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How to fix a slow or unresponsive Mac

  Man using a MacBook with the
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Is your Mac slow? Do you see the spinning wind wheel of death every day? Do not let it happen! Here's how to diagnose the problem to fix it.

How to Diagnose a Lazy Mac

There are many reasons why performance problems can occur on your Mac. If you can figure out what's wrong, you can take steps to fix it. You can fix the common causes of a slow Mac by itself and relatively easily. Here are some of the simpler tips you can use to speed up your Mac.

Hardware issues, however, are the exception. If your Mac has a problem with a particular component, the correction becomes more complicated. Even desktop computers like the iMac are known to be difficult to repair themselves ̵

1; Apple uses large amounts of glue and solder to make it.

In the worst case, you can always ask Apple to take a look. When you book a free Genius appointment at an Apple Store, your computer will do a full diagnosis. From there they should be able to recommend a solution to the problem. If you would like Apple to repair your device, you will need to pay out of pocket after the warranty expires, unless you have AppleCare.

Remember, it's free to make an appointment at an Apple Store. and how much it will cost to repair. The company will only charge you for repairs if you have given your consent.

RELATED: 10 Fast Ways To Speed ​​Up A Slow Mac

App Crashes: How Software Can Slow Down Your Mac [19659005] If the software does not work properly, your computer may stop responding. Sometimes only the crashed app shows this behavior. In other cases, faulty software may attempt to shut down the entire computer.

If you suspect an app has crashed, right-click the dock icon, hold down the Option key on your keyboard, and then click Force End. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Command + Option + Esc to force the current app to quit.

If you're not sure which app crashed or it crashed in the background, launch Activity Monitor. Click the CPU tab and display the% CPU column in descending order. This will bring up the apps with the highest processor performance. If you find that something is more than its fair share, click on it and then click on the "X" to cancel.

<img class = "alignnone wp-image-437836 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/activity_monitor-1 .png.pagespeed.ce.GwFWeNC1vl.png "alt =" The macOS activity monitor Memory leaks where a specific task or process consumes all available memory To view the memory, click the Memory tab and arrange Resend the "Memory" column in descending order to see similar results-You can end processes the same way you would a crashed app.

Processes that have completely crashed appear in the Activity Monitor in red text with the words "Not responding." You can kill them and restart them.If you repeatedly encounter problems with the same apps, consider another option (or e-mail the developer).

Hard disk space: Your Mac needs space Breathe.

Low disk space is another common cause of macOS slowing down. Without enough free space on your boot disk, macOS can not run maintenance scripts and background processes that keep your computer running. Unfortunately, Apple does not say exactly how much free space is needed to keep your Mac happy.

A general rule of thumb is to keep 15 percent of your startup disk free at all times. This number is mainly for laptops with small drives. An iMac with a 3 TB drive requires a much lower percentage to meet the requirements of macOS. However, it's also much harder to fill a 3 TB iMac than a 128 GB MacBook Air.

 MacOS memory overview.

When working with large files or creating many temporary files (for example, for video or photo editing, you should keep as much free space on your drive as the total size of these temporary files.)

To To see how much free space you have on your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner Click About This Mac in the Corner Click on the "Storage" tab to see a breakdown of your current hard drive usage then free up space on your Mac.

System Resources: Do you push your Mac too far?

There are a limited number of resources available on your Mac that are limited by factors such as processor cores, available memory, and the presence of a dedicated video card Knowing how far you can push your Mac can help you avoid performance issues in the future.

Some h Common tasks that may override your Mac are:

  • Too many open tabs in your web browser.
  • Hungry software like Photoshop opens in the background.
  • Play graphically intense 3D games.
  • Working with huge video and photo files or rendering videos.
  • Performing two or more of the above (or similar intensive processes) simultaneously.

If hundreds of tabs are open in a browser like Chrome, you should not be surprised if memory issues occur. Switching to a Mac-optimized browser, such as Safari, may be helpful, but you may need to curb taboo addiction.

Browsers can generally be a source of poor performance. Too many extensions and plugins have a negative impact on the responsiveness of your browser. And some web apps can charge your machine as much as native ones. An example would be if you use a web-based spreadsheet program like Google Sheets to process a lot of data.

 The CPU load diagram of the Activity Monitor.

How to find out how your system is operating at any time. Open Activity Monitor and review the CPU Usage and Memory Pressure graphs on the CPU and Memory tabs.

Hardware Issues: Problems Under the Hood

Few computers can be resold as valuable as a Mac. They're built for longevity, and I can say that because I write this on the 2012 MacBook Pro. However, problems can occur, especially if your machine is getting old. However, there are some things that you can check yourself.

