How to Make Your Mac Run Faster in 10 Steps

Data in computer

Are you suffering from slow speed but don’t want to install a new, faster hard drive? Here’s how to make your Mac run faster without spending any cash.

Years ago, your new Mac was blazing fast. But then time took its toll. Whether you’re watching videos, gaming, or working, everything’s a little slower than before.

It’s enough to make you consider forking over the cash for a new computer.

This is something that happens to everyone, across all types of devices. Every year, the average American will spend four days waiting on a slow computer. But hold your horses before you pull out your credit card and trash your current Mac.

It’s possible to speed up Mac devices without paying a dime. In fact, it could even run as smoothly as the day you first bought it. Here’s how to make your Mac run faster without new hardware.

1. Customize Startup Items

When you turn on your Mac, does it take several minutes to get up to speed? That’s likely because it’s turning on a slew of programs all at the same time. You can make for a smoother startup process by taking control of what does or doesn’t activate on startup.

Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner and navigate to your System Preferences. Find Users & Groups in the drop-down menu, and then select Login Items.

A list of programs and apps will appear, all of which activate upon starting your Mac. Disable any software that you don’t need right away or don’t use at all. You’ll notice the speed difference the next time you turn on your Mac.

2. Turn Off Visual Effects

If your Mac doesn’t have the best hardware, then even cosmetic changes can free up resources and speed up Mac processing. Improve the power of your rig by disabling the visual effects inherent to MacOs.

Find the Dock panel under your System Preferences tab. You’ll discover a variety of cosmetic features, scales, and effects. To speed things up, disable magnification, animated applications, and accessibility.

3. Free Up Disk Space

A full hard drive is less efficient than an empty one. With all that data to sift through, it takes more time for your Mac to locate what it’s looking for. But part of the issue comes from MacOS itself.

Unlike Windows machines, Macs automatically defragment files. What does defragmenting do? It organizes data in the same continuous cluster, so your Mac doesn’t waste time scrolling through swathes of empty space.

But for MacOS to defragment, it needs a decent chunk of free disk space.

That’s why you should always tidy up your hard drive, especially when it’s full of data. Look for unnecessary programs and software you no longer use and consider offloading large files like photos and movies to an external device.

4. Check for Updates

No operating system is perfect. Sometimes bugs happen. Oftentimes, this can lead to unexplained resource-hogging, memory leaks, and other performance issues.

Always ensure your Mac is running the latest version of its operating system. In addition to erasing bugs in the system, these updates can lead to minor performance and security improvements.

You’ll find Software Update under the Apple Icon. Access this menu and look for updates. You should also check the box that enables automatic updates if you haven’t already.

5. Watch the Activity Monitor

When you first start encountering performance issues, take a look at the Activity Monitor. You can access this from the Utilities folder. This panel lists all processes running on your device, as well as their resource burdens.

Organize these processes by CPU and Memory. You may discover a rogue or malfunctioning program is eating up the majority of your system resources. By disabling it, your Mac will be back in action.

6. Clear the Cache

A variety of programs save small, trivial information. Over time, all this data congregates into a sizable mass that can slow down your computer. For example, Safari saves a ton of cookies and search history over the years.

While you can clear the Safari cache manually, other programs have their own caches that you may not be able to access. For that reason, you should download and run CCleaner to erase this hidden data.

If you’re unsure about this software, check out this CCleaner review and best alternative for Mac computers.

7. Restart your Mac

Want to know how to speed up Mac devices? When hardware starts behaving strangely, most tech professionals suggest a restart.

When you leave your computer running for a long length of time, small bugs and memory problems can take their toll. For both your energy bill and the performance of your Mac, it’s best to shut it down at the end of the day.

A clean restart should cure any issues that occur as a result of an extended runtime.

8. Tidy Up the Desktop

Stuffing dozens of icons on the desktop isn’t just unsightly — it’s also a significant memory tax. Your Mac’s ram has to hold the information for these icon images, taking up resources that could better be used elsewhere.

If you don’t want to remove these files, at least organize them into custom folders. For machines with limited memory, this change can result in a noticeable performance increase.

9. Scan for Malware

Although Macs are more resilient to viruses and have fewer to contend with, it’s still possible to become infected. Some forms of malware, such as bitcoin miners, can hijack system resources.

Perform a malware scan to ensure your computer isn’t corrupted. Since Mac computers don’t have a built-in scanning feature, you’ll have to use third-party software. Consider downloading an antivirus program, such as Malwarebytes.

10. Reinstall MacOs

When none of these changes seems to get the job done, there are two explanations: Either the hardware is on its last legs or there’s an undiagnosed software issue.

For that reason, it may be best to reinstall MacOS in its entirety. Know that this will clean your hard drive and all its related files, so plan accordingly. This method is a major inconvenience, but it’s guaranteed to repair any software abnormalities.

Continued performance issues that persist after a complete reinstall are likely the result of failing or outdated hardware.

How to Make Your Mac Run Faster

Slow computer speeds can make even simple tasks, such as web-browsing, an absolute slog. But now that you know how to make your Mac run faster, you don’t have to deal with poor computer performance.

Take an hour out of your day to try these corrective measures. You could save time, money, and a tinge of sanity in the long-run. So what do you have to lose?

Looking for ways to make the most of everyday technology? You’ll find more expert tech advice across our site.