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How to Fix Slow Running MacBook: 11 Tips

Posted By Volodymyr Chubei | 27 Oct 2023

Table of Contents

MacBook's users sometimes face the problem when the computer slows down and delays even the simplest commands. In this article, we will explore the main causes of MacBook running slow when the charger is plugged in. You will also learn how to speed up the device without going to a workshop in simple and effective ways.

Why is my MacBook so slow

There are several reasons why your MacBook runs slow and does not run as fast as it used to. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • rear clearing your computer of unused applications and launching many heavy programs simultaneously;
  • firmware problems and/or violated permissions;
  • software malfunctions, running incorrectly configured or too resource-intensive applications;
  • bad battery;
  • outdated hardware, such as a hard disk with a low read/write speeds or insufficient RAM.

After upgrading to the latest version of macOS, it often takes time to re-index and update the data stored on the disk. This can also cause your device to boot slowly.

11 tips on how to fix a slow MacBook and make it faster

Below you can find information on how to fix a slow MacBook. These simple tips will help you to solve the problem without the help of technical assistants if you follow the instructions and recommendations exactly.

1. Speed up the launch

You will need to remove unnecessary programs from autorun and disable reopening of windows and applications on reboot.

  1. Click the Apple icon and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups and Login items.
  3. Remove unnecessary applications from autorun by clicking on the "-" at the bottom.
  4. Go to the Apple context menu again and select Restart.
  5. Uncheck the Reopen windows when logging back in.

Also: MacBook trackpad stuck: 10 tips on how to fix it

2. Remove unnecessary icons and widgets

A MacBook can be running slow because macOS treats every item on the desktop as a task. This requires additional resources at startup. Reducing the number of these items can make the Start screen load faster.

What needs to be done:

  1. Consider grouping files saved on your desktop into several folders. If possible, move them to Documents or Pictures.
  2. Remove unnecessary applications from the desktop. Hover over the software icon with the mouse pointer, right-click, select "Options" and then "Remove from Dock".
  3. Remove widgets that are not in use. Go to the information panel, select the one you do not use, and delete it by pressing "X".

3. Clean the hard disk

When you run out of free space on your MacBook's disk, it can cause your device to slow down or freeze more often. macOS uses the available space as virtual memory in addition to RAM. When you run out of space, the system makes up for it using virtual memory. Usually, having at least 10% free space can prevent MacBook slowdown problems.

What to do to free space on your hard disk:

  • empty the Trash;
  • delete web browser files (cache, history, plug-ins, temporary and corrupted files);
  • uninstall unused applications;
  • remove any unnecessary language packs;
  • clean the "Downloads" folder of unnecessary files;
  • remove large items and duplicates from the Pictures and Movies folders;
  • move bulky files to an external hard disk.

4. Check and correct disk access rights

Incorrect file permissions can cause some applications to run slowly on MacBook or make it impossible to run applications that negatively affects system performance and responsiveness.

To correct access rights:

  1. Go to Applications and Utilities.
  2. Run "Disk Utility."
  3. Select the primary hard disk and run the resolution check.
  4. If corrupted permissions are found, click on "Restore disk permissions".
  5. Wait for automatic error correction.

5. Lighten your web browser

Web browsers can be the cause of your MacBook running slow after long use. Follow the below actions and recommendations to speed up the program:

  • do not open too many tabs simultaneously, especially when viewing heavy pages with ads and flash elements;
  • check and remove extensions that you rarely use;
  • clear cache, cookies, plug-ins and history;
  • get rid of ads and flash elements;
    restart the stalled browser to get it back to operating state
  • if nothing helped — reinstall the program.

6. Locate and disable heavy applications/processes

If your MacBook starts to run slower after opening several applications, you need to find the program that causes the problem. To do this, use the Activity Monitor, which shows running and sleeping processes. The list will show what is consuming too many system resources. The only thing left to do is to close the program or terminate the process.

  1. Search for and launch Activity Monitor.
  2. Review all processes and programs that, among other things, run in the background and consume a lot of resources.
  3. Hover over the desired item in the list and stop the process by clicking on the "X" in the left upper corner.

7. Test and replace the battery

It is recommended that you check your MacBook battery to see how well it is working and to know its approximate capacity.

To view the battery status:

  • Go to the Apple menu and open System Preferences.
  • Double-click on "Battery".
  • In the bottom right corner, click on "Battery health".

The following information will be displayed:

  • normal (battery is functioning normally);
  • recommended for maintenance (the battery is working normally, but is getting worse at holding a charge).

The second case shows the maintenance of the laptop. But if you notice that the battery drains very quickly, then it is better to replace the battery on MacBook with a new one.

