You don’t need to be a power user to make your Mac faster.
Apple has included multiple utilities that you can use to diagnose and treat problems when your Mac is running slow.
And if those don’t work, there are a plethora of excellent third-party apps you can turn to for additional support.
So, here are five ways you can speed up your Mac today.
1. Activity Monitor
There’s an app on your Mac called Activity Monitor, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It monitors activity on your Mac.
It can be confusing the first few times you use it, but once you know what you’re looking at, it can be a valuable tool to help investigate how to make your Mac run faster.
For instance, the Memory tab can tell you if an app like Chrome is hogging all your available resources. The CPU tab will tell you if that Final Cut export is bringing your Mac to its knees.
For a more in-depth look at the inner workings of your Mac, iStat Menus is the obvious next step. It can give you notifications based on CPU, network, disk, battery, weather, and other events. It lives in your menu bar for easy access, and can be summoned with a keyboard shortcut.
➡️ Try iStat Menus with Setapp (Free for 7 days).
2. Quit Apps
For the most part, macOS is very stable. When you have problems with your Mac, it’s more likely to be apps that you are running than the operating system you are using.
Command + Q will kill any app that you have as an active window. And if that doesn’t work, you can click on the Apple menu at the top left of your screen and select, Force Quit to get rid of the stubborn ones.
You can also use apps like Quit All. This handy utility lives in your menu bar and can close multiple apps at once. It also works with background apps, and can be customized to do clever things like quit apps automatically after a certain period of inactivity.
➡️ Try Quit All with Setapp (Free for 7 days).
3. Restart You Mac
There’s a hilarious running joke in the IT Crowd where Maurice, an IT technician, answers a phone call from someone upstairs. Without skipping a beat, the first thing he asks the other person is to try turning it off and on again. Miraculously, this resolves the problem.
All of which leads to a popular myth in the world of macOS that claims a Mac doesn’t need to be restarted. Windows needs to be restarted all the time, but not macOS. Right?
Unfortunately, that’s not 100% true. You may not have to do it as often as a Windows user, but there are times when it just makes sense.
Restarting your Mac doesn’t fix everything, but it can help reset a multitude of sins and get you back up and running in no time at all.
4. Manage Your Storage
Not having enough internal storage can be a concern for a Mac user. Not least because, according to Apple, the internal storage cannot be upgraded on a MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Studio.
You can check your disc storage by opening System Settings, clicking “General” and then “Storage.” Here, you will see a breakdown of what is using disk space on your Mac, but you will also see some storage recommendations from Apple.
For instance, you can tell your Mac to empty the Trash every 30 days. This will free up space automatically once a month. You can also optimize storage by removing offline copies of movies and TV shows you downloaded in the Apple TV app.
However, sometimes it’s best just to offload some files to an external hard drive. This will free up space on your Mac and help things return to the operating speeds that you are used to.
5. Remove Junk Files
If there is one app that I wish Apple would add to macOS, it’s a disk cleaner. We all need something to remove system junk, cache files, or broken data.
Some people get nervous about using apps like this, but if you use the right one, it can be a great way to speed up your Mac, and free up space.
If you look in the App Store, you will see a lot of these types of apps. The one I use is called CleanMyMac X. I try to run it about once a week and am always amazed at the crud that it finds on my Mac.
It removes system junk, performs speed optimizations, and even scans for malware. You can also use CleanMyMac X to batch-update apps or uninstall apps you are no longer using.
I used to use CCleaner for tasks like this, but CleanMyMac X does so much more, and it is faster, too. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Your Mac will thank you!
The new Apple Silicon Macs don’t slow down as much as the Intel ones did, (and still do). However, that’s not to say they are immune to a little sluggishness from time to time.
Routine maintenance tasks like these can keep your Mac running faster for longer and will help ensure that you can rely on your computer to keep up with your demands.