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How to speed up a slow Mac

Kenny Hemphill | March 10, 2016
Mac running too slow? Here are some great performance tips & free software to make Mac OS X run faster

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Safari sometimes gets clogged up with data. Cleaning this out will help speed up Safari in Mac OS X. Open Safari and choose Safari > Reset Safari and check Remove all Website Data. (Leave the other options unticked.) Now click on Reset. This can help speed up sluggish web browsing.

Step 11 of 20: Repair Permissions

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Open Disk Utility and choose your main hard drive from the sidebar (in most Macs there will only be one.) Now click on First Aid and Repair Permissions. This will ensure that all the files on your Mac have the correct permissions, which will help keep things ticking along.

As of El Capitan, you can no longer repair permissions in Disk Utility. It's gone because the new System Integrity Protection (SIP) in El Capitan prevents permissions on files being modified which, according to Apple at least, means there should be no need to repair permissions.

Step 12 of 20: Turn off visual effects

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Most Macs can run OS X without any trouble. But some people prefer to have keep the Dock static to prevent slowdown. Click System Preferences > Dock and untick the following check boxes:

  • Magnification
  • Animate opening applications
  • Automatically hide and show the dock
  • Turn off accessibility

Now click on 'Minimize windows using' and change Genie Effect to Scale Effect.

Step 13 of 20: Install more RAM

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Historically, upgrading RAM has been the goto solution for improving your Mac's performance. Before you go ahead and spend money, however, it's worth trying to figure out how much of a difference it will really make, if any. The easiest way to do this is to fire up Activity Monitor (it's in Applications/Utilities), click on the Memory tab and keep an eye on the memory pressure gauge at the bottom of the window. If it's permanently green, you're probably not going to see a huge difference by upgrading. If it turns red regularly, it's worth the expenditure.

How much RAM you add and how you add it is dependent on your Mac. But as a rule of thumb, the effort of performing the installation compare with the marginal cost of bigger RAM modules means that it's worth maxing out your Mac's RAM in one go.

That will often mean removing the existing modules and replacing them. It's a good idea, though not essential, to buy all the RAM you fit at the same time from the same manufacturer. If you decide just to fill empty slots, the same applies. And you should pair RAM modules of the same capacity, if possible.


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