or bogged down. Is it taking longer for programs to load, are applications freezing up, or are they becoming unresponsive? It can happen over time—or perhaps your Mac’s resources aren’t being utilized properly because things are running in the background that shouldn’t be.

There are some steps you can take to revive your Mac’s speed and performance levels that you may not have even thought about. That’s where we come in—we have some tips and tricks to share with you to get your Mac back in tip-top shape.

Check Your Hard Drive Space

It may or may not be obvious to you, but the fuller your hard drive becomes on your Mac, the more that can have an effect on its performance. If you want to check how much disk space you’ve got and how much is being utilized, do this:

  • Click on the Apple symbol in the upper left-hand side of your display. Then, select “About This Mac.”  About This Mac
  • Next, click on the “System Report” button in the About This Mac window.  Mac system report
  • Under the category “Hardware” in the left panel, go down to where it says “Storage” and click on it.  Mac Storage
  • Here, you can see how much hard drive space is available and what’s in use.                   Mac hard drive

As you can see here, we’re starting to run a bit low on storage space. So, what we’ll do is remove programs, applications, and files that we no longer need stored on our Mac hard drive. This should give us back a little more speed and impact our system overall, in a good way.

Is Your OS Up-to-Date?

A good thing to do is keep your Mac computer up-to-date, especially with operating system updates. When updates for the OS are released, they usually address bugs and security issues, and provide more stability for your Mac. To check for OS updates on a Mac, you can follow these steps:

  1. Make your way to the Apple App Store, which is where you can get update notifications and install them.
  2. After opening the App Store, you’ll click on “Updates” in the upper right-hand side of the App Store menu.  Updates
  3. If there are updates available for MacOS, then a “Download” button shows at the top of the page. As you can see from our screenshot, we’re all up-to-date.                                                                                            System up to date
  • You either have the option to update the OS and other apps individually, or you’ll be able to select “Update All.”

Once you’ve checked for Mac operating system updates, it’s crucial that you install any that are available. This keeps your Mac in tune with the most current fixes and makes your system more stable. It also gives your Mac more RAM (memory) back and helps to speed things up as well.

Do You Have Too Many Startup Applications?

When your Mac boots up, is it taking longer than it used to? That could be because you’ve got too many applications wanting to start at the same time when you turn on your Mac. The best thing to do for a quicker startup speed is to remove some of those applications that are bogging down your boot time to get into MacOS.

Let’s take a look at how you can prevent some of those apps or programs from starting when you boot up your computer, or remove them completely, to decrease your startup time back to a decent amount.

  • Go to the “System Preferences” in your Mac’s dock (it’s the gear-shaped icon). Then, click on “Users & Groups.”  Mac users
  • On the next screen, click on the gold lock in the lower left-hand corner. Then, enter your user password so you can make changes to startup applications and programs.
  • Click on your Username and select “Login items” next to Password in the upper middle of the user screen.  Mac log in items
  • You don’t want to just hide the startup applications; you want to completely disallow them from starting once your Mac is booting up.
  • Click on the apps or programs you no longer want starting upon startup of your Mac. Then, at the bottom of the list of startup applications, click on the minus (-) symbol to remove them.                                         Minus button

Now, the next time you power on your Mac, the startup time should be much better without all those programs and applications trying to start with the operating system startup. This also increases your boot time speed.

Retrieve Information From All the Right Places on Your Mac

What do we mean by this? This means making sure that your Mac is going to the correct places within the system and on your hard drive to get the information it needs for permissions. To do this, you’ll need to use the Terminal application on your Mac and type a simple command.

  1. Go to the Terminal application on your Mac. If it’s not located in your dock, then in Finder click “Go” and then scroll down to “Utilities” and click on it.                                                                                                                 Mac Utilities
  2. Once the Utilities window opens, navigate to the Terminal application and double-click on it and it’ll open on your Mac’s display.                                                                                                                                        Terminal application
  3. Type this command in the terminal: “sudo/usr/libexec/repair_packages –verify –standard-pkgs/” and push the “Enter” key on your keyboard. You’ll now be asked to enter your user password to continue; input it, and press “Enter” again.
  • Note: this feature doesn’t work on MacOS Sierra, as it has been removed. On any MacOS previous to Sierra, it’ll work.

By typing the above command, you’ll be verifying permissions settings on your Mac to ensure information is getting retrieved from the right place. Do you see many items or some items marked as “Permissions Differ”? Then, you’ll want to type this in the Terminal window: “sudo/usr/libexec/repair_packages –repair –standard packages –volume/”

Overall, this method works on many Macs (unless you’re running Sierra) and has a real possibility of helping to boost the speed of your Mac, too.

As long as you’re willing to put in a little bit of time and effort and follow the steps we’ve given you, you’ll regain speed on your Mac.

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