7 Tips on How to Speed up an Older Mac

Isn’t the whole point of getting a Mac the notion that it’s going to survive updates, new releases, and all the other aspects of owning a computer that PC users dread? We believe it is, which is why we’re here with a new blog post aimed at teaching you how to speed up an older Mac. There’s no point in even considering selling yours off for parts, or entering it into a buyback program, in order to redeem it for a new machine.

The point of today’s post is not to upsell you some software or put you to work on complex computing tasks. Most of our tips involve the very basic ‘View Options’ panel, while the rest are aimed at improving usability through proper daily maintenance. If your Mac has been acting particularly sluggish of late, following our advice is pretty much guaranteed to restore it to its maximum potential for performing day-to-day tasks.

#1 Disable Finder thumbnails

Believe it or not, thumbnails use up some of your RAM, so if your older Mac has been running slow, you can just disable these in favor of using default icons. You can do this through the View Options option in the View Menu, by unchecking Show Icon Preview.

#2 Disable Item Info

The same principle above also applies to information about files, such as picture sizing, dates when pictures were taken, and other details. If you want to optimize your computer’s speed, you can disable the process through which the machine pulls this kind of information from the file. You only have to uncheck the Show Item Info in View Options.

#3 Disable Size Calculations

Sometimes it’s useful to see the size of any file and folder, when checking out the contents of your computer in directory list view. However, if you’ve been wondering how to speed up an older Mac, you should know that really big files and folders can eat up some 15-20% of your Mac’s computing power, when they attempt to generate file size. Disable this option in View Options for List View.

#4 Streamline Login Items

Each time you boot and reboot your Mac, a number of applications will launch and will then have to shut down respectively. Your older Mac might have a hard time managing that many processes, which remain active throughout the time your machine is active. Choose to disable Login Items you don’t necessarily need or use on a regular basis. You can do this from System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items.

#5 Remove unnecessary files off your desktop

We’ve written about this before, but feel like mentioning it again, as many believe it to be a myth. In fact, desktop icons, which take CPU power to generate, can slow down computers – especially older Macs. As such, it’s a good idea to keep the items on your desktop organized into folders and, as a rule of thumb, have as few of them as possible. If you find the task of keeping your desktop clutter-free, check out apps that do this for you, like Clean My Mac 2.

#6 Use the right web browser

Does your web browser have tons of add-ons and plugins? Are you in the habit of leaving multiple tabs on all the time? Then this might have something to do with the fact that your older Mac has slowed down. Keep unused functions at a minimum and always opt for either Safari or Chrome, the fastest online browsers for Macs.

#7 Shut down the apps you don’t use

Sound commonsensical, right? Of course it is, only it’s also true that Mac users will often leave applications running in the background and then forget about it – needless to say, this will significantly slow down an older machine. Remember that your Mac isn’t as up-to-speed and ‘fit’ as it once used to be and could use an app background check every once in a while.

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