Does it feel as though your Mac is a lot slower than it used to be, and you often face delays waiting for apps to launch? Rather than taking it into the shop, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot the problem on your own.
If you go through the list below step by step, you should find that by the time you’re done you will have isolated the problem and solved it:
Close unnecessary apps and processes
The first thing you should do is look down at your Dock and right-click and close any unnecessary apps that are open (i.e. have a dot on them) and right-click or Ctrl-click and close them. On top of that you can open the Activity Monitor and see what apps and processes have a high CPU usage and ‘force close’ them by clicking on it and pressing the ‘X’ button on the toolbar.
Remove unnecessary login items and preference panes
In the System Preferences you should first check for any additional preference panes that may be running and taking up your CPU – and remove the ones you don’t need by right-clicking or Ctrl-clicking and choosing the ‘Remove from Preference Pane’ option. After that you can click ‘Users & Groups’, open the ‘Login Items’ tab and highlight and delete any items in the list that you don’t require.
Check RAM availability
Sometimes your Mac may be slow because it has insufficient RAM to deal with the apps that you’re using. At any point you can check your RAM usage in the Activity Monitor under the ‘Memory’ tab – so launch it the next time you feel your Mac is slow and see if the gauge is red. If it is you may need to upgrade the RAM by purchasing additional RAM and installing it (get some help if you’re unsure how to do so).
Make sure your hard drive isn’t full
Another common reason why your Mac may be slow is if your hard drive is full. Assuming it is you may want to clear some space by uninstalling apps you no longer use, cleaning junk files, and emptying any Trash bins. If you want to delete Safari or other native OS X apps you may have difficulty – but there are workarounds or specialized software that you can use.
Get rid of visual effects and animations
As you probably know OS X has a number of inbuilt visual effects and animations – and turning those off could help speed up your Mac. Just head over to System Preferences and select ‘Dock’ then untick ‘Magnification’, ‘Animate opening applications’, ‘Automatically hide and show the dock’, and ‘Turn off accessibility’. Also change the ‘Genie effect’ to ‘Scale effect’.
Odds are your Mac is performing slowly because of one (or more) of these issues – and now that you know how to deal with them you should be able to take care of it. It would help if you also make sure that you keep your Mac well-maintained, by clearing junk, scanning for malware and viruses, and also making sure it is physically clean too.