How To Optimize A Mac For Maximum Efficiency In 2020

Macs make up just 10 percent of desktops and laptops, but those who use them are often diehard fans. Apple’s computers and the operating system behind them are well-integrated. Fans claim they’re more intuitive and powerful than Windows systems.


Like Windows-based PCs, though, a Mac is a tool you have to maintain. If you’re wondering how to optimize a Mac for the best performance and efficiency in 2020, this guide is for you.

How to Optimize a Mac With Clean-Up

The first step in optimizing the performance of your Mac or Macbook is to do a little clean-up. Hard drives often get bogged down with unneeded files and unused programs. The longer you’ve had your Mac and the more you use it, the more unnecessary files you have on it.

To begin, clean up your trash bin. Review the files to make sure you’re not deleting anything important.

Next, you can look at cleaning up files like temporary internet files, cookies, and more. Newer versions of macOS come with more clean-up tools. These include a built-in storage analyzer to find and remove large files you no longer need.

If you’re running a version older than Sierra, you can choose from any number of free apps to help clean up.

Many apps will help you clear out hidden files too, like cache files, histories, and more.

You’ll also want to:

  • Remove old disk images
  • Clear out old Mail downloads
  • Clear out the Downloads folder itself

These small steps can help you get more out of your machine.

Clear out Old Apps

Chances are you’ve downloaded some apps you don’t use any more. Maybe a new version came out, or maybe you’ve switched programs. It might even be a free trial you just never removed or upgraded.

Clearing out these unused programs can help you free up memory on your machine. That also limits file fragmentation, which helps your machine run faster.

Offload Unused Files and Back up Your Mac

Another way to free up storage space on your Mac is by creating a backup or storing unused files on an external hard drive.

Think about all your photos and videos. You probably don’t need access to those on a daily basis, but you don’t want to delete them either. Put them into storage on an external drive, then remove them from your machine to free up more space.

Creating a backup is also a great way to prepare for the next step. It will help you restore all your files.

Upgrade Your Software

Which version of macOS are you running? Apple just released Catalina in fall 2019, so it may be time to get the latest, greatest version of the OS.

Some machines won’t be able to upgrade to Catalina. Catalina also leaves behind support for 32-bit applications, so you’ll want to be sure all your programs are ready to make the switch.

If you’re not ready for a full upgrade, make sure the OS you are running is up to date. Apple releases patches on a regular basis.

Updating is important for keeping your system secure. It can also introduce changes that help you optimize performance.

Clear out Startup Items

Getting rid of some of your old, unused apps may have reduced the number of programs your Mac opens at startup.

Reducing startup items can help your computer boot up faster. Since these items aren’t then running in the background, it also frees up RAM so your system will run faster.

To clear startup items, select the Apple menu. Then pick “System Preferences,” followed by “Accounts” and “Login Items.” This will show you a list of items that start up automatically with your computer.

You can uncheck the boxes for any items you don’t want to initialize at startup.

Other Tricks from Apple

There are several other simple steps you can take to help optimize your Mac. One is turning off options you don’t use, like VoiceOver.

Apple also provides some options to help you keep your Mac running at optimal speed. It can, for example, automatically upload files to iCloud for storage, then delete them off your machine.

Automatic options include:

  • Removing TV shows and movies you’ve already watched
  • Emptying the trash automatically
  • Turning off Mail downloads entirely

If you use Safari, your Mac will also detect duplicate downloads and keep only the most recent version. It can also remind you to delete app installers you’ve already used.

Look Under the Hood

If your Mac is still running slow, it’s time to take a look under the hood. Some changes to the hardware could help you achieve optimal Mac performance.

One simple upgrade to make is to increase the RAM, which is the active, short-term memory your computer uses to complete tasks. Many Mac models make it easy to upgrade the memory by allowing you access to the memory ports.

Once you’re in, you can slot in new memory cards. Check the specifications for your model to make sure you’re buying appropriate cards and expansions.

There are other aspects of RAM that you can adjust too. PRAM and NVRAM can help you speed up a slow Mac, as you can see here.

More complex is replacing the hard drive. Older Macs use hard drives with spinning components. Since there are limits to how fast the hard drive can spin, these hard disks tend to be slower than their solid-state cousins.

Installing an SSD could speed your computer up. If you’re not sure how to do this, it’s a good idea to consult with the experts.

Finally, you might want to install a new fan. Keeping your system’s components cool helps them perform better.

Live Life at Your Own Pace

As you can see, there are plenty of tips on how to optimize a Mac. Whether you use one for your business, school, or personal projects, keeping your Mac running at the right speed is important.

A fast computer can help you be more productive and reduce stress in your lifestyle. If you’re looking for more great tips for improving your health and lifestyle, check out more of our informative articles. The right advice can help you achieve a happier, healthier you.

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