99 Speed Tips For A Fast Performing Mac

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99 Speed Tips For A Fast Performing Mac


This post is going to list 99 different speed tips for speeding up
your Mac. I have done a couple of these posts before, but those were
more discussions. This post is designed to tell you what to do in each
section. Each item is going to be quick, simple and easy to complete.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been collecting these and using
them. Although none of these tips will make your Mac hundreds of times
faster than it already is, if you have a slow Mac or are experiencing
slow downs a couple of these could help. There are lots of them here,
but there is always more. If you have any tips please post them below
in the comments.

1) Get Intel or G5 Binaries

A rather simple first tip. If you are running on either an Intel or
G5 check the download site of your applications to see if there is
specific binary for your computer. You may need to upgrade to get the
best speed.

2) Slim Down Universal Binaries

In a similar note to the previous tip you can save a bit of RAM and
disk space by removing the binary in applications that you wont use. Xslimmer is the best application for this job.

3) Clear Caches

Your computer runs on Caches. If a cache becomes corrupt or full of
erroneous data removing it could actually speed up your computer. Find
your caches files under /Users/[name]/Library/Cache. Once as your
delete them a new one will be created.

4) Web History

A large web history will mean your web browser will have to load it
during start up. A big history can slow this down. Delete really old
entries to speed up browsing. Disable it all together for an even
quicker load.

5) Reduce Firefox Extensions

The more extensions you have the more RAM your computer uses. Delete and uninstall Firefox extensions you don’t use.

6) Optimize Firefox

You can speed up Firefox by changing a couple of settings in the
about:config page. Open it up and add the following values. Use the
search bar at the top to search for these values and change them

network.http.pipelining = True
network.http.proxy.pipelining = True
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests = 8

You can find more Firefox settings here.

7) Reduce Mailbox Sizes

A massive mailbox (1,000 + messages) will take longer to load, this
is because Mail has to read the large database and message files
associated with it. Split large mailboxes down into folders and smaller

8) Check Mail Less Frequently

If you set Mail to check every minute you put a lot of load on your
Internet connections as well as your computer. Increase the time it
takes to check for messages to give your Mac a break.

9) Delete Unused RSS Feeds

Since Mail (and other RSS readers) can show RSS feeds you may end up
collecting a lot of feeds. Delete any old and feeds you don’t
read to increase performance. You can find my RSS feed here.

10) Remove Previous Recipients

If you message a lot of people Mail adds all of these addresses to a
list. Removing any unused emails in Window > Previous Recipients can
speed up Mail.

11) Delete Duplicate Fonts

In font book delete any duplicate fonts in font book to reduce errors and enable your Mac to speed up when using fonts.

12) Delete Any Unused Fonts

If you have hundreds of fonts which you don’t use, asking for
them in applications will slow down your Mac. Deleting them will save
your computer time.

13) Validate Fonts

Validate your fonts to make sure they are correct. Like most items
in this list, speeding up your Mac means removing anything that is
corrupt. Font validation is under the File menu item in Fontbook.

14) Remove Old Events In iCal

Similar to the history tip in your web browser. Go through your old
events in iCal and delete them. It will save iCal time when it has to

15) Reduce iCal Subscriptions

This, again, is similar to the RSS feed tip. In iCal delete any
unused subscriptions that you don’t use. Although it may not take
up a lot of remove removing it will save just that little bit of RAM.

16) Rebuild A Mail Box

Along the lines of corruption once again if you have a Mail box that
is getting bloated and it is slowing down you may need to rebuild it.
Under the Mailbox menu item when you have selected your mailbox is the
Rebuild option. Use this to rebuild your mail database.

17) Remove Smart Playlists In iTunes

All of that scripting in the smart mailboxes can cause iTunes to
open and run slowly. Delete any unused smart mailboxes and give iTunes
a break.

18) Delete iTunes Songs

If you have millions of iTunes songs it has to put all that
information into its preference file. Remove any usused songs to reduce
the size of the files iTunes uses to load.

