11/24/229:00 am 20 Ways to Fix a Slow Mac If your Mac is running slow here are 20 things you can do to try to fix it. Learn how to check memory pressure, see what is running in the background, and how you should be using apps and browsers to make things faster. Check out 20 Ways to Fix a Slow Mac at YouTube for closed captioning and more options. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you what you can do if your Mac is running slow. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. If you think your Mac is running slower than it should be there are several things that you can do to figure out what the problem is and fix it. One of the main things that will cause your Mac to run slow is if you're running out of storage space. Now storage space and memory are two different things. Memory is what apps use to run and storage is your hard drive or SSD that is used to store all of your files. But computers actually use storage as additional memory. That allows you to run more apps and do more things than you normally would with the memory that you have. But if your Mac is running low on storage it won't be able to do this as well and you'll find that things run much slower. In macOS Ventura and later go to the Apple Menu and then System Settings. Then go to General and Storage. If you're using macOS Monterey or earlier you would go to the Apple Menu and About this Mac and then click on Storage at the top. Now check to see how much space it shows is available. If this is just a very small amount, particularly if it is less than 20 or 30 GB then that is probably your issue. What you would need to do then is follow some of the recommendations here or use some of the other options here to reduce the amount of storage you're using. This may involve removing some apps you're not using, deleting files you no longer need, like maybe taking of these files and archiving them to an external drive. Do what you need to do to clear out much more space so you have plenty available. Now if you have one or two apps that are using too much memory that can cause those apps, or maybe all of your apps, to run slow. To check for this launch Activity Monitor. I'm going to use Launchpad and Search for it and then run it. Now I want you to go to Memory here at the top. Then you should go to View and switch to All Processes. Then make sure you Sort by memory with the largest at the top. Now don't worry too much if it looks like apps are using more memory than you actually have. Because remember storage is being used as extra memory as well. So it is perfectly normal for these to add up to more than the memory you know you have on your Mac. Now the thing you really need to check is down here at the bottom where it says Memory Pressure. If Memory Pressure is all green down here then you are not having memory issues. Even if you see apps that are using lots of memory. If Memory Pressure is green there is no problem. Even if it is yellow it doesn't necessarily mean that memory is an issue. Only if you see this graph here showing RED should you worry about memory. Even then if it is just a temporary spike into red that is fine as well. As long as it is green right now. But if you are worried about an app using way too much memory here, like it shows a ridiculous amount of memory, then you could always quit that app and try relaunching it. Or restarting your Mac. It is possible that third party apps have bugs in them that make them request a lot more memory than they actually need. If you see that as a persistent problem, some third party app using 20, 30, 40 GB of RAM then you may want to contact the developer, go to their site and see if there is an explanation for it or if you can get some support from them. Also in addition to checking memory you can check CPU use as well. So you see all the different processes here and the percent of CPU being used. We can sort that so the top task is here. Usually you'll find things like window server, internal task, system processes that are near the top. Remember percentage is percent of a single CPU. So for instance if you have a M1 MacBook Air that has 8 CPU's on it then the total would be 800 not 100 here. So don't be alarmed if you see something using more than 100%. Also note you shouldn't worry about memory used very much. macOS and modern operating systems are going to use a much memory as possible to make things faster. They are not just going to leave memory unused as that doesn't do you any good at all to have memory sitting there doing nothing. So even if you're not doing much on your Mac right now seeing the memory maxed out is perfectly normal. Now I have to mention Maintenance Apps early on here. A lot of people have installed Cleaner apps, Anti-virus, Anti-malware, some sort of maintenance app from some third party. Those things may even promise to make your Mac faster. But in reality they can really slow down your Mac. So many times when I hear about somebody with a slow Mac and I ask them if they have got one of these maintenance or cleaning apps they do, and when they uninstall it everything is fine. You don't need anti-malware software on your Mac. You already have that built into macOS and cleaning software is just going to perform some of the same maintenance tasks that your Mac already does, or it is going to perform unnecessary tasks taking up more processing power, more memory and all of that. If your Mac is running