Why Is My Mac So Slow and How Can I Fix It? Here’s 3 Quick Tips!

Mac not working

Waiting for a program on your Mac to open, or for another to shut down, can get very frustrating. Especially when you’re trying to get some work done. Just as frustrating is that spinning beach ball the pops up every so often. Going from lightning fast to a slow crawl rarely happens overnight though, which of course leads us to ask “why is my Mac so slow and how can I fix it?”

There are many causes of a slow Mac, so to answer your question of “why is my Mac so slow?” we’ll review a few of the most common issues of a slow Mac. Along with each slow Mac issue there is usually an easy fix, and you’ll find that below too!

Why is My Mac So Slow: 3 Common Issues and Fixes For a Slow Mac

When I first began searching for answers to the question of why my Mac is so slow, I found that there are a lot of different answers. Unfortunately, only a few of them really worked. Having been through the whole process myself, I can now give you the best fixes and the most common culprits of a slow Mac. Hopefully one of these quick fixes will work for you just as they did for me.

Tip 1 to Why is My Mac so Slow > Corrupt Preference Files:

When preference files become corrupt, which can easily happen, it may make your Mac’s programs run slowly or even act a bit oddly. If you notice that your Mac is running slow when using a particular application, this may also be a sign that it is the preference files. To fix this you can try deleting its preference file, but be sure to make a backup before you do as you may lose some settings that can be hard to fix later. Also be sure to have the license code if it’s one you bought. After you delete the preferences, you can then relaunch the app and see if it’s working better.

To delete a preference file, follow these steps:


Hard Drive > Library > Preferences

Open ‘Finder’ and click on the ‘Home’ icon. In the pane you will now double click on the folder that says ‘Library,’ and then click on the ‘Preferences’ folder. Once in Preferences you can see the list of your applications. Find the app that has been causing problems and right click on it and make a duplicate. Most of them are named like this: com.company-name.application-name.plist. This duplicate will serve as a backup in case anything goes wrong. Now, go to the duplicate on your desktop and right click on it to place it in archive. This way your Mac won’t find it when you use the new and improved app. Now, back in Preferences, right click on the app again. This time select Trash or drag and drop it to Trash. Now you will reinstall the app and see if that has fixed your problems.

Tip 2 to Why is My Mac so Slow > Permission Errors:

One of the things that worked when I was asking the question of why my Mac is so slow, was to use Disc Utility to repair permissions. A slow Mac can often be fixed by running this quick and easy utility, and it’s right there on your Mac.

To Repair Permissions just follow these steps:

mac disk utility

Go again into ‘Finder’ and click on ‘Applications,’ ‘Utilities’ and ‘Disk Utility.’ Once you open Disk Utility you will select your hard drive that you want to repair. Then make sure that the ‘First Aid’ tab is highlighted and click on ‘Repair Permissions.’ You do not have to verify permissions before you run the repair. This is a good thing to do every month or so, and especially after you installed new software. If you run into any problems during the process, or you just want extra information, you can check out these

Apple Support Docs: Doc 1:


Disk Repair Permissions and Doc 2 Disk Repair Permissions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2963

Tip 3 to Why is my Mac so Slow > Cache Corruption:

The next reason that you may have a slow Mac is because your cache may have become corrupted. You can also do this one yourself, or you can use an app to do it. I prefer using an app to do each of these areas, as it is not only quicker and easier, it’s safer. However, you can go ahead and delete your cache with the steps below. It won’t hurt anything. Cleaning your system caches, along with your browser caches, is something you should also do whenever you find you’re asking yourself, “why is my Mac so slow?”

To clear your systems cache, follow these steps:

Hard Drive > Library > Chaches

Hard Drive > Library > Chaches

Go to your ‘Finder’ again and also again, select the ‘Home’ icon. Now select the ‘Library’ folder and then click on the folder that says ‘Cache.’ You should be able to delete everything safely. However, if you want to be extra careful, create a new folder on your desktop, and drag everything from your Cache folder into it. Once you deleted everything, you should empty your Trash and restart your Mac. If it’s running smoothly, you can also toss the backup folder into the Trash.

To clear your browser cache, follow the steps below:

Safari > Preferences

Safari > Preferences

Click on the ‘Safari,’ ‘Chrome’ or ‘Firefox’ menu button. In the drop down menu select ‘Empty Cache,’ or ‘Clear Browsing History.’ A box may open verifying this is what you want to do, just click on ‘Empty,’ ‘Yes’ or ‘Ok’ and you’re done. In Chrome you can also get to it by clicking on the ‘Wrench’ icon. It is in the top right corner of your browser bar. This will allow you to choose what you want to delete and what you want to keep.

Want More Tips for Why is My Mac so Slow? You Got it!

The three that we addressed so far are the ones that I found worked best when I was asking why is my Mac so slow. There are a few more though that can also help get your Mac back to lightning speed. Some of the biggest culprits of a slow Mac include those that take up space, making your Mac have to work a little harder, and therefore, slower. What kinds of things do this? There are quite a few actually.

Two of the biggest space hogs are Widgets and apps. To make your Mac run faster, run through your Widgets and get rid of any that you’re not using. Do the same with your apps. The other thing that will take up room would be the remaining pieces of the files or apps you throw in Trash. To get rid of these you’ll need an app like AppZapper, or MacKeeper.

How to Keep Your Mac Fast and Have No More Slow Mac Issues!

Hopefully one of the things mentioned above have fixed your slow Mac, but to keep yourself from again having to ask yourself “why is my Mac so slow,” you’ll need to do some routine maintenance. Some you can do yourself, like the ones we did earlier, or you can use an app to also help you with them. Some apps like MacKeeper, MacCleaner, Onyx and CleanMyMac, can fix the three areas we talked about earlier and the ones I just mentioned.

I prefer using an app, as they are not only much safer, they’re also much faster and easier then having to do it myself. With the app I just click on what I want to clean and it’s done, or I can click on having several areas at once cleaned and it’s done in the same amount of time as it took to clean one. Some, like MacKeeper, even allow you to setup regular maintenance that it will take care of without your having to do anything. If you do the cleaning yourself, just make a reminder in your Mac’s Calendar so you won’t forget and end up asking yourself all over again; Why is my Mac so slow?