10 Easy Steps to Improve Mac Performance
Even the Mac is gradually losing ground, succumbing to obsolescence. It is not at all necessary to immediately think about buying a new Mac or adding RAM, often small system adjustments are enough. If performance is not enough or you just want to squeeze the maximum out of your computer, you should use 10 quick solutions.
Table of Contents
Close unused applications
Everyone should know that just clicking on the red cross in the corner of the window does not always mean that the application on Mac is completely closed. In fact, most programs will continue to run, but in the background. If the windows are closed, and the system is still functioning slowly, most likely it is necessary to terminate the processes of unnecessary applications.
Each active application is displayed in the manager, and small dots are shown next to it. If you right-click the mouse, you can choose the action “Exit”. It completes the process completely. Alternatively, click on the File item and then Exit. The keyboard shortcut Command + + provides a similar result.
Closing all applications you don’t need now is a good habit that can free up a significant portion of your system resources. Some programs start initially in the background, for example, Steam, closing them is also the recommended action. If the application stops responding, right-click, hold down the Option key and select Force Quit.
Free up computer resources through activity monitor
If your Mac can become unresponsive for no apparent reason, it slows down a lot, or the coolers start spinning at full capacity, the chances of overloading the system are high. Activity Monitor helps to identify the presence of heavy processes. Activity Monitor can be launched via Spotlight (Command + Spacebar and select it from the list). Another tool is available in the “Programs” section and the “Utilities” subgroup.
To detect an application consuming significant processor resources, you should open the “CPU” tab and set the sorting of items in descending order. The first programs on the list use the most processing power of the CPU. To close them, you need to select the application and click on the cross in the upper left corner.
Important! It is worth remembering that a significant part of the elements of the list are system processes that should not be terminated.
Such manipulations should be repeated on the “Memory” tab. Here you need to focus on the level of bandwidth that the application uses. If the process is not actively used or unknown software is consuming memory, it is worth terminating it.
Prevent autostart applications
One of the most effective solutions to improve performance is to turn off startup applications. Some programs start immediately after turning on the system. Very often, not all software from the list is needed at every start. It is appropriate to wait and start them manually at the moment of need, and not turn on with Windows.
- Open “System Preferences” and go to the “Users and Groups” section.
- Click on the item “Login Items”, applications from autorun should be displayed here.
- Highlight the program that should not be turned on every time, and click on the minus sign to remove it.
At any time, you can add an application by clicking on the “+” button in the indicated section.
Browsing the web with Safari
The browser you choose has a significant impact on the performance of your entire computer. Safari is one of the best web browsers for Mac. The developers have optimized the application well, deeply integrating it into the operating system. If you use the Safari browser, you can significantly increase not only performance, but also the battery life compared to Firefox or Chrome. Third-party solutions use memory inefficiently, which negatively affects battery consumption.
Limit browser extensions and tabs
In all browsers, unwanted or not very useful extensions may appear. Removing them or temporarily disabling them will help speed up not only the browser, but the entire system. Add-ons require a separate process and memory to work. Just one addon is unlikely to significantly slow down your Mac, but when there are 5, 10, or 20 of them installed, the negative effect becomes noticeable.
The habit of keeping 20, 50 or even 100 tabs open at once greatly reduces the amount of free system resources. It is worth rebuilding yourself to keep only important tabs: mail, social network and sites with useful information. If you can get to the desired page with just one click, it is better to close the tab and launch it when needed.
Resetting SMC and PRAM / NVRAM
The OS Management Controller or SMC for short-term management of low-level tasks on a Mac is sometimes clogged with a kind of cache. Since the systems are responsible for the LED backlighting, the power button and the cooler, any unusual behavior indicates a problem in the SMC. This can include malfunctioning keyboard backlighting, unexpected changes in fan speed, or decreased performance, even under moderate use.
The SMC reset guide is different for different Mac models. It is worth finding working instructions for this modification of the PC on the network.
PRAM or NVRAM preserves settings for volume, screen resolution, time zone, and a host of other settings that don’t change even when you turn off your Mac. A performance degradation, mainly during shutdown, usually indicates a PRAM / NVRAM problem. Dumping them is a sufficient measure for recovery.
Achieving a reset is simple, you just need to press the Ctrl + Option + P + R combination during startup and wait for the system to turn on completely.
Free up more disk space
If your computer starts to freeze up, you should immediately check the availability of free space on the drive. For a Mac to run smoothly, it needs at least 5-10 GB of unallocated space. It is used for business purposes. Basically, the place is used to download updates, unpack large files, enable hibernation. When space is critically small, the system may refuse to save data to the clipboard or throw it out of various applications.
First, it’s appropriate to check the amount of available memory by clicking on the symbol in the upper right corner of the screen and navigating to the About This Mac section. The “Storage” tab displays data on the occupied and available space on the disk. If the diagnostics confirmed the lack of space, it is worth freeing it. If you need to forget about the problem for a long time, you should think about expanding memory through cloud storage, a larger disk or additional storage.
Turn off trendy animations
MacOS is especially loved for its responsiveness. However, not the least role in this is played by the beautiful animation of closing, opening windows and the like. Only here the additional effects are somewhat reflected in the speed of work. To shorten the response timeout, it is wise to turn off animations. This action is especially useful for older Macs without a discrete graphics card.
What should be done:
- Go to “System Preferences” and open the “Pin” tab.
- Turn off the “Animation of opening applications” item.
- Uncheck “Automatically hide and show panel”.
- In the settings “Minimize the use of windows” it is better to set “Scale effect”.
To further reduce the animation, you should go to the “System Preferences” on the “Access” tab. Inside the “Display” section there is a “Reduce motion” item, which is reasonable to turn on.
Cleaning the desktop
Does the reader know that all files on the desktop in MacOS are treated as a separate window? Thus, the developers managed to achieve quick access to files through search. A clogged start screen is a waste of system resources that would be useful in more important areas. It is highly recommended to remove all unnecessary files from the desktop.
Install software updates
Along with software updates come bug fixes, new features and, most importantly, performance improvements. Upgrades to macOS and third-party programs most often have a positive effect on the overall performance of your computer. The update method depends on the type of application and how it was installed. This is how apps from the App Store get upgrades from it.
It is also often possible to improve performance by installing the most current version of MacOS. The update can be done via the App Store by entering “macOS” in the search bar. The first result of the output is likely to be the last modification of the operating system.
Previously, macOS updates only slowed down older PCs. Now Apple has shifted its priorities to improving the performance of older computers. But before starting the installation, it is worth checking the changes in the OS. For example, macOS Catalina is no longer supporting 32-bit applications.
Have some free time? It’s worth reinstalling macOS
The above quick steps can speed up your computer by eliminating the root causes of slowing down. However, they won’t help as much as pure macOS can improve performance.