How to Troubleshoot Your Slow macOS

Tips • March. 29, 2021

You might have been using your Mac book for quite a long time now to eventually find out that your device is taking longer to perform basic tasks. From delayed boot-ups to applications taking ages before launching, the issues can be many. But thankfully, some ways can help you fix this on your own.

Your Mac device will rarely start behaving abnormally from the very first day. Most of the time, Mac users tend to face lag issues after years of usage. There are some reasons which build up to your Mac being slow. Thus, before figuring out the ways to troubleshoot, it is essential to decode the reasons that are leading to it.

Once the problems are known, fixing them becomes a relatively easy task. This article will focus on the issues from each angle that might be leading your Mac into slowness. Further, you will be introduced to every possible solution to speed up your device once again.

So, if you are dealing with a slow Mac, you are currently at the one-stop destination of resolving it.

RELATED: How to Fix Slow Mac After macOS Update

What might be wrong with your Mac?

The problems that your Mac might be facing can be characterized in two categories. One is the basic issues endured mainly by the operating software, while the other corresponds to specific hardware issues.

Dealing with the basic issues can be comparatively easy as for the hardware issues, you might need to replace the outdated ones to get your Mac desktop back in perfect working condition.

The Background is Running Busy

One of the main reasons that lead up to a slow Mac is background applications. Applications running in the background tend to use up power from the processor. This power usage in the long run eventually brings down the performance and hinders other software from running smoothly. It is thus essential to take notice of the tasks that are running in the background.

Frequently Used Applications

Applications used by you regularly can also play a significant role in slowing down your PC. However, there is nothing much that can be done with the applications you need. Still, a few optimizations here and there can help you speed things up. You can scroll down to the “how to fix” menu and have a look at what optimizations I am talking about.

Excessive Cloud Storages

Modern-day convenience has imparted the usage of cloud servers immensely. Being a Mac user, you are sure to take advantage of the iCloud services. While for maintaining a bulk, you may also be using Dropbox and other cloud services simultaneously. This approach also adds up to the slowness of your Mac Pc. Cloud storage is a complex process; each server needs to examine your drive and the files on the server for appropriate syncing. Thus, using a number of cloud services at a time is obvious to take up a considerable amount of power from your device’s processor.

Desktop as a Storage

Many of us tend to use the desktop itself as quickly accessible storage. From different media to essential documents, a copy of the files we need regularly finds a home on the desktop. Although it is suitable for convenience, a friend to slow Pc as well. All the different files need to get rendered separately for better viewing and access experience, and the files left over to the desktop are no exception. The processor needs to work individually on the desktop files to have them appropriately rendered thus, taking up some power off the performance away.

You Shut Your Mac Down Quite Too Often

Although it might sound a bit weird, shutting down your Mac without giving it a proper time to optimize itself can slow things up. Every machine needs to go to sleep or hibernate itself so that it can run spontaneous maintenance. If you tend to shut your PC down after completing your work and boot it up once again when you need it, you are doing it wrong. After your device boots up, it shall use up some of the processor power to carry out the automated maintenance, thus affecting the performance of any other ongoing task.

Loaded Hard Drive

Another factor that corresponds to a slower Mac is a loaded hard drive. The computer uses hard drives to assist few things like caches and virtual memory—both of these influence your Mac’s overall speed. Having a loaded hard drive will resist the operating system from using these tools to speed things up.

Outdated Drivers

With all the applications that you run every day; it is vital to check for utility drivers to process those applications. Having an outdated driver will always make room for slow processing.

Major Hardware Issues

When we talk about the hardware issues, the prominent ones that play a significant role in slowing down your Mac include the RAM and Hard Drives failing to work properly.

Running different applications is aided mainly by the RAM itself. If RAM fails to execute the processing properly, you are sure to face issues like delayed application launching.

Considering the massive data transmission that takes place in present-day life, hard drives also add up significantly in slowing down your Mac. The issue is most common among the users who are still using mechanical drives. Most of the time, HDDs fail to execute properly with the processing speed of your device. Thus, leaving an overall slow impression. Replacing it with the latest SSDs will, however brighten things up.

RELATED: How to Clear RAM On Your Mac Computer

How to troubleshoot your Mac from running slow

Now that you are well aware of the reasons that might be slowing your Mac down, it is time to look at the fixes that will help you resolve the issue right away.

Free Your Background for Faster Processing

Most of the time, a user leaves an application running even after the purpose is served. These applications then use up a good portion of memory and power and add to the device’s slowness. Getting rid of the background processes has proved to be one of the best methods for speeding up your Mac. Dominantly, this is the only step that I need to take to make my Mac perform activities more efficiently.

This is how you can check for the useless activities that are running in the background.

Application Switcher: Firstly, you can use the command tab to access the Application Switcher. The Application Switcher will put up every application that your OS is currently running. From the list of many, you can get rid of the services that seem unnecessary at that point in time. If you own a newer Mac, having this done won’t be that essential. But for the one who owns a relatively older Mac, getting rid of the applications from Application Switcher can be of greater significance.

