How to Check/Test MacBook Performance

Tips • May 22, 2023

mac performance

Thinking of seeing an IT specialist on how to test the performance of your MacBook? That won’t be necessary as we have got you covered with our comprehensive guide that covers all you need to know, understand, and test the performance of your MacBook.

RELATED: Best Mac System Monitor Apps

Understanding MacBook performance

Like any device, your MacBook is also prone to performance degradation over time, especially if it is overloaded with apps and programs that need a lot of memory or processing power. It’s important to regularly assess your MacBook’s performance to identify areas where improvement is required or simply for a basic review of your machine.

When the system begins to lag or become slower, when programs take longer to load, or when you have problems of this nature, these are some of the signs that you might want to evaluate the performance of your MacBook. It’s important that you understand the underlying factors that are driving the system to function this way.

Factors affecting performance

Your MacBook’s performance can be affected by a number of factors including CPU, memory, power usage, and even the network of your MacBook, so these are among some of the important metrics to consider when checking the performance of your system. To ensure that your MacBook performs at its full potential, these are certain benchmarks that must be fulfilled. These benchmarks can come in really handy when determining issues with the hardware or software performance of your Mac and can highlight areas that need improvement.

Methods for checking MacBook performance

There are many methods to evaluate the performance of your MacBook.

# Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is a built-in utility in your MacBook that displays the performance of several factors on your Mac, such as disk speed, RAM, and graphics card performance.

Here’s how to use the Activity Monitor for checking your MacBook’s performance:

  1. Click anywhere on the desktop to bring up the Finder menu or click the “Finder” icon in the Dock.
  2. Select “Applications” from the sidebar of the Finder.
  3. Locate the “Utilities” folder and open it.
  4. To launch the “Activity Monitor” application, double-click it.

You can see the percentage of CPU and memory consumption as well as the amount of Energy used by each program, along with disk and network usage, in the Activity Monitor’s results. The results can be analyzed in order to identify trouble spots and take action to fix them.

# Terminal Commands

Terminal is another built-in utility on your Mac that can help you evaluate system performance. Terminal has the ability to perform CPU stress tests, memory tests, and disk performance tests.

To use Terminal commands to check the performance of your MacBook, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Finder menu, click the “Finder” icon in the Dock or anywhere on the desktop.
  2. In the Finder window, click “Applications”.
  3. Then scroll down and open the “Utilities” folder.
  4. Next, double-click on the “Terminal” application to launch it.

Some commonly used Terminal commands are: “top” this displays a live view of the processes and resources being used by your MacBook. “htop” this command displays information about CPU and memory usage graphically. “vm_stat” this command displays the virtual memory system information for your MacBook. “iostat” this command shows information about your MacBook’s input/output as well as its CPU usage. “nettop” this command displays the network activity of your MacBook in real-time.

# Apple Diagnostics

One of the built-in tools for evaluating the performance of your MacBook is Apple Diagnostics. It must be noted, nevertheless, that this tool is intended to examine the hardware component performance rather than software. The CPU, RAM, hard drive, and Wi-Fi are among the mechanical hardware components of your MacBook that are subjected to performance testing by Apple Diagnostics. The test results will show whether any hardware parts have malfunctioned or failed.

To use Apple Diagnostics for checking the performance of your MacBook’s hardware components, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your MacBook is turned off. If it’s already on, shut it down by clicking on the Apple menu in the top-left corner and selecting “Shut Down.”
  2. Press the power button on your MacBook to turn it on.
  3. Immediately after pressing the power button, press and hold the “D” key on your keyboard. Keep holding it until you see the Apple Diagnostics screen.
  4. Once Apple Diagnostics launches, a window will appear asking you to select your language. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the desired language and press the “Return” or “Enter” key.
  5. The diagnostic process will begin. Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the diagnostics. This may involve waiting for a few minutes as the diagnostics test your MacBook’s hardware.
  6. After the diagnostic process completes, the results will be displayed on the screen. It will provide information about any identified issues or errors.
  7. Review the results carefully to understand the diagnostic findings.
  8. If the diagnostics report indicates a specific issue or error, you can note it down for further troubleshooting or contact Apple Support for assistance.

For Macbook users, Apple Diagnostics is an excellent tool for diagnosing issues with your hardware components. By getting detailed insights into the hardware setup of their Mac, users can take appropriate actions to ensure their MacBook is working to its full potential.

