7 Reasons Your Mac Is Slower Than Mine. And How to Fix It | Hacker Noon

June 13th 2020

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@kunalKunal Mishra

Tech Writer. Creating Graphics. Theciva.

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Do you open your Mac and it takes a forever to wake up? Or are app on your Mac is slower than a Sloth? Do heavy apps crash frequently on your Mac making you lose loads of work? 

Well, getting frustrated is normal for you in this condition. But for you, Mac things might not be normal. And it’s time you inspect out what made your Mac so slow. Most probably, it will be any of these 7 things.

The article continues after this infographic.

1. A Lot Of Resource Hungry Processes Are Happening In The Background

Your Mac has a limited amount of resources — memory, disk space, processor. When  

All the applications you’ve on your Mac contribute a hand in dropping your Mac’s speed. When you open any application in your Mac, it puts some load on the CPU and takes up some disk space to work. This is quite normal considering you quit the app after use. But some apps continue to consume your Mac’s memory thereby slowing them down. 

How to Fix?

To combat this, you can end some background processes you don’t want like any app you do want to work on now. These background processes are invisible to you until you open the Activity Monitor. 

Activity Monitor Window

  1. Open Spotlight Search and type in ‘Activity Monitor’. And Open the first result.
  2. Then tap on ‘%CPU’. This will arrange the list of processes according to how CPU power they drain.
  3. Now, select any unwanted process on your Mac that takes up many resources. And press the ‘X’ () icon top left. 

That will end the processes releasing more resources for your Mac to perform better with apps you use. There will be some macOS system processes which you can’t end and they consume loads of memory. Like kernel_task which is takes up, in some cases, the most resources of any other process. And it can’t be ended. To reduce kernel_task resource usage, you can:

  • Restart your computer
  • Uninstall Flash Player (it’s not required these days)
If the problem still persists, check out this guide.
But remember to close the Activity Monitor because it takes up a significant amount of resources too. Press 

+

Q

 to quit.

2. A Lot Of Unwanted Apps Start Up Automatically When You Open Your Mac

Some apps you’ve installed have enough permissions to start up automatically whenever you open your Mac. In some cases, this is useful. For example, apps like F.lux, which helps in relieving eye strain because it needs to get opened whenever I’m using my Mac. 

But this is more than a waste if the app has no function that requires it be open all the time. It can consume lots of processing power making other apps you’re using slower and slower.

How to fix?

To fix this, you’ve to remove the app’s permission to start up at login.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Open Users & Groups.
  3. Click on the Login Items tab and you can see a list of apps that start on your login.
  4. You can select the one you don’t want and click on the minus icon (-) below the list. 

You’ll find even deleted apps and browser plugins there.

3. You Have A Lot Of Browser Plugins/Extensions

These days almost all popular browsers have plugins or add-ons to provide the user with a better experience. These apps functions are much similar to normal apps. They can drain as much battery or memory of your computer’s as a regular app. 

Some plugins even take large chunks of disk space of your Mac, making it slower.

How To Fix?

So you should only keep plugins you require and delete the ones you don’t. Here’s how you can do that:

On Chrome,

  1. Type ‘chrome://extensions’ (without quotes) on your Chrome’s search bar. It will open Chrome’s inbuilt extensions page.
  2. There you can see a list of all the extensions you’ve installed. 
  3. You can click on 
    Remove

     to uninstall any of them.

On Safari,

  1. Open Safari and press

    +

    ,

    to open Safari Preferences.

  2. Go to the Extensions tab and you’ll see a list of extensions you’ve installed.
  3. You can click on any unwanted extension and tap the Uninstall button present there.

4. Your Mac’s Storage Is (Almost) Full

Macs available these days start with a least of 128GB SSD storage and go all the way up to 4TB SSD. But be it any amount, storage is never enough. 

You still need to keep your storage in check especially if your Mac is unlucky enough to have a 256GB storage or even worse a 128GB storage. Storage can fill up quite early in that case. And filled storage can make your Mac annoyingly slow.