Applications from the Menu Bar: A few applications don’t show up in the Application Switcher every time. However, hovering over to the top-right menu can give you access to some of those applications that you might not need running anymore. Getting rid of those is easy. Click on the desired application and select the option that says quit.

Activity Monitor: The activity monitor is an application that allows you to see what processes are running on your Mac at any point in time. What makes it different from the Application Switcher and the regular menu bar, though, is unlike those, the activity monitor allows you to visualize how various applications and processes are affecting the performance of your device in real-time.

To access the activity monitor, you can hover over to the search bar and look for the application there. Once you are inside the tool, you have the perfect stats for every application running and how it affects your device’s power and memory. Most of the files that you will encounter may seem a bit confusing as the tool shows up the system processes. It is advised not to worry about the unfamiliar ones; instead, look for the processes that seem to be more familiar.

As you scroll across the application and processes, try getting rid of the least used ones or those having zero importance moving forward.

Use Your Regular Applications in an Organized and Optimized Manner

To have a comparatively faster responsive machine, it is essential to use the everyday utility applications in an organized manner. Having a quick look at the most frequently used application is simple. Just hover over to the Application Switcher. From the deck below, you can look at the applications you use pretty often. From there on, you can switch things up a little bit for having a smooth experience the next time you run an application.

As I have mentioned earlier, you can’t do much with the tools you require the most, but a few tweaks here and there are always helpful. For instance, if you are using Chrome for your regular browsing, you can avoid creating multiple tabs at a time. Having to operate multiple tabs, your processor is sure to slow down. So, make sure you close as many tabs as you can based on your requirement.

Limit Taking Cloud Services to Aid

Don’t let multiple cloud services take up the major portion of the power from your processor. Think and make your mind up for the best service you need to store and manage data. Limiting yourself to the least number of cloud services will let your processor have more power left for carrying out other activities.

Clean Up Your Desktop

No matter which sector we talk about, cleanliness is always healthy. A slower Mac can be even more efficient. Having hundreds of items on the desktop will do no good to the overall speed. However, getting rid of those can get a long way in speeding up your processor’s working.

With a relatively clean desktop, your processor will no longer need to do unnecessary renderings. Thus, it is recommended to have all your files in respective drives instead bulking up the desktop.

Gift Your Mac Some Time to Sleep

Just like for any individual, sleep is an essential aspect for your Mac as well. But don’t confuse sleep with regular shutdowns. While at sleep, your device will tend to perform all the regular maintenances, which is not possible while your device is completely shut.

Allowing your Mac to have regular periods of sleep will ensure your processor doesn’t need to compete with the maintenance tasks and the activities you intend it to go through. As a result, you will have activities performed relatively smoothly and efficiently.

Free Up the Spaces

Having a bulk amount of data might be your requirement. If so, it is advised to have an external drive for all your secondary data. The availability of enough hard drive space will allow your Mac to use various tools like virtual memory and caches in a more optimized manner. As virtual memory, caches, etc. play a vital role in speeding the Mac up, it is essential you have the resources ready for your device to perform better.

Maintain Regular Updates

If your Mac is slowing down, an important aspect to look after is the drivers that process the running of any application. Most of the time, we tend to ignore the version on which the utility drivers are working. Companies bring updates regularly so that the drivers be more optimized to every working scenario. It is thus vital to have a regular check for update availability. It is further recommended to install one as soon as an update becomes live.

Rebooting in Safe Mode

The safe mode reboot is a way to troubleshoot a few errors and bringing a few issues to notice. For rebooting in Safe Mode, the only thing you need to do is hold down the shift key as you boot into your Mac. As you do so, the system will automatically run some checks and troubleshoot all the possible issues. You can then restart in normal mode and feel your Mac performing better.

Other helpful measures to fix a slow macOS

Apart from the ways mentioned above, a few other measures can also come in handy for troubleshooting a relatively slow Mac OS

  • Running Disk Utility can help fix errors within the storage drives. Getting those error fixed, your Mac might speed up significantly.
  • Resetting the System Management Controller also helps troubleshoot some issues. Now the way you can do it varies according to the devices. For more assistance you can head over to
  • Keep your Mac Organized

Mac cleaners: the reality

As you seek a solution to your slow Mac, it is pretty obvious for you to bump into various software that claims to speed things up. Speaking of reality, most of the cleaning or maintenance software fails serves its prime purpose. On the contrary, some of the applications might even add more to your device’s overall slowness. But luckily there are some applications that can help you speed up your Mac genuinely.

From organizing your desktop to cleaning junks within your device, these Mac cleaners can go a long way in speeding up your computer. Considering the number of software available, it might be a bit tough task for you to access the best ones. However, to ease things up we have prepared the list of the best tools for troubleshooting a slow Mac.

Visit Best Apps to Clean and Organize Mac Desktop to learn which application can be a perfect fit for your slow Mac. You can also visit Best Mac Cleaner Software to experience a tested review on one of the best options available for speeding up you slow Mac.


Having a poorly performing Mac can be a bit disturbing. With the simple steps mentioned above, you can take your Mac to its youth once again. However, if your Mac still feels the same, it might be time for a new machine. But before giving up on your device, it is advised to consult the expert from Apple’s help center. Who knows, they might have a better solution to your problem.