Apple Mac computer performance drops: reasons & tips for optimization

Apple Mac computers could also be like Windows PCs to suffer performance issues like running slowly or hanged.  Excluding the issues involved with computer virus or spamwares, I gather the following information useful for understanding the possible causes of Mac performance issues, and directions for fixes.  The following collective information is from two web pages: 1) “17 Reasons Why Your Mac Runs Slower Than it Should” by Chris Lee: http://www.chriswrites.com/17-reasons-why-your-mac-is-so-unbelievably-slow/, and 2)  “13 Tips To Optimize Your Mac After Yosemite (OS X 10.10) Installation” by Michael Sheehan updated on 1/23/2015 source: http://www.hightechdad.com/2014/10/23/13-tips-optimize-mac-yosemite-installation.

*** (A special note for a quick troubleshooting Mac’s sluggish performance before installing more RAM memory or upgrading to a faster hard drive (like to a solid state drive – SSD), try resetting SMC and PRAM (NVRAM) in sequence first; The instructions are in the footnotes near the bottom of this page.)

I quote:

“17 Reasons Why Your Mac Runs Slower Than it Should” by Chris Lee: http://www.chriswrites.com/17-reasons-why-your-mac-is-so-unbelievably-slow/

1. Corrupt Preference Files (Library > Preferences)
2. Caches, Log files and Temporary Items (Library > Caches)
3. Smart Playlists on iTunes (File, Edit Smart Playlist and uncheck Live Updating.)
4. Too Many Widgets on Dashboard
5. Cluttered Desktop
6. Wrong Firmware
7. Not Enough RAM
8. Permission Conflicts
9. Hard Disk Is Nearly Full
10. Lots of Login Items
11. Unused System Preference Panes
12. Unused Applications Left Running
13. Animated Wallpapers
14. Browsers Overloaded With Extensions
15. Favicons in Safari or Firefox
16. Massive Mailboxes
17. Internet Settings

I quote:

“Tips To Optimize Your Mac After Yosemite (OS X 10.10) Installation” by Michael Sheehan updated on 1/23/2015 source: http://www.hightechdad.com/2014/10/23/13-tips-optimize-mac-yosemite-installation

1) Repair permissions
2) Check disk errors
3) Reset the System Management Controller (SMC).  Special note: The power cord is required.
4) Reset PRAM
5) Reduce transparency
6) Disable filevault
7) Reduce Spotlight items
8) Free up disk space
9) Update applications
10) Install faster or bigger hard drive
11) Do a clean Mac OS install
12) Add more RAM

13) Make sure that your Adobe Flash installation is current. Head over to System Preferences > Flash Player > Advanced and do a “Check Now” update.

Footnotes:

* Footnote# 1: How to reset the SMC (From Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295)

See the appropriate section below for your Mac notebook or desktop computer.
On Mac notebooks with non-removable battery

. Mac notebook computers that have a battery you should not remove include: MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, MacBook (Late 2009), and MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015).

To reset the SMC:

Shut down the computer.
Plug in the MagSafe or USB-C power adapter to a power source and to your computer.
On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
Press the power button to turn on the computer.

On MagSafe power adapters, the LED might change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.
On Mac notebooks with removable battery

. Older MacBook and MacBook Pro computers have removable batteries. Learn about removing the battery on MacBook and MacBook Pro.

To reset the SMC:

Shut down the computer.
Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer if it’s connected.
Remove the battery.
Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
Release the power button.
Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
Press the power button to turn on the computer.

. On Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, and Xserve

To reset the SMC on Intel-based Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini computers, as well as Xserve:

Shut down the computer.
Unplug the power cord.
Wait fifteen seconds.
Attach the power cord.
Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on the computer.

For Intel-based Xserve computers that are not responding, you can shut down locally or by using remote commands. You can also shut down by pressing and holding the power button for five seconds.

____

* Footnote# 2: How to reset NVRAM (“non-volatile random-access memory” or PRAM) from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

Resetting NVRAM

Shut down your Mac.
Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
Turn on your Mac.
Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys immediately after you hear the startup sound.
Hold these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time.
Release the keys.

After resetting NVRAM, you may need to reconfigure settings for speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, and time zone information.

If issues related to these features continue on a desktop Mac (like an iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro), its logic board battery may need to be replaced. The logic board battery on desktop computers helps retain NVRAM settings when your Mac is unplugged.

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2 responses to “Apple Mac computer performance drops: reasons & tips for optimization

  1. Hi Ren,

    I follow your posts and enjoy them mostly; however, I do not own a Mac. Would you have any advice for users of Microsoft Windows 7 about reserving a copy of Microsoft Windows 10? I have done a bit of research; it looks like when I am charged for it—in about a year—I could owe Microsoft $199.

    If you have a chance, I would enjoy knowing your perspective, as it is useful and edifying to me whenever you shine your light on something of interest to you.

    Thank you,

    Gwen

    Liked by 1 person

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