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How to fix 3 causes of a slow Mac

If you have a slow Mac, it's a frustrating experience to say the very least - but it is fixable if you know the right things to look for. We're about to run through 3 while also revealing a free, handy optimization tool that can also help you (once you've read to the end). Let's start things off. 

1. Too many background processes

This is a cause of a slow Mac that's easy to overlook, particularly if you don't tend to keep track of how many apps you've installed and what each one is up to. There are two ways to fix this problem. First, open your 'Applications Folder', go to the 'Utilities Folder' and then access the 'Activity Monitor'. Once here, click the tab labeled 'Memory' on the list that shows running apps and processes.

Doing this allows you to see which processes are taking up the most memory, and you can stop an app by selecting it within the list and then clicking the grey and white 'X' located at the top-left of the window. Some of these apps could be launching during your Mac's startup process without you knowing. That's why CCleaner for Mac has an excellent feature that can help with this, built to assist a Mac or, indeed, a MacBook running slow when it starts up.

2. Too many apps you don't use

As priorities and interests change so can how you choose to use your Mac. Applications sometimes possess some of the largest files on your hard drive. This isn't exactly convenient if some of these are apps that you've forgotten about or don't use anymore, too many can easily cause a slow Mac or a MacBook running slow. To quickly see if there's a problem, follow this pathway from your main macOS desktop screen:

Apple icon > 'About this Mac' > 'Storage' 

Now you should be able to see a clear, color-coded breakdown of how your hard drive storage is being used. To look at applications, continue from 'Storage' with this: 

'Manage' > 'Recommendations' > 'Applications'

You should now be able to see a list of all the apps installed on your Mac. Use the tabs at the top of the list to navigate by 'Size' or 'Kind' etc. 'Size' is definitely a good indicator of what might be causing your slow Mac. Now you can find some apps you want to delete. You can do this by dragging and clicking a chosen app into the 'Trash' or 'Bin' folder on your macOS desktop screen.

CCleaner for Mac has a useful in-built feature to help uninstall apps that's faster than the method we've just gone through. To fully clean an app from your system, CCleaner for Mac also deletes the settings and things like configuration files.

3. Out-of-date hardware

An older Mac can easily become a slow Mac if the random-access memory (RAM), hard drive, and central processing unit (CPU) are several years old or more. It's worth checking things that CCleaner for Mac can help you with like full hard drives and unneeded files before opting for a more time-consuming and expensive hardware upgrade. However, if you wish to continue the hardware route, upgrading an older hard disk drive (HDD) to a modern solid-state drive (SSD) is a smart move.

Doing something like this depends on what type of Mac you have and how new or old it is, but there are various sources online including those directly from Apple like this page for Mac Pro users. Upgrading your RAM is another option, especially if your current Mac has around 4GB of it; this is quite a low amount by modern computer standards for 2021. Again, Apple has extensive guides for installing new memory like this particular one here, which could help you if you have a MacBook running slow and want to increase the RAM.

4. Download CCleaner for Mac

Our optimization tool, CCleaner for Mac, can help you improve a slow Mac in all the ways we've already described above: disabling startup programs and providing an easier way to uninstall any unused apps. It can also clear files that accumulate on web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari while also cleaning your 'Trash' or download folders. Furthermore, the app gives you a great method to ensure you keep a certain amount of your hard drive space free, an essential part of keeping macOS and your Mac running smoothly. Why not try it today for free? See here.


  • How do I fix my slow Mac?

    Like any computer, Macs are prone to slow down over time. Some common fixes are to close down any apps you aren’t using that are operating in the background, uninstall programs you no longer need, and to update any old hardware (e.g. the RAM).

  • How do I deal with a slow Mac?

    The best way to deal with a slow Mac is to fix it! Here are some troubleshooting ideas that should resolve it: uninstall apps you don’t use, reboot your Mac, update old hardware, disable startup programs, and download CCleaner for Mac to keep it optimized.