Mac Mini Running Slow? Easy Fixes!

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mac mini running slow

Are you experiencing slow performance with your Mac Mini?

All computers, including Mac machines, can become slow, sluggish and unresponsive after a while. They don’t perform the same way as they did when they were first brought home. Does that mean computers like the Mac Mini have a short life span? No. Computers can deliver good performance perennially as long as users maintain them well.

Mac Mini, the compact desktop computer from Apple offers great performance at an affordable price. If you are unfortunately experiencing Mac Mini running slow problems there are some easy ways to quickly fix it.

Some of the key reasons behind slow Mac Mini performance are:

  • indexing by search engine,
  • outdated macOS,
  • slowness induced by real time updates,
  • low hard disk space,
  • low RAM,
  • and desktop clutter.

You don’t have to put up with your sluggish Mac mini anymore, if performance is being affected by any one of the above issues. All of the above issues can be easily fixed by following the suggestions provided below.

1. Remove unwanted files from hard disk

Your Mac mini is no different from other Macs when it comes to how the CPU relies on free disk space. Any Mac, even the pricier MacBook and iMac models will respond sluggishly when the available space on the hard disk is low.

Macs and all computers use the free memory available on hard disk as virtual memory to process information. Temporary cache files are stored here. Hence, when your hard disk runs out of memory, these processes get hit by severe slowness. The lower your Mac mini’s hard disk space, the more intense the performance issues.

You must understand that the Mac mini is not a high performance computer. It is an affordable Mac and that means that a bloated hard disk can really slow it down, almost to a crawl. Thankfully though, ridding your Mac mini’s hard disk of useless junk files and folders, files and folders that run into several GBs, can all be done with just a single click.

Software like Clean My Mac 3 can do that for you, completely hands off. Clean My Mac has more than 4 million downloads.

Clean My Mac 3 is available for download here. 

2. Check your search engine

Search engines like Spotlight rebuild their indexes when changes in file system occur.  Your system can perform really slowly during indexing. Sometimes, connecting an external drive to your system might also result in rebuilding the indexes.spotlight rebuilding can cause mac mini problems

If you see your system responding slowly then, click on the Spotlight menu in upper right corner to check if the indexing status bar is running. It is better to leave your system alone while indexing occurs. Your Mac Mini will perform better if you begin your work after indexing completes.

3. Outdated macOS

If you have never upgraded your Mac mini’s macOS, chances are that a free macOS update from Apple can help speed up things quite a bit. Apple is constantly tweaking their macOS versions and sometimes, a small update can make a remarkable difference to the way your Mac M=mini performs.

On the flip side though, you also have to remember that an macOS upgrade might not always be a great idea if your Mac’s hardware doesn’t match the minimum requirements set by a particular version of macOS.

As an example, when Apple rolled out macOS, it was only recommended for Mac computers that were released after 2007 – 2008. Mac owners who owned older Macs experienced Mavericks related slowness after upgrading, simply because their Mac’s hardware couldn’t keep up with all the tweaks that the most recent macOS had to offer. Hence, check that your Mac can handle the latest macOS and then make the upgrade.

4. Slowness induced by real time updates

If you noticed that your Mac mini slowed down for just a few minutes, for no reason at all, try to see if some automatic updates are running in the background. Sometimes, apps by default are programmed to update themselves. Since most of these updates result in some sort of download and application file opening, your Mac mini can slow down as it will share CPU and memory resources with whatever you were working on while the update was happening

5. Close power hungry apps

Mac mini 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 Mac mini 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.

activity monitor to diagnose mac mini slow problems

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.

6. Clean startup items to relieve your RAM during boot up

If you are experiencing slow boot speed then, you must check your startup items to verify if any unwanted apps are loading during startup. When you install new applications, some of the applications lodge themselves in startup items. Every time you boot your system, these applications also start requiring CPU time and RAM.

Go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups -> Login items to remove apps that you don’t require immediately after startup. slow mac mini boot upYou will be able to visibly experience your system launching faster than before by following this simple idea.

7. Eliminate desktop clutter

Many users are not aware that a desktop with hundreds of icons actually slows your system down. Placing files on your desktop can be really convenient to access them when you require but then it chokes your system’s performance.

Tidy up your desktop by organizing files into folders in your personal drive so that you can access them quickly. Place only a few important icons on your desktop and move the rest to your folders.

Next time, your Mac mini becomes sluggish, you don’t have to worry about investing in a new Mac or worry that something might be really wrong with your Mac mini.  These quick fixes will help your Mac mini recover from temporary performance problems. Even if your Mac mini is running smoothly, you can still practice all the above steps as precautionary steps that will always allow you to enjoy good performance from your Mac mini.

If you are interested in more tips that will help you speed up and clean up your Mac mini or any other Mac, check out the Clean My Mac 3 resources!

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
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  2. benzamin watson Reply

    nice….One more point can be added over here to speed up Mac is checking of Log-in items and removing unused applications, widgets from the dashboard by navigating through System Preferences pane.

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