How To Fix?

Do I need to tell you this? Clean up your device from unwanted junk. 

To check how much space your Mac has:

  1. Click on the Apple logo  on the top left of your screen and select ‘About My Mac’. 
  2. Go to the Storage tab.

There you can see how much space is each free. You can click on Manage and see details on how much space is being used for each thing.

Macmyth recommends having at least free space available on your Mac equal to 150% (or 1½ times) of your Mac’s RAM. This means if you’ve 8GB RAM, you should have at least (150/100×8)=12GB of free space on your Mac to let it perform smoothly.

Speaking from my personal experience, I’d recommend having at least 40–50GB (<40%) of the space clear especially if your Mac has storage less than 512GB. I’d also recommend having an external hard disk for keeping files you don’t need often like trip photographs.

Here are some tips on how you can save some space on your Mac

  • Empty Trash every time after you delete something big. Or you can turn on automatic emptying of Trash.
  • Uninstall apps you don’t use anymore.
  • Go to  > About My Mac > Storage > Manage > Mail and select Don’t download attachments automatically.
  • Delete all installation files of an app you’ve installed. When you download a Mac app from the internet, it comes in a .dmg file which is the setup file. Once installed, the DMG file is useless. Open Spotlight Search and type in ‘.dmg’ and it’ll show you all DMG file you’ve stored. Get them deleted. (Don’t forget to empty the Trash after that)
  • Go and have a look at your Downloads and Documents folders.
  • Clear browser cache. When Finder is open, click on Go option in menu bar. Type ~/Library/Caches in the box and press enter. You’ll see a list of cache items.

5. You Don’t Use Apple Apps.

The first thing most newcomers do when they get a Mac is to download Chrome. I know Chrome is better in many respects. It has better plugin support and it works so seamlessly for power users. But have you ever given a chance to Safari? 

Just like everything under the sun, Chrome also has its fair share of harms. And if you’ve been using Chrome (especially on a Mac) for a while, you’d know it is one of the most power-hungry browsers (if not the most). It takes up loads of memory, making your Mac laggy. 

How To Fix?

Apple apps are better in non-Apple ones if you’re on a Mac. Pages is lighter and faster than Microsoft Word and yet offers most features of it. Numbers are also as good as Excel. Notes is lighter than Evernote. 

So just give Safari a chance, use it for a day and you’ll realise it isn’t that bad. And for most of you, it might be better than Chrome because:

  • It’s great for lightweight browsing that includes reading, watching or just randomly exploring.
  • If you own an iPhone you can also enjoy syncing tabs, bookmarks or history.
  • You can now enjoy a faster browser and longer battery life.

Also, remember to keep the ones you use updated.

Some Common Mistakes New Users Make:

6. You Shut Down Your Mac After Every Use

Macs aren’t built to be used like a Windows PC, which needs to be shut down after you finish working on it. Macs are designed to be used as a smartphone or an iPhone to be specific. 

You should not shut your Mac down and instead put it to sleep. 

When your Mac is in sleep, it does some work in the background — like indexing files for Spotlight — so to provide a better experience to you. These operations hardly take any battery charge or memory resources.

But when you shut it down, it isn’t able to perform those operations so it does it when you open your Mac the next time to work. This results in your Mac being slower for a while.

7. You Don’t Have Patience.

When your Mac lags or slows down, there might not necessarily there’s something wrong. Users especially first-timers panic if they’re Macs freeze. 

Your Mac has limited resources and power. And whenever it is under much load, it might slow down temporarily.

There can be many reasons for such slowdown of speed which might not be related to any of the above reasons:

There are many times when the slowing down of your Mac is just the normal thing and is not due to any of the above reasons:

  • After updating the OS or any apps.
  • After a reboot.
  • After connecting or ejecting a USB Hard Drive with tons of files in it.
  • When using a heavy non-Apple app.
  • When your browsers have a large number of tabs open. Note that the recommended number is ~9.
  • If your Mac is really old. Upgrading is the only option in this case.

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