A Mac usually takes care of itself. But once it’s been used a year too much, it becomes slow, just like any computer. It can be anything; hard drive overload, corrupted system files, a fraudulent app or just an outdated operating system. A lot can go wrong under the hood, and finding the specific culprit on your own takes a long time.
Fortunately, the Mac has a number of built-in third-party diagnostic and cleaning utilities that can really speed things up for you. Check out the apps/tips below.
Onyx is one of the best maintenance tools for Mac. It opens hidden system settings that go far beyond the Mac’s system settings. You can use it to clean up the system or user cache, clearing out old internet files, the system cache, user items and more.
The app has a one-click maintenance mode for beginners. Use the default settings if you do not know what you are doing. Also remember that Onyx is like a vacuum cleaner and not a sweeper. Daily use could actually harm your system. So use it once a month and your mac stays fresh.
Check out our in-depth guide to Onyx to get the most out of the app.
2. Resetting PRAM and SRC
I have previously written about PRAM, SRC and what they do in detail. I’ve also shown you how to reset them on.
Resetting your PRAM is quite simple and it is like clearing the cache, only for your entire operating system. Resetting the PRAM resets the internal settings of the operating system to the default settings. This means that if a rogue app has messed something up, resetting PRAM can solve the problem.
How to reset the PRAM
Step 1: Turn off your Mac. It is not necessary to remove the battery or disconnect the power cord.
Step 2: Turn on your Mac and hold down the Command+Possibility+P+R Keys at the same time.
Step 3: Hold down all four keys until you hear the start sound twice.
A few months ago, when OS X Mavericks hung on my system for a few seconds for no apparent reason, resetting PRAM did the trick.
Onyx is a great app to keep things running smoothly. Yasu is the app you can download if your Mac is giving you strange problems. The app is really easy to use and not nearly as overwhelming as Onyx (but not as feature-rich either).
Yasu resets permissions, runs cron scripts and clears cache, and logs everything from one screen. Highlight what you want to do, click OK And you’re done.
4. Other suggestions
Activity monitorThe integrated activity monitor of the Mac is quite robust. If your Mac suddenly starts acting weird, open the app and see what’s taking up the most CPU or memory. If there is a fraudulent app, it will be at the top of the list. Remove and/or reinstall the app to see if it works.
Switch to SSD: While the apps listed here will give your aging Mac a kick, nothing can help the slow-moving hard drive. The best way to give an old Mac a speed boost is to switch to an SSD. If you have a non-Retina MacBook, the process is pretty simple.
Update OS X: Unlike Windows, OS X works better on any MacBook, even older ones, with updates. I experienced this when I upgraded from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, and surprisingly again when I went to Yosemite Beta.