[Solved] Steps to Speed Up and Improve Mac OS Performance

Wondering why your Mac running so slow? Desperate to speed up Mac? These simple steps provided below will greatly help to improve Mac’s performance and make it run faster.

[Solved] Steps to Speed Up and Improve Mac OS Performance. Source: ShutterStock
[Solved] Steps to Speed Up and Improve Mac OS Performance. Source: ShutterStock

Content Summary

Look for resource-hungry processes using Activity Monitor
Manage startup items
Turn off visual effects
Delete browser add-ons extensions
Reindex Spotlight
Reduce Desktop clutter
Step-by-step clean up cache files manually
Uninstall unused application
Clean up Mac hard drive
Update MacOS and hardware
Create new user profile on Mac
Purge RAM using Terminal command
Reset SMC (system management controller)
Reset PRAM (parameter RAM)
Replace HDD with SSD
Adding more RAM

Look for resource-hungry processes using Activity Monitor

Use Activity Monitor to check which application processes are utilise system resources.

Step 1: Go to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor, or use Spotlight to find it.

Step 2: Activity Monitor categorise the Details of five different resources in 5 different tabs: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk and Network usage. If Mac is running slow then click on the CPU section. It shows how processes affect CPU (processor) activity.

Step 3: Click column name, such as % CPU to list all programs by the amount of CPU they’re using.

Step 4: If you see that some process is using a lot of CPU power, you can force it to quit by choosing the process with the mouse and click on the X in the left-hand corner of the Activity Monitor.

Look for resource-hungry processes using Activity Monitor
Look for resource-hungry processes using Activity Monitor

Manage startup items

When Mac boots up, it runs a lot of unnecessary application, clean startup items will helps speed up slow Mac.

Step 1: Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and then click on your username.

Step 2: Click on Login Items and select a program you don’t immediately need when Mac starts up

Step 3: Click the button below it.

Manage startup items
Manage startup items

Turn off visual effects

Step 1: Go to System Preferences > Dock.

Step 2: Uncheck following options:

  • Animate opening applications
  • Automatically hide and show the Dock

Step 3: Switch Minimize windows using option to Scale effect.

Turn off visual effects
Turn off visual effects

Delete browser add-ons extensions

Chrome and other browsers often get overloaded with various add-ons and extensions. These add-ons and extensions reduced browser speed. You can prevent slowness by reducing the number of opened tabs or remove any browser extensions or add-ons you don’t need. Here is how to delete extra browser extensions in all 3 main browsers.

For Safari: Go to main Menu > Safari Extensions

Safari Extensions
Safari Extensions

For Chrome: Go to Menu > Settings > Extensions tab

Google Chrome Extensions
Google Chrome Extensions

For Firefox: Go to Tools > Add-ons

Firefox Add-ons Extensions
Firefox Add-ons Extensions

Reindex Spotlight

Step 1: Go to System Preferences > Spotlight.

Step 2: Click on Privacy tab.

Step 3: Drag hard drive from Finder into the Privacy List.

Step 4: Once added, remove it by clicking the sign.

Step 5: The indexing will start again.

Reindex Spotlight
Reindex Spotlight

Reduce Desktop clutter

Every desktop icon takes up RAM space, clean up unused desktop items will faster your Mac. Newly-introduced feature Desktop Stacks on macOS Mojave allow you to order your desktop icon. If you’re running macOS High Sierra or older macOS version, deletion of desktop items will make your MacBook faster.

Reduce Desktop clutter
Reduce Desktop clutter

Step-by-step clean up cache files manually

Cache files are basically temporary data stored on your hard drive and used to speed up processes, but over the time, those cache files will take much storage on hard drive and slow down the system. There are roughly three main types of caches you can clean on Mac:

  • System and App cache
  • User cache, including:
    • Caches: temp data to speed up your apps, websites
    • Preferences: customised settings for your apps
    • App support: large pieces of app data, like game saves
    • Containers: sandbox used by apps to exchange data
  • Browser cache
4 main types of cache in MacOS
4 main types of cache in MacOS

Below steps will cover clean up cache files for all three types.

How to empty user cache on mac OS Mojave

Step 1: Open a Finder window and select Go to Folder in the Go menu.

Step 2: Type in ~/Library/Caches and enter to proceed to this folder.

Step 3: Go into each of the folders and clean out everything.

Step 4: Repeat the same steps at /Library/Caches folder.

Step 5: Empty Trash folder. Control-click on the Trash icon in the dock and select Empty Trash.

Step 6: Restart your Mac.

How to delete system and app cache on Mac

You can delete app cache on Mac in the same way as user cache by going to ~/Library/Caches and removing the insides of the folders with the app name.

How to clear cache in Chrome

Step 1: Click the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of Google Chrome browser.

Step 2: Choose Settings > Advanced > Clear browsing data.

Chrome Clear Browsing Data
Chrome Clear Browsing Data

Step 3: Deselect all, but Cached images and files.

Step 4: Choose All time for Time range.

Step 5: Click CLEAR DATA button.

Chrome clear cached images and files
Chrome clear cached images and files

How to clear cache in Firefox

Step 1: Click the hamburger icon in the top right corner, select Preferences.

Step 2: Choose Privacy & Security on the left sidebar.

Step 3: Scroll to the section Cookies and Site Data menu item, click on Clear Data button.

Firefox clear data at Privacy & Security
Firefox clear data at Privacy & Security

Step 4: Uncheck Cookies and Site Data and check for Cached Web Content.

