Is your Mac slowing down? Are you struggling to run programs and applications that once caused little or no problem?
Don’t panic – just observe these 8 steps to help restore your machine to maximum working capacity!
1. Reduce Your Startup Applications
Much like loading an Olympic runner with a shed load of luggage on the start line, forcing your Mac to initialize and immediately activate vast swathes of applications will inevitably slow it down.
Some of these applications might be necessary to the running of your Mac, but most are probably optional extras you’ve picked up during running it.
Thankfully, they’re pretty easy to remove; simply navigate to “System Preferences” and select the “Accounts” icon before selecting your username. Now go to the “Login Items” tab and simply uncheck the boxes next to the applications you know not to be necessary. These may include the likes of iChat, Skype, Meteorologist and much more.
2. Remove / Uninstall Unused Programs
Macs require a certain amount of free space on the hard drive to engage effectively in the tasks you set for them. This is referred to as “virtual memory”, and is crucial to the way in which your Mac starts up, recognizes / interacts with applications and saves information or files.
This means that by the time your machine is warning you that you are low on space, you have probably used up much of its “virtual memory”. This is why it’s a good idea to remove or uninstall programs you no longer use. You can do this by simply moving them to Trash, and then emptying the Trash.
3. Close Your Web Browser
You might not think of your web browser as a particularly draining application, and to start with it isn’t, but many of the tricks used to enable you to navigate back and forth between pages soak up quite a bit of processing power.
Information relating to the pages you browse stored in caches, and the longer you leave your browser open or, the more pages you browse, the more space is required for this information. Simply closing your browser once in a while will help alleviate this stress.
4. Don’t Over-Animate Your Desktop
Personalizing your desktop with animations and photos might be a good way to liven up a dull backdrop and express some personality, but Macs don’t handle images well compared to Windows machines.
You might be surprised at how much processing power your personalizations are soaking up, and if you’re in desperate need to speed up your computer, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether.
5. Disable Redundant Widgets
Widgets can often provide a novel and helpful service of one kind or another, but over the years, you’ve probably accumulated a fair few that in truth serve a very little purpose at all.
Even when you’re not using these features, they can continue to soak up valuable processing power, so it’s best to deactivate them. This is done by opening the Dashboard, by clicking on the Dashboard icon that appears on the Dock. Now click on the (+) symbol on the far left of the Dock, you’ll see a list of the various widgets installed on your Mac, with an X in the top left corner.
Simply browse the widgets and click the X on those you wish to deactivate – simple!
6. Upgrade Your Hardware
Admittedly one of the more expensive options at your disposal, yet still cheaper than buying a new machine outright.
You’ll need some sound technical advice from a knowledgeable professional to know what upgrades will benefit your machine specifically.
But generally speaking, upgrading from a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a Solid State Disk (SSD) will drastically improve read and write application speeds as well as reducing the amount of power your Mac consumers.
7. Update OS X
Apple does a pretty good job of releasing software that continually improves and updates the Mac operating system.
Visiting the Apple Store and downloading / installing the latest OS X operating system (for free) will not only improve the way your machine performs its core functions, but also the way it interacts with the various applications you use.
8. Update Everything Else
Once your Mac is up to date, it’s a pretty good idea to run “Software Update” to make sure all the programs you use are up to scratch as well.
This is especially important with new / rapidly evolving applications, as developers may still be in the process of ironing out bugs or failures that might compromise disproportionate amounts of processing power.
By following the steps below, you stand a good chance of speeding up your Mac and keeping it in good working order going forwards, but if these measures seem a little technical or time consuming, it might be worth downloading one of the many professional Mac cleaning applications out there on the web.
These programs will perform many of the processes outlined here quickly and efficiently without imposing on your day to day activity.