How to Fine Tune, Speed Up, and Improve macOS Performance Without Third-Party App

MacBook and iMac require regular maintenance to continue to perform well. Old, outdated or removed/uninstalled programs leave behind traces of code, apps that force to startup automatically always caused on and consumed additional memory. Caches keep backing up will slow down the macOS’s performance.

How to Fine Tune, Speed Up, and Improve macOS Performance Without Third-Party App
How to Fine Tune, Speed Up, and Improve macOS Performance Without Third-Party App

This article outline top macOS maintenance methods to help MacBook, iMac, and other macOS device operating smoothly without executing any third-party app.

Table of contents

Volume First Aid
Storage Management
Software Update
Restart Regularly
Spotlight Reindexing
Check Login Items
Quit Apps
Clear Caches
Memory (NVRAM and PRAM) Reset
System Management Controller (SMC) Reset
Offload Apps

Volume First Aid

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to open the Spotlight Search box.

Step 2: Type Disk Utility into the Spotlight Search box. Click on the Disk Utility in the search result.

Step 3: The list of volumes and partitions on your Mac is showing at the left sidebar. Right-click on the disk partition you want to perform first aid on and choose Run First Aid.. option.

Right-click on the disk partition you want to perform first aid on and choose Run First Aid.. option.
Right-click on the disk partition you want to perform first aid on and choose Run First Aid.. option.

Step 4: Follow the on-screen instruction to perform the First Aid scanning operation.

macOS Disk Management First Aid scan operation completed.
macOS Disk Management First Aid scan operation completed.

Storage Management

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to open the Spotlight Search box.

Step 2: Type Storage Management into the Spotlight Search box. Click on Storage Management in the search result.

Step 3: Four recommendations will show:

  • Store in iCloud which lets you offload seldom-used files, photos, and messages in iCloud.
  • Optimize Storage which offloads iTunes films and TV programmes.
  • Empty Trash Automatically which automatically erasing items that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.
  • Reduce Clutter which sorts through documents and other content stored on your Mac.

Step 4: Click on the Review Files button for Reduce Clutter Recommendation, you should see a list of large files that could be deleted. Access to Downloads and File Browser tab that show unsupported files, and old downloads.

Click on the Review Files button for Reduce Clutter Recommendation in macOS Storage Management.
Click on the Review Files button for Reduce Clutter Recommendation in macOS Storage Management.

Software Update

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to open the Spotlight Search box.

Step 2: Type Software Update into the Spotlight Search box. Click on the Software Update in the search result.

Step 3: Click on the Advanced button.

Click on the Advanced button in macOS Software Update.
Click on the Advanced button in macOS Software Update.

Step 4: Toggle on all the check, download and install options.

Toggle on all the check, download and install options for macOS Software Update.
Toggle on all the check, download and install options for macOS Software Update.

Restart Regularly

The restart will flush the temporary storage space, restart your macOS device every night at the end of the working day will greatly improve the performance.

Spotlight Reindexing

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to open the Spotlight Search box.

Step 2: Type System Preferences into the Spotlight Search box. Click on the System Preferences in the search result.

Step 3: Locate Spotlight and click on it.

Locate Spotlight in macOS System Preferences and click on it.
Locate Spotlight in macOS System Preferences and click on it.

Step 4: Go to the Privacy tab.

Go to the Privacy tab in macOS Spotlight.
Go to the Privacy tab in macOS Spotlight.

Step 5: Click on the Plus sign at the bottom of the window, add the entire Macintosh HD to the list, and click Choose button.

Step 6: Click on the hard drive you just added to the list, then click on the Minus sign to remove the disk from the list. This will force the Spotlight to reindex the drive.

Check Login Items

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to open the Spotlight Search box.

Step 2: Type Users & Groups into the Spotlight Search box. Click on the Users & Groups in the search result.

Step 3: Go to Login Items tab.

Go to Login Items tab in macOS Users & Groups.
Go to Login Items tab in macOS Users & Groups.

Step 4: Select the item in the list and click on the Minus sign to remove it.

Quit Apps

Clicking on the red X at top left corner doesn’t really quit an application in macOS. To quite an application after used, either quit it by pressing Command + Q¬†or right-click on it in the dock and choose the Quit option.

Clear Caches

Step 1: Open the Finder.

Step 2: Choose Go in the menu, and then Go To Folder option.

Step 3: Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the field and click on the Go button to access the directory with all the caches apps have created.

Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the field and click on the Go button to access the directory with all the macOS caches apps have created.
Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the field and click on the Go button to access the directory with all the macOS caches apps have created.

Step 4: You can delete older ones and those that belong to uninstalled apps.

Memory (NVRAM and PRAM) Reset

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R.

Reset memory (NVRAM and PRAM) for macOS.
Reset memory (NVRAM and PRAM) for macOS.

Step 3: Release the keys after about 20 seconds.

Refer to Apple Support > Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac

System Management Controller (SMC) Reset

For Mac device with Apple T2 Security Chip

These Mac devices have the Apple T2 Security Chip:

  • iMac introduced in 2020
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later

For notebook with Apple T2 Security Chip

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Press and hold these three keys together: Control, Option, and Shift.

Step 3: Keep holding all three keys for 7 seconds, then press and hold the Power button.

Reset SMC for macOS notebook with Apple T2 Security Chip.
Reset SMC for macOS notebook with Apple T2 Security Chip.

Step 4: Keep holding all four keys for another 7 seconds, then release them.

Step 5: Press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

For desktop with Apple T2 Security Chip

Step 1: Shut down your Mac, then unplug the power cord.

Step 2: Wait for 15 seconds, then plug the power cord back in.

Step 3: Wait for 5 seconds, then press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

For notebook with a non-removable battery

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Press and hold these three keys together: Control, Option, and Shift.

Step 3: While holding all three keys, press and hold the Power button.

SMC reset for macOS notebook with a non-removable battery.
SMC reset for macOS notebook with a non-removable battery.

Step 4: Keep holding all four keys for 10 seconds, then release all keys.

Step 5: Press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

For notebook with a removable battery

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Remove the battery.

Step 3: Press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds.

Step 4: Reinstall the battery.

Step 5: Press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

For desktop

Step 1: Shut down your Mac, then unplug the power cord.

Step 2: Wait for 15 seconds, then plug the power cord back in.

Step 3: Wait for 5 seconds, then press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

Refer to Apple Support > How to reset the SMC of your Mac

Offload Apps

Keeping free disk space on the system drive of your Mac is essential. If you’re using a Mac with a small disk drive, get an external SSD.