How to speed up a Mac | 11 tips to make a Mac run faster

11 tweaks that will make any Apple Mac run faster. Here’s how to speed up a Mac.

The only surefire way of boosting your Mac is to install more RAM, but that can be a challenging hardware upgrade. Here we will focus on a variety of software tips, each of which will give your Mac a little boost.

You should also be sure to restart your Mac from time to time. This will stop unused apps and processes from clogging up your Mac. Also keep a clean and tidy desktop. The fewer things your RAM has to render, the more RAM you will have to keep the lights on.

Finally, if all else fails you can reinstall your Mac’s OS. This is a painful and in depth thing to do, though. So we will try our quick tips first. (See also: 9 best antivirus for Mac | Do Macs need antivirus? Best free Mac antivirus.)

How to speed up a Mac
How to speed up a Mac

How to speed up a Mac: Shut down unused or unwanted apps

If you’re running a load of applications on your Mac it will be throwing memory and CPU cycles at them, reducing the amount of both that is available to use for the apps you need. First up find out what is running. Open System Preferences and click Dock. Make sure there is a tick next to ‘Show indicator lights for open applications’.

That will show you which apps are running. To find out which are kicking your Mac’s behind, open the Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.

Activity Monitor shows all the processes on your Mac. Click on View and Windowed Processes. Select the CPU button and the “%CPU” column to list programs filtered by the amount of CPU they are taking up. This tool also lets you list by memory, disk and processes.

Now you know the apps you want to kill go to the Dock, right-click on the icon of any programs you don’t need, and choose Quit. Alternatively press Command-Tab to bring up the App Switcher, and press Command-Q to quit unused programs.

How to speed up a Mac: Uninstall apps you never use

We’ve stopped running apps we don’t need right now. But for a greater impact let’s uninstall any apps we never want to use again. The simplest way is to drag and drop apps into the Trash.

You should also remove from the dashboard any widgets you don’t use. Click the Remove icon in the bottom-left, and tap on the Remove icons on any widgets you don’t regularly use.

How to speed up a Mac: Make sure your Mac software is up to date

First let’s do a software update for Mac OS X and all your apps. Click on the Apple icon in the Menu bar and choose Software Update. To avoid ever having to do this again, click on System Preferences > App Store and make sure that ‘Automatically Check For Updates’ is selected. Then tick Install App Updates which will automatically update your software.

Apple Mac System Preferences
Apple Mac System Preferences

How to speed up a Mac: Clear disk space

If your hard disk is full it will impact on your Mac’s performance. So we will clear a little space. First right-click on the Trash can in the dock, and select Empty Trash to clear the bin.

If you need to free up more space then check through your User folder for items to get rid of (Movies and Pictures are often likely culprits). You should also empty the Downloads folder of any items you’re unlikely to need.

How to speed up a Mac: Reduce Login items

Go to System Preferences. Click Users & Groups. Click on the Login Items tab to see which programs and services are launched when you first start up your Mac. Click on any item that you don’t want, and hit the Delete from Login Items button at the bottom of the pane.

How to speed up a Mac: ‘Remove From Preference Pane’

Now we are going to look for custom items in your System Preferences. If you are not using these, they will take up a tiny amount of your Mac’s resources.

Open System Preferences and check in the row at the bottom. Right-click on any item you don’t need, and choose Remove From Preference Pane.

How to speed up a Mac: Turn off visual effects

Keeping the Dock static will help to boost your Mac. Click System Preferences > Dock and untick Magnification, Animate opening applications, Automatically hide and show the dock, Turn off accessibility.

Finally, click on ‘Minimize windows using’ and change Genie Effect to Scale Effect.

How to speed up a Mac: Limit what Spotlight searches

Spotlight is a great tool, but it has to index and re-index everything on every drive. That can steal precious resource from your Mac.

If you want to speed up your Mac, you need to limit the scope of Spotlight. Go to the Spotlight pane in System Preferences. Click on the Privacy tab, and drag in any folders or volumes you don’t need to search. That will reduce the number of files Spotlight needs to index.

Apple Mac updates to install
Apple Mac updates to install

How to speed up a Mac: Disable File Vault encryption

File Vault lets you encrypt every file you store on your Mac. This uses a lot of processor cycles, however. Disabling File Vault encryption can refresh your Mac. Click on the Security & Privacy tab in System Preferences, then on the File Vault tab. Click the padlock, type in an admin password, and click Turn off File Vault.

How to speed up a Mac: Tweak the Finder

Opening a new Finder window shows you the All My Files view. Literally every file on your Mac. This can be a drag on your Mac. Go to Finder Preferences, click the General tab, and choose a different folder from the drop-down menu.

