How To Mac

Macbook Pro Running Slow? Fixes Here

Written by John

When you have your MacBook Pro running slow, you need to find a solution fast. This is because a slow Mac will let you down no matter what it is you want to do with it. Whether it is watching your favourite movie, playing a game or more serious things like creating and editing office documents for work, a slow MacBook Pro will make it tough to finish fast and even enjoy it. So, what can you do about a Mac slowing down? 

The first thing is to ask yourself, why is my MacBook Pro so slow? The answer to this will determine the step that you will take. It will determine what you can do to speed up the Mac. The reason why your MacBook Pro is slow could be due to too many startup launch items, decreased memory or old hardware among other reasons.

How to Speed Up a Slow MacBook Pro

Methods you can use to speed up your Mac include clearing the data filling it up, tweaking some settings and adding a few extras to the Mac among others. Start by trying the one that is most relevant to your situation. If that does not work try another method and we guarantee that by the time you are done with all in this article you will be happy with the speed of your Mac.

1. MacBook Slow Booting Up

How fast is the bootup process of your MacBook Pro? It should not be so long that you almost give up on it every time you start the Mac up. It should only take a few seconds to boot but when that stretches to be a minute or even minutes, you need to take action fast. What should you do when the Mac is slow during startup? There are many things you can do and while some will work better than others, you should try all of them.


The reason for the MacBook running slow could be because the parameter RAM is corrupted or the settings have been interfered with. In new MacBooks, you will not find the term PRAM but you will find the NVRAM which is the non-volatile random access memory.

This is just a name change but they both mean the same thing and have the same function. The NVRAM/PRAM where information like serial printer location, speaker volume, double-clicks time, startup disk, RAM disk, recent kernel panic information, virtual memory, monitor depth and mouse scaling among others.

When any of these are affected, the booting process can be affected as well. This is the reason why many people find resetting the PRAM or NVRAM useful in speeding up their slow Macs.

Follow these steps to reset the PRAM or NVRAM on your MacBook Pro:

  • Shut the MacBook Pro down.
  • Turn the Mac on and, before the gray screen appears, press the Option, Command, R and P keys on the keyboard simultaneously.
  • Hold these keys until the Mac restarts and the restart sound is made the second time.
  • Release the keys and watch as the Mac starts faster than before.
Disconnect network cables

Having many cables connected to your Mac can affect the booting process. Whether it is a telephone line, Ethernet cable or Airport card, you need to disconnect it from your MacBook. Disconnect these cables, boot the computer up and see if this makes any difference. If it does, reconnect the cables when the MacBook is up and running. From then henceforth, always have the network cables disconnected when you boot the Mac.

Reduce the Startup Programs

These are the programs that launch when your MacBook boots. The more there are, the longer the booting process will take. To help a MacBook Pro running slow, you need to manage these items. Remove the ones that are not really necessary but leave the necessary ones like anti-viruses and firewalls. Here are the steps to follow to manage startup items.

Startup Programs

  • Click on the Apple menu icon and select "System Preferences"
  • Click on “Users & Groups” and select the user account you are using.
  • Click on “login items”. You will see a list of the startup items. Uncheck the boxes next to the ones you would like to remove.

2. Clear the Storage Space of the Mac

When the Mac is not only slow during startup but also during use, you know the problem is deeper than the boot process. It could be because the hard disk is too crowded. This is especially common with people using modern MacBook Pros which come with only 256GB SSD. What can you do? Just clean the hard drive and you will have a speedier Mac within a short while. Here are some methods you can use to clear storage space on your SSD or HDD storage.

Use Optimized storage tool

This is only for those using the macOS Sierra and High Sierra. It allows users to store content in the cloud hence saving disk pace while the content still remains available on demand. To activate this, click on the Apple button and then click on “About this Mac”. Click on “storage” then “manage” and finally click on “optimize”.

Optimized Storage Tool in macOS

What will this optimization do? It will automatically move old files, movies, mail attachments, photos and others to the cloud storage. These remain in the same place stored but are unavailable. They are downloaded when opened. Recent files remain stored in Mac’s hard drive. How does this help? With most of the files stored in the cloud, there will be more space in the hard disk which means more breathing space for the High Sierra and other applications. This greatly improves the performance of the MacBook Pro running slow.

