It’s almost unavoidable: your MacBook will likely slow down after a lot of use. This is a problem all computers face with enough time, but you don’t have to buy a new one every time it happens. There are plenty of ways to speed up your slow MacBook without spending a cent. We have listed ten free ways for you to try. Keep reading!

1. Close applications you aren’t using

MacBook tab screenshot

It may seem obvious, but it is something that is often overlooked. If your computer is running slow, look at all the apps you have open.

Do you really need Mail running in the background?
Can you cope with having Calendar, Reminders, and Notes closed when you’re not using them?
If so, close them. Once you quit the apps you don’t need, your computer will have more RAM (Random Access Memory), which helps run the apps you are using much more smoothly.

The easiest way to see which apps are running is by looking at the Dock on the screen’s bottom. If the program is running, it will have a dot underneath.

Another option is to press Command + Tab and see which apps are open in the App Switcher.

Close all unnecessary apps by right-clicking on the Dock icon and choosing Quit, or select the app and press Command-Q if you use the App Switcher.

2. Delete apps you don’t need

macOS apps

What about deleting the apps you don’t use at all? Think of it as a clear out of your system, just as you would with your bedroom. If you need the software in the future, you can always download it again.

For example, you may find some huge apps you never use, like GarageBand, which could help you speed up your slow MacBook a tremendous deal.

To delete unused apps, follow the next steps:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Go to Applications.
  3. Select Date Last Opened.
  4. Delete all applications you haven’t used in weeks, months, or even years.

3. Check the activity monitor to know what’s slowing you down

Activity Monitor screenshot

You may not have heard of the Activity Monitor app, but it’s a handy tool in the Application folder. Using the CPU tab, you can look at the usage of each application and process that is open; sort the programs by % CPU to see this more clearly.

You should look into any apps with high usage and consider why they may be pressuring the CPU. Perhaps you can stop something in the app to prevent it from slowing your computer down (for example, closing down some tabs on Safari).

If there is an exceptionally high CPU process (as opposed to application), you can try killing that with the force quit option at the top left of Activity Monitor.

4. Clear cache from browsers

Privacy section of macOS

This is a straightforward task. Clean the cache from your browsers, and you will enjoy more free space. More often than not, a smoother-running browser can help speed up your slow MacBook, especially if you use it on a daily basis.

To clear the cache, go to the Privacy section of your browser and remove all website data stored on your computer. Take into consideration that some of this information may still be valuable for you, such as website preferences, stored login information, or the browser’s history. Select only the data unnecessary to you.

5. Optimize disk space usage

Mac disk space screenshot

You’ll be able to see what your disk space is being used for if you go to the Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage.

If you’re using over 90% of your total available storage, you will want to think about deleting large files or apps you don’t need or use. If you still want to keep these files, we recommend moving them to external storage, for example, an external hard drive or USB.

A cloud storage service such as iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive is even more convenient, enabling you to access your files whenever you have an internet connection.

6. Install macOS system updates

macOS software update

Software updates keep your applications and computers running to their best potential. We recommend installing all-new updates as soon as possible, especially the updates from Apple. These updates optimize resource usage and can impact your Mac’s speed. Here’s how you can check if your Mac is up-to-date:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner.
  2. Go System Preferences.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. macOS will now look for available updates, if any.
  5. Click the Update Now button if an update is available.

Don’t forget to check the box Automatically keep my Mac up to date so macOS can update the system for you.

7. Delete projects and files within applications

Projects within applications

Some large files can hide in applications, especially those that involve a lot of media such as photos, videos, and music. Be sure to open these applications and remove any large and unnecessary files. If an application takes up a lot of disk space, you can likely remove files directly from within the app.

8. Use a RAM monitor or cleaner

RAM monitor

You can find many RAM cleaning tools on the App Store with a quick “memory cleaner” search. Installing one of these apps allows you to see how pressured your RAM is and can then kill all the unnecessary processes taking up some RAM bandwidth—essentially cleaning the memory.

This is a tool that everyone would benefit from having on their computer as it will make your Mac run faster. You can also consider installing more RAM on your MacBook Pro.

9. Restart your Mac

Restart Mac menu

It is simple. If you’re not using your Mac, turn it off. And when you get the chance, restart it. You should see a faster-running MacBook.

10. Maintenance to speed up your slow Mac


Are you still having trouble? You may need expert advice. It should be easy to find a Mac repair specialist who is happy to check out your computer for no charge.

If they find something wrong, they can recommend the best steps forward. Of course, these may cost a bit, but that may be the only option left if you are at this stage.

Final thoughts

We hope these tricks help you speed up your slow MacBook. If you are looking for replacements or want to change and upgrade to a better device, you can check out options on refurbished MacBooks on RefurbMe.

A refurbished MacBook can serve you well in the long run and at a much lower price point, with a professional warranty and still offering the same functionality as a brand-new one.

Check out some of our compared refurbished MacBooks on our platform in real time:

Good luck!