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Make your Mac go faster
There are a lot of things that you can do to help boost the performance of your Mac. Below I have listed the ones that will have the biggest impact.
The more RAM you have, the better. The main reason Macs tend to run slowly is because apps and processes consume a lot of RAM. RAM can be very expensive and adding it after you have bought a Mac is becoming almost impossible now as most new Macs have the ram soldered to the motherboard. So what is the next best option? Try and minimize how much you use. Don’t keep lots of apps running in the background if you are not using them, close all Safari tabs. Use Activity Monitor to identify apps that are hogging a lot of your RAM and then quit them
Hard drive space
You will also find the more storage space you have on your boot drive, the better OS X will run. This is because OS X sometimes uses the boot drive as a cache if it needs more room than is available in RAM. I would always recommend that you keep at least 10% of your HD free for OS X to use. If you Open a Finder Window and then select ‘Show status bar’ from the View Menu so you can see how much is available. Try and archive any documents you don’t need regular access to, and you should also consider using an external HD or even a NAS drive for your iTunes Library. Always empty your Downloads folder, and use an app like Gemini to help identify and delete duplicate files.
Files on your Desktop will slow down your Mac too. OS X draws a new window (complete with its own Preview) for every file on your Desktop; this can hog system resources if you keep lots of files on your Desktop. File them, Trash them, or put them in a folder.
Spotlight and Time Machine
Spotlight and Time Machine are both very good features, but they can sometimes cause performance issues, especially if you are using a network drive to back up or let Spotlight index an external drive. To stop Spotlight from indexing your external drive, go to the Spotlight panel in System Preferences, then click on the Privacy tab, then you want to drag the drive in to the windows or press the ‘+’ and then select the drive you wish to stop being indexed. If you find Time Machine is slowing down your system, you can always pause the back up till you are finished what you are doing. If you find it is a regular occurrence, you might want to think about using a USB external drive as your back up as this tends to be much faster.
Shut down/delete unused apps
Any apps you have running in the background will be using some of your systems resources, most apps will launch quickly, so there is no real reason to keep them open if you are not using them. You can quit them by either right –clicking on there icon in the dock and then click quit or by pressing the ⌘+Tab to bring up the app switcher, keep pressing the Tab key till you are on the app you want to quit then press ⌘+ Q. Unused apps will tie up disk space so its always best to get rid of them. To make use everything is completely removed you want to use something like AppZapper.
Restart you Mac regularly
Many of us, only ever restart our Macs if we have a problem. It’s always easier to close the lid and let your Mac Book Pro/Air sleep then boot it up. Restarting your Mac will help clear out its cache and will re-initialize hardware, so rebooting regularly can also have performance benefits. Modern Macs, especially those with an SSD installed, can boot almost as fast as they can from Sleep, If you Mac is running slow try and restart it and see if that helps. If you have to leave your Mac on it would recommend restarting it once every few days.
Turn off visual effects
If you have an old Mac, you might want to consider turning off the animations as they can have an effect on your systems performance, Go to System Preferences, then Dock, or choose Dock from the Apple menu if you are not on Yosemite. Uncheck the boxes marked ‘magnification’, ‘Animate opening applications’ and ‘ Automatically hide and show the Dock’. Click on the ‘Minimize windows’ menu and choose ‘Scale effect’.
Empty Safari Tab/clear cache
If you have a look at the Activity Monitor’s RAM tab you will probably see that the most intensive processes are the Safari Tabs. The more you have open, the bigger the performance hit will be. Close all the ones you are not using, try bookmarking the ones you might need again. Open Preferences from the Safari menu, if you are using a pre-Yosemite version of OS X, click Reset Safari in the safari menu, and choose Remove all Website Data, then Reset. In Yosemite, choose ‘Clear History and Website Data’ from the Safari menu and pick an option from the drop-down menu.
Reduce Log in Items and Restart
Log in items are those apps and processes that automatically start when you restart or log in to your account. They are often related to software you no longer need or use. Go to System Preferences, then Users & Groups, then Login items. You will want to click on the padlock at the bottom of the screen so you can make changes. Click on the first login item you no long need and then click on the ‘-‘ at the bottom of the window. Repeat this for all the other login items you don’t want to load at start up then restart.
Keep software up to date
Out-of-date software can sometimes cause performance problems. If the app was not downloaded through the App Sore, click on the application menu and then select ‘Check for Updates’ and download any if available. Now go to the App Store and click on updates and download them if any are available.