iMac Running Slow? 5 Fixes to Speed it Back Up

imac running slow

Photo by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash

When Your iMac is Dragging, Walk Through These 5 Steps

1. Your hard drive is too full

Storage (hard drive disk) is long-term parking for your work product. When you finish with your Photoshop file, to continue the example, you need somewhere to save it for later. You need adequate storage on your hard drive to save files. Mac computers come with built-in hard drive storage, but you can also use external hard drive disks for additional storage.

How to clean and free up storage

Our top recommendations for cleaning up your Mac and helping it to run faster include,

  • Remove junk files and folders from your storage
  • Uninstall programs and applications correctly
  • Empty your trash

You can accomplish all of these tasks individually, or you can use an automatic program that cleans and maintains for you. We recommend checking out Clean My Mac 3.

2. Outdated macOS

After months in beta, macOS High Sierra released to a wider audience at the end of September 2017. If you were running macOS Sierra previously, you won’t see too much difference once you upgrade. Most of the upgrades are “under the hood.” For example, High Sierra ditches Apple’s historic file system and uses a new system creatively known as the Apple File System (APFS). The are also small updates to Notes and support for external virtual reality headsets and graphics-processing units.

However unexciting those “under the hood” updates may feel, they can dramatically improve your Mac’s speed and overall performance. Be sure to keep up with the version updates as Apple releases them. Any new software has bugs and the updates help keep your machine in good working order.

Ready to upgrade to macOS High Sierra? Read about our 4 must-dos before you upgrade. And check out MacPaw’s 3 Getting Ready for macOS High Sierra steps.

3. Startup items slow down your iMac

When you start your Mac, you are also starting up many of its applications. Even if you don’t see applications running when you hit the power button, many items begin to run in the background. These running items at start up slow down the startup process and they are a drag on your machine’s performance the entire time its running.

Manage your Startup Items

Make your Mac feel fresh again and give your macOS a boost so that it runs faster by intentionally managing your startup items. To see what’s running in the background from the moment you turn your computer on, take the following steps:

  • Go to your System Preferences > Users & Groups
  • Click on your username
  • Click on Login Items
  • Click on the name of any apps you don’t need to launch during startup and then click the “-” symbol l

The fewer applications you run automatically the faster your Mac will perform throughout its lifetime.

4. Quit programs running in the background

iMacs can virtually come to a halt when it is out of RAM. If there are too many applications running in the background then, it can eat up your RAM and other system resources. In the absence of available RAM space, your iMac will depend on virtual memory.

You can check for applications that are taking up more RAM than required by launching the “Activity Monitor”.  Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Folder to launch the Activity Monitor. Click on the “System Memory” tab to check the available RAM space.

In order to free up some RAM, quit applications that are no longer in use. Web browsers hog memory and hence it might be a good idea to re-launch browsers to free up some space.

5. Upgrade your iMac

We can keep old Macs limping along for a really long time. These are solid, well-built computers. That being said, we can’t make an old horse run as fast as a young stallion. Sometimes, it’s simply time to upgrade.

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About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at KylieLarson.com.

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