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All modern Macs these days are pretty fast, but sometimes we all need a performance boost to get things done as efficiently as possible. That’s what these simple are tricks are targeted, they help you speed up up any Mac and get the absolute best performance from the Mac OS X machine with a simple focus on resource use.
These are simple achievements tips that will help achieve maximum speed by ensuring that enough system memory and processor is available, along with low disk usage, so that nothing Mac OS X crashes while trying to perform another task.
Simple Mac performance Tricks
Okay, let’s take a closer look at and improve the performance of a Mac. Some of these are good habits to get used to too, so if you notice one tip offers a very large performance improvement, consider integrating it into your usage routine if necessary.
1: Close all unnecessary apps and for free Up Resources
Every open application lasts up system resources, and in the best scenarios that’s just some RAM, but it’s not uncommon for background apps or processes to use up the CPU and even cause disk activity. So it’s a given to stop all unnecessary apps when you want to get the absolute best performance out of a Mac.
You can be selective and close only some apps, or close all by using this Automator app to clear the slate. Don’t worry too much about this, as long as Window Restore (OS X’s default behavior) is enabled, everything will go back to where it was when you restart that app.
2: Temporarily suspend backups and Time Machine
Backups are very good, and Time Machine is something every Mac user should use to make automatic backups of their Macs. But it can slow things down while it is running because Time Machine consumes both processor and disk while it is running, copying files to the backup disk. The solution is simple: just delay Time Machine while you’re busy and when you need maximum Mac performance. You can do this by pulling down the Time Machine menu and stopping it yourself when it starts running and you need maximum performance.
This trick is especially valuable to users of apps such as Photoshop, Aperture, Final Cut, basically anything that uses a ton of swap, since you don’t want another task competing for disk read / write access.
Because Time Machine works on a schedule, it is often easier to adjust the backup interval yourself to a time that better suits your needs. This is a bit more advanced and requires the use of the terminal, but you can adjust the backup frequency with a standard write command entered through the terminal. The following will change the backup interval to occur every 4 hours (14400 is the number of seconds in 4 hours):
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-autoStartInterval -int 14400
4 hours is reasonable, as very few people can maintain maximum productivity for longer anyway, which means you have a backupup can stop and resume itself within 4 hours. Turn on the interval according to your needs, but it is not recommended to go longer than 12 hours.
Time Machine isn’t the only culprit though, and many cloud backup services like CrashPlan can slow things down even more while running as they rely on Java, meaning not only will your disk IO spike, but also the CPU. use. Also, put off those cloud backups when you’re in an emergency and need maximum performance.
Don’t forget to start or resume backups yourself when maximizing performance is no longer an issue, as you never want to be without system backups for too long.
3: Speed Up Boot time and restart with fewer login items
While it’s rarely necessary to shut down and restart Macs these days, it still has to happen from time to time whether a computer is being shipped or an update is being installed. Accelerate up boot time and reboot, you can easily remove unnecessary items from the login and startup folders.
Checking login items is easy:
- Open System Preferences and go to “Users & Groups” followed by the “Login Items” tab
- Select and delete anything that is not essential while logging into the system
Small utility apps such as Flux and Caffeine will not increase startup time, but unnecessary auto-mounted network drives and larger applications can significantly slow startup times.
It’s also worth browsing the StartupItems folder, found in the following location:
/ Library / StartupItems /
In that folder, look for something unnecessary for apps you no longer use or don’t have installed. Keep in mind that moving things from StartupItems can cause some apps to stop working, so it’s best to leave this alone if you’re unsure.
4: Shrink browser tabs and windows
Web browser tabs and windows are easily some of the most RAM-hungry tasks that appear almost universally in everyone’s day-to-day activities, and the more tabs you have open, the more RAM is used. Additionally, some websites with active Flash plugins or AJAX scripts can also send CPU usage through the roof, further slowing down a Mac. The solution here is quite simple, just keep the browser tab and active window usage low.
Of course, that’s always easier said than done, and for those who rely on many browser tabs for work or research, OneTab for Google Chrome offers an excellent solution by combining all active tabs into one page with links to the pages. This liberates up huge amounts of memory and has become a personal favorite, it’s free and easy to use.
Remember these achievements tricks are aimed at maximizing the available resources quickly, and that if a Mac suddenly feels slow, there could be a reason why it’s running slow, be it software updates, Spotlight indexing, or any number of other possible causes.
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