By and large, Macs are solid, fast, and efficient. However, they’re not age-proof and, with time, will slow down. If you’ve owned a Mac machine for some time now, you know what we’re talking about: longer times for start-up, the ‘beach ball of doom’, and long waiting times for otherwise simple tasks. There’s a large number of reasons for which this may be happening, but some are more common and frequently encountered than others. If you’re looking for potential solutions that might help you speed up your Mac, here are our four top choices:
Most often, Macs will slow down because there’s simply not enough disk space left, but the good news is it’s not at all difficult to speed up your Mac when this is the issue. Go to the Apple Menu > About this Mac > More Info > Storage. You will need at least 2GB of free disk space, or at least three times the amount of available RAM. All you need to do is delete files you no longer use, such as downloads from times immemorial, pictures and music you once stored but are not relevant to you anymore, as well as installer files, with the .dmg or .pkg extension. Alternatively, you can use the Clean My Mac 2 software for this purpose, which will take the chore of deleting files off your hands and make the process faster and smoother.
· Clear caches and rebuild Disk Directory
If you don’t even know what the cache and Disk Directory are, it’s probably time you found out. Cache files are temporary storage files for information that gets frequently updated, such as fonts, website visuals, etc.. The Disk Directory is the list of files on your machine, complete with their locations. Program crashes can corrupt the caches, while Disk Directories can fall out of sync with the actual contents of your Mac. To speed up your Mac in this sense, run the Safe Boot, which fully scans your hard drive, sector by sector, clears outdated data out of your cache and fixes your disk directory.
· Remove useless startup apps and web plug-ins
Some startup apps are essential and help you become more efficient when operating your Mac, but others are mere pointless clutter. We’re especially thinking of programs that will run at startup whether you want them to or not (such as Skype, for instance). You can remove unnecessary startup apps from System Preferences > Users & Accounts > Login. The same pretty much applies for Internet plugins, especially if you’ve had the same machine for a long time and once installed a plugin that work, but is no longer compatible with the current version of the browser you’re now using. To identify them, look into Macintosh HD > Library > Internet Plug-Ins, as well as in Macintosh HD > Users > Your Home Folder > Library > Internet Plug-Ins.
· Install more RAM
Last, but certainly not least, you can consider extending and/or upgrading your RAM. The more RAM you have, the better odds to speed up your Mac, since more RAM literally means you can run more programs at the same time. As a general rule of thumb, you need at least 4GB of RAM if you’re running OS X Lion 10.7 or newer versions. Of course, if you’re not sure you’re ready to invest into more RAM, you can try some alternative solutions, such as rebooting your computer, force quitting applications you don’t use, but run in the background, as well as perhaps consider an OS update. However, doubling or even quadrupling the amount of RAM you’re running is probably the better idea, especially if you’re still stuck at 2GB.