Things to check if your Mac is running slowly

“Every computer, yes even Macs (there, I said it) can slow down over time if you’re not maintaining it properly or if the computer suffers hardware or software issues,” Anthony Bouchard writes for iDownload Blog.

“If you’re running a lot of memory intensive apps at one time, then that means your Mac is trying to juggle too many memory tasks at once,” Bouchard writes. “This will slow down your machine.”

“If RAM is soldered into your machine, is to fight lightweight software alternatives,” Bouchard writes. “For example, try using Pixelmator instead of Photoshop, or iMovie instead of Premier Pro. Software with less of a demand on system resources will give your Mac more room to breathe, and therefore give it more speed.”

Tons more in the full article here.


  1. First thing to do is to look at Activity Monitor and see if any processes do do with Flash or belonging to Adobe are running. If so, simply do a restart and things are likely to speed up.

    It’s astonishing how much CPU power Flash can use, even while seemingly doing nothing.

      1. You’re absolutely correct about not needing to restart, but I often advise people who are not very confident about fiddling with computers.

        Looking at Activity Monitor shows them that Flash is causing the slow-down, but performing a restart is a much less risky option for such people than killing processes that they don’t understand.

  2. I have a mid 2011 Mac Mini that became slower with each new OS X release. I just completed replacing the original 500 GB disk with an SSD drive from (dare I say it?) Samsung ($150). It turned a Yugo into a Porsche. I highly recommend this approach. If you do this, the only problem I had was the connector for the fan. I pulled instead of lifted, destroying it. Added a new fan ($65).

    1. The SSD install into my mid 2011 Mac Mini went without a hitch earlier in the month. What a difference! Sorry you ran into trouble. I used to do laptop repairs, so I expect I’m used to the tiny little connectors and wires, where are my MAGNO-glasses, routine. The tools OWC sent me were very helpful. I have a spudger collection at this point, my own and their’s.

    2. The standard drive in the old mini’s was a real dog. I have a professor here that I was helping buy three of them for his lab systems and he was constantly complaining about how ‘slow his network was’. (He was downloading huge genome data sets 60-80GB at a pop)

      We swapped the 5400RPM HDD’s with 256GB SSD’s and “network speeds” improved dramatically. Basically the dog-slow HDD was a boat anchor on the entire system.

      A mini with an SSD is like a completely different computer.

  3. Also helpful!

    1) Scream at Apple to get the Finder back into perfect running order! It’s not. Why-the-fsck are we still seeing Sit-&-Spin icons on systems with massive resources to burn? It’s because of crap code in the Finder!

    2) Don’t neglect complaining to your ISP if you’re getting periodic bandwidth strangulation. Time Warner Cable, at least locally, has descended into dead bandwidth hell at unpredictable times of the day. I have yet to see them solve it despite having them investigate it twice so far. These days in the USA, ISPs are a big PITA with more interest in money than understanding and supporting their technology. 😛

  4. Check your hard drive to make sure it’s not filled to capacity. Remember, that your RAM is like your desk space, and your hard drive is like your File Cabinet. Each app is like an office worker: They have their own desk space, but they all must share the same file cabinet. If your file cabinet is full, your entire work force will slow down.

    Remember to empty the trash.

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