Why is my Mac slowing down over time?

By Jeff Graber

What do Macs and cars have in common? They require upkeep to stay in perfect condition.

When the miles per gallon on a car go down or the car begins going through oil at an alarming rate, then something has to be done. Macs are no different. The first sign that your Mac may need some TLC is if it begins to slow down.

What is slowing down verses normal operation?

Macs will slow down when performing complex tasks, or a number of tasks at any one time. This is perfectly normal, as the Mac divvies up tasks through its processors. You know you have a problem however when this problem persists over a period of time, even when the Mac is not actively doing something. Slow load times, extended start times for applications, and unresponsive windows are all signs that your Mac may be slowing down over time. So what causes this to happen? 

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Been running for a long time

The most frequent cause of Macs slowing down over time is extended run time. This means that the Mac has been on for a very long time. The longer a Mac is on for, the slower it will operate. This depends on the Mac, as some Macs run excellently for months without being shut down, while others need to be restarted every few days. Regardless, the solution is simple. Save everything you are working on, and restart your Mac. If the problem persists, then go to step 2.

Running out of RAM and storage space

Random Access Memory, or RAM is responsible for processing information and requests on your Mac. If the number of requests exceeds the abilities of your installed RAM, then slowdowns in performance will occur. In addition, if you have a lot of applications running on your Mac, then there may be enough with background processes that your Mac slows down. In addition, when storage space is nearly out, Macs slow down as they work to do what they can with the little room they have left. By decreasing the number of processes occurring at once, upgrading your RAM, and increasing your storage space, you can do a lot to speed up your Mac. If none of these work, then go to step 3.

Third party programs

Viruses, and Unwanted Software Malware and viruses will slow down your Mac quickly. Be sure to run anti-malware scans and keep your anti-virus software up to date.

(This article is courtesy of The Mac Support Store, Brooklyn’s first Apple repair shop.)