COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air

Powerful Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air – Imagine. You’re using your Mac to work on an important task, let’s say working on a financial report for your office.

Your Mac doesn’t have any problems, its engine sounds quiet, the transition between apps feels smooth, and there is no delay occurs when you’re typing. Everything goes very well.

All of a sudden, your Mac becomes very slow. Laggy and freezing.

These MacBook cases that suddenly becomes slow, laggy, and freezing (especially after High Sierra update) won’t have happened again if you can identify the source of the problem and fix it permanently. How to speed up a slow MacBook Pro & MacBook Air?

Now, Writer River will guide you on how to speed up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air completely. These tips also work as well on other MacBook models such as:

  • MacBook Pro 2008, 2009, mid 2010, early 2011, late 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • MacBook Air 2009, late 2010, 2011, mid 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

So, without further ado, here are some powerful tips to speed up a slow MacBook Pro & MacBook Air:

Time Machine is Running in Background

The first step to speed up MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is by checking the Time Machine. What is Time Machine? Time Machine is a default tool from Apple that has been included in OS X or macOS packages. This tool can be accessed through Spotlight, Launch Pad, or System Preferences.

Time Machine will back up all of your data, including local files and the entire system. This function is quite similar to System Restore on Windows.

The main difference is, Time Machine really backs up everything, not just the recovery points like System Restore does on Windows.

You can stop the backup process by clicking Stop Backing Up.

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
How to Stop Backing Up Process by Time Machine

When Time Machine is running in the background, macOS such a High Sierra will create regular backups and write new files to an external hard disk that will be used as backups.

This backup process can make your Mac run slowly, especially when Time Machine copies large files and big data.

Creating Folder as an Exception

Normally, some Mac users let Time Machine complete its task first before they use their MacBook Pro or Macbook Air again.

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For those of you who are in a rush or just don’t wanna wait anymore, I don’t prefer using this feature while you’re in a hurry.

If you’re a person who’s always dealing with temporary large files that you don’t want to backup, then you can make a folder as an exception in the backup process.

Here’s how to create a folder as an exception from the Time Machine Backup Process:

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
Creating Folder as an Exception
  1. Create a folder and fill in the name you want
  2. Run “Time Machine Preferences“, you can search for it using Spotlight
  3. Select “Options …” at the bottom right
  4. Add folders that you have been created in “Exclude these items from backups

Now if you need to store large data such as movies, put it in the folder you have created. Besides speeding up your slow Mac or MacBook Pro, it’s also saving more drive storage.

Delete Unnecessary Login Items

Login Items are the main source of MacBook Pro Startup’s loading which takes a long time to be done. Although not all Login Items can cause Mac becomes laggy, every process that runs on your Mac will definitely drain the available RAM.

So, how to speed up a slow Mac by setting the Login Items?

You must know the function of each Login Items on your Mac and delete some of the useless ones. You can delete the Login Items by following these steps:

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
Login Items List
  1. Open “User & Groups” found in the “System Preferences …“.
  2. Click the “Login Items” tab at the top.
  3. Checklist useless login items and delete them by clicking the minus sign in the bottom left.

Sometimes, there are several apps that put themselves into Login Items without your permission. 

Login at Startup mode on these apps can be turned off by opening the settings in each app. So don’t be surprised when the number of apps in Login Items is rising even though you have deleted it many times.

Lack of System Memory or RAM

The size of RAM (Random Access Memory) affects the speed of MacBook Pro 2009, MacBook Pro 2013, MacBook Air, or even Mac Mini 2012.

If you don’t understand what RAM is, here is a simple question that can make you understand what RAM really is:

How many things you can think about in your mind right now?

Maximum capacity to work on multiple tasks simultaneously is known as memory or RAM, you can read more about it here.

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What happens when you’re not capable to hold information in your mind? You will write it down in a note and it takes time, right? The tasks that aren’t processed by small capacity of RAM will be copied into Virtual Memory like the analogy of the note above.

To be able to speed up MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, first, you need to know the available RAM on your Mac.

Click the Apple symbol on the top left of the screen, choose About This Mac. There will be information about how much memory your Mac has.

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
About This Mac

Second, find out the amount of RAM that has been used. You can check it by running the Activity Monitor stored in the Utilities folder. Then, move to the System Memory tab to find out the amount of RAM that has been used and unused.

Remember, you need to upgrade your MacBook Pro’s RAM when the Swap used size is too large. How much the reasonable Swap size you need?

Less than 5 GB is a reasonable Swap size.

How to Save More RAM on Mac

Excessive RAM usage can also be caused by bad habits, such as running many apps simultaneously.

Here are some additional tips to save more RAM if the Mac has reached the maximum RAM capacity to speed up a laggy Mac:

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
System Memory Information on Mac
  1. Run only the apps you need. Thus, you’ll never be running out of RAM
  2. Learn the amount of RAM used by each app. Some apps do drain RAM excessively due to several factors. You can check it using Activity Monitor
  3. Restart the application occasionally. Especially the Safari browser, where its memory handling is quite bad if compared to Google Chrome

Apply this tip to save more RAM capacity and to speed up MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Hard Drive Read/Write Speed

You might have the fastest processor in the world, but it will be nothing if your hard disk has poor read/write speed.

This often happens with laptop specs nowadays: Large size of RAM, fast processor, but ± 25 MB/s read/write speed’s hard disk. Ouch.

The effect of the read/write speed greatly determines whether your MacBook Pro is slow or not. Because everytime you use your Mac, the hard disk’s read/write process will always occur.

You must’ve once copied a large file from an external hard drive to your Mac, right?

According to, The average speed on USB 2.0 is ± 53 MB/s. Both on Windows and Mac, read/write speed affects data transfer and how quickly an app is being opened for the first time.

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If you are interested in knowing the read/write speed of hard disk in your MacBook Pro, you can run this command in Terminal:

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
Testing Write/Speed of Hard Disk on Mac using Terminal

Write Speed:

time dd if=/dev/zero bs=1024k of=tstfile count=1024

Read Speed:

dd if=tstfile bs=1024k of=/dev/null count=1024

Do you see the number next to bytes/seconds? Copy the number and convert it to MB/s via Google by searching “50287333 bytes to MB“. The result is ± 50 MB/s.

So how to increase the hard disk read/write speed so your MacBook Pro won’t be slowing down again?

If you have a plan to buy a new Mac in the future, make sure the hard drive on the Mac is an SSD (Solid State Drive) that no longer uses a disk platter that produces noisy sounds, but instead it uses electrical circuits.

The read/write speed of SSD can reach 5 times faster than a normal HDD (Hard Disk Drive). Wow!

Force Quit Not Responding Apps

Some apps may not be responding and freezing, and they are slowing down your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The hanging or not responding apps can make the entire macOS system to not work properly.

Fortunately, this problem doesn’t make the OS X and High Sierra to be completely out of control. You can easily press Command + Option + Escape together to show up the Force Quit feature and close apps that are hanging/not responding:

COMPLETE GUIDE: 5 Tips to Speed Up MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
How to Force Quit Apps on Mac

What will you do if the main cause of laggy and slow MacBook Pro isn’t the apps, but the process that runs in the background? Easy, find out which process is problematic and do Force Quit through Activity Monitor.

These are my full guide to fix laggy & slow Mac. Apply these powerful tips to speed up MacBook Pro and MacBook Air permanently.

Well, knowing the causes of MacBook slow performance is an important thing. You will be able to fix the issue yourself without bringing your Mac to the Apple Service Center.

If there are other clever tips that I haven’t included in this article, please let me know by writing them down in the comment! Thanks!

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