A Mac usually takes care of itself. But once its been used for one too many years, it starts getting slow, just like any computer. It can be anything; hard drive overload, corrupted system files, a rogue app or just an outdated OS. There could be a lot wrong under the hood, and hunting for the specific culprit on your own takes a long time.
Fortunately, Mac has a slew of built-in and third party diagnostic and cleaning utilities to help you speed the Mac right up. Check out the apps/tips listed below.
Onyx is one of the best maintenance tools for Mac. It opens up hidden system settings that go well beyond Mac’s System Preferences. It lets you clean the system or user cache, deleting old internet files, system cache, user elements and more in the process.
The app has a one-click maintenance mode for beginners. Use the default settings if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, keep in mind that Onyx is like a vacuum cleaner and not a sweeper. Using it everyday might actually harm your system. So use it once a month and your Mac will stay fresh.
2. Resetting PRAM and SRC
I’ve previously written about PRAM, SRC, and what they do in detail. I’ve also showed you how to reset them.
Resetting your PRAM is quite easy and it’s like clearing the cache, only for your entire OS. Resetting the PRAM resets the internal settings of the OS back to the defaults. This means if any rogue app messed something up, resetting PRAM can solve it.
How To Reset PRAM
Step 1: Turn off your Mac. No need to remove the battery or detach the power chord.
Step 2: Turn on your Mac and hold down the Command+Option+P+R keys, all at the same time.
Step 3: Hold down all four keys until you hear the startup sound twice.
A couple of months ago when OS X Mavericks on my system used to hang for a couple of seconds for no apparent reason, resetting the PRAM did the trick.
Onyx is a great app to keep things working smoothly. Yasu is the app to download when your Mac is giving you weird problems. The app is really easy to use and not nearly as overwhelming as Onyx (but also isn’t as feature rich).
Yasu resets permissions, runs cron scripts, and clears cache and log all from one screen. Check what you want to do, click OK and you’re done.
4. More Suggestions
Activity Monitor: Mac’s built-in Activity Monitor is pretty robust. If your Mac is suddenly behaving oddly, open the app and see what’s taking up the most CPU or RAM. If there is a rogue app, it will be on top of the list. Remove and/or reinstall the app to see if it works.
Switch to SSD: While the apps listed here will give a kick to your aging Mac, nothing can help the slow-spinning hard drive. The best way to give an old Mac a speed boost is by switching to an SSD. If you have a non-Retina MacBook, the process is pretty easy.
Update OS X: Unlike with Windows, OS X works better on every MacBook, even older ones, with updates. I’ve seen this happen when I updated to Mavericks from Mountain Lion and surprisingly again when I went to Yosemite beta.
Top image via William Brawley.
Last updated on 03 February, 2022
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