Let’s face it! Slow performance is certainly the most irritating thing that can happen when using your Mac. And though newer models come with a promise of fast and seamless operation, over time this efficiency, and speed wanes. With no time, your Mac begins to slow down, starts to overheat, the fan becomes noisy, and from time, you begin to encounter various errors when trying to open programs. This is especially true if you have recently installed macOS Catalina or you regularly use resource-hungry applications such as video games. Though operating macOS necessitates more resources. In this guide, we have compiled a list of tried and tested techniques that will help you improve the performance of your Mac without having to spend tons of cash on a new one. Our tips are geared towards optimizing the software and hardware of your Mac so that you can enjoy a seamless experience just like anyone with a newer model.
This guide is divided into two sections. The fists one focuses on how you can improve and optimize your Mac’s hardware such as GPU, SSD, RAM, CPU, and fan. In the second section, you will learn how you can tweak and reset software such as SMC and PRAM and also how to clear up the cache to fix and accelerate your slow Mac.
How to Make Your Mac Run Faster in 2020
Section 1: Optimizing Your Hardware
1. Upgrade GPU with Dedicated graphics card
If upgrading the SSD is not practical for you, it is possible to upgrade the GPU. By so doing, you will improve the speed of the graphics and even attain an impressive GTX 1080Ti 6GB which will enable you to play resource-hungry games even on older Mac models. With this upgrade, you can also edit 3D videos or even use 4K screens. If you are considering this, there are two ways you can approach the upgrade.
Newer Mac models: If you have a newer Mac model that supports Thunderbolt 3, all you will need is to purchase an external GPU and connect it via Thunderbolt 3 ports. These Thunderbolt ports can achieve speeds of up to 40 Gbps so it is best to look for a fast GPU card like the AMD Radeon RX 5700, 5700 XT compatible with new macOS Catalina. With this upgrade, you can seamlessly use 4K monitors or even connect your Mac to 2 monitors.
Older MacBook Models: Older models like the Apple Mac mini Core i7 3.0 (Late 2014) only supports Thunderbolt 2 which delivers 20Bbps of bandwidth. However, you can still enjoy the higher speeds that Thunderbolt 3 compatible Macs enjoy by using an adapter to connect an External GPU Thunderbolt 3. This involves connecting a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and a RX Vega 64.
External GPU compatible with macOS: AMD Radeon RX 570, RX 580, WX 7100, RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, AMD Radeon RX 5700, 5700 XT.
Install eGPU incompatible with macOS (GTX 1080 Ti): you will have to disable SIP on your Mac so that you can run a Purge-Wrangler script or Goalque's script which will then install the Graphics Card. After this upgrade, you will be surprised by how much your computer is going to improve. Even so, we highly advise you to use a medium speed GPU card to avoid compatibility problems.
2. Upgrade to a New SSD
One of the most common mistakes that people make is assuming that all SSDs have the same speed. On the contrary, this is not true. Therefore, go ahead and check the speed of the SSD you have in your Mac. If you are using an HDD, you should upgrade to an SSD since it is faster. When upgrading to an SSD, bear in mind that they come in different types and speeds. For instance, most SATA SSDs are designed with a read and write speeds of 450 MB/s to 500 MB/s though this just theoretical and doesn’t translate to actual speed. If you have one of these and your Mac is still slow, New SSD with higher read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s – 3500 MB/s are available.
Even so, bear in mind that SSDs Size don’t play a very big part in the operation speed of your Mac. Therefore, don’t waste a lot of money buying a big SSD. All you need to do is ensure that you have an SSD that is compatible with your needs and requirements of the OS you are currently using. For instance, if you have macOS Catalina, you will need 25GB for system files and 100GB for your needs. This means that if you are just a normal computer user with no need to run resource-hungry applications, a 250GB SSD will be enough. However, if you love playing high-end video games and streaming videos in HD a higher capacity and faster SSD of about 500GB should be enough.
