Free Knowledge Database

Computer Knowledge Community

March 30, 2016 How-to-Guides

What should I do if my Mac is running slowly?


What can you do if your Mac is running very slowly?

1. Your first port of call should be to access the Activity Monitor, which can be accessed by heading to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor in the Finder window.

Once opened, you should see five different tabs; CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk and Network.

2. By clicking the Memory tab, you’re taken to a window displaying a list of all processes running on your Mac, as well as a graph of memory usage.

If it’s green, all is good with your system.

However, if it’s amber or red, OS X is having trouble managing memory and could be the reason that your Mac is running slowly. This could be due to a memory-hogging application, and by organising the list by memory usage (arrow pointing down), you can quickly identify the culprit. You should ignore processes that have “root” listed as the user, and focus on applications running from your user account.

3. To identify the memory-hogging app, click on it and then click the X icon in the toolbar to close it.

In my experience, we’ve found that Google Docs can take up a huge amount of memory compared to other processes running on our Mac – we’ve noticed Docs demand 3GB+ of memory a handful of times, while the second largest process is under 1GB. Closing the Google Docs window and re-opening it usually fixes the issue and reduces the amount of memory used.

Once you’ve closed the app/stopped the memory-hogging process, many users advise you to restart your Mac. However, I feel that the effects should be almost instant as you’ve stopped the process from using too much processing power, and restarting a Mac may restart the processes (depending on what it is) and take you back to square one. By all means, restart your Mac if you desire, but we don’t think it’s necessary for the majority of users.

How to fix other issues on Mac? Visit here to find out.

Leave a comment