After being in use for a couple years, there are a few reasons why your Mac could be running slowly. Of course, the first and most obvious could simply be old age. It could also just be because the hard drive is nearly full, or perhaps there’s a chance that you’re running an outdated operating system that isn't compatible with some of the apps you are using. Any of the above don’t really justify the expense of buying a new Mac – unless, that is, you have already committed to the decision of upgrading. For those who are just looking to boost their Mac’s performance, we have some good news: there are ways to ‘refresh' your computer. Read on to learn how.
Refresh Your Mac the Hard Way
One of the most frequent tips for repairing sluggish Mac performance is to reinstall the operating system. After all, each of your friends running Windows does it. The catch is that reinstalling macOS won’t solve the problem: while it cleans up some of the mess caused by various apps, it will still keep applications and user data intact since it only reinstalls the operating system and core system files.
The hard way to refresh your system, then, is by performing a clean install of macOS. That involves erasing the startup disk, and the result will be a completely fresh operating system without any user data, junk, messy installs, duplicate files, or whatever may be occupying space. That takes time, and you will have to start all over again by manually copy-pasting your files back onto the computer, unless you are using macOS Sierra and have access to iCloud Drive.
Refresh Your Mac the Easy Way
As you probably understand by now, junk files contribute greatly to filling up disk space and affecting Mac performance. Your Mac needs at least 10% free disk space for smooth operation, but junk is just one part of the problem: your Mac, just like every other computer, needs care. For that there are Apple’s built-in tools such as Disk Utility, or third party apps like CleanMyMac, MacBooster or the free OnyX, which include scripts you should run periodically.
A good third party Mac cleaning app will remove the need for a reinstall or a clean install, since it removes all the junk files that trigger mischievous Mac behavior. When combined with maintenance scripts – such as checking the structure of the disk, verifying and repairing permissions, and rebuilding services – you’ll have the necessary tools to keep your Mac fresh for a long time.
Still, there are extreme cases where a third party optimization app isn’t enough to refresh your Mac. If you notice that a cleanup didn’t help and you’ve checked that none of the ten most common reasons for a Mac slowing down apply to you and that the Mac has enough resources to run smoothly, that’s when a clean install of macOS is highly recommended.
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