How to Speed Up Your Old MacBook Pro / iMac - Checklist

How to Speed Up Your Old MacBook Pro / iMac - Checklist

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Hi, dear Mac users!

When my Mac becomes slower than usually, I catch myself on doing the same things every time. I perform every action until my Mac runs faster again and I am fully satisfied with the result.

So, I thought about why not to write some sort of a checklist on speeding up a Mac or MacBook Pro. So, in this article, I willl share with you all I do to make my Mac faster. I think doing the points I'm going to describe here will surely improve your Mac's performance.

But before we begin our journey of improving Mac's speed, I'd like to note that there is no single working tactics that works for sure in every situation. For instance, if you use an old MacBook from 2009, upgrading hardware may help, but for a new shiny 2017 MacBook Pro this method will not work so efficiently, but the hard drive cleaning may be more effective.

It's great, if you can do every point from my checklist, but it is unlikely, as it seems to me. You may skip some of them in case you assume you don't need them, and it is okay too. All in all, our main goal is speeding up Macs and MacBooks Pro within very short time and minimal investments. So, just a couple of points may help and you won't need to do all the rest.

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The Ultimate Checklist for Speeding Up MacBook Pro


Basic methods that require very little of time & money

  • Haven't you restarted your Mac for ages? Do it on regularly, because this clears the caches and closes all the applications, as a result the performance should become better.
  • Your MacBook Pro starts up slowly? I think that the most possible cause for it are outdated apps that launch automatically every time you start up your Mac, or some problems with the Login items. Remove unnecessary apps and services from the automatic launching.
  • When did you cleaned your Mac's hard drive for the last time? Doing that on a regular basis helps to keep your MacBook as fast as a new machine. You can do it both manually or with the help of special apps like CleanMyMac X. It's an awesome tool and I use it too. It saves me tons of time!
  • Quit all the services and apps you don't need by clicking 'X' (a red button). If that app doesn't quit after doing that, try right-clicking and selecting 'Quit'.
  • Is your MacBook lagging? Visit 'Activity Monitor' to find out what process is causing that. Killing it will stop the process and your Mac will run better again!
  • Close tabs on Safari, Firefox and Chrome that are not needed any more. It will lighten the browsers.
  • Disabling the FileVault may resolve issues of a slow boot. However, I don't advise you to disable it, because the file safety is more important than fast performance. Anyway, you are free to choose the best option for you.
  • Turn on all the visual effects. The Genie and Magnification effects may look awesome and impressive, but this can slow your Mac down.You can change it by going to 'System Preferences' and 'Dock'.
  • If you are used to save all the files directly to Mac's Desktop, this may slow it down as well. Move them to a hard disk or iCloud, clean the Desktop and see if your MacBook became faster now.
  • Third-party apps that you don't use may affect the performance. You can find and delete them manually or using a special smart software such as IObit MacBooster.
  • Empty the Trash bin. It can free the space on your disk.
  • Clean your browser caches, cookies, histories, plugins and so on. These can eat gigabytes of Mac's space! Do it manually for any browser or use a smart CleanMyMac tool that I've mentioned before.
  • Remove all the duplicate files from your Mac. Check if you have media files copies like movies, photos, songs. Again, it is possible to do it by hands or use Gemini 2. THis is an app for defining and killing duplicates.
  • Delete widgets you don't need from the Dashboard. They may eat Mac's RAM and make it a bit slower. Removing them can help.
  • Unneeded notifications can be a problem too. They may distract you and lower the system performance. Turn them off!
  • Unused preference panes also can take the system resources, so you can remove them. Look at what you don't use at all and don't hesitate to get rid of them!
  • A trick for the Finder window! Change the 'New Finder windows' setting to a specific folder from 'All my files'.
  • Install the software updates for your Mac and all the applications you have on it. THis will save you from freezing problems.
  • Check your network. Sometimes Wi-Fi can cause issues and the whole system performance will seem slow to you. Speed your Wi-Fi up and enjoy the faster running of your Mac!


Advanced options (require some specific technical skills and more time & money)

  • Does your Mac have the last macOS version? New macOS-s are not just faster, they are more reliable and safe. For now, the High Sierra version is the best. So, don't hesitate to update your MacBook Pro, if you haven't done it yet. Developers create new system versions for a reason. Use it! ;)
  • Has your Spotlight finished indexing already? Usually, it takes 1-2 days (from 24 to 48 hours) to index after a macOS update. Surely, your MacBook Pro may seem slower during this period of time.
  • Repair and verify your disk permissions in the Disk Utility. This makes your disk running faster and without errors. Note that this can be dome only on OS X Yosemite or earlier versions. You don't need to do it on El Capitan or Sierra.
  • Fix a corrupted 'preferences' file. A broken file can make your apps unable to open or freeze some apps.
  • Reset NVRAM or/and SMC. THis can speed up the performance of your MacBook Pro, especially in the situations with hardware problems (keyboard, battery, and so on).
  • Add extra RAM memory to your MacBook Pro. You'll be able to run weighty applications more efficiently and smoothly at the same time. Choose one around 16 Gb, they are great, but it depends on the model of your Mac. Please read in the Internet what RAM is better for your MacBook Pro before buying something.
  • Replace your HDD with an SSD. They are much faster and durable than usual hard drive disks. Surely, they will cost more, but the game is worth a candle. The performance will become greater twice or even more!

These are all my recommendations on speeding up your MacBook Pro! I hope they are quite useful and your device will really please you with the fast and efficient running.

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