Replacing the removable battery on earlier models is a simple process. You need to open the cover, take out the old battery, and install the new one. But replacing a non-removable battery in a MacBook can be a difficult task for people without experience.

It's best left to a professional, but if you decide to do it yourself, follow these instructions:

  1. Unplug your MacBook from the charger and turn it off.
  2. Turn the laptop over and remove all the screws on the bottom of the case.
  3. Carefully disconnect the battery cable from the motherboard using tweezers or a suction cup.
  4. Remove the old battery and install the new battery in reverse order.
  5. Connect the battery cable to the motherboard.
  6. Secure all the screws.
  7. Turn on your MacBook and see if the new battery works.

Replacing a non-removable battery may not be possible without specialized equipment and skills. Much depends on the device model. You can replace the battery yourself in the following models:

  • MacBook Pro 13" (including those with Retina display and function keys);
  • MacBook Pro 15" and 17";
  • MacBook Air 11" and 13";
  • MacBook Unibody.

It is highly recommended that you do not attempt to change the battery yourself in:

  • MacBook Pro 13" and 15" with Touch Bar;
  • Retina MacBook.

Replacement in these models requires knowledge of the device and experience, so in this case, without the help of professionals.

Genuine Top Case W/ Keyboard W/ Battery, Space Gray (661-21972) A2442

8. Reset SMC and NVRAM to correct hardware errors

The SMC is involved in temperature and power management processes. NVRAM stores some settings in a location that the operating system can quickly access.

If your Macbook shuts down slowly, the fan runs without pause, the battery indicators are not displaying correctly, etc., try doing an NVRAM reset.

  • Turn your MacBook off and on again.
  • Press Option+Command+R+P.
  • When the startup sound appears, release the buttons.
  • Wait until the diagnostics are completed and the errors are automatically corrected.

To reset the SMC, unplug your MacBook for 15–20 seconds. Press and hold Shift+Control+Option+Power+button combination until the device starts to boot.

9. Update macOS

A new version of your operating system will usually run faster and more smoothly. Before upgrading, you should check if your laptop model is compatible with macOS and if there is enough disk space. It is also recommended that you backup your data so that you can quickly restore it if necessary.

To install updates:

  1. Click on the Apple symbol.
  2. Select "Software Update".
  3. If a new version of macOS has been released, install it and restart your MacBook.

After the update, you may need to restart the device several times to index or update the data. For example, it may take some time to update the image library in the Photos folder, especially if it contains a lot of high-resolution files. The same applies to the operating system components for Spotlight local search.

Also: What is macOS Sonoma and how to install it on your MacBook

10. Disable additional functions

How to improve performance and make your MacBook faster? It is recommended to disable or reconfigure various additional features, complex interfaces, decorations, and visual effects.

Below you can see what can be done to improve performance:

  • reduce transparency and animation;
  • turn off unnecessary notifications;
  • deactivate the launch panel effects;
  • disable FileVault disk encryption;
  • remove the system settings pane.

11. Upgrade individual components

A lack of RAM or a slow hard disk drive also negatively affects the speed and performance of a device.

Add more RAM, but note that RAM varies depending on a MacBook model. Find out which one you need for your device. RAM comes with instructions on how to replace the memory, so it's easy to do it yourself. Also, please consider that the RAM upgrade is available only for models up to and including the year 2012.

It's also recommended that you replace the slower HDD with an upgraded SSD if you have a MacBook model before 2012. Performance will become significantly faster in programs with video, graphics, 3D modeling, etc.

If you want to improve your MacBook or do replacement of important components by yourself, you can find them on the Apple Parts website. The store offers genuine parts for various MacBook models at affordable prices, you can be sure that there are no counterfeits. All parts have been tested before they go on sale and meet the declared specifications.

Apple Parts offers several convenient payment options and fast shipping. You can also take advantage of our diagnostic and mail-in repair service if you're not sure you can handle the upgrade without help. After MacBook repair and payment, you'll receive your computer the next day.

Genuine Solid State Drive (SSD / Flash) PCIE 1TB (661-05113) A1708


1. What are the causes of my MacBook being so slow?
This can be due to outdated hardware and operating system, running of resource-intensive programs and lack of hard disk space. It can also be caused by unnecessary autorun software, visual effects, SMC, and NVRAM failures.
2. How can I make a slow-running MacBook faster by myself?
Use the tips to clean the drive, repair SMC and NVRAM, restore disk access rights, update macOS, etc. You can also increase the amount of RAM and replace the HDD with a faster SSD (on pre-2013 models).


Volodymyr Chubei
Computer Repair Specialist at MacNest.com

Volodymyr was born in Ukraine and has found his passion for electronics from his childhood. At the age of 13, he was capable of soldering some basic elements of a logic board and today he is one of the co-founders of MacNest.com

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