slow and you've got some third party cleaner or anti-virus app installed definitely try uninstalling that completely. Follow the app maker's instructions for uninstalling. Get it completely off your Mac and see if things improve. This also goes for Safari extensions. So in Safari if you go to Settings or Preferences and then you go to Extensions you'll see a list of extensions. You may see some things here that you didn't even know you had because they came along with an app. So look through what you have here. If you're not using an extension switch it Off. If your Mac is running slow and you don't know why you may try switching all of these Off and see if that improves things. Now often I here from people saying their Mac is running slow and they just upgraded to a new version of macOS. This is typical because as soon as you upgrade there's a lot of system maintenance that needs to be done. For instance, Spotlight may need to reindex everything. You may have a particularly large backup going on right now and there may be other system maintenance as well. As a matter of fact Apple even gives you a warning after you do a major update that tells you that things may be slow for a little while. A lot of people ignore this or dismiss it so fast they don't even remember seeing it. But it is always there when you do a major update. One thing that could be added to that is if you're not letting your Mac sleep. If you're shutting it down. This is one of the most common mistakes that Mac users make. They think at the end of the day when they are finished working they need to shutdown their Mac and then start it up again before they start work again in the morning. But in fact you should just let your Mac sleep! When your Mac sleeps it actually performs maintenance tasks in the background and it will do these while you're not using your Mac. It will even hold off on these maintenance tasks while you're using your Mac so as not to slow you down and save them for doing later on while it is asleep. But if you shutdown every night and start it up again just when you're going to use it, well, number one it's going to get behind on these maintenance tasks. Number two it is going to try to do them while you're working. Just let your Mac sleep so it can perform these maintenance tasks. There's really no reason to shutdown your Mac, unless it is a desktop Mac like an iMac and you need to move it somewhere else, or if you're going to go a really long period of time. More than just a few days, without using your Mac at all. Now if your Mac is being slow in accessing the internet but not in general then the problem may not be your Mac at all but maybe your internet connection. You most likely have a Wi-Fi router or some sort of modem connecting you to your telephone or cable service. When was the last time you logged into that to see if there was an update that needed to be performed or when was the last time you restarted it. Simply restarting your internet equipment, if you haven't done so in a long time, could fix internet problems. You should also probably, every once in a while, go to a site like Speedtest.net, and run a speedtest to see if you're are getting the speeds that your provider has promised you. Of course if you are having trouble with your internet connection you should contact your provider for assistance. Now while your Mac does do a great job of managing memory, and using storage as an additional memory there is still limits. Having 5 or 6 or 7 apps running at the same time should be fine on any Mac. But having 30 or 40 apps running maybe a problem for some Macs and the same thing for browser windows and tabs. Having just a few tabs running shouldn't be a problem for anybody. But if you've got 40, 50, or 100 tabs open that can be an issue. Every tab is showing a webpage. Every webpage is like a little app and not all websites are well programmed. Some could be using a lot of memory and processing power even if you're not using them. You could actually see how much each one of these is using by returning to Activity Monitor. When you're looking at the Memory Section you should see each webpage shown here as kind of its own app. Nothing here is particularly misbehaving. But if you see something at the top that's using many gigabytes of memory and you're not even looking at that tab, then you may want to close it. You'll also see webpages showup here in CPU. As a matter of fact you can just use Search and just search for http and it will just show you the webpages. In general though, try to keep your tabs under control. Don't be afraid to close a tab. Closing a tab won't make the website go away forever. The site is still there. You can go back to it. If it is something you go to often add it as a Bookmark. Even put it here in your Favorites Bar if you like for quick access. You may like having tons and tons of tabs open be able to jump to anyone that you want at any time. But if your Mac is running slow you've got to at least check to see whether or not that's what is causing it. Now another problem you could be having is apps that are running in the background and you don't even know it. macOS Ventura you can go to System Settings and then General and then Login Items. Before Ventura you would have to go to Users & Groups and then look at Login Items there. Here you'll see two lists that show apps that will launch automatically. You'll see a list here at the