How to speed up your Mac!

Is your Mac running slow, failing to respond or doing weird things? Do you feel like punching it in the face? Maybe you’ve screamed obcenities, torn your hair out in despair and then pulled the cat’s tail just because you can?

I love my Mac most times but when it’s playing up I really hate it! But, there are indeed best practice habits when running your Mac to help avoid issues. Let’s go through some easy steps to love your Mac the proper way…

Most issues arise from one or a combination of factors that affect the
– hard drive
– RAM (memory)
– Processor (CPU)

Simply put, the hard drive stores data, the RAM is the short term memory and the CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place. It makes sense that if you install software that’s too large or complex for your computer, it’s going to have a hard time. Solution – don’t do it. There is command called ‘about this Mac’ which is accessible in the top left of your screen by clicking on the Apple Icon. Take note and make sure when you download something it doesn’t exceed the system requirements.

Maybe, you think your software is fine. However, with time as you download more and more, the cumulation of tasks and storage exceeds limits. It’s probably time to have a clean up and remove some clutter.

If there are some applications that you can uninstall to ease the burden, it’s really important that you make sure you Google each one to find instructions to make sure the removal of these applications is complete. It’s possible for files to be stored outside the application folder. Partial removal leaves behind some software that may still try to complete a task but can’t because part of it is missing. These can really cause havoc! So don’t just drag an application into the trash can. Make sure you use the ‘uninstall tool’ if the application requires this for complete removal. If you can’t find a pesky troublesome App file, you may like to Google ‘App Zapper’. It’s like a detective that moves through your computer, finds the bandit and Zaps it! Viola!

Having tidy work habits is really important in helping the running speed of your Mac. Keep the number of applications you run at a given time down as low as possible and same for the number of files you store on your desktop. If you have unwanted files be sure to throw them in the trash and don’t forget to ‘empty the trash’.

You may also like to visit your system preferences in the top left, go to ‘users and groups’, select the user that you opened your Mac up with and change some options within the login items. What you’re aiming to do is reduce the amount of application and processors that launch every time you turn on the computer.

Your computer can do some clever things even if you run out of RAM. It’s a technique called virtual memory where it uses space on the hard drive to store data that would have otherwise been stored in RAM. It’s also capable of compressing memory. Same sort of principle as a space saving bag. It is however important to work within the memory limits and you can set the memory allocation of various applications to ease the burden on your computer. They say the rule of thumb is to make sure you save at least 10% of free space on your hard drive.

Internet connection speed can also be a factor. Make sure that if you use a WiFi connection that it is password protected. That way other random pesky people can’t draw on the activity levels on your network and reduce your connection speeds. Firewalls and additional security connections can also affect network speed.

You may like to Google Mega Path to see if the server you are paying for is meeting the online speed you are paying for. You may need to contact your internet provider to make an improvement.

Make sure when you purchase your computer it meets the demands you intend on placing on it. No point in buying something too small for the job. Make sure you regularly click on software updates and if you are running any applications from the Adobe cloud suite make sure you visit these to make the updates.

A recommended trouble shooting measure to help with speed issues is to reset your PRAM/NVRAM. What exactly is this? This is the component on your Mac that stores small configurations settings that the computer accesses when it starts up. Sometimes problems and corruption can arise. To fix this, hold down command, P and R simultaneously with the computer off and whilst holding them all down, turn the computer on, wait for the start up chime by 2 and then release. It has been documented that this won’t cause problems but you will require 8 arms to do this 🙂

Also, there is a utility inside OSX 10 that is able to evaluate and repair problems. It’s essentially a little medical centre within the Mac. It’s good to do regular checkups. I found a great you tube video that explains how to do this. How cool is this nerdy kid! 🙂

Whilst the above information only touches the surface of how to truly love your Mac, I hope it will at least provide some helpful tips and some trouble shooting leads for you to follow.

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