Is your Mac running slow? You can speed it up easily by avoiding some of the most common mistakes and bad computing habits that can slow down any Mac!
While macOS doesn’t require much maintenance, it’s by no means perfect. Some of the most common mistakes that slow your Mac down are pretty easy to avoid, while others may require minimal effort and investment on your part.
- Running an Antivirus in the Background
While macOS isn’t malware-proof, it isn’t nearly as bad as Windows or Android devices. And with Apple’s system integrity protection (SIP) feature keeping the core OS components locked down, most people are unlikely to experience system failure due to malware infection.
The Gatekeeper feature prevents unsigned apps from running, requiring manual intervention to circumvent. And if an app wants to make potentially damaging changes to the file system, you’ll need to type in your admin password.
Our advice to you would be to vet everything you run on your computer and be suspicious of anything that asks for admin authorization.
Your favorite antivirus app probably runs in the background to keep you protected at all times. This can slow your Mac down, even if it has a fast solid-state drive. So, decide whether your situation warrants using antivirus software now and then, all the time in the background, or never.
- Using Fake Security Apps on Your Mac
Be on the lookout for fake Mac security apps, too. MacKeeper used to be one of the worst offenders. Although the app has cleaned up its act, there are still reasons to avoid MacKeeper.
Similar apps can lead to more malicious ransomware attacks that demand payment. So, if you spot warning signs suggesting your Mac is infected with malware, you should perform a quick scan.
- Not Maintaining Enough Free Space
Failure to maintain a cushion of free space is one of the most common causes of the slowdown. It can result in long pauses, sudden freezes, and booting issues. Remember that your Mac needs free space to create log files, caches, and temporary files as part of its normal operation.
It can be hard to keep on top of free space, especially if your Mac doesn’t have much, to begin with.
- Out of Control Temporary Files and Caches
Sometimes, you may notice that your Mac gains a few gigabytes of storage space after a reboot. This is due to temporary files created by macOS and third-party apps, which are routinely cleared out and deleted on startup.
The simplest solution here is to restart your Mac more often. If that’s not enough, you can manually clear out macOS caches to create more free space than simply letting the machine handle the process on its own.
If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, use a dedicated app like CleanMyMac X to clean caches and perform other tasks to keep your Mac in top shape.
- Running Too Many Background Processes
Your computer has a limited amount of system resources at its disposal. It’s easy to tie up the available RAM and processing power with too many background tasks. To see what’s running at any moment, use the Activity Monitor app in Applications > Utilities. This is especially handy when you’re unsure why your Mac has slowed to a crawl.
Click the CPU or Memory tab and sort by the first column to see which app consumes the most resources. Find a process and kill it by clicking the X button in the toolbar. You can try a whole array of fixes if you see kernel_task consuming a ton of CPU power.
- Skipping macOS Updates
Your Mac downloads updates in the background so that when you’re ready, you can hit Update Now and instantly proceed with the update process rather than waiting for the files to download. Updating macOS may even increase available free space since the installation files are cleared at the end of the process.
Major macOS versions released annually typically increase performance, but this isn’t a golden rule. Updates following each major new macOS release are always worth your time since they fix problems that can cause poor performance and security issues.