19) Remove iTunes Plugins

Going along the same vein as the Firefox plugin tip. Delete any
unused iTunes plugins. Delete them by removing the files from the
iTunes plugin folder.

20) Empty The Trash

Give your Mac fewer items to track by deleting the Trash. Trash
files are stored in numerous locations on your disk. Emptying the Trash
will save disk space and gain you a small amount of speed when opening

21) Remove Any Languages Your Don’t Use

Your Mac and the applications on it use a lot of different language files. Use a tool like monolingual to remove any language files you don’t use. Please note people have experienced problems with this tip.

22) Remove Startup Items

Remove the number of start up items for your account by removing
them. In the Accounts System Preferences Pane, under Login Items delete
any items you don’t use.

23) Log Straight In

Every time you Mac starts to bring you the login screen it takes up
time to load the accounts screen. If you only use one account set it to
log straight into that account under Login Options in the Accounts
Preference Pane.

24) Repair Disk Permissions

In Disk Utilities, repair the disk permissions for your Mac disk.
Enables improved performance. Not a big one mind, but does help if you
have a two year old Mac and have never run this command.

25) Verify Computer Disks

Again under Disk Utilities verify your connected disks. This is to
make sure your computer doesn’t bump into any damaged blocks.

26) Test Your RAM

You have been trying to save all RAM with these little tips but you
really need to make sure that your RAM is working. Use a tool like memtest to test to make sure it works.

27) Quit Unused Programs

Mac’s have the habit of keeping programs running when you hit
the close button on any window. Close any unused programs by Command +
Tabbing through your open applications and closing them. You can save a
lot of unused RAM this way.

28) Remove Unused System Preference Panes

All those extra system preference panes have to be loaded into your
computers RAM when it is opened. If you don’t use them delete
them. Right click on any unused Preference Pane and select Remove.

29) Switch Off Universal Access, Bluetooth, Speech Recognition, and Internet Sharing

All handy little tools that can improve features on your Mac but if
you are not using them they are taking up RAM which could be used by
other computers. Go into all of your preference panes and switch off
any features you don’t need.

30) Close Widgets

Widgets can be the biggest memory hogs of all. Close any widgets
your don’t use. You will be surprised in the amount of RAM you
can save. If you are interested you can find my widget here.

31) Disable Dashboard

If you don’t use Dashboard at all you can save your login by
disabling it. Although Dashboard doesn’t run until it is called
for you can save some time during login with this simple little snippet.

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES
killall Dock

Change the YES to NO to reverse the effect.

32) Clean Your Hard Drive

All of that clutter takes up space. As well as this it also takes up
time when searching through it using Spotlight. Go through you Mac and
delete anything you don’t use. Your Mac needs about 10% for use
in swap files and other system processes.

33) Clean Your Desktop

Having lots of shiny icons on your Desktop means you Mac has to
render and store lots of shiny icon images. This takes up RAM and disk
space. Remove any items off you dashboard you don’t use.

34) Turn Off Icon Previews

If you have a lot of items in a folder, Finder has to open up every
single file and render and icon preview. Turn this off by right
clicking in a folder, select Show View Options and then uncheck Shown
Icon Preview.

35) Switch Off Image Rotation Desktop

Having a desktop which changes every 5 minutes is neat but it takes
up CPU cycles that you don’t have to lose. Turn this option off
in the Desktop sections of the preferences.

36) Let Preview and Quicklook Open Files

If you need to look into files a lot use programs like Quicklook,
Preview and Textedit to open them. This will save a lot of time and
enable you to speed up how you work. You don’t need to open a big
bulk text editor to look at one line in a text document.

37) Remove Animations

Eye candy like this is all well and good but if you want your
computer to run quicker disable it in the Preferences, you computer
will start to run quicker.

38) Remove Menubar Items

These items can suck down memory and CPU cycles like they are going
out of fashion. Remove any ones you don’t want by Command +
dragging icons off the menu bar.

