Why Is My Mac So Slow? Common Issues and How to Fix Them

Why is my Mac so slow?

This is actually a common question with Mac users, but do you know any of the answers?

Don’t you worry, because today, we’re going to tell you why your Mac is running slow and different ways to fix it. Let’s jump into it.

Why Is My Mac So Slow?

The most frustrating part of having a slow Mac is trying to determine what is making it slow. What’s even more frustrating is there are quite a few different reasons your Mac is running slow, making it very difficult to pin down the right one.

While knowing none of the reasons your Mac may be running slow doesn’t help you at all, knowing some may be an advantage to you. You can troubleshoot yourself as opposed to having to take it into the Apple Store. Let’s see what could be the issue.

Multiple Applications Running

If your Mac isn’t constantly running slow, then the shouldn’t be that dire. It’s most likely something small like there are too many applications running at one given time.

The more applications that are open and stay up, the harder it is going to be on your computer’s processing speed. It doesn’t mean you can’t have two or three applications open at one time, you should just aim shut down each application when you’re done using it.

Out-of-Date Operating System

This is another common issue when your Mac is running slow. Your operating system is what the computer operates on. There could be a chance that yours is out-of-date.

Keeping up to date on the newest operating systems is important. It allows you to optimize your Mac’s performance so that both you and the system itself can operate smoothly and without trouble. The operating system updates come out for a reason, so don’t stay behind.

Low Space on Hard Drive

While it may say you still have a few gigabytes of storage left on your hard drive, this doesn’t mean it’s not going to slow down on your computer. Low hard drive space leads to both unoptimized system performance and it can crash any open applications.

This can become increasingly frustrating for those who use their Macs for work, as programs can crash midway through a project, oftentimes resulting in unsaved progress being lost. An option that many people go for is to acquire an external hard drive. In doing so, you can connect it to your Mac and move files to it, freeing up space on your built-in hard drive.

Old Age

While old age itself doesn’t necessarily affect the speed of your computer directly, it does indirectly. If you have an old Mac, that model may not support some of the new iOS updates. This isn’t too bad at first, but if it’s two or three updates behind, you would be better off buying a newer Mac.

How to Speed Up Mac

Now that you know what can slow down your Mac’s performance, you can determine which one is affecting you. After doing this, then you can start fixing it, bringing your Mac back to its proper speed.

Close Running Applications

To start out, we’re going to see all of your open applications and then close them. If you’re working on anything, be sure to save it before you close it.

To do this, we’re going to start by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner of your Mac. From here, you want to go to Force Quit. A small menu should pop up listing every currently running application on the Mac.

If you want to select which ones you want to close, go ahead. Just try to close all but two or three (excluding Finder).

If not, then just select them all and click Force Quit. Now, the applications should no longer be running, ideally increasing the speed of your Mac.

On Macs, if you close out of an application window, the application itself doesn’t shut down. You have to do that manually after closing out of an application window by simply right-click the app icon and select quit. This will shut down the application so it isn’t running in the background anymore.

Clean Up Your Mac

Welcome to Mac cleanup 101.

If closing all of your running applications didn’t work, then perhaps this next step will do you one better. When you go to clean up your Mac, there are a few different places you have to hit.

Desktop Clutter

The icons on your desktop may not seem like much but too many of them can impact the speed of your Mac. This is because each individual icon takes up RAM. So the more icons, the less RAM, which means the slower your computer.

Just go through and delete what you don’t need. Everything else you should organize into a small number of folders. A clean desktop leads to a fast computer.

Unused Applications

Over the years, you’ve definitely installed some applications. The next step is to take a look at all of them and uninstall the ones you no longer have a use for. This is another easy, but time-consuming task.

To start, you want to go to your applications. To do this you can either head into Finder and then click Applications or you can go to File and then down to Applications (File>Applications). From here, you’ll be able to see every app on your Mac. For the most part, many of the applications can be installed just by dragging them to the trash.

Hard Drive Cleaning

This next step is where the bulk of your cleaning will be. By going into the hard drive, you’ll be able to pick out individual files that you can delete.

To start, go to the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and click About This Mac. A small window should pop up. From here, you want to go to Storage and then click Manage.

While on the Manage tab, you can go through every single category and delete what you don’t want and what you no longer need. Doing this should hopefully free up a good amount of gigabytes, further increasing the speed of your computer.

Optimize Your Mac

No longer do you need to ask, “Why is my mac slow?”. Before you know it, your Mac will be lighting fast, just like when you first got it. Just remember to keep your running applications to a minimum and clean out your hard drive every once and a while!

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