How to speed up a Mac: Speed up Safari

Not specifically a tip to speed up your Mac, but if the slowness is affecting you browser, clearing its cache will help. Open Safari and choose Safari > Reset Safari and check Remove all Website Data. Click on Reset. READ NEXT: Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone

How to unlock iPhone: Use any SIM in iPhone | Unlock iPhone 6S | Unlock iPhone 7

We explain how to unlock any iPhone. How to unlock iPhone 6S, unlock iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and more. Here’s how to use any SIM in your iPhone.

Unlock your iPhone: Is your phone locked?

If you purchased your iPhone new in 2016 the chances are it is already unlocked. Huzzah! But check by first inserting a SIM from a network different to the one you use.

If it doesn’t work: you need to unlock your iPhone. (Error messages to look out for include ‘Invalid SIM’, ‘SIM Card Not Accepted’, or ‘Insert Correct SIM Card’. (See also: How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone | Transfer backup from old iPhone to new iPhone.)

Unlock your iPhone: What kind of SIM?

So, your iPhone is locked to one network, and you need to unlock it. The first issue with which you need to wrestle is what size of SIM you need.

If you have an iPhone 4S or older you will need a MicroSIM. The iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE use a nanoSIM. Before you go for the unlock make sure you source the right size.

Unlock your iPhone: Is it legal to unlock iPhone?

Yes! Well, yes mostly. It is legal to unlock your iPhone if you bought it outright, or you have finished paying the contract with which you bought it from a network.

Do bear in mind that if you are still in contract you haven’t technically bought your phone – it still belongs to the network. If in doubt, contact the network.

Unlock your iPhone: Use a third-party unlocking service

Ideally you should use the network to which your phone is locked to unlock it. This is the simplest and cheapest way to do it. Below we have listed out how to unlock phones from all the major UK networks.

If for some reason you don’t want to do that, you could use a third-party unlocking service. There are myriad of these online. Our only real advice is to read all of the small print. There are often hidden charges. And once your phone is under the control of a third-party, you may have no choice but to pay the (legal) surprising fee they are charging you. Better to go through the network. We’ve listed them alphabetically.

How to speed up iPhone
How to unlock iPhone

How to unlock iPhone on 3

Three says that iPhones purchased from it after 1 January 2014 will be unlocked as soon as connected to iTunes or activated over WiFi.

To unlock an iPhone running iOS 7 or above that wasn’t purchased from Three in that time you need to back it up, put in the new SIM, connect it to iTunes and do a safe restore.

If in doubt fill out Three’s online form.

How to unlock iPhone from EE, Orange and T-Mobile

Bought an iPhone from EE? The company says you need to have had your account for at least six months and be fully paid up. So far so nice, but EE says it’ll take up to 20 days to unlock your iPhone. Oh, and it will charge you £8.99 for the privilege. Oh, and if you aren’t an iPhone EE customer but have an iPhone locked to EE, your only option is to chance it with a third-party service. Sorry.

The process itself is simple if you are still an EE customer: just fill out this online form.

How to unlock iPhone on O2

Like EE, O2 simply requires you to fill out an online form. O2 Pay Monthly customers can unlock their iPhones at any time, but they remain on the hook for the full cost of the contract. So probably don’t do that.

O2 says it will now unlock all iPhones for free, however. So that bit won’t cost you.

If you’re not an O2 customer, simply put a non-O2 SIM card into your iPhone, plug it into your computer and open iTunes.

How to unlock iPhone from Tesco Mobile

Good news for Tesco Mobile customers: you can unlock your Tesco iPhone by calling 0345 301 4455, and choosing the “unlock your mobile” option. You’ll get a code with which to unlock your handset.

The bad news is that Tesco says it will only provide you with this code if you have been a subscriber for at least 12 months. Bummer.

How to unlock iPhone from Virgin Mobile

Recent iPhones purchased from Virgin Mobile should be unlocked. Some older iPhones may be technically locked, but Virgin advises to update the software to a recent iOS and it should automatically unlock. If for any reason you can’t do that a full restore should solve the problem. Still having problems, contact Virgin Mobile.

How to unlock iPhone on Vodafone

Like EE Vodafone says it requires you to either be the iPhone subscriber, or to know all of the details of the person who purchased it. With those details, it is simply a case of filling in this online form.

Unlocking through Vodafone is free if you are a contract subscriber and you’ve had your plan with the company for more than 12 months. Otherwise it’s £19.99.

Voda says it will get you sorted within 48 hours, but caveats this by saying it could take up to 10 days.

Read next: Delete junk files on iPhone | Empty iPhone cache | Delete temporary files on iPhone: 5 ways to speed up your iPhone