Practical Steps to Speeding up your Mac

Because your IT department will never get around to it!


Your day is busy and getting busier. Your Mac is slow and getting slower. This practical guide is here to help speeding up your Mac because getting IT involved will only get you so far!

The majority of these things can be done in 5 minutes or less and will have a cumulative effect of speeding up your computer.

Remove Unused Applications

There are a lot of applications you will have downloaded that you don’t use anymore. A lot of these will have helper programs running in the background eating away at resource and slowing down your computer. Lets get rid of them.

Go to your Applications folder and delete anything that you know you no longer use. This includes older versions of applications that you have no need for.

Stop Unused Toolbar Applications from Running

Even if you have decided that the applications in your toolbar (top right of your screen) are things you want to keep, you may not need access to them at all times.

Right clicking on most of the icons will let you quit/hide the icon. If there is no option for quitting there may be an option for settings. Inside of settings normally there is an option to stop running the application from the toolbar.

Stop Unwanted Applications from Starting

The Mac tries to speed up your day by loading programs automatically when you startup the machine. A lot of the time this can result in applications running that you would never have actually went into.

To change this go to; Settings > Users > Login Items and remove anything you don’t want popping up when you log in.

Clear out Unused Files

Having fewer files on your system will mean your computer has to do less work when indexing them all (which is used when searching your computer) and will mean there are fewer things clogging up your routes through the computer.

I use two programs to help me with this, although you can do it completely manually.

  • Disk Inventory X is a free app to help visualise where space is being used on your computer.
  • CleanMyMac is not free but way faster and better at clearing space

If you aren’t sure about a file back it up somewhere external. You can always put it back onto your computer at a later date.

Speeding up the Internet

We are doing more and more things online in our day to day work, which means the internet plan in the office which may have been amazing 5 years ago might not be so hot now.

If you have access to wired internet, use it. If you aren't sure you can always ask your IT department if it is possible. Wired internet is almost always faster than wireless.

If you stream music and listen to the same songs 10 times a day, pick "keep offline"  in Spotify / Apple Music.

Close out of applications that use a lot of internet. I am going to cover this in the next section but if you have things like Dropbox or Google Drive open, even if they are not actively syncing files they are connecting to their servers to check.

Close Unused Applications

It is very easy to have your main windows open and not realise that there are applications running in the background.

If you press cmd + tab you will see most of the applications you currently have open, lots of applications take up resources even when not being used. Quit out of them.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully you have found this useful, if you have please consider sharing with other Mac users or commenting below with what tips and tricks you have picked up for speeding up your Mac.


Parts of this article were taken from another post of mine called Breathing Life into an older Mac


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