top and you'll see a list of other apps and switches next to them. Don't be afraid if you don't recognize an app here. It may simply be showing the developers name rather than the app name. A quick Goggle search will easily tell you which app that is. The idea here is to remove anything that you don't think you need. Perhaps not just selected here and use the minus button but uninstall that app completely using the developer's instructions for uninstalling. Now another thing you should try is restarting your Mac in Safe Mode. How you do that depends on which Mac you have and which version of macOS. Go to this page at Apple's site, identify the version of macOS that you're running, and also follow the instructions based on whether you're using Apple's silicone or intel based Mac. Restart in Safe Mode. The first thing that will do is when you're in Safe Mode no background apps will launch when you start. So you'll be running completely without those. So try some things. Don't do any actual work but just try using various apps and see if your Mac is still slow. If it is not this really points to the fact that one of these apps that's launching by itself, is what is slowing down your Mac. The other thing that Safe Mode does is it actually runs system diagnostics and tests when you do it. So just by restarting in Safe Mode and then restarting again in normal mode may fix some issues. Another thing you could do during a reboot is to reset the NVRAM on your Mac. This is a small amount of special memory on your Mac that has some settings in it. Now if you have a Mac with Apple's silicon or M1 or M2 Mac then this doesn't apply. So this is only for older intel Macs. This page here will tell you how to reset your NVRAM on those older Macs. Another thing you could try resetting is the System Management Controller or SMC. This controls various things on your Mac. Resetting it can sometimes fix problems. Now doing this on an Apple silicon Mac with an M1 or M2 and so on, it will just do it automatically whenever you restart your Mac. But if you have an older Mac then you've got to follow the instructions further down this page depending upon which Mac that you have. Another issue with your Mac could be heat. If your Mac is running too hot it will slow itself down so that it doesn't overheat. Now this is much more of a problem for older intel Macs than it is for new Apple silicon Macs. But it is possible in any computer really that it could overheat and then slow itself down to save itself. The cost for this could be something as simple as a case that you have on your MacBook that is not letting the heat escape or maybe the position of your Mac on your desk. Like if you have a Mac Mini and it is covered with stuff so it can't actually vent the heat. So you want to make sure your Mac isn't getting too hot. You can actually go into Activity Monitor and while there is no mention of heat here if you go to Energy, energy really equals to heat when it comes to processing, and you can sort here and see which apps are using the most energy. Now this doesn't mean anything if your Mac isn't hot. If your Mac is running hot maybe you could just quit that app to improve things. Now another thing to consider with your Mac is that it could be that your hard drive is having issues. To test this you can run Disk Utility. Now what you going to want to do is make sure you have View, Show All Devices and then be able to select the top level device, the actual drive itself. Then you can run First Aid on it. No on newer Macs it is that simple. But on older Macs you're going to have to restart your Mac into a special recovery mode in order to use Disk Utility to check your Mac's internal drive. You can go to this page here to see the startup combinations depending upon whether you're using Apple silicon or an intel based Mac. Now going back to the browser, if you find your Mac is only slow when using your browser or maybe even just using one website on the browser it could be that the cookies stored by one or more sites are causing this. Again, every website is like its own individual app and it's created by a group of programmers and websites vary greatly in quality. So if a website is misbehaving one of the ways you could fix that is in Safari. Go to Settings and then go to Privacy and then Manage Website Data. Then search for that site. After doing the search you should see that site here listed. You can select it and Remove and that will clear out the cache, cookies and other data stored by that site. That would log you out of the site if you're logged into it. This is kind of like restarting the website for you. It will fix some problems some of the time. If you find you're having lots of problems on lots of websites instead of searching you may just want to Remove All. That will log you out of all the websites that you're in right now so it is kind of inconvenient. But if you're having issues it may be worth trying. Here are a couple of things that shouldn't effect newer Macs. But if you have a much older Mac and you find it running slow, they may be worth trying. One is if you go to the Notification Center here on the right and you've got tons of these widgets. If that is the case edit Widgets and then go and remove some of these. Like, for instance, I'll remove this one here and this one here. Remove anything you're not really using. Another thing that may be an issue with older Macs but