Despite their amazing speeds and reliability, Macs may sometimes experience sluggishness after an upgrade. This is especially apparent on older model Macs after the most recent Yosemite upgrade. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up – there are several steps you can take to speed up your Mac and get it back to the same level of use you enjoyed before upgrading. As an added bonus, this allows you to make full use of Yosemite’s numerous features, including its spectacular Spotlight option. Never before has finding information or launching an app been so easy! Here’s what to do.
1. Disable Eye Candy Windows & Effects
While it may reduce the aesthetic appeal of Yosemite a bit, disabling transparent menus, windows, and bars can help free up processing power that was spent rendering the transparency effect. Doing this is easy. Just open up the menu and go to System Preferences and then click on “Accessibility.” Select the options for your display, and click the box that says “Reduce transparency.”
Try moving around a window now. Does it feel faster? If your Mac is an older model (say three or four years), then this likely helped to speed things up quite a bit.
2. Turn off unneeded widgets.
There is nothing worse than your mac slow after yosemite. Another big cause of slow-downs in Yosemite is the number of unnecessary widgets. While many people enjoy them, if you don’t really care about stocks, and you get your weather news from the television, there is no need to run these features. Shutting them off can help to speed up your system by a considerable amount. To do so, go into System Preferences, then select Extensions. Click on the Today option in the sidebar, and uncheck all of the widgets you don’t use. This will particular increase login speeds, as well as the notification panel.
3. Clean your desktop.
How many icons do you have cluttering your desktop? Dozens? Maybe even hundreds? Cleaning and organizing your desktop will not only increase your productivity by making things easier to find, but it will also help speed up the Mac. It’s an old trick that many people make use of, but it works. Just make a single folder entitled “Random Desktop Stuff” or something similar and move all of your various folders into it. Try deleting folders that are empty, as well. The less processing power required to display icons on your desktop, the faster your Mac will respond.
4. Monitor your activity monitor.
There may be processes or programs running in the background that you aren’t aware of. These programs could be responsible for much of the slowdown, especially if they demand more than their fair share of the processing power. For instance, a specific website you have open in Safari or Chrome might be using a ton of power – by shutting these things down, you can prevent your computer from slowing down overall.
5. Run a hard drive cleaning utility.
Many times after upgrading, the hard drive is full of cached files that are no longer relevant and other information that slows your computer down. There are numerous free utilities out there for cleaning up your hard drive, one of the most popular of which is OnyX. After running this utility, you’ll likely have much more memory at your disposal, as well as faster processing times.
6. Rebuild the Spotlight index.
After upgrading, Spotlight will spend some time indexing everything. During this time, you’ll find the Mac operating much more slowly than usual due to the demand on its processes. To speed this up, go into the Spotlight system preferences and click on the Privacy tab. Drag your hard drive from the finder into the Privacy list, and then immediately remove your hard drive from this list. Doing this will cause it to begin to index more heavily, and while the entire process may take several hours, you’ll have a new index that responds more quickly and accurately.
7. Update any software.
After updating your OS, you may find that some of the software needs to be updated. Go through every piece of installed software and ensure it is completely up to date; doing so helps to keep things running smoothly and prevents errors from occurring. If it’s third party software, check with the developer’s website to see if a new version has been released for Yosemite.
Before taking any of these steps, it’s a good idea to create a restore point and back up your system using Time Machine or File Vault. If something goes wrong and your data is corrupted or you lose access, you want to be able to restore your system to its previous state without losing any important documents or files. Just make sure you have external hard drive with enough space to back up your system to.
If all else fails, you can always reinstall OS X Yosemite and see if that has any effect. Make absolutely sure that you have backed up your system before doing this, however; if you aren’t sure of how to handle it yourself, take the Mac to a technician and have them tackle the project for you.