How to Optimize Mac Performance | Speed up a Slow Mac (Step by Step)

Remember the good old days when your Mac is brand new and booting up takes less than a second? We feel you!

However, after several years of use, you’ll notice that your Mac tends to run slower than before. You may begin having some performance issues, and a frozen screen starts to become a part of your daily problems.

But fear not! We’re going to show you five FOOLPROOF ways to speed up your slow Mac. Don’t start thinking about buying a new replacement computer just yet– these user-friendly tips and tricks will surely optimize your unit’s speed!

Top 3 Reasons Why Your Mac is Running Slow

Whether you’re using an iMac, Macbook Air, or Macbook Pro, the performance issues are mostly the same. Before we delve into our tips and tricks, let’s review some of the most common reasons why your Mac is beginning to slow down:

  1. Outdated Mac OS

Your Mac OS X is essential to the overall performance of your laptop. If you don’t regularly update your OS every time Apple releases a new version, then don’t be surprised if your Mac unit is running slow.

  1. Your hard drive is full

Having too many files on your hard drive is one of the top reasons why your Mac performs as slow as a turtle. If you don’t regularly clean up your hard drive, all the junk is going to get piled up, resulting in poor performance issues.

  1. You didn’t optimize your storage

Similar to the hard drive issue, if your Mac’s storage isn’t optimized, the cluttered storage space will take a toll on your startup and loading speed. It’s one of the first suggestions that Apple recommends whenever consumers encounter a slow Mac performance.

How to Speed up a Slow Mac: 6 Quick Ways to Speed Up Your Mac!

1. Upgrade your computer software

As we’ve mentioned above, an out of date OS or software is one of the main reasons why your Mac is running slow.

It is a no-brainer that keeping your Mac up-to-date will ensure that your laptop will run fast and smoothly as it can. Software updates pop up every now and then to address issues such as security changes, bugs, and battery life.

These changes also ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Mac, so it’s imperative to be up-to-date with Apple’s software updates every time they pop up on your screen.

How to update your Mac Software

Step 1: Open the Mac App Store on your computer.

Step 2: Click the “Updates” tab in the App Store toolbar.

Step 3: Install the software update by clicking the “Updates” button.

The Updates section of the App Store also includes any new updates of any app you installed. If you don’t want the hassle of regularly checking the App Store for updates, you can go to your System Preferences, click on App Store settings, and have any updates automatically checked and downloaded in the background.

2. Troubleshoot by optimizing the Activity Monitor

If your Mac isn’t performing the way it used to be, then better check on your Activity Monitor to see what applications are causing to drain your system.

Its purpose is similar to a PC’s Task Manager. Sometimes, there are applications installed on your Mac that run on the background even when you don’t use them, and these applications can slow down your Mac’s performance.

Activity Monitor is where you can see the breakdown of all your system’s resources. You can view your individual tasks, usage, disk activity, network, memory, and CPU in real-time, and you can micromanage everything from there.

How to troubleshoot using the Activity Monitor

Step 1. Open Finder > Go > Utilities

Step 2. Launch “Utilities” Folder.

Step 3. Select “Activity Monitor.”

Step 4. Study the top applications within the past 12 hours and review their data regarding battery info, energy impact, etc.

Step 5. Check the five tabs at the top (CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network) and see what applications are always running in the background and what programs are causing massive impacts on these tabs.

Step 6: Double-click the App name or Process name and click “Quit.”

3. Manage your Data and Files

If your Mac is running out of space, you’ll notice that your desktop or laptop loads a lot slower. You will also see some times where some of your apps tend to crash.

To prevent this from happening, Apple has four recommendations for you to optimize your storage space.

Step 1: Click Apple Logo > About This Mac

Step 2: An overview of your Mac’s system information will pop up. Click the “Storage” tab on the top to see your Mac’s storage usage breakdown.

Step 3: Click the “Manage…” located on the right side of the window.

Step 4: The breakdown of your storage usage, as well as your Mac OS information will pop up. On the right side of the window, you’ll see four Apple recommendations on how to save storage space.

We’ll be walking you through these four options below:

  • Store in iCloud –Apple’s iCloud feature allows users to store their documents, videos, photos, and other files in iCloud. If you go for this option, your local disk space will be freed up as needed automatically by macOS.
  • Optimize Storage –if you like watching movies and TV shows by downloading from your iTunes account, they can easily clutter up your hard drive. The optimize storage option deletes all your purchased iTunes TV shows and movies after you have already watched them.
  • Empty Trash Automatically – turning this option means that you’re allowing macOS to delete any items out of your trash automatically after 30 days. The only con to this option is that you can’t retrieve any of your deleted files once they’re gone.
  • Reduce Clutter – this tool allows you to review all the largest files on your hard drive and delete them manually. We suggest organizing by file browser so you could smoothly go over the folders and documents that you suck the most storage. Then, you have the option to delete any document or file as you desire quickly.

4. Clear up Your Syncs

We have mentioned how iCloud can be useful in freeing up storage space and simultaneously boosting your Mac’s performance.

However, if you use iCloud to sync photos to iCloud photos and sync files across desktops, you can also suffer significant slowdowns because your system is syncing in the background.

Here are some steps you can try to prevent this from happening:

Step 1: Avoid keeping large files on your desktop if you continuously use iCloud Desktop. Only store the necessary documents you want to open on your iCloud desktop so you could spend significantly less time waiting for your needed files to sync.

Step 2: When it comes to iCloud photos, don’t open the app if you don’t want to spend time syncing images from your Mac to your iCloud Photos. If this step doesn’t work, it’s helpful to turn off iCloud Photos on your synced device manually.

5. Upgrade your RAM or SSD

This option is most helpful to users who own older Mac versions. If you have the cash to do so, go over to your nearest Mac parts and repair shop and ask for your RAM and SSD to be upgraded.

Why both? Because it’s been proven that upgrading your Mac to just 8GB of RAM and SSD not only helps with the overall speed of your Mac laptop or desktop. Your Mac will literally run like it’s brand new once you have all these hardware upgraded.

If you have an older version of Mac, you should definitely try this route if all other methods don’t work for you. It’s a sure cure for slow Mac performance!

6. CleanMyMac X: Make Your Mac As Good As New

The helpful tips we mentioned above are for users who want to do the work by themselves. However, we understand that some of you are too busy to spend time cleaning up your Mac to boost speed and performance.

If you don’t think you have the time to do the steps, you can actually just download a tool or an app for your Mac that can solve the issues we mentioned in this article.

CleanMyMac X is an all in one tool that can clean up your Mac OS, monitor your Mac performance, or even remove some dangerous malware.

This tool allows all your Mac performance issues to be fixed just by clicking a button so you wouldn’t have to spend hours fixing up these problems yourself.

You can subscribe to their service for a year, depending on how many Mac units that you have. Click this link to find out more.


If you’re using your Mac for a long time, it’s unavoidable that you’re going to encounter some performance issues from time to time. That’s why if there’s only one takeaway for this entire article, it’s to let your Mac breathe by freeing up space.

The tips we mentioned are useful if you want to really know what’s going on “behind-the-scenes” of your Mac system performance. But you can also opt to simply download and let a powerful tool such as CleanMyMac X to solve your Mac’s issues in a push of a button.

Are these tips helpful? Tell us in the comments below!