When upgrading, you might realize that your Mac is not compatible with some of the newer SSDs. Fortunately, you can use a conversion adapter to connect it to your MacBook and experience a better and faster experience.
Most modern MacBooks come with powerful CPUs and you can’t upgrade them since they are soldiered on the mothered. However, if you are using an older model, an upgrade is possible but this requires an expert to avoid damaging other components on the motherboard. If you are considering this option, the technician will look for the socket where the CPU is attached on the motherboard, unplug it, and then replace it with a more powerful CPU of your choice. This upgrade requires the disassembly of the entire MacBook which can be daunting and intimidating to novices but if you are experienced with computers, you will find it easy. Nevertheless, the best way to approach this upgrade is by consulting a trained technician.
Typically, fans don’t need a replacement but when they degrade or get damaged they can cause your Mac to overheat which damages the GPU, CPU, and the motherboard. Cleaning it might be a fast and cheap fix, but if it doesn’t improve that, you should consider replacing it. This will require you to remove the entire cooling system of the GPU and CPU. After doing that, remember to apply some thermal paste on the CPU and GPU when reassembling. Alternatively, you can purchase an external fan that you can connect via a USB port and place below your Mac.
Replacing your Mac’s RAM is also another effective and efficient way to improve its performance. However, this is not possible on the newer models but it can be done on older models. Before making the upgrade, do some research to establish whether the RAM you have in mind is going to be compatible with your model. Otherwise, you could end up spending lots of money on a RAM that is not going to work.
Option 2: Rest and upgrade your Mac’s software
Sometimes, all your Mac needs is a simple software reset or upgrade to improve its performance. Here a few tricks and techniques you can try before embarking on hardware changes.
1. Reset System Management Software
The SMC in your Mac is responsible for controlling power and thermal management, sleep, and wake patterns, battery charging, hibernation, video mode switching and LED indicators. If your MacBook is behaving strangely, resetting SMC could help. Some of the issues associated with the SMC include booting and screen resolution problems. If you are experiencing any of these problems, go ahead and try resetting the SMC. To do this on your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or a MacBook here is the process.
Reset SMC for MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
- Turn your MacBook off and remove the power cable.
- Wait for about 15 seconds then plug the cable back.
- Without turning your computer on, press and hold the Left Shift, Option, Control, and Power keys simultaneously for a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Release the keys then turn on your MacBook.
The process is a little bit different if you have an iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve or Mac Mini but still easy.
- First and foremost, switch off your MacBook and remove the power cable
Wait for 15 seconds then plug the power cable back.
- Once you’ve plugged the power cable, wait another 5 seconds then turn it on.
2. Reset your NVRAM or PRAM
Nonvolatile random-access memory (NVRAM) is a small amount of memory that your Mac uses to store certain settings so that it can access them faster while Parameter RAM stores similar information but in a different manner. Steps for resetting these two are the same and easy to follow.
- Turn your Mac off and wait for about 10 seconds.
- After that, turn it on and simultaneously press and hold the Option, Command, P & R Keys.
- Keep holding the keys until your MacBook starts to restart while making a beeping sound.
While doing this, don’t worry since it will not result in any kind of data loss.
3. Clean Up your macOS
Most of the time, Mac become slowly as a result of junk files and software. In such a case, a complete clean up could improve its performance and speed. The problem is, few 3rd party software can clean up your Mac and rid it of junk files that make it slow. Fortunately, Clean My Mac has been hailed as one of the best applications to perform this task.
With it, you create more space on your Mac and speed it up by deleting junk files that clutter it. Unlike other apps in its category, it also cleanups externals drives and monitors their sizes. After ejecting them, the software goes ahead to clean any junk files that they could have left. If your Mac is cluttered with duplicate files, Clean My Mac will also clean them up to create more space and improve speed and performance.
With these tricks and techniques, make your Mac run faster. All you need to do is identify what is causing the sluggishness and use one of our techniques to fix the problem.