If your Mac isn’t running as fast as it used to, there’s no cause for alarm. It’s normal for Macs to slow down as they age, not because they’re getting outdated or worn out but simply because they tend to accumulate a lot of digital junk and need to be cleaned up and optimized from time to time.
Fortunately, it’s easy for you, an ordinary Mac user, to clean up your Mac and restore its performance. You can start by removing unnecessary login items that bog down your Mac during bootup. Then you can move on to cleaning junk files, unused apps, and other old stuff from your machine. Update your software to optimize your performance and security, make sure file syncing isn’t constantly running in the background, remove files and folders from your desktop, and restart your machine often to free up RAM.
Remove Unnecessary Login Items
Once upon a time, your Mac booted up as quick as lightning. These days, it’s like it’s slogging through molasses. The issue may be unnecessary login items.
Login items are programs that launch when you start your system. You probably have some login items that you don’t know about. Not very many apps need to launch on startup, but many will automatically do so if you don’t turn off that setting during install.
To turn off login items, go to System Preferences>Users & Groups>Login Items. This should pop up a list of apps that launch on startup. Remove any apps that don’t need to be launching on startup to restore your Mac’s former dizzying startup speeds.
Clean Up Caches, Old Files, and Unused Apps
Macs can accumulate ridiculous amounts of digital junk with regular use. For example, macOS, apps, and web browsers all create caches, or little pieces of information stored to improve data delivery speed. These caches should be cleared regularly. The next time you use the program or browser, it will automatically begin creating more caches, and they build up fast.
You’ll also want to remove any apps that you’re no longer using. This frees up space on the hard drive, which can enhance performance. However, you really need to use a Mac cleaner app to remove unused apps from your Mac. Just dragging apps into the trash can leave behind cached data, configuration files, and other junk files that can stick around to slow your Mac.
A Mac cleaner app can also be useful for identifying old files that you no longer need. For example, you can probably safely get rid of all the files in your Downloads folder. A Mac cleaner will help you find large files that you can delete to free up a lot of space, and junk files that you no longer need. They’re also good for clearing out caches.
Update Your Software
If you haven’t updated your macOS software or your apps lately, then you need to do so. Apple releases macOS and other software updates to boost your Mac’s performance and protect your system from malware. Go to Apple icon>About This Mac>Software Update to look for a new version of your macOS or updates to your version of macOS. Install them if they’re available. Go to App Store>Select Updates>Update All to update your apps.
Check Your File Syncing
Syncing files across multiple devices and iCloud can really slow down your system. If your Mac’s performance is still lagging, it may be syncing in the background. If you’re using iCloud Photos, and you don’t want it syncing in the background while you’re trying to work, avoid opening it or turn it off if it becomes an issue. If you’re using iCloud Desktop, avoid dragging large files onto your desktop when you need faster performance.
Once upon a time, people said that you should just let your Mac sleep in between sessions because turning it off and on all the time could put wear and tear on the hard disk. That’s no longer true, if it ever was. Not only are regular restarts not going to harm your Mac, they’ll actually improve its performance. When you restart, your Mac can start fresh with the full amount of RAM, and ideally with no login items slowing it down.
When your Mac gets a few years old and starts to slow down, all you need to do is clean it up a little. Remove old files and unwanted apps, and spruce your Mac up a little digitally to restore its performance, and continue getting the most out of your device.