39) Skip Disk Image Verification

Most disk images work as planned. The Internet at the moment
doesn’t seem to drop many packets of data. You can turn off the
checking disk image message by typing the following line into Terminal.

com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify TRUE

Change True to False to re-enable disk image verification.

40) Update Printer Drivers

Old printer drivers can take up a lot of unwarranted CPU time and
RAM. Head over to your printers driver page or search Google to finder
the latest printer driver.

41) Keep Applications Up To Date

There couple of a massive memory bug in your favourite application
which can slow it down and make it unresponsive. Use Software Update or
AppFresh to keep up with the latest release.

42) Remove Unused Perhiperals

Firefire disk, USB devices etc can cause slow downs since your Mac
has to access these devices every so often. Remove anything you
don’t use by unplugging them.

43) Use Bokeh To Freeze Applications

Bokeh is my favourite application
if I want to squeeze slightly more juice out of a program. It will
freeze any background applications from running enabling you to get
more CPU cycles out of the ones you are using.

44) Speed Up Dialogue Boxes

A cool animation effect runs when you open and close dialogue boxes.
If you want to decrease the animation time of these run this Terminal
command so you can save a couple of milliseconds.

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime 0.01

The default is 0.2 if you want to change it back.

45) Enable A Solid Background Wallpaper

Ones of those speed freaks if you disable a wallpaper picture and
just have a colour you can save your Mac from loading that image. You
will probably not notice the difference.

46) Remove Safari Favicons

Although I haven’t seen a big increase in speed with this tip
others have. Open up [name]/Library/Safari/Icons and drag this to the

47) iPhoto Thumbnail Size

Use a default thumbnail size for your iPhoto icons. Default sizes
are created when iPhoto imports and image. Using a none default size
means iPhoto has to resize the thumbnails.

48) Turn Off iPhoto Shadows

Turn off the shadows which iPhoto adds to every image. The extra processing time can be saved and used for something else.

49) Delete iPhotos Trash

Similar to your Macs normal Trash, delete the iPhoto one so it
doesn’t have to store the information and track it every time you
open iPhoto.

50) Store Aperture Photos In Their Original Location

When importing files into the Aperture library set them to be stored
in their original location and not in the Aperture Library file. The
Aperture Library file can quickly expand if you don’t keep a
tight hand on what you insert into it.

51) Turn Off iDisk Syncing

If you have an iDisk or what ever it is called you could speed up
your Mac by turning off your iDisk when you really don’t use it.

52) Learn Shortcuts

You can speed up how you work by learning computer shortcuts.
Shortcuts are a lot quicker than going through the menus. A good tool
is Keycue.

53) Make Applescripts

On the same line of number 52 you can speed up what you do by making
Applescripts and workflows for common tasks. If you do the same task
every day, it may be quicker to run an Applescript.

54) Add Cron Tasks

If you do a lot of system tasks and you know a lot about cron and
Terminal you could added system tasks to your cron tab. This will
enable you to run system tools automatically with out the need for user

55) Use A Wired Mouse

A bluetooth mouse is cool, but using bluetooth means it can lag
behind. When you are low on battery it makes you work slower because
you have to move the mouse more.

56) Use A Wired Keyboard

If you are a speed typer you will want a wired keyboard. If a wireless keyboard lags it makes you slow down, losing you time.

57) Check Your Processor Performance Setting

Under System Preferences > Energy Saver > Options, there may
be an option to change how fast you processors run to save power. If
your computer is slowing right down this option could be the problem.
Turn it back up to get the most juice out of your Mac. Turning it up
will use more energy and reduce battery time on laptops.

58) Turn Off File Vault

Encrypting your user folder is a good idea if you have a laptop, but
most people don’t need it turned on. By having it on your
computer has to work harder to decrypt the information. Turn it off
under System Preferences > Security > File Vault.

59) Use LAN Instead Of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is great for places where cables wont reach, but it tends to
be a lot slower. Use LAN when you can. Installing a new LAN cable
instead of using Wi-Fi will enable you to have massive improvements
when using your home network.

