Is Your Mac Running Slower Than It Did When You First Bought It?

If that is the case, chances are that you have clogged up your Desktop with dozens of files. Placing all your "must have” files on the Desktop isn’t the best way to use your Mac, but if you insist on doing it that way, you’ll see some improvement in speed by collecting those files into categories and creating folders for each category. The fewer files and folders you have in the Desktop, the faster your Mac will run.

Sometimes simply restarting the Mac will improve speed performance.

Another option is to perform a PRAM reset (NVRAM on SSD’s) and a SMC reset  Check the links here for additional information and instructions on how to perform the task.

Try this: log out of your normal account and log in with a different account. If that other account seems to be running fine, then you need to perform some system maintenance on your account.

More memory does not necessarily speed up a computer unless you have the minimum or less than what the OS version requires. Even then, more memory is really only for the gamer or video editor. I always recommend the maximum memory for any computer just to be totally certain that low memory is not going to be a problem. If you’re running several applications at the same time (when it is loaded into memory, there’s a dot under the icon in the Dock) and you are low on memory, the system has to temporarily swap them out to the hard drive to make room for the one application that you are actually using. This swapping back and forth slows things down considerably, and more memory can improve on that.

Replacing a hard drive with an SSD will speed things up, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of why your computer is slow.

If you have installed additional fonts on your computer, that will definitely slow down starting up the computer and starting up applications that use fonts, especially word processors. Use Font Book to remove fonts that you really know you’re not about to use, but be aware that you cannot remove any system fonts.

Declutter your disk by emptying your Trash often, including the Trash in Mail - they are not the same Trash.

Perform routine system maintenance. Junk accumulates on any computer. You might have deleted an application by just dragging it to the Trash - and that does not delete all the files associated with the application. Cache files and log files build up over time. Really old email messages and messages with attachments simply use up space, although they can slow down a search somewhat if you have thousands of old emails hanging around. A free utility called ONYX can do the job, but takes some manual intervention. There’s a different version for each version of mac OS X starting with 10.2. CleanMyMac 3 does all the same things with a single click and has some additional utilities that are well worth the price.

Do you shut off your Mac every night? That might not give Spotlight the time it needs to build a snapshot of the files on your Mac. If Spotlight doesn’t have a current build, it takes longer to find things on the Mac. It might take a couple of days for Spotlight to build a complete snapshot on a large file system, so be sure to give Spotlight plenty of time to do its job - and often!

Malware on a Mac can slow things down because some Malware constantly runs in the background snooping on what you are doing and reporting back to its owner. Malwarebytes (not free) or Sophos Home or Avast can ensure that malware doesn’t stay on your computer. Do NOT use more than one anti-virus application on your computer (such as Sophos Home and Avast). Malwarebytes isn’t an anti-virus app, so it can run alongside an anti-virus app. However, do NOT let Malwarebytes run in the background as this will slow down your computer. Only run Malwarebytes manually when you feel like letting it check out your computer’s status.

For additional tips, see MacAttorney’s “Macintosh OS X Slowdown Solutions.”

John R. Carter Sr.

Considering iPhone and IPad Speeds

        Jim Hamm reports:  "I'm quite pleased with the speed of 3G on my iPhone. Zee and I just tried an experiment with our iPads. She has the new iPad with 4G here in Scottsdale. I've got the iPad 2 with 3 G. We entered websites in Safari and clicked send at the same time. Couldn't tell the difference. As the article explains only in certain conditions will one appreciate 4G speeds. For everyday surfing the net and emails, 4G probably won't make an appreciable difference."

Making Your Computer Run Faster

        Responding to a question about a "slow" computer, John Carter gives ideas on what to check and what to do.
        "A faster computer doesn’t actually improve computer performance that you would notice.
        "Most people who say their computer is too slow are really suffering from a slow Internet access and not a slow computer. To confirm this, do a speed test. If your Internet download speed is around 1 MB/s, you need to increase your Internet speed, and I recommend nothing less than 5 MB/s if browsing the Internet is a priority for you.
        "Another way to test your computer performance is to determine how long it takes just to launch an application that does NOT access the Internet. Every Mac comes with Pages. It takes about 12 seconds for Pages to come up on my brand new laptop (2.8 GHz, 8MB memory). Some people would say that is slow. Once you have launched an application and then exit, the next time you launch that same application during that same login session, it will come up in about 2 seconds. The thing to know is that it is always slow to launch any application the first time during a session on any computer.
        "If you want to do something to improve your computer performance, then you need to do some maintenance on your computer. There are several applications that can do this. Just do a Google search on 'mac maintenance' and take your pick. Some are free. One of the things to read is “Five Mac maintenance myths.”
        "If you have a large hard drive (say, 250GB) and it is almost full (say, less than 50GB free space), that can also slow your computer down. It’s important to clean out the old logs, the temporary files, and other stuff. Any one of the maintenance applications mentioned about will do that.
        "Another way to really boost the performance of your computer is to replace the internal hard drive with a SSD (Solid State Drive). It’s about $500 for a 240GB drive (prices are expected to drop soon). What this does is boot up almost instantly, launch all your applications almost instantly, and make all your applications run super fast, but it won’t access the Internet any faster (except for those web pages that are cached locally). If you have a lot of personal data files (movies, photos), then you’ll also need to turn your old internal hard drive into an external hard drive so all your personal files can be moved there, instead of taking up room in the internal hard drive.
        Here John closes with a personal opinion, "And to be honest with you, I thought my new laptop would be really fast. Compared to my three year-old iMac, it’s only a tiny bit faster. So, unless you think you really need to be able to upgrade beyond your current OS of 10.5, you can stay with your current computer for at least another four years. After that, you should really consider getting the latest model."
        Tagging on to John's recommendations take a look at finding out what files are taking up all that space; see this Macworld article.

Speed Up Your Mac

        A free system maintenance and cleaning utility for Intel Mac OS X 10.6 or later is brought to our attention by John Carter.  He asks, "Does it take a long time to launch an application? Tired of waiting for 20 seconds or more for iPhoto to come up? Would 4 seconds be better? Is Mail launching almost instantly?
        "You can vastly improve the performance of your Mac by running a third party application called Maintenance.  If it doesn't automatically install in Applications > Utilities, I suggest moving it there."

John suggests, "When you run Maintenance, I recommend selecting all the options at least the first time. Otherwise, the defaults are probably good enough unless you don’t see a major improvement in the time to launch your favorite application.
        "Be aware that after running Maintenance, the first time you launch any application it will take much longer. Also, if you use Spotlight to find and launch an application it won’t be found the first time you attempt to find an application after running Maintenance, so you have to launch the application from Finder the first time. In addition, it will take longer the first time you are able to launch an application from Spotlight after running Maintenance, but subsequent launches are much quicker.
        "To confirm that running Maintenance actually improves the launch time, I opened Gimp before running Maintenance. The time was 22 seconds. Then I ran Maintenance. The first time I opened Gimp it took 28 seconds. I closed Gimp and X11 (which is required for Gimp) and reopened Gimp. It took 8 seconds. A similar performance improvement was noticed with iPhoto and NeoOffice. Mail now launches almost instantly (after the first time)."
        John concludes,  "Actually, Maintenance is provided by the same developer that provides Onyx, a similar, free application.  And the download page for Titanium shows different versions of the apps for different versions of Mac. (I've got to look deeper into Deeper.  Pun Intended)  I have used Onyx, but never got the performance improvement from it like I did by using Maintenance. Each application has its own benefits and has different features."