Is Your Mac Running Slowly? Cybercraig's Five Reasons & Tips on How To Fix it.

Posts by: Paulo Franco

We all know that feeling – one day, your Mac decides it has had enough and starts to act like a snail that woke up from a deep sleep. Apps are lagging, browsing the internet becomes unbearably slow and simple actions it used to perform with a blink of an eye suddenly take forever. Even though your Mac is a powerful machine and the operating system is stable and responsive, these things can happen sooner or later to any Mac computer.

mac running slowly yellow sign

As with a Windows PC, there may be numerous reasons why your Mac running slowly, and they range from light to severe. It’s important to understand and identify the main reason for these issues and follow some simple steps to fix them. In a lot of cases, the real reason for the problem could be dangerous not only to your Mac, but also to your personal information. Read on to discover the main causes for a sluggish Mac and how to overcome them quickly.

Certain malicious software and viruses can slow down even the newest and most advanced Mac computer.

#1 Lack of Hard Drive Space

Having too much on your Mac can slow it down significantly. MacOS requires an adequate free space on your hard drive to function at a decent pace, so if you fail to maintain enough of that “free space,“ it can result in long pauses, sudden freezes and reboot problems.

Fix: Start by checking your disk to see what is taking up space and find large files. You can use Spotlight to create a map of all your files. Store important large files, such as videos, on external hard drives to free up space on your Mac. Next, go to the Downloads folder and delete all unneeded items. This one may look obvious to you, but many people forget to check it. Then, review the apps that you don’t use and uninstall them. You can do that by going to Finder > Go > Applications, and right click and move to Trash the unnecessary ones. Lastly, don’t forget to empty your Trash from time to time, but keep in mind it deletes the files permanently.

#2 Out of Date Operating System and Apps

Updating your macOS and applications should help speed up your Mac. The new software Apple releases every year makes your Mac run more smoothly. Apps downloaded from the Mac App Store also require regular updates as these can boost performance and solve usability issues. More important, OS X updates can fix serious security issues and data breaches. See how one macOS update helped fixing a vulnerability that enabled malware to attack thousands of Mac computers two years ago.

Fix: To check for updates, go to the Mac App Store > switch to the Updates tab and click the Update for all required apps and for the operating system.

Did you know that certain malicious software and viruses can slow down even the newest and most advanced Mac computer? Read on to learn how to discover if your Mac is infected and how to deal with that.

#3 Malware or Virus Infection

Some malware can significantly lower your Mac’s performance rate, reduce battery life and even damage your hardware. A recent malware called OSX.CreativeUpdate hid on a legitimate MacUpdate site and managed to infect even the most MacOS savvy members of the development and security community. Once the malware was installed, it used the computer’s CPU to mine a cryptocurrency coin, which could potentially cause a permanent damage to the infected computer due to overheating and increased usage of electricity.

Fix: First, install a proper Mac Antivirus software, preferably of a known and reliable brand. We urge you not to install MacKeeper or Mac Defender, as the latter is a malware pretending to be a legit Antivirus and the first one is very questionable and reported by many users as a program that actually hurts the Mac’s performance and almost impossible to uninstall.
After installing an Antivirus, run a scan to detect any malware, potentially unwanted programs (PUP) and viruses. If the scanner finds any suspicious programs or files, delete them immediately. All the premium Antivirus and few of the free ones offer real time protection to ensure you’re protected 24/7. It is strongly recommended to use this protection as malware continues to evolve each year, targeting more and more Mac users.

It’s important to understand and identify the main reason for this slow-down and to follow some simple steps to fix it, as in some cases the real reason for the problem could be dangerous not only to your Mac, but also to your personal information.

#4 Resource-Heavy Apps Run in the Background

Many apps can work in the background for months and drain your system resources. When you’ve got too many of these draining apps, your Mac can’t even handle simple tasks.

Fix: You can substantially increase battery life and system resources by quitting apps that overload your system and you may not even know they exist. Activity Monitor was made for this purpose. It’s a built-in utility that helps users understand what is happening “under the hood” and which processes are using up system’s resources. Access Activity Monitor through Finder > Go > Utilities > Open the program. Here you’ll find a monitor of all running apps and identify what is causing trouble with your Mac. Stop an app from operating by clicking on the app’s name on the list and then click “Quit” on the opened window.

Many Antivirus programs offer a built-in system optimizer, which can save you time by cleaning unnecessary apps and stop energy-consuming programs. If you’re already planning to get an Antivirus, make sure it also includes a system optimizer.

#5 Startup Programs Slow You Down

If your Mac is slow after you start it or log in, it might have too many startup programs. A lot of programs that load up in the background not only slow down your startup, but they continue to do so the whole running time.

Fix: To manage your startup items and improve your OS X performance, open System Preferences > Users & Groups > Click on your username > Login Items. Here, you can choose which programs will open automatically when you log in. Uncheck any apps you don’t need starting when you log in. Try to keep this list as short as possible and see how your Mac starts in no time once again.