60) Upgrade Your Network Architecture

If you are using an old 10Mbit LAN network it is really slow.
Upgrade your network components to run at 1Gbit which all new Mac
support. With a new faster network your will definitely see a big speed

61) Upgrade Your Internet

Although this wont be a viable option for most people. If you can
get the fastest internet option available. A lot of things use the
internet on your Mac, the faster your internet is the quicker these
jobs will complete.

62) Upgrade Your RAM

I’ve mentioned many times about saving RAM. One of the biggest speed improvements is to add more RAM. The more RAM you have the quicker your Mac will run.

63) Buy A Fast Hard Drive

A hard drive with a faster access time will enable your computer to
run quicker. This is because it will take less time for your computer
to find the applications it needs. This may only be an option for
people running on iMacs and Mac Pro’s.

64) Buy An SSD Hard Drive

The fastest hard drive you can buy at the moment is a solid state
hard drive. These have really fast access times. If you can splash the
cash you may want to think about buying one of these.

65) RAID Your Hard Drives

Another speed tip for people with a lot of hard drives. Set you
computer to be a strip RAID. Use the RAID Utility under Utilities in
the Applications folder.

66) Upgrade Your Video Card

Most slow downs are visual. If you have a fast video card your Mac
can render your screen quicker making your Mac appear to run quicker.

67) Switch Off Application Preferences

A lot of programs have preferences which make your programs look
good but increases the time it takes for programs to open and run. Go
through your commonly used programs in the preferences and turn off
anything your don’t use.

68) Stop Using Classic Apps

A very big speed tip can be found if you stop using old classic OS 9
apps and finder a new alternative. There are hundreds of Mac OS X apps
out there so there should be no reason for using them.

69) Find Shortcuts For Your Apps

If you do a certain method of opening a folder or file their may be
a quicker way. Use Google or a search program to try and find a quicker
way of doing something. You could save yourself a couple of seconds
speeding up how you work.

70) Overclock Your Computer

A very dangerous way of speeding up your computer. But if you do
want to get a little bit more juice out of your computer you may want
to overclock it. There are plenty of tutorials on the Internet. A quick
search will reveal them.

71) Keep Your Mac Cool

When you CPU cores heat up your Mac may automatically slow them down
to preserve the life of the CPU. If you keep you Mac cool with clear
vents you can keep it running at full speed.

72) Reboot

After a while your computer may start to collect a lot of junk in
the RAM. The quickest method of getting rid of it is to reboot your
computer and start a fresh.

73) Clean Your Computer

A dirty computer will mean that your make Mac runs hotter. As a
result your computer will compensate by slowing down processes to
increase the life of it components. Clean out your Mac by taking it
apart and using an anti-static cloth. Consult Apples website for more
information. Image courtesy of tips4pc.

74) Turbo Charge Your Mouse

You can speed up how quicker your mouse tracks by using a terminal command line.

defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling some_number

The highest value that a mouse can track at is 3, through a normal
way. You can try and increase this to 5 or 6 for a starting point. To
revert it back insert a number lower than 3 or use the Preference Pane.

75) Turbo Charge A Trackpad

You can use the same method to turbo charge a laptop trackpad. The
max speed for a trackpad is 1.5 through a Preference Pane so you may
want to change some_number to 2 or 3.

defaults write -g com.apple.trackpad.scaling some_number

76) Use A Seperate Drive For Large Files

The Mac file system HFS is a fickle system for fragmentation of
large files. Defragging is not recommend for your Mac system since it
breaks system file hot clustering, but it can speed up large files. So
for a quick file access put large video files on a separate disk to
speed up access time to these files.

77) Kill Background Processes

I have mentioned earlier that you should kill any programs you are
not actively using. Another speed tip to get the most out of your Mac
is to kill any background processes. Open up Activity Monitor and quit
any processes you don’t need. Be careful because some processes
you shouldn’t quit. Only end the ones you know.

