iMac Running Very Slow? Here’s 6 Ways to Improve iMac Performance

iMac running slow

Over time, iMacs can slow down for a number of reasons. A slow iMac may be the result of a cluttered hard drive, outdated OS X, too many applications might be running the background. The slowness might be attributed to decreasing RAM (random access memory), which is critical in processing application requests.

Also, there may be too many login items that open upon startup. And in other cases, certain apps might be draining your iMac CPU more than they should.

No matter what the cause is, it can be annoying and frustrating to see our productivity going down because of a slow iMac. In this article, we're going to show you several effective fixes to speed up your iMac performance.

We'll start with the easiest to the hardest, so you can select the techniques that best fit your situation. Don't forget to let us know how they work out for you.

1. Reduce iMac Startup Items

If your iMac takes longer to boot and come to the first screen in desktop, chances are you're having loads of login items. In other words, upon start up too many applications or services may open automatically once you press the start button on your iMac. If the list of login items is long, it's not surprising that your Mac can take forever to start up. Removing unnecessary login items is a relatively simple process. Click on the Apple logo on the top left, click System Preferences > User & Groups > Login Items. Here, you select any items you don't want and click the minus sign "-" to disable them.

2. Close Programs Running in the Background

Note: for some applications, even if you have clicked the red sign "x" located on the top right corner, they may still be running in the background to your surprise. If you have too many such processes running at the same time, your iMac speed can be significantly affected, worse yet, the whole system can be frozen. If that happens, you'll have to force quit apps or have a hard reboot.

To see what apps and services are consuming lots of system resources (CPU, memory, battery, etc.), use Activity Monitor to find them out. Apple has a support article that teaches us how to properly use this utility. If you prefer a visual tutorial, view this awesome YouTube video: 

3. Clean up iMac Hard Drive

Your iMac may be slow because of an almost full hard drive. OS X might not function as efficiently as it should under low hard disk space. Also, lack of space on hard drive may also result in more frequent hangs, freezes, even crashes for certain apps.

To clear out space on your iMac hard drive, first, determine the amount of space available. To do so, click on the Apple icon, and About This Mac. Under the Storage section, you can see how much space is available on current disk. Different blocks of color indicate different file types, such as movies, photos, or apps.

You can also use certain apps, such as CleanMyMac, to determine which specific files are taking up the most space and then remove or transfer the files. A kind reminder -- before deleting important files or apps, you may need to back up your key iMac data just in case.

Get CleanMyMac to Clean up Your iMac Hard Drive Now

4. Run the Right OS X

Depending on the iMac model you are using, you may need to double check whether the OS X your iMac loads is the best. Note: latest OS X does not always guarantee better performance, especially if your iMac hardware is a bit behind. For example, El Capitan requires at least 4GB in RAM and some free disk space in order to run smoothly. Many iMac users who rush to update to El Capitan actually reported slow performance.

As a result, know your iMac and run the right OS X. To check what version of OS X your iMac is with, click Apple logo > About This Mac, here you'll see the information. Then you may want to upgrade to a newer OS X or download to a lower one

5. Add More RAM

RAM (random access memory) plays a significant role in processing app requests. If you are a designer or developer who often uses an iMac to run big programs for projects, chances are RAM may be inadequate. You can also check how much RAM is being used in the Activity Monitor.

If many times the RAM is used up and your iMac has to switch to use hard disk virtual memory, it's time to consider adding an extra memory. And this is the best way to avoid iMac slow issues.

If you decide to do so, be sure to confirm how many GBs your iMac is able to be added. Figure that out by going to Crucial website. Also, don't forget to check out this video before you open your iMac and install additional RAM. 

6. Upgrade to an SSD

For older iMacs, replacing the current hard drive or fusion drive with an SSD (solid state drive) can significantly improve speed and performance. Similar to adding more RAM, it's also recommended that you check which SSDs are compatible with your iMac beforehand. Likewise, this cool video shows everything you'll need to watch out during the process of replacement.

Andreas Louis

Based in CA, Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. He also has contributed to several other notable technology journals.

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