So, your Mac is taking forever (like a few minutes) to fully startup? Recent studies show that when a slow startup is not only a waste of time, it also affects your health.
There is nothing more frustrating than a slow Mac computer when you need it to get the work done in the morning. Normally, a Mac takes 20 seconds or less to start up. But if it takes much longer (or forever) to reach the first screen, then something is wrong.
We’ve found a few possible causes behind this Mac slow startup issue, along with tweaks to help you fix it. Let’s get started.
1. You’ve Got Too Many Startup Items
Nothing slows down a Mac more than having dozens of apps and services launching when you press the start button. If you can reduce the number of auto-startup items, you’ll have less waiting time and your Mac will perform better too.
How to fix it: remove unnecessary login items
Login items are those applications that run automatically once you log in.
To check and disable those unnecessary items, click the Apple icon > System Settings > Users & Groups, and then click on the Login Items tab. Then select those items you don’t need to open up on startup and click the minus “-” symbol.
Meanwhile, don’t forget those launch agents (i.e., app services that autorun and show up on Mac Menu Bar). For example, Amazon Music, Adobe Creative Cloud Helper, etc.
When you install an Amazon or Adobe app, its helper services are often pre-installed too. The worst part? They don’t show up under Login Items.
How to find and remove them? One of the best ways is to use CleanMyMac X. The app has a feature that allows you to quickly identify those launch agents and disable them.
2. Your Mac’s Startup Disk is Getting Full
Lack of storage is one of the main culprits for many computer performance issues, including a slow startup. When your Mac’s startup disk is almost full, the entire computer will run sluggishly. It is a best practice that we should keep the free disk space at a minimum 20% level.
If you can lighten the Mac drive and delete those unnecessary files, for example, system junk, duplicate files, unused third-party apps, etc., that will help optimize your Mac startup.
How to fix it: clean up the Mac drive
There are many manual fixes, for example, you can uninstall Mac apps that you barely use, remove duplicates and similar files, transfer large old data (especially movies and photos) to an external drive or the cloud, clean system junk, empty Trash, etc.
If you are new to Mac, we also recommend using a Mac cleaner app for efficiency. It will help clean up Mac disks more quickly so you save time.
3. Third-Party Device Connections
To be honest, how many peripherals do you have on your Mac now? If you use your iMac or MacBook as a hub for everything, chances are it’s now surrounded by a number of peripherals like a USB-C hub, printer, scanner, portable drive, iPhone charger, etc.
These third-party items are prone to drag down your computer performance, particularly when they are not working correctly due to hardware/software conflicts.
How to fix it: disconnect unused peripherals
It’s best to connect the external device only when you need it. Also, don’t forget to check relevant settings and software related to the device you use, making sure they are correctly set up and up-to-date.
4. NVRAM Issues (for Intel Macs Only)
NVRAM, short for “Non-volatile Random Access Memory”, stores many pieces of information a Mac needs before it loads Apple’s macOS operating system.
If the values in this memory get out of order for some reason, your Mac won’t start up correctly — one of the typical symptoms is your Mac takes forever to start up.
How to fix it: reset NVRAM
Here’s how to do it:
First, shut down your Mac, press the start key (or button). Then quickly hold these combination keys: Command + Option + P + R, right after you hear the startup sound. Then release the keys when you hear the sound for the second time.
Note: the video uses a MacBook as an example. If you’re on an iMac or Mac Mini/Pro, the process is the same.
5. Your Mac Disk Has Errors
Sometimes disk errors can occur on your Mac, especially when your machine shows its age. When that happens, your Mac’s hard drive may act up, and the overall system performance will be taxed. And it’s no surprise that the startup time will be affected as well.
How to fix it: verify and repair the disk using Disk Utility
Go to Finder > Applications > Disk Utility, and click First Aid.
- If your Mac is running with macOS Sierra or later (you probably are), just click First Aid and it will tell you whether disk repair is needed or not.
- If your Mac is running with OS X Yosemite or earlier, under First Aid, you’ll see two buttons located in the right corner: “Verify Disk” and “Repair Disk.” Click the former first to check whether your Mac disk has issues, then click the latter to fix it.
6. Your Mac is Running an Outdated macOS
In my experience, each time when I update my Mac to a major new macOS, my MacBook boots up a bit slower. However, my machine was running excellently while performing small updates like upgrading from macOS 10.13.1 to 10.13.4.
How to fix it: restart your Mac more often
Unfortunately, it seems we don’t have any working solutions here except restarting your Mac. Because a slow startup is usually very normal after the installation of a new macOS. Subsequent restarts will help turn it up a bit.
7. Your Mac Hard Drive is Failing
Every technology has its lifespan, and eventually, it will fail. Hard drives are no exception. If your Mac is not only slow on startup but sluggish on almost everything. More often than not, it’s time to check Mac drive health and get an idea of how long the disk will last.
How to fix it: upgrade the hard drive
If you are using an old Mac with a spinning HDD, replacing it with a new SSD is probably the best way to speed up everything, and you’ll significantly improve the startup time on your Mac.
These are the seven possible reasons and fixes for the Mac slow startup issue. Hopefully, you’ve tried some of them and have tuned up your Mac.