How to: Optimize your Mac’s performance in just eight simple steps

This is a list of ways for you to easily boost your Mac‘s performance. Some ideas were taken from other lists, and some are improved variations of existing methods.

1. Get rid of those login items. If you don’t use them, then begone with them. You can check what you have as your login items by going to: System Preferences>Accounts>Login Items. Seriously, this really cuts the lag of your computer, especially when starting up.

2. Look at the Other section of your System Preferences. If you don’t use those prefpanes, then disable them, or simply delete them. Also, Universal Access uses up precious RAM, so if you don’t use it, disable it in the System Preferences. Other things that you might not use is Internet Sharing, Speech Recognition, and Bluetooth. If you don’t, turn them off!

3. Macs come with lots of languages available for use. Like, LOTS of languages. As in odds are you’ll only be using one or two out of the available hundred something languages. Get rid of them, you save up a lot of Hard Drive space. A good app for this task is Monolingual.

4. Clean out all of that useless junk. Look, sooner or later, your Hard Disk will get full. I know, I’ve been there. Many, many times. Look for apps or files which you don’t need/use. Believe me, when you delete 4 GB of space in one go, you begin to feel a much faster load.

5. Run maintenance checks on your computer! Lots of computers slow down (and lose memory space) because they don’t have their cache cleaned out! Run maintenance apps such as MainMenu, or Onyx to clean out your cache, and to verify and repair disk permissions.

6. Widgets. Man oh man, widgets. Even if your dashboard is hidden, widgets will take up RAM. I emptied out most of my active widgets. Now, I only keep three running. Believe me, this helps. If you don’t use dashboard, then simply disable it with an application like MainMenu, Onyx, or TinkerTool.

7. Periodially check your Activity Monitor, which is located in the Utilities folder. See if there’s something that’s suckin up the RAM, yet your not using it. If there is, deactivate it.

8. Finally, if you really want your Mac to be powered up, and battery life is of no concern to you, then go to System Preferences>Energy Saver>Options and set your processor performance to Highest.

With these eight steps, your Mac will most definitely perform better. Always be sure to run maintenance checks every now and then, and check the Activity Monitor too!

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20 comments

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  2. K · April 7, 2007

    Your #1 could be true but for me, having it ON all the time, makes it even more convincing for me that I am MAC person. I’ll keep it as is.

    I love widgets but shocked that it eats a lot of RAM as well even it looks as if “disabled”. I’m new with Mac so that’s good to know.

    Are these downloads for free? Thanks for the advise.

  3. Knight · April 7, 2007

    I’m pretty sure all of the downloads available on this are for free. Widgets also, are free, you can find widgets at http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/

    Good luck with your Mac :D

  4. sylar · April 7, 2007

    thanks for the info, but my macbook pro 2.4 ghz intel core 2 duo is fast enough… monolingual is really nice app, thanks…

  5. Paul · April 7, 2007

    It might be fast enough, but can always be even faster ;)

  6. Dawn · April 7, 2007

    I, too, am a new MAC user. I have done most steps….but when we get to step 7….when ever I have looked at Activity Monitor, I have no idea what exactly I’m looking at. I’m afraid I will delete something that is necessary to run my machine.
    Then, we get to step 8- when I go into System Preferences, I don’t see an icon for ‘options’ in Energy Saver.

    Step 8 > Energy Saver>Options and set your processor performance to Highest.

    I have Computer Sleep and Display Sleep – please someone help me regarding this….step by step kind of assistance. My computer has slowed down lots. I have MacKeeper, which, as far as I know, removes excessive junk.

  7. Yano · April 7, 2007

    I have the same problems as Dawn. I can’t figure out how to deactivate the Activity Monitor and also can’t figure out how to set my processor performance to Highest.

    Thanks for assistance.

    From Dawn:

    “I, too, am a new MAC user. I have done most steps….but when we get to step 7….when ever I have looked at Activity Monitor, I have no idea what exactly I’m looking at. I’m afraid I will delete something that is necessary to run my machine.
    Then, we get to step 8- when I go into System Preferences, I don’t see an icon for ‘options’ in Energy Saver.
    Step 8 > Energy Saver>Options and set your processor performance to Highest.
    I have Computer Sleep and Display Sleep – please someone help me regarding this….step by step kind of assistance

    • flycraft · April 7, 2007

      if you turn automatic graphics switching off it will use highest graphics and processing speeds

  8. merg1937 · April 7, 2007

    cannot find ‘accounts’ in sysptem preferences

    • Martin S · April 7, 2007

      me too!

  9. fiona · April 7, 2007

    I’m quite a new Mac user – and am not finding it that great – Might have something to do with the fact that I too am one of those users who are not sure what they are looking for or at.

    For instance: what are ‘log in items’ for sure? Are they those icons at the bottom of the screen that come up automatically when I switch on or are they something else?

    What is a ‘prefpane’? and so it goes on…. Sob!

  10. Paul Weijenberg · April 7, 2007

    Hi Fiona,
    Log in items are programs/utilities that start when you start-up, and so slow your Mac down.
    Look here: System Preferences, System, Accounts
    On top, you will find the highlight on “Password” clic right of that: login items
    You will see applications you know that start up. If you don’t want that, highlight the item and clic – (minus) You might want to clic the question mark (on the right side below)
    Sometimes you need to give the administrators’ password to be able to make the change.
    A “.prefpane” file is format for systems preferences for specific applications, they load dynamically.

  11. Pingback: How to optimize your Mac’s performance
  12. Murray Miskin · April 7, 2007

    Thanks for this helpful post. After using my MacBook Pro constantly for over two years and thinking it did not need maintenance I was amazed by how much better it works since I put in MacKeeper. Great tips here!

  13. bipsa1 · April 7, 2007

    Thanks for the post, i managed to optimize Mac right after this very easily & effectively. Works really well, would recommend to all in need to improve the speed & performance of Mac.

  14. bipsa1 · April 7, 2007

    Thanks for the post, i managed to optimize Mac right after this very easily & effectively. Works really well, would recommend to all in need to improve the speed & performance of Mac. To Optimize Mac Performance, it is necessary to get rid of the duplicate files & other unused files & application created temporary files from the system.

  15. Daizy · April 7, 2007

    Although Mac performance can also be increased by upgrading memory. But I prefer optimizing Mac drive with simple steps as mentioned. Doing all these task may take time so I use my favourite Stellar DriveTool Box to take care of all the drive related issues in my Mac.

  16. Admin · April 7, 2007

    MacKeeper stinks. Users&Groups is where you find Accounts.

  17. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Cheers!

  18. JT3 · April 7

    How do you accomplice task #8 in OS X Mavericks?

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