not really with newer ones is if you have a lot of things on your Desktop. On those older Macs all of the icons here that need to be generated as Previews like for these Numbers documents here, for these images, for these videos, they all take a little bit of time and a little bit of memory to create the icons. So having a lot of things on your Desktop could be an issue. I'm not talking about having ten or twenty things. I'm talking about having fifty or a hundred things on your Desktop. If that is the case you can quickly clean off your Desktop by going to your Documents folder. Maybe creating a new folder there called Desktop Stuff. Grab everything on your Desktop and drag it into it. That cleans off your Desktop instantly while keeping all of those things. Then when you have time go through your Desktop Stuff and file and organize things properly in your Documents folder. Now another issue may happen to some of us who are using an external drive for storing files. So an internal drive on a Mac, especially a newer Mac, is super fast. Even much faster than similar looking drives you can get externally. Apple SSE's are top speed. So if you have an external drive that is a hard drive or even an SSD it's not going to be as fast and it's also going to be hampered by the speed of the connection. Usually USB that you have going into your Mac. So using a file on your internal drive, say if you're editing a video or a large spreadsheet or something that's going to be much faster than if you're using an external drive and actually editing the file directly from there. It's not going to make too much of a difference for small files, text files, things like that. But for big video projects, lots of images, large keynote presentations, that kind of thing, definitely try to have files on your internal drive when you're actually using them on your Mac. A common thing that might be slowing your Mac is Spotlight. When you do Spotlight searches, like searching for a file, you may not get results really quickly. A way to fix that is to rebuild the Spotlight Index which you would think would be a button or something. But it is actually this little process you have to go through. In macOS Ventura you go into Settings and then you go to Siri and Spotlight. In Monterey earlier you would go to System Preferences and Spotlight. In both you're going to see a list of Privacy Options here. The idea is to add the entire drive to this. So go up to the top level here, add your Drive, and then it is not going to be indexed anymore. That index will be erased. Simply remove that drive and now it is going to begin to process and reindexing everything. Now when a Mac is running slow a lot of people jump to the conclusion that something is wrong with their Mac's hardware. I've already talked about how that's actually pretty reasonable when it comes to drive itself. But for the rest of your hardware it's unlikely that a hardware issue is going to make your Mac slow. Most likely a hardware issue is going to make your Mac not turn on at all. But there are issues that could come up like memory issues and such. If you want to check your Mac's hardware you can run a diagnostic test. Apple has this page here which takes you through the steps depending on which Mac you have, of running the System Diagnostics. Now if you tried all or at least some of these things and you still can't figure out why your Mac is slow you shouldn't just put up with it. You should use Apple Support to try to get to the bottom of the problem. You best bet is to take your Mac into an Apple Store. Every store has a Genius Bar where Apple tech support can take a first hand look at your Mac. Run some tests. See what is actually going on. Usually though the first step is to contact Apple Support either with an online chat or on the phone. If you go to this webpage you'll see these options down here. It's best to go through these steps to see if there is something that can be done for you without having to take your Mac into the store. But if they can't figure out remotely then you should make an appointment at the Genius Bar to get help. Consultation at the Genius Bar is free. If something is wrong with your Mac and you need some sort of repair then they'll quote you a price. I'm still surprised at the number of people that report that their Mac has been slow for awhile and they haven't tried to contact Apple Support to get help. You paid a lot for your Mac and you shouldn't have to put up with a slow Mac without at least finding out what the issue is and what it is going to take to fixit. So there's a look at a lot of different things that you can do to fix a slow Mac. I hope you found one or more of them useful. Thanks for watching. Related Video Tutorials: 20 Ways To Free Up Disk Space On Your Mac ― 13 Ways To Put Your Mac To Sleep ― 10 Ways To Personalize Your Mac Comments: 15 Responses to “20 Ways to Fix a Slow Mac” Nancy Bircher 6 months ago When checking my IMac memory, I saw quite a few "disnoted" using 452 KB. What is this? Thank you Gary Rosenzweig 6 months ago Nancy: That's a system notification process. 452 KB is a very tiny amount of memory. Don't worry about it. Bart Pulverman 6 months ago Gery, For me, this is one of the most timely and useful presentations you have made and has allowed me to make a noticeable performance for my 27" mid-2017 iMac. Thank you! Christian Nelson 6 months ago Gary...you always present so much helpful information, but you have outdone yourself this time. Thanks so much. Lindy 6 months ago This an incredible and comprehensive video .... deserves a Webby!!! Thanks so much for all you do to keep our Macs purring. 