by Jim Lynch

macOS: How to speed up a slow Mac

Feb 08, 2017
Computers and PeripheralsConsumer ElectronicsMacBook

Macs are great computers but soon or later they start slowing down. Here are some ways to make your slow Mac much faster.

Macs, like any other computer, start slowing down over time. It’s a rather harsh fact of computing life that affects us all eventually. That speed demon Mac you bought a year ago won’t stay that fast as time goes by and, sooner or later, you’ll notice the difference in performance.

So how can you speed it up? A writer at CNet has some helpful tips that can make your Mac fast again.

Matt Elliott reports for CNet:

The only place I like seeing a beach ball is at a beach or in a stadium during a baseball game or concert. The one place I least like to see a beach ball is on my aging MacBook Pro, where the spinning beach ball has become an altogether too familiar a sight. If your Mac has become frustratingly slow, there are a number of ways you can speed it up again.

Before you engage in any maintenance, I would urge you to take caution and back up your data. For Macs, it’s easy: grab an external drive and run Time Machine. With your Mac’s drive freshly backed up, you may proceed.

1. Replace your Mac hard drive with an SSD

2. Add more memory (RAM)

3. Clean your Mac’s hard drive

4. Reduce login items

5. Keep current with macOS

More at CNet

Want a faster Mac? Do a clean install of macOS

While the tips in the CNet article are useful, I’ve found that doing a clean install of macOS is a great way to speed up a Mac that has gotten too slow. A few years back I had a Mac that had just turned into a big mess, it was slow as molasses and had problems with buggy application windows.

I finally decided to do a clean install of macOS, so I saved my home folder and all other data I wanted to keep onto a portable hard disk. I then wiped the Mac’s hard disk and did a fresh install of macOS.

Wow! What an amazing difference! My Mac was super-speedy again, and the problems I had with application windows displaying improperly were all gone. My Mac was so much better that I’ve become a big fan of doing a clean install of macOS each time Apple releases a major version update.

Note that when you do a clean install of macOS, you will need to reinstall your applications again and you cannot do a restore from Time Machine (that’s why I put my Home folder and other data onto the external hard disk, so I could copy it back to my Mac manually without using Time Machine).

Trust me though, you will probably be very pleased with your Mac after doing a clean install. It cleans out all the gunk (for lack of a better word) that builds up over time as you use your Mac, and macOS starts completely fresh from scratch.

Yes, doing a clean install requires some work on your end reinstalling applications and copying your Home folder and other data back to your Mac. But it is well worth the time and it can really breathe new life into an older Mac.

How to do a clean install of macOS

If you’re up for doing a clean install of macOS, MacRumors has a full set of instructions on how to do it.

Also check out this helpful video that demonstrates how to do a clean install of macOS Sierra:

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