Wandering, “Why is my MacBook Pro so slow?”
Today we’re going to look at what to do if your Mac is running slowly.
Let’s say you’ve had your Mac for a few years and it’s not running as fast as it used to. Sometimes it takes longer to launch apps, perform basic tasks, and the like. What’s going on and how to fix it. So the key to fixing it is to figure out why it’s running slow and fix that problem.
Reasons Behind the Slow MacBook Pro
First, I want to tell you what not to do. What you shouldn’t do is install additional apps to fix the problem. I say this because when you’re looking to fix a slow Mac, you’ll come across all sorts of products that claim to do so.
Cleaning apps and maintenance apps and things like that. You don’t need any of that. Some of them will slow down your Mac more.
Cause you more problems. So don’t install anything new. You need to search for the things you want to uninstall. You need to clean and not add more stuff to your Mac.
The most likely culprit for a slow Mac is if something is running in the background, consuming CPU power.
- So you want to find out what’s running on your Mac. The first thing you want to do is use the Command tab to bring up the Application Switcher.
- This will show you everything you have running. See if you recognize anything there. It might help you remember that you have something running that you don’t need.
- Try to close as many applications as possible. A newer Mac should be able to handle a lot of running applications.
- But if you have an older Mac running slowly, it pays to quit apps you’re not currently using. You can continue every application completely.
- If you can’t free up space, you can’t just get rid of it; note that the amount of hard drive space you have now is not enough.
- Your hard drive is nearly full, and your hard drive might be having problems. This is especially true if you have an old spinning hard drive rather than the hard drive or flash drive that most modern Macs have.
- There are bugs on these units, and the unit can somehow work around them, but it slows it down. One way to fix this is to run Disk Utility and use First Aid.
- Now you don’t just have to run Disk Utility. You should restart your Mac by using Command R and entering recovery mode. This allows you to run Disk Utility at a higher level, so it can look at everything on your drive and fix any problems.
But if you see 27 different apps here, try to reduce it to around 10. Also, look at the menu bar at the top right. Here you can see all these buttons. These are apps that don’t necessarily appear in the App Switcher.
So, for example, here’s DropBox, Adobe Cloud, and the webcam control panel. Things like. Look for what you have here and leave things you don’t need anymore. This is just another reminder of what you have on your Mac.
- The idea is to try to remove the things you don’t need. You could get rid of some apps you no longer need.
- Also, go to the Applications folder in the Finder and take inventory of what you have there.
- Then go to Users & Groups in System Preferences.
- Then click on Login Items.
- You will see apps and utilities that will run in the background.
- So if you see something you no longer use here, go ahead and uninstall it. You can click here and remove it from there.
- But it’s better to uninstall this app if you don’t use it. Don’t worry about things you don’t know here. Some system functions and other items may appear.
- You can always Control-click something, Show it in Finder, and then depending on where it is on your hard drive, and you can usually tell what it belongs to.
- You can also look at Activity Monitor, and when you run it, make sure you look at the CPU here.
- You are sorted by CPU, so the highest CPU is at the top.
- Now you have to watch it for a while because things will jump up when they are using a lot of CPU, but only for a few seconds, and then disappear.
Mostly use it to remind yourself what else is happening on your Mac. So look at it and see the different services and things you have running here. You often will need help to tell what the other things are. They are just part of the system.
Don’t worry too much about those. Instead, look for things with icons and think, well, that’s something I installed, but maybe I don’t need it anymore. I should uninstall that app now to speed things up a bit.
macOS vs. Windows
- It can speed things up which means it will take advantage of some of these optimizations.
- So feel free to install new versions of macOS, knowing that might slow things down because that’s not necessarily true.
- Okay, so next time, check your regular apps.
- Here you go to the App Switcher, or if you look in the Dock below, you should see the apps you run most often.
- Think about them and how you use them. They could also slow things down.
- You may not be able to do anything about it now.
- For example, if you need to use PhotoShop and PhotoShop slows down your Mac, you have no choice. However, there are applications where you can use them better.
Random Access Memory
- For example, I often notice that people use a web browser, whether it’s Safari or Chrome, but especially Chrome, they’re going to have a lot of tabs open.
- Having many tabs open will slow things down, so you should close many of them. It’s just how they normally work with a lot of cards.
- In general, Chrome will be much more of a CPU hog than using Safari.
- So often, I hear people say my Mac is slow, so I look, and they have 40 tabs open in Chrome.
