How to fix MacBook (Retina) slow performance issue and ways to make it run faster

Is your MacBook slowing down? Does it seem to struggle opening or launching programs? These are classic symptoms of a MacBook with slow performance issue so you may want to continue reading this post.
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Easy ways to improve the performance of your MacBook

There can be many reasons why a particular computer is performing poorly all the time. If you’ve noticed that your MacBook has become abnormally slow lately, you’ll have to perform a set of troubleshooting steps in order to narrow down the possible causes of the problem. Below are the steps that you can try to do just that.

Step #1: Install updates

Your MacBook (Retina) is consists of both hardware and software and most of the time, the main reasons why it becomes slow is due to software-related problems. Software problems, in turn, are usually due to outdated programs or operating system version. So, it goes without saying that one of the best ways to maintain the speed and performance of your Mac is to install updates. Aside from minimizing chances of experiencing performance issues, running up-to-date software can also prevent malware from infecting the system.

By default, Macs are set to automatically notify you for pending program and MacOS updates. However, you can also manually check it by opening the Mac App Store and clicking on the Updates tab. Doing so tells your computer to check for updates for installed applications and operating system.

Step #2: Delete unnecessary applications

Computers, whether Macs or Windows, tend to slow down when their main storage device, that is, their Hard Disc Drive or Solid State Drive, is low on storage space. Needless to say, you want to always leave more than enough storage space to prevent slow downs. The general rule when it comes to HDDs is to have at least 20% free space out of the total storage capacity. If your MacBook is using is using SSD, leaving a minimum of 10% free space out of its total storage capacity should be okay.

The most important method to free up storage space in a MacBook (Retina) though is by uninstalling useless programs. Even if they are not being used actively, programs continue to consume storage space, which can become an issue when your computer is short on space.

To uninstall a program from your MacBook is easy. Just go to Finder, then click and drag the program to the trash can. Uninstalling a program this way can leave old files, preferences, and other associated files and folders which can continue to slow the system down. To clean the system up properly, you can make sure of free or paid third party applications to do a sweep.

Step #3: Tidy up the desktop

Having a lot of icons and folders on your desktop can slow down your computer as MacOS automatically generates thumbnails for each of them, which in turn, uses up RAM all the time. The impact may not be that significant on your computer’s memory but it may still contribute to the general slow performance issue in the long run. Doing this cleanup also keeps your desktop as free from clutter as possible.

Step #4: Keep widgets as low as possible

Widgets are mini-programs that are associated to main programs they’re supposed to support and they are designed to constantly run. in the background. If you are using the Dashboard and widgets, both must be eating up a sizeable amount of your MacBook’s RAM. We suggest that you disable widgets if possible to avoid draining system resources all the time.

In order to turn off a widget, you should go to the Dashboard and click on the button (Yosemite) or the + button (older operating systems). Then, click on the x button at the top left to turn the widget off.

Alternatively, you can disable the entire Dashboard under System Preferences > Mission Control.

Step #5: Limit the number of startup items

Startup items are programs nominated to run automatically when your MacBook boots up. Most programs are designed to boot up together with the operating system so the more apps you install, the more likely that the system takes longer time to initialize. To hasten your MacBook’s boot up time, we recommend that you remove apps from the startup list and only leave those that are critically important, like your security software. In general, you don’t necessarily need to open all programs at once. We suggest that you open non-system critical programs after your MacBook has fully booted up. This will save you time in the long run.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups.
  3. Select Login Items tab.
  4. Click the Lock icon in the bottom left corner to change startup programs. It will require your password to allow changes.
  5. Tick the box by the application name to enable or disable it from the automatic login items. Click on the application that you don’t want to open when booting up, then use the – (minus) button to remove it from the list. If the list is not active or grayed out, click on the lock icon at the bottom and enter your username and password.

Step #6: Upgrade RAM

Depending on your MacBook’s model, you may be able to add more RAM to it. This procedure requires expertise though since you’ll be replacing or putting in a physical RAM card to the motherboard so you may need to let a professional do it for you. RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory, lets apps or programs to keep often used information easy access. This in turn increases the overall process speed of your computer while you’re using it. The more RAM your computer packs, the less likely it will slow down when opening multiple resource-hungry applications.

Before you decide on adding more RAM to your system, we recommend that you consult a professional or Apple specialists. Keep in mind that slow performance on your Mac may not necessarily be due to insufficient memory. There are other factors to consider. You don’t want to spend on additional RAM when the real reason for the sluggishness is being caused by other variables.

Step #7: Reinstall the operating system

Sometimes, MacBooks can continue to perform poorly even after you’ve taken care of the storage and memory. In this case, you should consider reinstalling the operating system as there may be MacOS bugs behind the slow down. Before you proceed with the software reinstallation, make sure that you back all important files up to avoid losing them. Once you’ve done that, continue with the steps below:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking on it. For those new to MacOS, this icon should be at the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Click Restart at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
  3. Click Restart button when asked to confirm the action.
  4. Press and hold Command + R buttons at the same time. You should do this immediately after clicking on Restart button.
  5. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo. Your MacBook will begin booting into the Recovery window. This process can take a few minutes to complete.
  6. Select Disk Utility.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Select the hard drive that you want to wipe. If you have multiple connected hard drives, make sure that you pick the correct one.
  9. Click the Erase tab. It’s at the top of the Disk Utility window. A new window will open.
  10. Click the Format drop-down box and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  11. Click Erase at the bottom.
  12. Wait for your machine to wipe the hard drive.
  13. Click Done when prompted.
  14. Click Disk Utility tab at the top, then select Quit Disk Utility.
  15. Afterwards, select Reinstall MacOS in the Recovery Window.
  16. Make sure that you Mac is connected to the internet.
  17. Then, click Continue.
  18. Follow on-screen instructions to re-install the operating system.

Step #8: Get help from Apple support

Ideally, your MacBook should already be working normally again after doing any of our suggestions above. However, if it continues to show significant symptoms of a slow down or poor performance, there may be a hardware malfunction behind the trouble. We suggest that you get help from Apple so their technician can run hardware diagnostics on it.


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