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Four tricks to speed up your MAC

May 18, 2016 by Lore Marketing Team

As a follow up to our blog post about installing a Solid State Drive (SSD) to speed up your MAC’s performance, here are 4 more tips from the Lore Systems engineering team.

I. Install more memory (RAM)

Apps use memory (RAM) to launch and do things. Having a lot of apps open at once can make your Mac slow if you don’t have enough memory. After upgrading to an SSD, adding more RAM to you Mac will have the biggest impact on how fast it feels.

So let’s do it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • RAM modules (often called DIMMS or sticks)
  • Small Phillips screwdriver and bowl
  • Anti-static wrist cuff and mat

Install more RAM

  1. First, check with Apple’s website to find out what type of RAM your Mac needs and the most you can upgrade to.
  2. Backup your data with Time Machine.
  3. Go here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201165 and choose which Mac you have. Then follow Apple’s recommend steps to install more RAM. 

II. Make sure you install all OS X updates

Apple releases new versions of OS X for a reason. It’s important to always install new updates since Apple is continuously patching security holes. And many of them contain performance enhancements so don’t miss out on a free boost by forgetting to install them!

Here’s how to always get the latest OS X updates from Apple:

  1. Backup your data with Time Machine.
  2. Launch the Mac App Store and go to the Updates Tab
  3. Look for any OS updates and click the Update button to download and begin the installation process. Sometimes you need to restart your computer to complete installation so make sure to save any files you’re working on.

III. Keep your disk clean and healthy

Your Mac’s hard disk or SSD stores more than just the files you work with every day. There are many hidden folders and files your Mac uses to boot up, connect to the Internet, and launch apps. As we use our Macs, OS X moves files from one part of the disk to another and sometimes this can make your Mac feel slow because your Mac needs to search everywhere to open just one file. It’s a lot like separating out every page of a book and putting each one in its own folder and then putting each folder in a different drawer of a filing cabinet. We can still read the book since we’re very organized people and labeled each folder with the right page number. But it would take a lot longer to finish than if we just kept every page together in the first place.

And we can help our Mac put all the pages back together again by performing a few simple tasks in an app called Disk Utility. And you should already be good friends if you’ve read our first few tips! Here’s what to do:

  1. Launch Disk Utility and select your Mac’s internal disk
  2. Select the First Aid tab and click Verify Disk Permissions. Your Mac will tell you if any inconsistencies are found and you can fix them by then selecting Repair Disk Permissions.

Another quick way to improve the speed of you Mac is to make sure you have about 10-20% of your drive free. For example, if you have a 500GB drive in your Mac make sure you don’t fill it up past the 400-450GB mark. It’s with this free space that your Mac moves those hidden files around and if you don’t leave enough room for the OS to do what it needs to in the background your Mac won’t run as fast as it can. Here’s a quick way to find large files on your Mac:

  1. Launch Finder
  2. Hold down command+F
  3. Make sure This Mac is selected at the top to search everywhere
  4. In the first drop down menu choose Other and then the File Size attribute from the window that pops up

  5. In the second drop down menu choose “is greater than” and change the KB to MB. That’s Kilobytes to Megabytes. Quick tip – there are 1024KB to every MB!
  6. In the blank box enter any number you like. The resulting list of files will all be bigger the number for MB you chose. For example, if you put 100 in that box the files that show up are all over 100MB in size.

  7. Select anything you don’t need anymore and move to the Trash. And transfer any files you don’t use regularly to an external disk or flash drive.

IV. Limit the number of apps that launch at startup

Your mac is a great multitasking tool that does a lot of things automatically for us. One of the ways it helps speed up our day is to open our favorite or most used apps right way after we boot up in the morning. But older Macs with slower hard drives and little RAM can take a long time to start up if they’re trying to open too many apps at once.

We can choose what apps we want to launch at startup by opening System Preferences, choosing Accounts, and selecting our name from the list on the left. Go to the Login Items tab and take a look at what apps are listed here. All of them will try to launch as soon as we boot up. To remove an app from this list and keep it from launching automatically on start up, select the app and click the minus (-) sign at the bottom.

Since 1995, Lore Systems has been providing network engineering virtual CIO services, and full IT support, including desktop support. To learn more, contact us today.