Slow technology is undeniably irritating. Although it may be a first-world problem, it’s still pretty infuriating to look at a buffering icon for minutes on end or when programs stop responding entirely. From malware to high resource-consuming apps, there are plenty of reasons why your Mac is running slowly. Fortunately, the latter is far more common. Therefore, checking your Mac’s CPU and RAM usage should be your very first step when trying to speed up your device. Here’s how to do so:
Use the Activity Monitor App
macOS comes with an app called Activity Monitor. As the name implies, this software monitors Mac’s activity levels, giving you most of the information you need to know about your device’s resources. In addition to CPU and RAM, this is also where you can see energy, disk, and network consumptions.
The app itself is straightforward. At the top, there are tabs filtering the information. In this case, you want to focus on the first two, CPU and memory. Clicking on CPU will display a list of all the apps running (including those that are idle or running in the background). The amount of information can be overwhelming, but the first column tells you the software that is consuming a higher level of resources. However, before getting into that, looking at the summary at the bottom already gives you a clear idea of your CPU usage. Here, you want to check the ‘System’ and ‘User’ percentages. If one of them is too high, then you have a problem, and it’s time to find the culprit in the apps list by ordering it by % CPU. After finding it, just quit the software in question. It’s important to mention that Idle CPU is usually high, and that’s completely fine, as this is the amount of CPU that isn’t being used at the moment.
On the other hand, Activity Monitor’s Memory tab is much simpler. Here, instead of percentages, you have the actual amount of RAM each process is using. But, as with CPU, you should check the summary at the bottom of the window first. Physical memory is the amount of RAM your Mac has, whereas the memory used is, well, the RAM currently being used. The information on the right of that section is what’s more interesting:
- App memory: RAM being used by all software.
- Wired memory: RAM required by Mac’s operating system.
- Compressed: RAM being compressed by inactive apps to give more memory to active software.
With this, it’s simple to understand where the problem lies. If the app memory is too high, then the issue lies with the software being used. However, if the compressed RAM is off the charts, it means that you have too many apps open simultaneously and should close the ones you aren’t using.
Use Mac Optimization Software
Considering that Apple provides a free tool that allows you to understand your CPU and RAM usage, you might be asking yourself why you should open your wallet and invest in Mac optimization software. The answer is simple: it displays your MacBook’s levels in a more straightforward way and provides useful tools to pinpoint and close the main culprits.
Take one of the best Mac optimizers on the market – CleanMyMac X – as an example. This software creates a shortcut in the menu bar, which shows the device’s available memory and CPU load within seconds. But the fun part comes after you click on the information itself. Clicking on the RAM data opens a user-friendly menu with all the data you need. In addition to an eye-catching pie chart, CleanMyMac X provides some advice on what to do and the apps that are using the most RAM. Conveniently, there’s a button beside the programs’ names that close the high-consuming software right away. As a neat extra, the software is able to free up memory without requiring you to close apps.
The CPU menu is very similar but provides relevant information when dealing with processing power. The software also displays the ‘Top Consumers’ list, but instead of a pie chart, it presents a graph showing the CPU usage within the last minute. What’s more, it also provides the device’s temperature, which is key to ensuring you don’t end up with a fried Mac.
But this is just scratching the surface, as Mac optimization software comes with all the whistles and bells that keep your MacBook running smoothly and for longer. Malware removal, app updater, disk permissions repair, and disk space clearing are just some of the wonders you can get with a Mac optimizer, making it worth every penny.
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