- Bookmark these pages and come back to them if you want, but you don’t necessarily have to have them open on a tab.
You can have both browsers. You can switch to Chrome for a specific website but set Safari as your regular browser for general browsing. So if you like Chrome better than Safari but it’s slowing down your Mac, give Safari a chance. Another thing is cloud services. Now, as a Mac user, you probably use iCloud Drive.
You could also use DropBox, Google Cloud, and Microsoft’s Cloud. Maybe a few more. I see people with 4, 5, and 6 different cloud services synced simultaneously. Each of them must examine the files on their disk and the files on the server and synchronize between them. This will slow things down.
If a lot of them are running and competing for CPU time and network time, it will slow things down. So think about what cloud services you use, and limit yourself to one or two if you’re using an older Mac. Okay, let’s talk about the Finder.
Does your desktop look like this, with many different icons on the screen? Each of them must be rendered. So it looks at the image or text inside the file and renders a little thumbnail. Things will slow down if you have 20, 50, or 100 items on your desktop.
Therefore, it is best to use the desktop only for quick temporary storage. Don’t put common things in there. Organize them in your documents folder. Clear your desktop, and that should speed things up. But the same thing happened in Finder.
- If you use Finder’s icon view a lot, you’ll need to generate many of these thumbnails.
- They take some time to develop, especially if it’s a video.
- List view and column view can often be faster, but even here, if you select a file, you have a small preview on the right.
- If it’s a video file you selected, you have a small video player here.
- So you can hide the preview, turn it off like this and make the Finder faster.
- Also, think about the number of open Finder windows.
- Sometimes I’ve seen people have 10 or 20 different Finder windows open like this.
- There’s no reason to have two Finder windows open simultaneously, especially if you have an older Mac that runs slowly.
- Minimize Finder windows, use List or Columns view, and turn off previews to speed things up on an older Mac. Okay, so here’s another one.
- Shut down or put your Mac to sleep. I keep telling people to put their Macs to sleep. Do not turn it off when not in use.
- Instead, let it sleep to perform maintenance tasks in the background. Many people don’t. They finish using the Mac and immediately shut it down, then restart it and start using it again.
- This does not allow for background maintenance tasks, which means that these maintenance tasks must run while you are using your Mac. So they compete with you for CPU time, hard drive access, etc.
- Try putting your Mac to sleep. On a MacBook, close it. On the desktop, either go to the Apple menu and succeed when done or walk away and let it sleep on its own.
- Let it perform maintenance tasks overnight. This will keep things more optimized in the morning, and those maintenance tasks won’t compete with you for CPU time when using a Mac.
- So here’s another really big one. Hard disk space. How much free hard drive space do you have? You can tell this easily by going to the Apple menu and About This Mac. Then go to Storage. It gives you this little chart.
- So here’s an example, I am at over 90% load on this drive. You don’t want to be that high, which could be why your Mac is running slow now.
- You may have been at 50% utilization for a long time, and now you’re closer to 90 or 100%, which means there’s no hard drive space to speed up the Mac. Mac uses the hard drive for virtual memory and caches.
- These things are ways to speed up your Mac. When you run out of space, you won’t be able to use these tools to speed things up, making your Mac slower.
- So all you have to do to fix this is go through all your stuff. Go through your documents, archive things on an external drive, or get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. Browse through the apps. Remove apps you no longer need to free up space.
Excessive CPU load
It basically means that your hard drive is failing, and it’s time to get a new hard drive or new Mac because old spinning hard drives don’t last forever.
Now, you should try a few other things to see if it improves your Mac’s speed a bit. One of them is to restart in safe mode. Restarting in Safe Mode is a way to fix problems on your Mac. But it also runs some checks when you do.
Repair Disk Permissions
- It’s a Shift-hold Restart.
- Then it reboots in safe mode, so there are no extensions and all kinds of other things running on it, and it does some special checks when it starts.
- After everything is up and running, you want to restart your computer again in normal mode to continue using your Mac.
- Another thing you can do is reset the system management controller.
How you do this depends on what kind of Mac you have.
File sharing apps
So go to this page on the Apple website to see all the instructions for your specific Mac. You can perform an NVRAM reset, which resets some of the low-level settings on your Mac.
So those three things. Resetting Safe Mode, SMC, and NVRAM can help fix problems and speed up your Mac. Worth a try. Okay, so here’s some more stuff. Go to this page and try it too. It doesn’t have to be your Mac at all. When people often complain that their Mac is running slow, I ask them what you are doing to make it run slow.
