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6 Quick Ways To Fix A Slow Mac

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There’s nothing worse than a slow Mac or the dreaded spinning beach ball of death when things get really bad. This can be caused by many things most commonly low hard drive space, updates to macOS and application problems.

Here are 6 easy ways to fix a slow Mac to get things running smoothly again.

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1. Clean Your Hard Drive

One of the most effective things you can do to speed-up a slow Mac is to find out if there’s some files or folders that are slowing down your Mac.

The best way to do this is to use a disk analyzer and cleaner to see what may be taking up valuable hard drive space or simply clogging-up the smooth performance of macOS.

For this you can can use a system cleaner such as CleanMyMac or a disk space analyzer such as DaisyDisk.

CleanMyMac X  is an all-purpose optimizer and cleaner and although your Mac can generally maintain itself without the need for a cleaning app, sometimes things do go wrong, especially after an upgrade.

CleanMyMac will identify anything that’s taking up valuable disk space or what may be slowing your system down and clean it safely. Ideally you should use it before upgrading to High Sierra but it can also identify problems after upgrading too.

mac slow - cleanmymac

2. Find Large Files

Over time, large files can get hidden or build up on your Mac occupying valuable storage space. The most recent versions of macOS have made it harder to find exactly where these files are, especially snapshots taken by macOS Catalina.

An easy way to fix this is to use a disk space analyzer to find large files. DaisyDisk is our favorite tool for this although you will have to decide whether it’s safe to remove snapshots you no longer need so use it with care.

storage management app mac - daisydisk


3. Optimize System Storage

Since macOS High Sierra, you can  actually optimize the storage on your Mac if you go to the Apple Menu in the top left corner of your Mac and select Storage. Then simply click Optimize…

You can free up even more space by using the Store in iCloud option although you’ll obviously need an iCloud account with plenty of space to use this.

fix a slow mac - optimize storage


4. Close Down Apps That Are Hogging Resources

Sometimes an app is malfunctioning on your Mac and consuming unnecessary resources.

When this happens, it basically locks-up your Mac making it run extremely slow and often making your Mac run very hot. You’ll know if this is happening as the fans on your Mac will be whirring loudly.

To check which apps are consuming the most resources on your Mac, open the Activity Monitor which you can do by searching for it in Spotlight or looking in your Applications folder.

Inspect all tabs but particularly the CPU and Memory tab to spot red flags such as any application or process that is consuming a large percentage of your CPU.

Double click on the process to quit it or if it won’t quit, select Force Quit instead.

If the culprit is an application that you don’t need anymore, consider uninstalling or updating it. If the process is unfamiliar, do a Google search to find out exactly what it’s doing on your Mac.

mac running slow - activity monitor


5. Check Your Mac For Malware

Malware is any type of adware or spyware which has installed itself on your system. Sometimes this can end up hogging all of your Mac’s resources and you need to get rid of it fast.

By far the best tool for this is Mawarebytes for Mac (formerly AdwareMedic) which is free and instantly removes any known malware or adware from Macs. You can read more about it on our Malwarebytes for Mac review.

malwarebytes for mac interface


6. Move Large Files To An External Drive

If you’ve got large files on your Mac that you no longer need to access regularly (such as photos and videos) one of the best things you can do is simply move them to an external drive.

External drives now are insanely cheap for hundreds of gigabytes of storage and not only will it help your Mac operate more smoothly, it reduces the risk of losing important files and memories if your Mac crashes.

Especially if you don’t completely shut-down your Mac regularly, your Mac needs lots of storage space in order to save background files, sleep files etc.

The connection ports on Mac have changed a bit over the past few years with the emergence of USB-C and Thunderbolt connections so check out our guide the best external drives for Mac to get the lowdown on the current market.

best external hdd mac - macbook pro ports

These are 6 quick and easy ways to make sure your Mac keeps in tip top condition and running like new again.

There are of course many other things you can do if these don’t work but they require more investment in terms of time and money such as internally adding RAM or an SSD drive to your Mac.

If you’ve tried these fixes and are still having problems with your Mac running slow, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help.

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