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Speeding Up A Mac

Whether you’re Windows or Mac owner we ALL want our computers to run in fast and timely manner. Sometimes it seems that in a Windows world, there are more optimization tips you can run than on a Mac. For example, for those who are still using platter hard drives, Windows has disk defragmentation. But of course, this option is not found in Macs because (from what I’ve heard) OS X stores documents in a manner that does not need fragmentation. So let’s go over a few easy tips that will help you keep you Mac running speedily along. And don’t worry, these easy tips that will not suggest you swap out your drive for a solid state unit. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my list of curated tips on speeding up a mac!

1. Clean Your Hard Disk Drive

If you have old photos, movies or music that you don’t access anymore, I would suggest moving them to another storage device. Having your hard drive full will increase access times so it’s best to keep it lean.

To view what files are taking up the most space on your hard drive, go to About this Mac > More Info > Storage to see how many GB are free and to access a color-coded picture of the files using the most space.

This includes deleting unused shareware apps and deleting unused language packs. To remove unused language packs, give Monolingual a try, it’s free to use!

Monolingual Deletes Language Packs

2. Monitoring Activity

Your CPU fan kicks in when the CPU begins to work harder than sitting idle or surfing the internet. If you notice your CPU fan starting up with a spinning beach ball, check out what process are running on your Mac.

Open the Activity Monitor. The numbers are constantly fluctuating, but they show you the amount of CPU and memory resources each app is using.

3. Quick Start Ups

For a quicker power up, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. See which boxes are checked; these are the applications that boot up every time you start up. If you don’t need them to do so, uncheck them.

Once you’re booted up, take a look at your desktop. If it’s filled with hundreds of icons, you’ve got some explaining to do. Stop saving things to your desktop. At the very least, organize your files into folders. But for best results, clean it up completely.

When you have completed working with an application, use ‘Command Q’ so the app is completely shut down and won’t continue to run in the background.

4. Basic Effects

This tip I also use in the Windows world. It’s best to switch off all the advanced visual extras.

The “genie effect” is a signature Apple move that applies when you minimize windows, for example. But it’s an unnecessary one. Get rid of animations like these and your windows will open and minimize much faster. Go to System Preferences > Dock and change the “Minimize windows using” selection from Genie effect to Scale effect. Then uncheck the “Animate opening applications” box. This window is where you can turn the magnification of your dock on and off, as well.

5. Try OnyX For Mac

OnyX is a utility for Macs that allows you to check the integrity of your startup files, as well as configure some hidden parameters of your system. There are OnyX versions for the latest releases of Mac OS X (and they are not cross-release compatible) so you have to download the appropriate version. The download is free and OnyX installs easily as long as you allow installs from non-App Store sources.

What it basically does is that it conducts system maintenance and cleaning functions to smoothen the running of your system. Temporary files stored as caches are cleared so that they don’t ‘jam’ up the performance of your system.

OnyX (Snow Leopard) for Mac

OnyX (Lion) for Mac

OnxX (Snow Lion) for Mac

6. Disable Widgets

If you don’t use widgets at all, you can disable the entire Dashboard. Open your Applications folder and then open Utilities. Select Terminal. In the Terminal, run the following commands:

  • defaults write mcx-disabled –boolean YES
    killall Dock

To return the Dashboard, reenter the same command but change YES to NO.


If you have more tips to add and share, please leave them in the comment section below!


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