- They’ll say, well, the usual stuff, browsing the web. In other words, it’s web browsing that’s slow.
- For some people, surfing the web is what they primarily use their Macs for. So if web surfing is slow, everything seems to be slow because it is everything.
- You probably received a router or modem from your cable or phone company when you signed up for service.
- So, in this case, it might not be your Mac. It could be your internet service. one thing you should is reboot the router.
- This box may have been sitting there, and you may have never turned it off and on again or hit the reset button or anything like that.
- Maybe it’s been going on for years. It might be worth turning it off or unplugging it. \
- Plug it back in.
- Sometimes it takes five minutes to restart these things, but things are much faster after restarting.
- But it can also happen that the device itself is outdated.
- Your phone company or cable company doesn’t call you out of the blue and say, hi, we noticed you have an old modem from us. We will give you a new one.
- They leave you sitting with the old device.
- Maybe one they last distributed in years when you call them and tell them it’s still up to date. Can you send me something newer? Then they will be happy to send it to you very often at no cost.
- Other times, your service itself may need to be updated. You may still be on a plan you signed up for five or ten years ago.
- They may have something that is more bandwidth and is even cheaper than what you have now. They won’t offer it to you willingly.
- They will charge you the same amount for the same level of service unless you ask for something better. Sometimes you pay less, sometimes the same, and sometimes you pay a little more but for a lot more data.
- So it’s worth calling your provider, talking to them, and seeing if you’re up to date. See what else they have to offer.
- You could speed things up significantly by improving your internet services at little or no cost.
Contact Apple support
- Your Mac should be quick. You need to find out what the problem is and if none of these steps helped you and you are out of options, take it to Apple.
- Make an appointment at the Genius Bar.
- Show them your Mac.
- Tell them it’s running slow, and let them look at it.
- An expert can often look at your Mac for a minute and instantly know what’s wrong, but it would take a million years to figure it out. Now that might be bad news.
- The hard drive may have failed.
- The apps you want to use don’t work well on a much older Mac.
- But then, at least you know you tried everything.
- there are people who put up with a slow Mac for years before taking it to an expert like the one at Genius Bar, who can fix it in minutes and make their Mac as good as new again.
- If you are trying the Genius Bar, you have nothing to lose. I
- f not, a local expert or authorized repair shop may be able to help.
- So there are so many things you can do to fix a slow Mac. If all these fail, it might be time for a new Mac.
- Remember, we are now asking our computers to do things we would never have thought of ten years ago. For example, 4K video editing.
- Maintaining huge libraries of highly compressed photos. Go to complex websites that didn’t exist back then. So sometimes, an older Mac won’t be able to handle the things you want to do.
Why do MacBooks get so hot?
If you’ve been using MacBooks for a while, you may have noticed how hot they get when sitting on your lap or playing games. At the same time, many PC notebooks tend to run much cooler. So why are MacBooks so hot?
So when Apple creates a product, it prioritizes its industrial design over anything else. And while this focus on design has resulted in Apple products appearing in museums, it has also created some functionality issues. Well, that’s what I’m going to explain now.
One of them is heat. Because the design team wanted the MacBook to be so thin, Apple’s engineering team was forced to build the smallest thermal system possible to fit inside. But the problems did not end there.
- The design team also didn’t allow the MacBook to have visible ventilation, which, which made it difficult for cold air to circulate through the interiors.
- The design team’s solution to these design limitations was threefold: First, use the hinge of the product as ventilation. Second, reduce the CPU speed if the machine gets too hot.
- And third, shut down the computer completely if its internal temperature exceeds about 215 degrees. Contrast this with the approach taken by PC manufacturers.
- Their laptops are generally bigger and thicker than Apple’s. Take the HP Specter x360, for example. It’s about 10% thicker than the MacBook Pro to accommodate a more generous thermal system.
- The larger volume also means more room inside the machine for heat dissipation. While the compact design of the MacBook tends to trap heat inside. The quick removal of hot air from the chassis thus becomes critical. And that’s where things get even worse.
- The HP Specter has a dedicated vent on the back, while Apple laptops haven’t had a large visible vent since the iBook in the early 2000s. And while the hinge mechanism on every MacBook has an integrated vent, they’re less effective than dedicated vents.