Third-party apps for checking Mac performance

There are several third-party tools available to monitor and test your Mac’s system performance. Some of these tools conduct diagnostic checks on your MacBook for a hardware issue, some for software, and others for both. Results are provided for you to evaluate and take action on.

Here, we’ve covered a few of our favorite third-party applications:

# iStat Menus

iStat menus is one of our favorite applications for checking the performance of the Mac. This is a third-party application that performs a number of diagnostic checks on the CPU, RAM, network, disk, and more.


Here’s how to use iStat Menus to check your MacBook’s performance:

  1. Download iStat Menus from the Bjango website or the Mac App Store and install it on your MacBook.
  2. Go to your Applications folder and launch iStat Menus.
  3. You will see the app’s menu bar display in your menu bar. In the menu bar, click the iStat Menus icon.
  4. From the iStat Menus dropdown menu, choose which system information you want displayed in the menu bar.
  5. Click “Preferences” to customize the display.
  6. You can set up alerts and notifications for certain system events in the iStat Menus preferences.
  7. For more detailed information on your MacBook’s performance, click on the item you want to know more about.

The adaptability of iStat Menus is one factor contributing to its reputation as one of the top performance monitoring apps for Mac. Users can view historical data, monitor their Mac’s performance in real-time, and receive notifications when specific occurrences take place according to the app’s extensive feature set.

# Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

Blackmagic is another third-party tool that particularly examines the read and write speeds of hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) on a Mac. It is a free tool available for download from their website or the Mac App store.


To use Blackmagic Disk Speed Test for checking the performance of your MacBook, follow these steps:

  1. Download Blackmagic Disk Speed Test from the Mac App Store.
  2. Launch the app after it has finished downloading and installing.
  3. In the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app, locate the drop-down menu.
  4. Use the drop-down menu to select the type of storage device you want to test (e.g., internal SSD, external hard drive).
  5. Choose the desired size for the test file. This determines the amount of data that will be used for the test.
  6. Decide on the number of tests you want to run. This affects the duration and accuracy of the test.
  7. Once you have configured the settings, click the “Start” button.
  8. The app will begin running the disk speed test, measuring the performance of your selected storage device.
  9. Wait for the test to complete. The app will display the results, including the read and write speeds of your storage device.

# Geekbench

Geekbench is a third-party benchmarking program that is available for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. It is a cross-platform tool that can assess and test your Mac’s hardware and software performance. It’s one of the most widely used benchmarking applications available.


To use Geekbench for checking the performance of your MacBook, follow these steps:

  1. Download Geekbench from the official website and install it on your MacBook.
  2. Once the installation is complete, launch the Geekbench application.
  3. In the Geekbench app, locate and click on the “Run CPU Benchmark” button.
  4. Allow the benchmarking process to run until it reaches completion. This process evaluates the performance of your MacBook’s CPU.
  5. After the benchmarking process finishes, the Geekbench app will display your MacBook’s CPU performance score.
  6. To compare your MacBook’s performance with other models, utilize the online results browser provided by Geekbench.
  7. In the Geekbench app, navigate to the online results browser section.
  8. Explore the online results browser to find and compare the CPU performance scores of various MacBook models.

Additionally, Geekbench offers a paid version. While the free version lets you measure the performance of a number of basic parameters on your device, the paid version, Geekbench Pro, has a number of additional features, including stress testing, command-line tools, and customization options. Make sure you do your research and choose the plan that is most suitable for you.

# CleanMyMac X

Another great tool for evaluating the speed of your MacBook is CleanMyMac X, albeit some of its features are paid. Instead of performing diagnostic tests on your computer, it focuses on enhancing and maintaining the performance of your Mac by clearing up unnecessary files, removing malware, uninstalling unwanted apps and files, protecting your privacy, and optimizing your Mac’s settings, which is great for ensuring the best possible system performance.

