GOMUG: Mac Users Group Blog

6 Ways to Speed Up Your Macbook For Free

We all know that installing 4gb of RAM will speed up a MacBook and make the whole experience that little bit more smoother and quicker – but what can you do NOW for FREE that will help speed your bundle of joy along and keep it’s user happier? I will tell you 6 things that will help.

1. Remove files from the desktop

Each time that OS X loads it has to index the contents of the desktop, create thumbnail icons for each file and catalog the contents of each folder there.

Do yourself a favor and move those files to the relevant folders they belong in. This will increase the speed at which your desktop loads and therefore make your MacBook faster.

2. Remove unwanted start up applications

Go into System Preferences and User Accounts. View the list of applications that have been set to start against your user name and remove (untick) any that you don’t need any longer.

It’s great to have iChat start automatically – but not essential.

You can view a list of applications running in the background by using the top command from the Terminal window or by using the Activity Monitor application.

3. Disable the Dashboard

This is my favorite “speed up” fix for the MacBook and it works wonders each time. The OS X dashboard is great if you use it all the time, but each one of those swish little widgets and web clips is taking up memory – and you can’t even see them unless you ask for them!

To disable the dashboard, open Terminal and enter the following command:

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

You can then either reboot the MacBook or enter the following command into the Terminal window:

killall Dock

If you miss your weather widgets and stocks information, you can reverse the command by entering:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

And again either reboot or enter:

killall Dock

4. Clear the PRAM (intel MacBooks only)

Reboot your computer while holding down the command + option + p + r keys together. Don’t stop until you have heard the start up chime three or four times.

This is not a real way of speeding up your MacBook, but it will kill any gremlins that have worked their way into the non-volatile RAM settings. I found that it seemed to allow my MacBook to boot faster.

5. Clear the PMU (MacBook, Pro and Air)

You can use this method to clear non-volatile RAM and settings on the MacBook products. Whilst it will not cause your MacBook to suddenly leap into speed mode, it will get rid of any mis-configurations and setting issues.

MacBook, MacBook Pro

1. Ensure that the MacBook is turned off.

2. Remove the power adapter and remove the battery.

3. Press and hold down the power button for 5 seconds and then release.

4. Reconnect the battery and power adapter.

5. Press the power button to restart the MacBook.

MacBook Air

1. Ensure that the MacBook Air is turned off.

2. Connect the power adaptor to a working power source.

3. On the MacBook Air keyboard, press (left) Shift-Control-Option along with the power button once.

Note: You must use the keys on the left side of the MacBook Air keyboard.

4. Wait 5 seconds and press the power button to start the MacBook Air.

6. Disable unneeded system options.

If you are not using Wireless, Bluetooth, Speech Recognition or Internet Sharing – then turn them off! Not only will you see a speed increase but you will save battery life too!

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