- If you’ve ever used a MacBook on your lap, pillow, or blanket, you’ve probably at least partially blocked its ventilation system. Not only because it doesn’t allow as much air to escape but also because it is easy to clog. This will make it even hotter than usual.
- Overheating became such a big problem that the 16-inch MacBook Pro released in 2019 often slowed the Intel i9 processor to speeds lower than the previous i7. Not to mention, users often complained about its loud fan noise.
- To fix this problem, Apple released its processor called the M1. It’s much more efficient and doesn’t run nearly as fast as Intel’s offerings, so Apple can continue to make super-slim and compact laptops without burning its users’ laps.
Why MacBook touch bar was removed
- In 2016, Apple introduced new MacBook Pro models, including the Touch Bar. Narrow touch glass display in the upper part of the keyboard.
- Apple promised to offer intuitive new ways to interact with content. But the Touch Bar has been removed with their latest version of the MacBook Pro.
- And there are several reasons for this. Officially, Apple gave a general justification. He says, “Users appreciate the full-height feature row on the standalone Magic Keyboard. And we brought it to the MacBook Pro. Physical keys replace the Touch Bar.
- We’re bringing back the familiar, tactile feel of mechanical keys that pro users love.” Which is marketing, “the touchpad was a bad idea, so we’re removing it.” But where exactly did it go wrong? Well, the first problem was that Apple never improved its functionality.
- Some users appreciated the shortcuts it offered, such as quick access to emojis when chatting or editing tools in photo editing apps.
- Apple relied on third-party developers to use the Touch Bar in their apps. However, its functionality was never expanded. This leads to lukewarm acceptance of the feature among users.
- However, this only happened in some cases, as this feature was limited to MacBook Pro models. So it didn’t make sense to spend more time developing a Touch-Bar-enabled Mac app that only benefited a fraction of users.
- The Touch Bar also came with compromises. Like turning several physical functions and escape keys into touch buttons.
- Something that frustrated users complaining of typos and the constant need to look down at the keyboard, slowing down their workflow.
- The escape button later changed back to a physical key on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but the touch bar remained insufficient for users.
Whether you have an old MacBook Pro or a new 16-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with the Apple M1 Max Chip, it can run slowly over time. There can be many reasons, but they all fall into the following four categories.
1. Personal habits: If you leave your Mac running all the time, leave too many apps to join in on the startup fun, or multitask with lots of demanding apps, your Mac will often get stuck.
2. macOS system: There is no doubt that Newer macOS usually works better than the old one. You may experience firmware or permissions issues that also reduce performance.
3. Software problems: Apps, whether pre-installed or downloaded elsewhere, can use up many system resources when used incorrectly, eventually slowing down your Mac.
Now we know the reasons behind a slow mac, what should you do to fix it? We divide the solution into two categories:
Manual methods: Best for technically savvy people who are okay putting in the time. Here are several things you can do manually to fix your slow Mac.
Note, however, that the solutions we suggest below only work if your Mac can boot normally. If that doesn’t work, or you hear strange noises from your device (especially from your Mac’s internal hard drive), you should contact Apple Support.
Free up more disk space
Time: 1-2 hours
When to use: your MacBook Pro runs out of space and slows down or freezes more often.
Why it helps: macOS uses free hard drive space as “virtual memory” in addition to RAM (random access memory). If your MacBook Pro runs out of storage, the system can use little virtual memory when needed. This can cause your Mac to freeze more often—even if you only run a few apps. Generally, having at least 10% free disk space can often prevent the problem from occurring.
How to do it: try the tricks below.
Note: CleanMyMac is a nice tool if you want to save time. It automatically detects and cleans other junk that can take up gigabytes of disk space.
- Empty your Mac’s Recycle Bin.
- Clear web browser files (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) such as caches, history, plugins, etc.
- Uninstall unused applications.
- Remove new language packs on Mac.
- Go to the “Movies” and “Pictures” folders and delete large or duplicate items you already backed up.
- Go to the “Download” folder and remove the things you don’t need.
- Transfer large files or folders to an external hard drive.
- I only knew this once I ran Space Lens from CleanMyMac, where I could zoom in a folder by folder to detect large files.
After cleaning your hard drive, click on the trash icon, even though trash automatically empties in a few days.
Minimize windows and check the system junk; empty that too. Use external drives to store data. Send folders with too many files to optimize a cluttered desktop.
Here you go, enjoy more ram, which means a faster MacBook pro.
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