78) Optimize GarageBand Response Times

In the GarageBand Preferences change the optimization time. A small buffer will enable you to listen to tracks sooner.

79) Lock GarageBand Tracks

Lock GarageBand tracks in the main window so you can’t change
their settings. This takes the load off your CPU and RAM and puts it on
the hard drive enabling your computer to do something else.

80) Hide The Track Mixer In Garage Band

Turn off the track mixer during playback. This frees up CPU when playing back tracks.

81) Combine Tracks In GarageBand

Combine finalized GarageBand tracks so your computer doesn’t have to keep track of these music tracks.

82) Clear PRAM (Intel Macs)

Although people haven’t found any speed increase, this little
trick will clear out any RAM gremlins allowing your computer to boot
quicker. Restart you Mac and hold Command + Option + P + R and let your
computer chime three to four times.

83) Set Big Packets On Your Network

The size of your data packets on your network will enable more data
to be sent at once. Open up Network in System Preferences. Hit the
Advance button and click on Ethernet. Set the MTU to Jumbo and the
Duplex to full duplex, flow control. This will enable bigger packets to
flow over your network. You will have to do this for all your computers
for best effect.

84) Use Quicksilver

is designed to enable you to work quicker on your computer. Install it
and do your every day actions quicker. Once as you learn how it works
and how to use it you will never be without it.

85) Let Unix Scripts Run

Your computer has a couple of built in Unix scripts for cleaning up
your Mac. Keep your Mac on during the night on a Saturdays and the
first day of the month so it can run its scripts.

86) Remove Services

If you have a lot of services in the services menu this take up RAM
and time to load. Remove the ones you don’t use with a tool like Service Scrubber.

87) Clean Your Dock

Many people have found that a full dock has caused there computer to
run slower. Clean it out by removing unused applications or stacks.

88) Block Ads With Firefox

Let web pages load quicker by blocking adverts. A lot of bandwidth,
CPU and RAM is wasted with this extra content that you may not use. Use
Adblock Plus for the best browsing experience.

89) Use Onyx To Run System Tasks

Use the computer program Onyx to run maintenance tasks to keep you Mac clean. One quick tip, only do tasks which you understand.

90) Use Tinker Tool

You can use Tinker Tool
to remove parts of your computer that you don’t use. This can
save you RAM since it doesn’t have to load and rendered by your
computer. By careful before you use this tool and understand what you
are doing.

91) Use MainMenu To Access Maintenance Scripts

Use a tool like MainMenu to access maintenance scripts which you can use to clean out your Mac on a daily basis.

92) Use A Smaller Screen

Having a massive 30inch monitor is nice and cool, but you computers
graphics card has to render a lot of information. Use a smaller screen
to free up your graphics card for other tasks.

93) Use Speed Freak To Prioitize Apps

Speed Freak
can take your Mac applications and prioritize the order they are run.
This enables you to give more CPU time to certain applications. The
default on your Mac is that every application has the same CPU time.

94) Remove Shadows

For Tiger only, ShadowKiller
can remove your shadows on your computer so you computer doesn’t
have to render them. Save CPU, GPU and RAM. May look a bit funny though
if you are used to shadows all this time.

95) Buy A Faster Mac

If you want a quicker Mac the best method is to buy as faster Mac.
With these tips you will never make a Mac Mini into a Mac Pro, the only
way of doing that is to buy a Mac Pro.

96) Learn To Touch Type

One of the biggest speed tips can be yourself. If you are a really
slow typer you can save a lot of time by learning to touch type. There
are hundreds of tutorials on the web about learning to touch type. Stop
looking at the keyboard and learn where the keys are. Even better would
be to learn Dvorak.

97) Reduce Finder Icon Size

In your Finder windows if you have massive icons, it means your
computer has to render a massive amount of information. Reduce the size
of the icons through the Show View Options.

98) Disable Spotlight For External Drives

Using Spotlight can be a major hog on resources. You can switch off
Spotlight for external drives by adding it to the list under the
Spotlight option in System Preferences.

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