Remove caches, Junk files and Cookies with Third-Party App

From everyday use comes cookies and caches that fill up the storage space of the MacBook. These can slow down the Mac considerably. You can clean all these up manually but this is just too tasking.

Remove caches, junk files and cookies with CleanMyMac 3

A better option is to use third party software like CleanMyMac3. This will help you remove temporary files, language files, cookies, caches and uninstall applications and all that is associated with them. Big attachments stored in the mail are also removed. All this will be done without you having to do anything. Just get the CleanMyMac3 application and use it.

Clean My Mac 3 is available for a FREE download here.

Get rid of Duplicate Files

Over time duplicate files can accumulate in the MacBook Pro and getting rid of them can be hard. Locating them is hard and deleting them manually is even harder. Luckily, there are apps that you can use for this. The Gemini 2 is one of the best options.

Get rid of duplicate files
Make use of Disk Space Analyzers

These are applications that work to show you how much space there is in your hard drive and what is taking how much space. There are many good disk space analyzers but we recommend the Disk Inventory X.

Disk Space Analyzers

It is very easy to use and provides a color-coded display of the disk space usage. To find what is taking too much space, choose the disk you would like to analyze and you will see results. When you get these details, click on a part of the map and the item will be revealed in the Finder. You can delete it from there and free up disk space. Disk Inventory X makes it very easy to manage your disk space, free up space on Mac and keep it optimized.

3. Update Your Operating System

The new applications and programs designed to be used in your MacBook Pro are optimized for the latest operating system. This means that in order for these applications to run fast, you need to have the Mac operated by the latest operating system from Apple.

Update Your Operating System

Updating your OS is very easy nowadays. It does not even take too much time. Just launch the Mac App store and search for the word “macOS”. From the results choose the latest operating system. Currently, this is the MacOS High Sierra so choose it from the results and click on “download”.

4. Use the new Apple File System (APFS)

The two decades old HFS+ file system was replaced by the new Apple File System (APFS) in the macOS High Sierra. In this new operating system, APFS is the default file system. It has all-flash storage with features like an improved file system, snapshots, space sharing and strong encryption.

New Apple File System (APFS)

How can you get this file system? It is actually very simple. Just install the MacOS Sierra on the inbuilt SSD of the Mac. The file system will e automatically converted to APFS automatically. Hard disk drives on which MacOS High Sierra is installed does not change its file system.

5. Use Activity Monitor

The reason why your Mac is slow could be because some applications are using up too many of the computer’s resources leaving other programs with too little to use. You can find out what these power hungry applications are by using the Activity Monitor. This can be opened using the Spotlight search functionality or from the Utilities folder.

Use Activity Monitor

When you open the activity monitor, you will see the allocation of the memory and % CPU usage of all the running processes. To sort by CPU usage, click on the % CPU tab. If there is a single runaway application using over 90% CPU, end it. To end this, click on it and click on the X button on the toolbar. Closing this application will open up the CPU space it had used up for other applications to use. With the resources distributed well, your Mac will be fast.

6. Upgrade hardware

Upgrading the hardware of your MacBook Pro will make it capable enough to handle modern applications that are more demanding in terms of the hardware resources. You cannot upgrade the CPU or GPU in a Mac. However, if your MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt, an external GPU can be added.

As for the RAM’s upgradability, it depends on the kind of Mac you are using. While some can be upgraded others cannot. For instance, the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro have their RAM soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded. If the RAM can be upgraded, choose wisely.

If you have the old MacBook Pro, replace the traditional hard disk drive with a modern Solid State Drive. If you have a new one with an SSD, you can add more space and the Mac will be much faster.

Bottom line

When a MacBook Pro running slow, there could be many causes and there are even more solutions. Try to point out what the reason for the slowing is and solve it with an appropriate method. It is important to note that none of these methods will work alone. It is best to combine many methods for best results. All the best speeding that MacBook Pro up!

Featured Posts
Best Mac Cleaner Software 2018