A slow MacBook is about as fun as a visit to your nagging relatives…just as aggravating too.

Is there anything more irritating than a slow MacBook? Sometimes, your device can feel like it is not going at full speed. The device can be slow to respond when clicking on certain links, videos and images are taking forever to load, or even commonly used apps are starting up at a snail’s pace.

When your MacBook is slow to respond to anything, the user can point their fingers at a myriad of causes. While it could be one of many factors, the good news is, each of the causes has its solutions.

10 reasons as to why your MacBook is slow…and the 10 solutions behind them.

Excessive amounts of files, photos, videos, etc.

Are you an avid photographer or someone who creates videos for fun? What about running a small business and you need several spreadsheets and documents to keep? Or maybe you’re a rather disorganized student who keeps everything related to school projects? Either way, a messy desktop or near-full storage

Solution: Chances are, if a user belongs to any of these categories, they have a large number of files that need to be recycled or deleted. Simply drag them to the Recycling Bin icon or right-click to delete them. Or course, if you need these pictures, it’s always good to back them up first.

Unneeded or unused apps filling up your storage.

Apps are continuously updating and thus, take up a good amount of memory and space on the Mac storage. Sometimes, apps a user may have downloaded and forgot to use or no longer need them.

Solution: Delete them by using Finder.

  1. Open Finder, find the Go menu and click on that.
  2. At the drop-down list, click on Applications.
  3. The Applications that have been installed on your Mac will be listed on the menu. It will also list the size of the app and when the app was last used.
  4. Right-click over the app you need to get rid of and click on Move to Bin.

Windows and apps that are continuously running.

If a user puts their MacBook on Sleep mode while leaving Safari or another app like Photoshop running and opens up the computer, later on, this can result in a slow MacBook.

Solution: Simply close out any of these windows by finding the X button on the upper left-hand corner.

Alternatively, a user can use the Merge All Windows option:

  1. Click on Finder.
  2. Next, in the Finder window, look for the Window option and click on that.
  3. Finally, click Merge All Windows.
  4. From here, all opened windows will be in one, and closing them all will be easy.

macOS is outdated.

When users update their macOS, they keep it up-to-date for the MacBook to prevent cyberattacks and keep the device running efficiently. That includes its overall speed and performance.

Solution: Update your OS. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Apple icon and choose System Preferences.
  2. Next, click on the Software Updates option, and it will bring up a window that will display what macOS version the user currently has.
  3. If it is current, then it will tell the user that the Mac is up-to-date. On the other hand, if it is not, a button says Upgrade Now next to the latest macOS version icon.
  4. Select the Upgrade Now option to start updating the OS.

Your Internet browser has too much going on.

Everyone knows someone who has at least 10+ tabs open at all times on Safari or Chrome. Whether they are a web developer or have too much stuff to do on the Internet, an abundance of tabs will slow the MacBook down. A good rule of thumb is to keep less than ten tabs open at once.

However, it could be another issue with your Internet browser, like too many extensions. Browser extensions like Grammarly for those who write for a living or Honey for shopaholics are great. But, sometimes, too many of them will result in a browsing session coming to a crawl.

Solution(s): Close your tabs or remove some extensions.

To remove extensions from Chrome:

  1. Click on the Chrome icon to launch it.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click on the three vertical dots.
  3. At this menu, click on More tools and find Extensions. Click on that.
  4. Now there will be an interface showing the user all the extensions that are downloaded on the system. Click on the blue toggle to disable them or the Remove button to get rid of them entirely.

To remove extensions from Safari:

  1. Launch Safari.
  2. When it opens, click on the Safari tab and then click on Preferences in the menu.
  3. Click on the Extensions tab, which looks like a puzzle piece.
  4. A user can start removing the extensions at this menu they don’t want by unchecking the boxes next to them. If additional ones need to be removed, click on the More Extensions button on the lower right-hand corner.

Visual settings are pushing the system to the limit.

Forced 80s movie soundtrack references aside, when graphics are maxed out while playing games or creating digital content, a MacBook is going to start chugging.

Solution: Lower the intensity of animations and simplify them.

  1. Go into the System Preferences window and select Dock.
  2. On the Dock menu, a user can start minimizing startup animations, scaling, and hide the Dock itself.

Too many programs begin at startup.

For a lot of users, their favorite apps will immediately open after that always-welcoming startup chime. Sure, having Spotify, Slack, and Zoom all open at once is convenient for the workday. But, when it is all the time, it can create some problems.

Solution: To stop the excess of items at startup, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon on the main menu and then select System Preferences.
  2. At System Preferences, click on Users & Groups. Find your username and click on that.
  3. Next, click on Login Items.
  4. On this menu, click on the name of the application you no longer want to startup at launch, and click on the minus symbol on the bottom-center-left corner.

NVRAM/PRAM needs to be reset.

The PRAM or NVRAM is tied to various applications and settings. But these settings can be corrupted after, say, a big OS update.

Solution: Resetting the PRAM or NVRAM will ideal. Follow this simple keyboard shortcut:

  1. Shut down your MacBook.
  2. Hold down the Option, Command, P, and R keys and turn the device back on.
  3. Keep pressing on the keys for about 20 seconds until the startup chime sounds off or once the Apple logo appears and disappears a second time.
  4. In a final step, go into the System Preferences menu and restore any changes after resetting the PRAM or NVRAM, including the default time and volume settings.

SMC needs to be reset.

The System Management Controller (or SMC) is directly tied to several functions on your MacBook. From the volume, the keyboard, to even the fans that keep it cool, it creates a slow MacBook when these settings are out-of-whack.

Solution: Just like resetting the NVRAM, follow a simple shortcut. Although, this one will have fewer keys to hold.

  1. Turn off the MacBook.
  2. Hold down the power button for at least 10 seconds and then release it.
  3. Please wait at least 5 seconds and then press the power button to turn it back on again.

However, if the MacBook is still running slow, a user can reset the SMC settings again but through a different method:

  1. Power down the device.
  2. Press and hold the Control, Option, and Shift keys for at least 7 seconds. While holding those three keys, start pressing down on the power button.
  3. Continue holding down all four keys for an additional 7 seconds and then release.
  4. Wait another five seconds to turn the device back on again.

The device is out of free RAM.

Random Access Memory, or RAM, can be best described as the energy that keeps the computer running smoothly. If a specific Mac user, say a digital artist, uses a lot of applications at once, they are going to want a good amount of RAM to run Adobe Creative Suite, along with any other drawing or animation apps they use. But too many of these running at once, along with other applications and settings, can cause the RAM to fill real quick. And that, in turn, causes a slow MacBook.

Solution: Open the Terminal to refresh the RAM.

  1. Go into the Applications menu through the Finder app on the device’s dock.
  2. In the Applications menu, click on Utilities.
  3. From here, click on Terminal to open it. It will look like a plain white window with login information.
  4. Copy-and-paste the “sudo purge” command into the Terminal.
  5. After, enter the password tied to the device and confirm.

This is a much simpler solution than having to physically upgrade your RAM. Also, it should be noted that a user should close out all applications before flushing it.


Sure, slow and steady wins the race. But when you are trying to finish a big project or stream a movie, or browsing on Safari…slow and steady is not exactly winning. In fact, it is a lot more irritating than efficient. However, once you figure out the main reasons as to why your MacBook is like the tortoise and fix it, then your MacBook will feel like the hare.

At MicroReplay, we know a thing or two about MacBooks and how to repair these devices. With over twenty plus years of experience, our company specializes in repairing liquid damaged MacBooks and other high-end laptops.

In need of a liquid spill or cracked screen repair? Book a repair with us today!

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