Look no further if you’re living through the frustrating experience of operating a slow iMac computer– we’ve got you covered. Your slow iMac can come from many different things, and there’s a lot you can do to to try and fix your issues.
iMac is Running Slow? – Here’s Your Checklist to Fix It!
1. Check free disk space
Your issues might come in part from a full hard drive– you can encounter a lot of issues with OS X when your hard drive space gets low. With every update, Apple tweaks its OS X to ideally work on more powerful specs, leaving you a bit in the dust if you have only an old iMac.
Sometimes a full hard drive can lead to crashes and other usability issues. There are some software utilities on the market that could be just what you need– we recommend CleanMyMac 3, an Apple community approved software program that can free up GBs of hard disk space in a matter of minutes, restoring your iMac’s original speeds in no time.
Besides freeing up hard disk space, CleanMyMac 3 will also clean out your iPhoto folder, removing all duplicate file photos and will even get rid of useless apps that might be slowing down your iMac further, which really helps improve startup times. Using this software is probably the easiest way to fix your issues with a slow iMac.
2. Invest in RAM
Another easy way to increase your iMac’s speed is to upgrade your RAM. RAM, or random access memory, provides “space” for your programs to operate. Your computer stores instructions and data in RAM while powered on– and everything stored in RAM is deleted once you turn off the computer. 4GB is somewhat of a minimum for a lot of people, but some users can see performance benefits from using 12 or 16 GB of RAM– it just depends on what you’re doing. People who do a lot of photo or video editing are more likely to see increased performance with more RAM.
Now, depending on which model iMac you have, you maybe able to increase RAM from anywhere between 2GB and 32GB. As an example, if you bought your iMac sometime in early 2006, you can increase your RAM by only 2GB. If you bought your iMac in late 2009, you can increase RAM by as much as 16GB. The latest iMacs can accommodate as much as a 32GB RAM upgrade that will give you a tremendous boost in performance speeds.
For a full and precise list of the maximum amount of RAM that your particular iMac can take, please visit this official Apple page on memory upgrades for the iMac.
You might not need more RAM– go to your Activity Monitor to see how much RAM you’re using during normal use cases. If you’re brushing up against your limit, it might be time for an upgrade.
3. Edit your start up items
Your computer starts up a list of apps every time you launch it, and these are (unsurprisingly) called startup apps. You want this list to be as small as possible– the less work your computer has to do when it starts up, the more quickly it’ll launch. Furthermore, if you’re not using these programs they’ll be wasting system resources, also making your computer run more slowly.
Check your list of startup programs by going to Apple Menu –> System Preferences –> Login Items and you’ll be greeted by a list of the programs on your computer. Trim this list down to Keep only the apps that you use the most often– don’t worry about things you won’t need almost every time you start your computer.
Remove the others from the list. You won’t be deleting the programs, but rather simply keeping them from launching unnecessarily when you start the computer.
Sometimes newly installed programs will automatically add themselves to this list– meaning your computer will slow down over time as you add more programs to the hard drive.
4. Carry out soft resets (SMC & PRAM)
Try carrying out a couple of soft resets called the SMC (System Management Controller) reset and the PRAM reset. These should help return your computer to a state closer to when you first bought it– speeding it up and making it much easier to use.
The SMC in your iMac is a very important controller. It manages many functions like thermal monitoring, power button response, startup of hard drive spin down cycles and returning to sleep mode. Your SMC getting out of sync can make your iMac slow, leading to several performance issues.
Thankfully, the fix is pretty quick and easy!
- Shut down your iMac
- Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet
- Press and hold your iMac’s power button for 15 seconds
- Release the power button
- Reconnect your iMac’s power cord to the wall outlet
- Wait for 5 seconds
- Turn on your iMac
Though a very simple procedure, the SMC reset can do wonders to a slow iMac, even bringing it back to speeds that you only enjoyed when your iMac was brand new.
PRAM is short for Parameter RAM. Though very small in quantity in terms of memory allocation, this little memory module also, like the SMC, controls a many functions like startup volume monitoring, speaker volume control, display resolution contro,l and the all-important tracking of date and time.
Resetting your iMac’s PRAM is another very easy procedure
- Shut down your iMac
- Power your iMac back on
- Immediately press the following combination of keys, before you see the grey startup screen: Command + Option + P + R
- Press and hold until your iMac restarts
- Allow your iMac to startup like normal
Please note that you might have to reset your date and timezone data after a PRAM reset. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. All your data and other settings are still intact.
These two resets can be great to fix your issues with a slow iMac, particularly if the performance issues came out of nowhere, without any rational explanation.
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