10 ways to slim down and speed up your Mac

“Instead of going the route of Leopard, which added more than 300 new features, [Apple’s forthcoming Mac OS X] Snow Leopard is designed to focus on the underpinnings of the operating system. The result, according to Apple, will be an operating system that takes greater advantage of multicore processors, is able to leverage the often-untapped power of graphics processing hardware for general computing operations and extends 64-bit architecture compatibility — all of which will deliver much higher performance over Leopard,” Ryan Fass reports for Computerworld.

“At the same time, reports indicate that Snow Leopard will actually slim down the code required by Mac OS X and its installed applications, not only improving performance, but also freeing up large amounts of hard drive space in the process,” Fass reports.

“It seems clear that Apple’s biggest focus with Snow Leopard is slimming down and speeding up its flagship operating system — both of which are attractive to any computer user. But why wait until Snow Leopard ships? There are a number of ways you can slim down and speed up your machine right now,” Fass reports.

“While the following tips probably won’t deliver the dramatic improvements we expect to see in Snow Leopard, they can make a noticeable difference — particularly on slightly older Macs or those where hard drive space is getting cramped,” Fass reports.

1. Get rid of the languages you don’t speak
2. Cut out the non-native code
3. Trim down iLife media libraries
4. Clean out logs
5. Delete unused applications and tools
6. Reduce log-in items
7. Do without the 3-D effects and animation
8. Remove the fonts you don’t use
9. Find and remove large files and folders
10. Increase RAM

Full article here.


  1. Most of the items on that list could be replaced by “Get a larger hard drive (or an external to load your excess data onto)” or “Get more RAM” (which was on the list).

    Saving space doesn’t increase your performance that much unless your drive is getting close to full and is impacting swap file sizes, VM, etc. Technically the seek time will be lower the less stuff you have, but these days the differences are usually pretty minimal unless you’re comparing a full drive to a nearly empty one or something equally dramatic.

  2. “1. Get rid of the languages you don’t speak”

    I used to run a program called “Delocalizer” to do this but the main problem I found with this solution is that you have to keep doing it as they get reinstalled with each upgrade. It’s a lot of hassle for very little benefit in the way of speed but it will free up about 6GB of space if your HD is getting crowded. Also, some apps won’t work if these files are removed so caution is necessary.

    Best advice from my own experience … as much RAM as you can afford, keep the OS on the boot drive and store all your big files on a spare HD so they won’t slow OS operations.

  3. Unless you are running out of drive space, most of these are unnecessary. BUY MORE RAM. Deleting unused fonts can be good, as long as you don’t delete any important ones. Running a cache/log cleaner seems to help (try CacheOut or OnyX). Reboot or log out occasionally.

  4. …and run Console and Activity Monitor every once in a while. A runaway process or constant error can sap your system. Console will tell you what things are causing system errors. Activity Monitor will tell you which apps/processes are using your CPU and RAM. Personally I keep Activity Monitor running at all times.

  5. @bread,
    Migration assistant. You put your old drive in a case, or just buy a cheap adapter cable. For example, I just bought a 320GB SATA Travelstar to replace the 80GB drive in my year-old Macbook. It cost $58 from OWC after rebate. They will also sell you a little portable drive case that you can put your old drive in, and then use Migration Assistant, in your utility folder, to transfer all your old files and settings. Less than an hour.

  6. I slim down and speed up by maxing out ram, buying a larger/faster hard drive, run Applejack every once in a while, when you get some odd behavior, and Diskwarrior if you ever do a hard boot, like when you get a kernel panic. That’s it. Not too hard.

  7. I wish iTunes made it easier to store files on a separate hdd. I know it can be done, so spare me the help. What I don’t like is the fact that the “home” for iTunes MUST be on the same drive as the os.

  8. All these don’t work if the source sucks… in this case Leopard. It doesn’t really matter if you have plenty of RAM or HDD, be it 8-cores. If your cores are all fully loaded, performance still sucks on Leopard.

    Thank God I’m still on Tiger, can’t wait for Snow Leopard though…

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