What to Do When Mac Runs Slow after macOS Monterey Update

Another update to macOS is here with Monterey. Each update that Apple puts out is packed full of features that help improve device performance and user experience. If you are a Mac user, this update can be used to your advantage. 

Monterey doesn’t seem to be as vast of an update as some previous macOS versions. It’s not as large as Big Sur but still offers plenty of improvements over the earlier version that represented a push towards making macOS more integral with iOS in appearance and function. 

macos monterey slow

macOS Monterey is an update that most Mac users should install on their computers. But as with any update, there are potential issues that can pop up during and after the installation process. 

Here, we will take a look at what to do when a Mac runs slow after the macOS Monterey update so you can get your laptop running in prime shape quickly. 

Initial Considerations

As of this writing, macOS Monterey has been officially released. You can download and install it for free from the Mac App Store.

If you are an early tester of the beta version, the best way to fix the Monterey slow issue is to update your Mac to the full version.

The beta version gives you a glimpse of what the full release of macOS Monterey has to offer but won’t let you access its full range of functions and features.

It’s a smaller download than previous macOS versions but can still take a while to download, depending on your connection speeds. 

New updates often take some time to get ironed out for developers and users, and macOS Monterey is no different. Learning how to deal with a slowdown issue is a good idea for every Mac user, and the next section will equip you with the skills to handle a quick fix. 

How to Fix It When Monterey Slowed Down Your Mac?

A few factors can result in slowdowns on your Mac when you download and install this update. Your laptop’s make and model year can cause some issues, especially if you have an older machine.

There are also some internal issues that can take a few steps to remedy and speed things back up. 

Some of the tips and fixes that you’ll learn in the sections below will be specific to macOS Monterey, while others are more general advice on how to speed up a Mac regardless of what operating system you are using.

Fix #1: Check for Compatibility 

You should check for compatibility before you download macOS Monterey. While this isn’t directly related to the speed of your computer, it is directly related to its function. If you have an older Mac that isn’t compatible with the new update, you won’t be able to use Monterey. 

macOS Monterey is compatible with MacBook Pro Early 2015 and later models. Here’s a full list of what Apple computer models will be compatible with Monterey. 

To check the model year of your Mac:

  • Click on the Apple icon on the top left of your window
  • Click on About This Mac
  • Click on the Overview tab to display critical information on your computer, including model year

Fix #2: Check Available Disk Space

If your Mac is compatible with the macOS Monterey update, the next step is to make sure you have enough available disk space to install it. The macOS Monterey installer package is 12GB, but you’ll need 35GB of free space at a minimum to operate it completely.  

To check the available disk space on your Mac: 

  • Click the Apple icon on the top left of your window 
  • Click on About This Mac
  • Click on the Storage tab to see how much available disk space you have

If you have at least 35GB of free space, you can continue installing without worry. If you don’t, you can free up some space by managing your storage. 

From the Storage tab mentioned above, click on the Manage button. You can see all of your files on the computer and remove anything you don’t need to free up space within this window. Emptying your trash is another quick way to free up a bit of storage space. 

You can also use the Optimize Storage feature to free up additional space quickly from the Manage section above. This can help you get rid of items like movies you have already watched that are stored on your computer.

If you are not a tech-savvy person or prefer not to spend time manually cleaning up your disk, another good option is to use a Mac cleaner tool like CleanMyMac X.

With this app, you can quickly scan your Mac for a number of unnecessary files that take away much of the disk drive, and with just a few clicks you can clean them up and reclaim the lost disk space.

Fix #3: Turn Off Startup Apps

After updating to macOS Monterey, startup apps can cause decreased speeds and performance. If you are experiencing slow performance, disabling these apps that run automatically can speed things up again. 

To turn off startup apps:

  • Click on the Apple icon on the top left of your window
  • Click on System Preferences
  • Click on the Users & Groups icon
  • Select the Login Items tab
  • Any apps you see here that you don’t need during startup can be disabled by clicking on the button. 

Fix #4: Check Activity Monitor

Similar to startup items, other apps may be open and running on your system after installing macOS Monterey that you are unaware of. If these apps are large and use a lot of your Mac’s resources, this can cause slow performance. 

You can check the Activity Monitor to show you every app currently open and running on your system, alongside how much demand each of these is placing on your system. 

To check Activity Monitor: 

  • Open the Finder
  • Click on Applications
  • Click on Utilities 
  • Click on Activity Monitor
  • When the Activity Monitor opens, you’ll see a list of every program and app currently in use. You can click on the CPU tab to see how much demand each of these processes puts on your computer. 
  • Click on any apps/programs with a high demand that you don’t need and click the X button on the top right of the window. 
  • Select Quit when prompted to close the desired process. 

Fix #5: Reset SMC and PRAM/NVRAM

You can also reset two critical items on your Mac to increase speeds after the update to macOS Monterey. SMC and PRAM/NVRAM are hardware parameters that can influence how your computer operates. 

To reset SMC: 

  • Shutdown your Mac
  • Press down and hold the Control and Option keys while at the same time pressing and holding the Shift key. Press all of these on the left side of the keyboard.
  • Hold all three of these keys down for 7 seconds and then also press the Power button 
  • Next, wait for a few moments and then press the power button to turn your computer on normally. 
  • If your computer has a T2 security chip, this process is a bit different, and you can follow the steps here.

To reset the PRAM/NVRAM: 

  • Shut down your Mac
  • Turn it back on while holding down the Option, Command, P, and R keys at the same time. 
  • Release these keys after around 20 seconds – release them after the startup sound plays or you see the Apple logo appear for the second time. 

Final Thoughts

Nobody likes dealing with a slow computer, especially after installing the new macOS Monterey update that is supposed to make your Mac perform better. Luckily, slower speeds are not typically that difficult to fix, and the steps above should get everything back in good working order.

If you are still experiencing any issues after going through the steps above, a simple restart of your computer can often fix weird problems that don’t have a direct explanation.

You’ll also want to install future updates of macOS Monterey to iron out any bugs or issues that are sure to appear. 

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