Is your Apple Mac running slowly? Speed up Mac OS X performance with this advice
Is your Mac running slowly? Our Mac speed tips enable ensure your Mac runs faster. Spend a bit of time to clean up Mac OS X and it will pay you back by running software quickly and smoothly.
Apple Macs generally run efficiently, but with an older Mac you might want to keep an eye on the performance. And even if your Mac is running perfectly fine, a bit of extra Mac OS X speed never goes amiss.
These tips give you the confidence to clear out the clutter without losing any precious files. Follow these steps and Mac OS X will pelt ahead at full speed. For more Mavericks tips read our OS X Mavericks guide.
1. How to speed up a Mac: Shutdown unwanted apps
It might sound obvious but the best place to start is to close down any unused programs. If you have too many programs running at once your Mac may find memory and CPU space being devoted to them instead of the apps you want.
Right-click on programs in the Dock and choose Quit, or press Command-Tab to bring up the App Switcher and press Command-Q to quit unused programs.
Pro tip! Software like iStat Pro can be used to monitor your app performance in real-time.
2. How to speed up a Mac: Ensure you can see open apps
If you’re worried about performance you should make sure you can see which apps are running. Open System Preferences and click Dock ensure that there is a check next to Show Indiciator Lights for Open Applications.
3. How to speed up a Mac: use Activity Monitor
If you want to see what apps are using up your system open the Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder. Activity Monitor shows all the processes on your Mac (some of which you can’t, or shouldn’t, close) so click on View and Windowed Processes. Now click on the CPU button and the “%CPU” column to list all programs by the amount of CPU they are using. You can also use this to see what Memory, Disk and Network different processes are using. A new feature in Mavericks is Energy which enables you to see which apps and processes are using up the most amount of energy from your battery.
4. How to speed up a Mac: Get rid of preference panes
Open System Preferences and check in the row at the bottom. This is where custom items are added to your System Prefernces and if you’re not using them then they are taking up your CPU. Right-click on an item and choose Remove From Preference Pane.
5. How to speed up a Mac: Cut down on Login items
Open System Preferences and click Users & Groups. Now click on the Login Items tab to view which programs and services are launched when you first power up (or log in) to your Mac. Highlight an item in the list that you don’t want and click on the Delete from Login Items (‘-’) button at the bottom of hte list.
6. How to speed up a Mac: Free up hard drive space
It’s usually best to keep some space
free on your Mac (we usually aim for around 10 per cent). STart by emptying the Trash (right click on Trash in the dock and choose Empty Trash). If you need to free up more space then check through your User folder for items to get rid of (Movies and Pictures are often likely culprits). You should also empty the Downloads folder of any items you’re unlikely to need.
7. How to speed up a Mac: Remove unwanted programs and widgets
It’s often a good idea to start removing apps that you really don’t use. You can just drag and drop apps into the Trash, but We advise you invest in a program called App Zapper that can show you how much hard drive space apps are taking up, when you last used them and can delete apps and all associated files.
You should also remove any widgets that you don’t use form the Dashboard. Click the Remove (‘-’) icon in the bottom-left and tap on the Remove (’X’) icons on any widgets that you don’t regularly use.
8. How to speed up a Mac: Software update (and set to auto update)
Make sure you perform a software update for Mac OS X and all the apps installed in Mac. Click on the Apple icon in the Menu bar and choose Software Update (or open Software Update in the App Store).
If you have apps purchased outside of the App Store they will need to be updated separately. You’ll usually find Check for Software Update from the program name in the Menu bar.
AppFresh is an app that can help keep track of all your software and checks constantly to see if updates are available. Some apps can also self update by integrating with AppFresh.
You should also make sure that Mac OS X keeps itself up to date. Click on System Preferences > App Store and ensure that Automatically Check For Updates is ticked. You can also tick Install App Updates which will automatically ensure that apps are updated.
9. How to speed up a Mac: Empty Safari cache
Safari sometimes gets clogged up with data. Cleaning this out will help speed up Safari in Mac OS X. Open Safari and choose Safari > Reset Safari and check Remove all Website Data. (leave the other options unchecked). Now click on Reset. This can help speed up sluggish web browsing.
10. How to speed up a Mac: Repair Permissions
Open Disk Utility and choose your main hard drive from the sidebar (in most Macs there will only be one.) Now click on First Aid and Repair Permissions. This will ensure that all the files on your Mac have the correct permissions, which will help keep things ticking along.
11. How to speed up a Mac: Turn off visual effects
Most Macs are now capable of running Mac OS X Mavericks without any trouble. But some people prefer to have keep the Dock static to prevent slowdown. Click System Preferences > Dock and untick the following check boxes:
- Animate opening applications
- Automatically hide and show the dock
- Turn off accessibility
Now click on Minimize windows using and change Genie Effect to Scale Effect.