Step 5: Click Clear to delete Firefox cache.

Firefox clear cached web content
Firefox clear cached web content

Step 6: Exit or quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

How to clear cache in Safari

Step 1: In the top menu, choose Safari > Preferences > Advanced tab.

Step 2: Enable Show Develop menu in menu bar.

Enable Develop menu in Safari
Enable Develop menu in Safari

Step 3: Go to Develop in menu bar.

Step 4: Choose Empty Caches.

Empty caches in Safari
Empty caches in Safari

Step 5: Exit or quit all browser windows and re-open the browser.

Uninstall unused application

Another proven way to speed up MacOS is to uninstall the application you don’t use anymore. Simply dragging the application to Trash bin is not enough because it will leaves gigabytes of junk behind. Check out below step-by-step to uninstall Apps on Mac using Trash and Launchpad.

Delete application using the Trash

To completely remove programs from Mac manually, you have to find all the associated files that come along with the app after dragging the app icon to the Trash from your Applications folder. To remove the app leftovers from Mac just navigate to each of below folders and check for the app you want to remove. If you find files with the app name then drag it to the Trash.

  • Binary and dock icons: /Applications/
  • Application support files: ~/Library/Application
  • Support Caches: /Library/Caches/ and ~/Library/Caches
  • Plugins: ~/Library/Address Book Plug-Ins/
  • Library: ~/Library/
  • App preferences: ~/Library/Preferences/
  • Crashes: ~/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter/
  • App saved states: ~/Library/Saved Application State/

Remove application using Launchpad

Step 1: Click Launchpad icon in Dock.

Step 2: Find the app you want to uninstall.

Step 3: Click and hold the app until it starts shaking.

Step 4: Click X in the top-left corner of the app icon.

Step 5: Click Delete.

Uninstall app using Launchpad
Uninstall app using Launchpad

Resolved app “can’t be moved to the Trash” error

Some apps are pre-installed macOS components and protected by the system while others will refuse to delete because they are already open. You can try the manual removal after force quitting the app by pressing Command-Option-Esc to open the Force Quit Applications windows and if the app is on the list shut it down) or rebooting MacOS.

Resolved app "can't be moved to the Trash" error
Resolved app “can’t be moved to the Trash” error

How to uninstall Java on Mac

Step 1: Open Finder and click on Applications tab.

Step 2: Enter JavaAppletPlugin.plugin into the search field.

Step 3: Right click on the JavaAppletPlugin.plugin and Move to Trash.

How to uninstall Flash Player and other extensions

Download the uninstaller from Adobe and follow the Adobe’s Flash Player removal instructions to remove Flash Player manually.

Clean up Mac hard drive

Cleaning hard drive is the best and easiest way to speed up MacBook or iMac. Go through your hard drive and clean out everything that is slowing it down.

Update MacOS and hardware

To check version of the MacOS, click the Apple icon in the top left corner of screen and then About This Mac. Make sure you have the latest macOS/OS X installed otherwise click on Software Update button to proceed with software update.

MacOS Software Update
MacOS Software Update

Create new user profile on Mac

Some settings in your current user profile may have been compromised or cluttered with outdated system logs. Start a new user profile will resolve this issue.

Step 1: Click Apple logo > System Preferences > Users & Groups.

Step 2: Press to Unlock changes.

Step 3: Add new user by clicking on the + sign.

Create new user in MacOS
Create new user in MacOS

Step 4: Import user data to your new account. macOS has a special Shared Folder just for this purpose. It can be found by clicking Finder > Go > Computer > Macintosh HD > Users. Copy and paste your documents to this folder and then login to your new account.

Purge RAM using Terminal command

Step 1: Open Terminal app via Launchpad.

Step 2: type: sudo purge

Purge RAM Terminal command
Purge RAM Terminal command

Step 3: You will be asked to enter your system password.

Reset SMC (system management controller)

For Mac with non-removable battery

Step 1: Shut down Mac.

Step 2: Press Shift + Control + Option on keyboard and press power button at the same time. Hold the keys and power button for 10 seconds.

Step 3: Release all keys.

Step 4: Press power button to turn on Mac.

Reset SMC on Mac with non-removable battery
Reset SMC on Mac with non-removable battery

For Mac with removable battery

Step 1: Shut down Mac.

Step 2: Remove the battery.

Step 3: Press power button and hold it for 5 seconds.

Step 4: Press power button again to turn on Mac.

For iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro

Step 1: Shut down Mac.

Step 2: Unplug power cord and wait 15 seconds.

Step 3: Plug the power cord in.

Step 4: Wait for 5 seconds and press the power button.

Reset PRAM (parameter RAM)

Step 1: Shut down Mac.

Step 2: Press power button.

Step 3: Press Command + Option + P + R keys at the same time.

Step 4: Hold the keys until Mac restarts.

Step 5: Release the keys.

Reset PRAM on Mac
Reset PRAM on Mac

Replace HDD with SSD

Adding solid-state drive (SSD) will make your computer boot faster, copy files in the blink of an eye and make the system really fast when multitasking. It is recommended to clean install MacOS on the new drive. When asked about the formatting system, choose APFS+ file system which works much faster.

Adding more RAM

Upgrading RAM is usually a great solution for improving Mac’s performance. The more RAM that Mac has at its disposal, the more windows or tabs you can have open without slowing the system down. With more RAM, the operating system isn’t making calls to virtual memory which uses the hard drive and slows down the system considerably.