👍 Jenny 6 months ago Gary - Thankyou - a brilliantly useful article. I shall store it for future use. I'm glad to say my checks showed nothing wrong - YET! Jenny Umesh Kumar 6 months ago Does Dropbox as a cloud backup slow rage Mac? Umesh 6 months ago No "rage Mac"but iMac. Gary Rosenzweig 6 months ago Umesh: I don't think Dropbox has a backup service. Note that a standard cloud service is NOT a backup. Time Machine is a backup. Backblaze is a backup. Cloud drives are not backups. Seehttps://macmost.com/icloud-is-not-a-substitute-for-a-time-machine-backup-with-your-mac.html As for whether using Dropbox will slow your Mac, it depends on what you mean. Anything running on your Mac will use resources, so the answer of "will X slow my Mac" is always true. So it is a matter of will the benefits outweigh that. I can't say without knowing how much you value using Dropbox. But in general Dropbox shouldn't slow your Mac very much at all. If a file happens to be on Dropbox and not cached locally and you try to open it, then it will take some time (1 second, 2 minutes? depends on the file size and your Internet speed) to open that particular file. John Russell 6 months ago As you might imagine, a number of senior citizens I try to help have old, slow machines. There are probably many pieces of advice here that would help me help them. Thanks a million for this wonderful video. Jonathan 6 months ago Gary, would you consider offering similar videos for speeding up an iPad and iPhone? Gary Rosenzweig 6 months ago Jonathan: Not too much to do on an iPhone or iPad. The apps are all isolated from each other and you can't have strange extensions and background processes. Alan Dorfman 6 months ago I am running an older version of IOS on a iMac. In the video your Memory Pressure the "Green Bar" in Activity Monitor runs the full length of the box, in mine it is only about 3/4 of the way. Gary Rosenzweig 6 months ago Alan: Do you mean from left to right? Wait and it will fill up over time. Wendee 6 months ago 67 year old woman here... all videos were running slow for months. I followed all your instructions and everything is working great now. Thanks so much for spending the time to explain to ordinary non-tech people what to do to help their macs. You really are Mac Most! Leave a New Comment Related to "20 Ways to Fix a Slow Mac" Name (required): Email (will not be published) (required): Comment (Keep comment concise and on-topic.): 0/500 (500 character limit -- please state your comment succinctly and do not try to get around this limit by posting two comments) Δ
When checking my IMac memory, I saw quite a few "disnoted" using 452 KB. What is this? Thank you
Nancy: That's a system notification process. 452 KB is a very tiny amount of memory. Don't worry about it.
For me, this is one of the most timely and useful presentations you have made and has allowed me to make a noticeable performance for my 27" mid-2017 iMac.
Gary...you always present so much helpful information, but you have outdone yourself this time. Thanks so much.
This an incredible and comprehensive video .... deserves a Webby!!! Thanks so much for all you do to keep our Macs purring. 👍
Gary - Thankyou - a brilliantly useful article. I shall store it for future use. I'm glad to say my checks showed nothing wrong - YET! Jenny
Does Dropbox as a cloud backup slow rage Mac?
No "rage Mac"but iMac.
Umesh: I don't think Dropbox has a backup service. Note that a standard cloud service is NOT a backup. Time Machine is a backup. Backblaze is a backup. Cloud drives are not backups. Seehttps://macmost.com/icloud-is-not-a-substitute-for-a-time-machine-backup-with-your-mac.html
As for whether using Dropbox will slow your Mac, it depends on what you mean. Anything running on your Mac will use resources, so the answer of "will X slow my Mac" is always true. So it is a matter of will the benefits outweigh that. I can't say without knowing how much you value using Dropbox. But in general Dropbox shouldn't slow your Mac very much at all. If a file happens to be on Dropbox and not cached locally and you try to open it, then it will take some time (1 second, 2 minutes? depends on the file size and your Internet speed) to open that particular file.
As you might imagine, a number of senior citizens I try to help have old, slow machines. There are probably many pieces of advice here that would help me help them. Thanks a million for this wonderful video.
Gary, would you consider offering similar videos for speeding up an iPad and iPhone?
Jonathan: Not too much to do on an iPhone or iPad. The apps are all isolated from each other and you can't have strange extensions and background processes.
I am running an older version of IOS on a iMac. In the video your Memory Pressure the "Green Bar" in Activity Monitor runs the full length of the box, in mine it is only about 3/4 of the way.
Alan: Do you mean from left to right? Wait and it will fill up over time.
67 year old woman here... all videos were running slow for months. I followed all your instructions and everything is working great now. Thanks so much for spending the time to explain to ordinary non-tech people what to do to help their macs. You really are Mac Most!