Apple Diagnostics

Your Mac includes a basic diagnostic tool that you can run yourself. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the power button to turn on your Mac, then immediately press and hold D on the keyboard.
  3. When you see the screen prompting you Release the D button to select a language.
  4. Select a language and wait for the diagnostic tool to run.

Note: If Apple Diagnostics does not start, press and hold Option + D instead. You'll need an internet connection because your Mac will download Apple Diagnostics before it runs.

Apple Diagnostics can only tell you so much in the form of a reference code. You can then check the reference code in the Apple database, but you do not have to learn too much. For example, you may find that there is a problem in your computer's memory, but you do not know which RAM stick is faulty or what's wrong with it.

This tool is useful to rule out hardware problems, but for the purpose of troubleshooting pretty useless purposes. For a more detailed report, it's best to book a free appointment at the Genius Bar. Of course, there is no detailed feedback on how to repair your Mac.


You can manually check some components with the right tools. For example, MemTest86 is a free tool that lets you check your computer's memory. Install it on a USB stick, start up your Mac and then run it. If you use a USB stick as the storage medium, you can properly test the RAM without causing MacOS overhead.

  The software memtest86 RAM Health Check.


A faulty drive can also cause problems. Most Macs have solid state drives. These are not prone to sudden failures, as is the case with standard hard drives. Solid state drives usually fail after an early warning. And if they eventually die, data recovery is impossible. To check the health of your SSD, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper-right corner and choose About This Mac.
  2. Click "System Report" and select "Memory" main drive (probably labeled "Macintosh HD").
  3. Scroll down to "SMART Status" and see what stands next to it. If the message "Verified" appears, your drive will operate normally and without problems. If "Failing" is displayed, this may be the cause of your problems. Eventually, the drive becomes "fatal" and you need to swap it or your Mac.

  A macOS system overview SSD Integrity Check.

Download DriveDx for a more in-depth look at your drives (it's free to try). This utility should give you more information than Apple claims.

For the most security, you should back up your Mac regularly with Time Machine.


The CPU is the brain of your computer computer. However, you can not do much to test it. If it does not work properly, there may be slowdowns, freezes and sudden shutdowns. One way to get more information is to compare them to an app like Geekbench. You can then use the Mac benchmark charts to see how they pile up.

 Geekbench Mac benchmark charts.

If your Mac has a dedicated GPU, you can test it with tools like Heaven or Cinebench. If your GPU is having problems, you may find unsatisfactory performance in 3D applications, screen artifacts and glitches, system freeze, or sudden shutdown.

Unfortunately, you can not do much to fix issues with the CPU or GPU. If you have problems there, you probably need to replace the motherboard on your Mac. In general, buying a new Mac is financially more reasonable than paying the premium for repairing your old Mac.

Decrease with age: Is your Mac just old?

Sometimes performance issues have a very simple cause: Aging. Expect the performance of your Mac to decrease with age. New software requires better hardware, while the hardware stays the same on your Mac.

Most Mac owners should not experience too many performance issues in their first three years of use. Then it goes downhill. Once you've passed the five- or six-year limit, you need to constantly think about whether the software you run will get the most out of your computer.

 Overview of this Mac for a 2012 MacBook Pro.

If you have an old Mac and want to get as much life out of it as possible, try the following:

  • Switch to a lightweight browser. Safari is optimized for Mac and tends to perform better and consume less power than its competitors.
  • Prefer Apple's first-party apps. Like Safari, many Apple apps are optimized for MacOS and Apple hardware. A striking example of this is Final Cut Pro, which outperforms Adobe Premiere on older computers. You can also remove Pages for Word, Lightroom for Aperture, or Evernote for Notes.
  • Note multitasking. Do not overload the CPU or GPU unnecessarily. When you render a video, make a cup of coffee until it's done. If 100 tabs are open, close 50.
  • Watch outdated or slow software. Obsolete apps can do worse on modern MacOS systems because they are not optimized. Avoid using Java-based apps that require Java Runtime Environment, as this may affect the performance of your computer.
  • Keep macOS up-to-date. If possible, make sure your Mac is running the latest version of macOS. Apple has focused on improving MacOS performance over the last iteration of its desktop and mobile operating systems. If your system is not up to date, optimizations may be missing that could improve your experience.

When should you buy a new Mac?

The right time to buy a new computer is when you need one. If you encounter performance bottlenecks that prevent you from doing your job or doing the things that you need a computer for, it is time to consider purchasing a new one. If you're sick of juggling files and apps because your startup disk is too small, visit the Apple Store.

Remember that your old Mac may still have a good resale value. Even old machines with problems bring more money than you would expect. If you're considering selling your old Mac, here are some helpful tips.

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