Slow MacBook or Pro? Here are five ways to speed up your Mac

Has your once shiny and speedy Mac lost a bit of speed? If you see the spinning beach ball more frequently as your Mac struggles to keep up, then it’s time to perform some care to put a little pep back in its step.

In a previous version of this article, I recommended replacing your MacBook‘s traditional spinning hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD) and adding more RAM, but those two maneuvers have slow become outdated. For starters, MacBooks for the better part of the past decade have featured SSDs, so you likely already have one unless your MacBook is ancient. Secondly, MacBooks in recent years feature RAM and SSDs that are soldered to the motherboard, making user upgrades all but impossible. Therefore, the following five tips will help speed up your Mac without replacing any of its hardware.

Before we begin, back up your data before diving in. For Macs, it’s easy. First, grab an external drive and run Time Machine. Then, with your Mac’s drive freshly backed up, you may proceed.

Free up storage space

Sometimes, all your MacBook needs is a data cleanup. Unfortunately, the more crowded its SSD becomes, the slower it will run. You can check out how much free space remains on your MacBook’s drive by clicking the Apple logo in the top left, selecting About This Mac, and then clicking the Storage tab. If you are approaching maximum capacity, click the Manage button to free up some space. Here, you’ll see four recommendations for reclaiming free drive space. 

The first lets you use iCloud to offload files, photos, and text messages. You can move all the files stored on your desktop and Documents folder from your Mac’s drive to iCloud. And you can store full-resolution photos in iCloud and keep what Apple calls “optimized” versions on your Mac that take up much less space. 

If you snap many photos with your iPhone, using the iCloud Photo Library is your Mac’s single biggest space saver. However, remember that you will likely run against the free 5GB allotment on iCloud and begin paying for space on Apple’s cloud. Upgrading to 50GB will cost you ₹78.84 a month, and the two bigger plans offer 200GB for ₹238 a month or 2TB for ₹795 a month.

The second option lets you optimize storage for the TV app by removing downloaded movies and shows after you watch them. The third option automatically cleans out the trash, eliminating items that have been sitting in the garbage for more than 30 days. Finally, the last option, Reduce Clutter, lets you review large files, downloads, and unsupported apps and manually delete those you no longer need.

Perform some First Aid

Next, let’s clean up the applications you are keeping. When you install an app on your Mac, the software arrives as part of a package of files, including permissions that tell MacOS Support which users can do what things with specific files. 

Over time, these permissions can get changed, resulting in your Mac lagging, freezing, or crashing. Repairing these disk permissions, in the most basic terms, amounts to shuffling and re-dealing these permissions so that they return to their rightful place. 

To address this, macOS has a built-in Disk Utility tool that lets you run First Aid on your Mac’s disk. It can also repair issues with disk partitions and startup processes. You’ll need to start your Mac in recovery mode and follow Apple Support’s instructions to fix your disk using Disk Utility.

Find out which apps are resource hogs.

If your Mac acts like it needs a nap every afternoon, when you are at the height of multitasking, there is an easy way to see which of your open applications is using the most system resources. First, open the Activity Monitor by searching for it with Spotlight (keyboard shortcut: hold down the Command button while pressing the spacebar). 

The numbers you’ll see constantly fluctuate, but they show you the amount of CPU and memory resources each app uses. Look at the CPU and Memory tabs to see which apps use the most help. For example, you may start using Safari instead of Chrome if you see Chrome eating more than its fair share of system resources.

Reduce login items

If your Mac is slow to boot up, the problem may be that there are too many applications to open at startup. In addition, likely, you never set them to launch at startup — they launch by default.

Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and then click on the Login Items tab to see a list of the apps that open when you boot your Mac. Next, highlight the apps you don’t want to open at startup and click the minus sign below the list of apps.


Keep current with macOS.

Apple releases new versions of macOS as free upgrades, so there is no reason not to stay current. In addition, new versions of macOS contain performance enhancements and security improvements to keep your Mac running smoothly and safely. To install updates automatically, go to System Preferences > Software Update and check the box for Automatically keep my Mac up to date

You can choose whether to download updates automatically or install them using the Advanced button. There’s also an option to automatically update the apps from the App Store.