Speed Your Mac : 5 Free and Easy Tips for Idiots

Posted by Mayank on June 17, 2011 in Apple,Featured,Mac

No matter how fast a computer you take, they start slowing down after use. My personal experience with laptops goes back 12 years and I’ve found 2 years to be a kind of benchmark when to start expecting your laptop to slow down and the need to get a new one.

3 years back I switched to Mac (I own a 13.3″ Macbook Pro with 2 GB RAM – enough for my need) and it had been a wonderful experience  ! I never thought my Mac will slow down until I started to experience it a few days back 🙁

Initial thought was to go ahead and upgrade it, but I thought of having a look before I spending my hard earned cash. To my surprise, I found 5 free and easy ways by which I could reclaim the lost speed of the Mac. You can do these as well and save a lot of money 🙂

Tip # 1 : Remove items from the start up process

Once you start installing applications, some of them automatically get added to the start up process and start running whenever you power on your Mac. This means that when you boot your Mac, it need to start themes programs or applications as well. Net result is that you need to wait longer to start using your computer.

You can remove items from the start up by going to System Preferences -> Accounts -> Click on your account and click “Login Items”. Unless you absolutely need one of the applications to start automatically when the computer starts, you should remove all the applications from there. If you look at the below picture, I’ve removed everything but Dropbox.


Tip # 2 : Reset the PRAM of your Mac

This is the first action you need to take if your Mac is acting funny, for example : screens not adjusting correctly, Bluetooth problems, AirPort non connecting, battery says 50% charged etc. In the old days, it used to be a cure-all. Although Apple themselves call this a drastic measure, most Apple techs try resetting the PRAM as a quick fix.

A small amount of your computer’s memory, called “parameter random-access memory” or PRAM, stores certain settings in a location that Mac OS X can access quickly. The particular settings that are stored depend on your type of Mac and the types of devices connected to it. The settings include your designated startup disk, display resolution, speaker volume, and other information.

To reset your computer’s RAM :

  1. Shut down the computer and then turn on the computer.
  2. Immediately press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
  3. Continue holding the keys down until the computer restarts, and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  4. Release the keys.

Please note that resetting PRAM may change some system settings and preferences. Use System Preferences to restore your settings.


Tip # 3 : Clean Your Desktop

I have this habit of saving everything on my desktop and then cleaning or organizing them when they start to become unmanageable. I’m not sure what is the concept behind this but I’ve noticed that as performance improves after cleaning the desktop. I tend to keep only a few shortcuts on my desktop so that I can have a good look at the picture of my son, unless my wife replaces the same with a picture of her ! This trick of cleaning the desktop works for both Mac and Windows.


Tip # 4 : Install Onyx Utility

Onyx is multifunction utility for Mac OS X, which allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its system files, to run misc. tasks of system maintenance, to configure some hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, Login window, Spotlight and many Apple’s applications, to delete caches, to remove a certain number of files and folders that may become cumbersome and more.

It’s FREE to download and you can download Onyx from here

Tip # 5 : Turn Off Bluetooth, Speech Recognition, Universal Access and Internet Sharing

Most of us don’t use these features on a daily basis. You should immediately turn off Bluetooth, Speech Recognition, Universal Access and Internet Sharing if you don’t use them. It will save same valuable RAM.


You should use Apple’s Activity Monitor, which comes with OS X to identify other things sucking up RAM. Activity Monitor informs you about CPU usage, RAM requirements, virtual memory usage, and whether a given application is a PowerPC or Intel (Universal) build. Check it occasionally to see if there are any red flags – or keep it running for a few days (with one of the useful Dock icons or floating windows enabled) to keep an eye on when things are spiking.


Let me know if you found these free and easy tips useful. Also, let me know if you have any sure-fire solutions to speed your mac.


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1 Wendy Willingham July 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Hi, you and others suggest deleting features (universal access, bluetooth, etc.) but nobody says HOW to do it. I did see a site that has some kind of utility to download to do it. Do I need that or can I just do it from my system preferences or elsewhere on the mac? thanks.

2 Apurva July 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You do it from the system preferences. I recommend not using any utility as it is pretty straight forward

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