How Internet Connection Speed Affects Mac Performance

Do you remember the days before the cloud craze, when our computer usage did not yet depend on the Internet? Those days are long gone and there are numerous beneficial aspects about this technological development. For one thing, backing up files and system preferences has never been easier. For another thing, computers no longer need to store as much information as they once used to, in order to properly function. However, the downside to all this is that internet connection speed affects Mac performance. Ask just about any Mac user out there – it doesn’t even matter if their machine is old or new: as long as they update their OS X and apps on a relatively regular basis, it’s almost a given that the performance of their machine depends on the speed of their Internet connection. Luckily, there are a few basic steps that you can take, in order to at least identify the source of the problem.

1. Check your Network Preferences

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Typically, whenever you fire up Safari or try to navigate to a new page, they should load as quickly as your Internet connection speed allows them to. However, if what you’re seeing in Safari is a spinning ball-like symbol, this may indicate an issue with the speed of your connection. Of course, there’s no way for you to know whether this is actually the case, or if pages are simply slow to load. In order to make sure, go to System Preferences in the Apple menu, select Network, then Assist me, then Diagnostics. Click continue, run the tests, then implement the solution suggested by the troubleshooter.

2. Check the speed of your connection

If your Internet is running at all, then it’s a good idea to check out a website that performs connection speed tests. Your best bet is probably the website of your ISP, but you can also check out SpeedTest.net and TestMySpeed.com. Once the test is completed, you can compare the results to the speed your ISP says it is providing – take a look at your latest bill and see if the numbers match. If you find that they don’t, it’s time to call your ISP to see if there’s a bigger problem with the network, or if it’s just you. In case the problem is not generalized, the ISP client support might remotely assist you in fixing problems with your modem. They are more than likely to suggest that you…

3. Reset your modem

What’s truly amazing about this very simple tip is that it often works. Simply unplug it for at least 10 seconds, then plug it back in again. Macs with separate routers, such as AirPort Extremes need to have the router rebooted, too. Check the speed again, once you are reconnected.

Not the Internet? What you can do to improve Mac performance

We, here at Lure of Mac, have written about slow Macs extensively before, so here are a few of our pointers on what you can do to ensure that your computer is working at full potential, performance-wise.

  • Run a clean-up application, such as Clean My Mac 2. They will identify apps you rarely ever use, photo and other file format duplicates, icons, cache files, logs, language files, and so much more. Of course, you can also do all this manually, but it would likely involve a lot of time and energy spent on something that can be solved automatically.
  • Make sure you have enough free disk space, especially on the partition from which you boot your OS X.
  • Check CPU performance levels and free up CPU Idle %.
  • Close useless apps running in the background and kill processes that you don’t need.
  • Keep your Mac clutter free, especially when it comes to storage and desktop real estate.