To use CleanMyMac X for checking the performance of your MacBook, follow these steps:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X from the official website and install it on your MacBook.
  2. Once the installation is complete, launch the CleanMyMac X application.
  3. In the CleanMyMac X app, locate and click on the “Scan” button.
  4. CleanMyMac X will then analyze your MacBook’s system, searching for unnecessary files, junk data, and other potential optimization opportunities.
  5. After the scan is complete, CleanMyMac X will present you with a list of identified items that can be cleaned or optimized.
  6. Review the list of identified items carefully to ensure that you’re comfortable with removing or optimizing them.
  7. If you’re satisfied with the identified items, click on the “Clean” button to proceed with the cleaning process.
  8. CleanMyMac X will then safely remove the selected items from your MacBook, freeing up storage space and potentially improving performance.
  9. Additionally, CleanMyMac X offers various other features for further optimization. Explore these features as needed, such as uninstalling unwanted applications, managing startup items, or optimizing system settings.

Though CleanMyMac X optimizes your Mac’s performance, it does not detect any performance issues in the first place, so it might not be useful if you’re looking to assess performance initiatives. Further, CleanMyMac X only provides basic performance metrics, such as CPU and RAM usage, so if you wish to gain further insight into your system, you may want to consider iStat Menus or other tools specifically designed to do so.

Interpreting MacBook performance results

Your MacBook’s performance status is determined by the results of the diagnostic tests performed on it. These results can highlight problem areas and malfunctioning parts, and they can provide details about the hardware and software components of your Mac. The findings are often shown as a numerical score or benchmark that can be compared with those of standards set by the industry. The greater the score, the better the performance.

What are good and bad performance results?

As was previously stated, the higher the score, the better the performance, so good results typically have a high numerical score across all metrics or parameters. For example, a high CPU score on Geekbench, fast read/write speeds on the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, and low memory pressure on the iStat Menus would all indicate good performance.

Bad performance results result in lower scores; this suggests faulty parts or possible software or hardware problems. An issue with your MacBook’s processor or storage, for instance, can be indicated by a low CPU score on Geekbench or poor read/write rates on Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

Tips for improving MacBook performance

There are several tips for improving your MacBook’s performance, such as updating your MacBook’s software and security patches regularly. Making sure you close unnecessary apps and processes to free up the system’s resources.

Make sure to delete any unnecessary files from your Mac’s hard drive to free up space, and consider adding more RAM or upgrading your MacBook’s SSD to improve its performance. To maintain and improve the performance of your MacBook, use cleaning tools such as CleanMyMac X.

It is best to avoid installing too many third-party apps and extensions on your MacBook, as they can slow it down. In addition, keeping your MacBook cool or elevating it will prevent it from overheating, which negatively impacts performance. Finally, use tools like iStat Menus or Activity Monitor to monitor your MacBook’s performance regularly.

Final thoughts

It is important to keep tabs on your MacBook’s performance to identify any potential hardware issues or software problems. If overlooked, they might have a negative impact on your system’s performance over time and could cause many other issues. To assess the performance of your system, you can always rely on the built-in tools included in your MacBook, such as the Activity Monitor, Terminal, and run Apple diagnostics.

In addition, there are other third-party applications out there, such as Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, iStat Menus, CleanMyMac X, and Geekbench. It is also important to note that these applications should always be downloaded from trusted sources.

We truly hope that this article was helpful in helping you evaluate and select the right program for testing and optimizing the performance of your MacBook. Make sure to routinely monitor performance if you want to keep your MacBook operating properly.

If you want assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a professional. For maximum performance, it is also important to keep your device updated. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your battery life – it’s always best to make sure it does not run out completely in the middle of an important project!


Why is it important to check MacBook performance?

The performance of a MacBook may be checked to find any possible problems or places for improvement, resulting in a smoother and more effective experience.

What are some common tools for checking MacBook performance?

Some common tools for checking MacBook performance include Activity Monitor, Terminal commands, Apple Diagnostics, Geekbench, iStat Menus, and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

What kind of information can I get from checking MacBook performance?

The performance of a MacBook may be examined to gain insight into its CPU, RAM, disk, network, temperature, battery life, and other factors.

What are some signs that my MacBook may be experiencing performance issues?

Slow app and process startup times, prolonged app and process loading times, recurrent crashes or freezes, and a noisy fan are some indicators that your MacBook may be having performance problems.

Can checking/testing MacBook performance cause any harm to my device?

No, testing the performance of your MacBook shouldn’t damage it as long as you use trustworthy tools and follow the instructions exactly. Before making any changes to your device, it is usually a good idea to back up any important data.

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