If you’ve been using your Mac for a few years, you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting sluggish. You could buy a new Mac — and Apple would love for you to do that — but there are ways to improve performance in your current desktop or laptop.
The first step to enhance any Mac’s performance is to open the Activity Monitor and get a better understanding of why the device is sluggish. The app shows which applications are placing the most pressure on your main processor and RAM. If there are apps running continuously that you don’t use, shut them down.
Running the Activity Monitor app is helpful if you want to see how hard your CPU is running or which business applications are consuming lots of memory. You can also use the Activity Monitor to forcibly quit any processes running in the background in order to free up memory or stabilize your system if the process is causing problems.
You can open Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.
You should also run a clean install of macOS on your Mac occasionally. I do this every 12 to 18 months. However, don’t be tempted to simply reload everything back on once you’ve wiped your drive. Manually copy over all of your documents and reinstall your apps from the Mac App Store or the companies from which you purchased them.
Also, make sure that, if the apps were purchased from the Mac App Store, you have your user name and serial number handy for reinstalling them. You do have all that info saved, right? If not, do so immediately.
Switching a hard drive for an SSD is also a great way to boost performance. Different Macs models use different sizes and models, so make sure you’re choosing a SSD with the right specs for your device.
Also note that most newer Macs don’t allow you to upgrade your drive or RAM, so, when buying a new Mac bring for the biggest SSD and the most RAM you can afford.
If your Mac’s RAM can be upgraded, doing so is one of the best ways to see a speed boost. A general rule of thumb states that 8GB should generally be enough for most users, but I’d go with 16GB or more. You can’t have enough memory.
If you Mac has upgradeable memory, you can save a lot of money by buying RAM from OWC rather than paying Apple’s upgrade pricing.