Did you know that Apple Computer, the technology juggernaut that we know and love today as just plain old Apple, was formed on April Fool’s Day? Of course, it wasn’t a prank, and in fact, the fledgling company that had its humble start in the Jobs family’s garage would play a part in revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our lives — and would eventually be worth a mind-boggling $2 trillion USD.

Mac owners tend to be pretty brand-loyal, and if you’re among them, you may very well be reading this article on a device made by Apple. You could also be cursing that device’s slowness under your breath. Even the most state-of-the-art computer will become sluggish and laggy over time. Today we’re taking a look at some of the cleverest and most effective tips, tricks, hacks, and hints you can use to speed up your Mac!

First Things First, Free Up Some Space

One reason your Mac seems to be moving at a glacial pace? It’s too cluttered with apps, folders, and files, some of which are completely unnecessary. Others could easily be moved to a different destination, such as the cloud or an external drive, so they no longer need storage space on the computer proper.

To see what’s clogging up the system, navigate to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage. This will give you a good overview and a jumping-off place. If you are using macOS Sierra or later, there will be a button called Manage Storage. From there, you can move files to the trash, transfer them to a thumb drive, or upload them to the cloud. Just be sure that you evaluate the items on a case-by-case basis so that you don’t inadvertently discard something that is essential to the Mac’s functioning.

It’s important to understand that you will want to have approximately 10% of free storage space to keep your machine humming right along. If it’s stuffed to the gills, you will have to take action and jettison some unused apps or files.

Purge Purgeable Storage Space

Ever feel like your computer is smarter than you are? In many ways, it is — and one of those ways is identifying anything that might be causing your current molasses-in-January situation. Your Mac recognizes and consolidated things like outdated caches, duplicate files or downloads, and other unnecessary stuff into a folder called Purgeable Storage Space. It’s right there in the Storage window if you have enabled the Optimized Storage feature.

You can get rid of these manually without any real risk to your system since Mac has already done the hard work of sorting them from the more crucial files and processes. Using a program like Clean My Mac or Disk Drill, however, is much more efficient, and you can have absolute confidence that what needs to go will go, and what needs to stay will stay.

Now Check Into Activity

There’s a lot of action happening “behind the scenes” of your Mac. And just like a prima donna wants to take center stage and command everyone’s attention as often as possible, there are certain apps that hog the spotlight, too. Check out what they are by opening the Activity Monitor (via Spotlight or Command+spacebar).

You’ll see a constantly fluctuating list of apps and the amount of memory resources and CPU they are demanding. Identify the biggest culprits and figure out which ones you can close or completely uninstall. Google Chrome, for example, is fairly notorious for eating up a vast amount of system resources. Consider switching your default browser to Safari or Firefox, and it’ll be pretty easy to discover whether the Big G was indeed impeding your Mac’s speed.

Do You Need An Upgrade?

Sometimes, the answer to the question “Why is your Mac running slow?” is right in front of your face. One key to speeding things up is simply to upgrade your software in order to install the latest security improvements and performance enhancement. Apple is happy to do the heavy lifting here, so head over to System Preferences > Software Update and check the box for Automatically keep my Mac up to date

Declutter Your Desktop

Are you the type of person who lives by the motto “clean desk, clean mind”? Or are you constantly shuffling around junk mail, old to-do lists, file folders, notebooks, and other items on your desk to find that one sticky note with someone’s phone number that you know is around here somewhere? Do these periodic spelunking expeditions have an impact on your overall productivity?

If your computer desktop is similarly messy, it could be adversely affecting its productivity. Take some time every week or two to organize individual files into folders, trash files you don’t need, and otherwise tidy up. It will make a difference!

Clear Cache Files

You can think of cache files as fingerprints: every time you “touch” anything in your computer — apps, user preferences, browsers, even the system itself — you leave behind a little evidence. Downloading will add even more detritus in the form of temporary media files. As the cache files begin to pile up, your computer will have to work harder and harder to do the same jobs.

Another apt metaphor might be an air-conditioning system with dirty filters; the AC will still run, but it takes more power to achieve the same effect. By learning how to clear cache files, you can free up a lot of space and, in turn, accelerate your Mac’s actions.

Go, Mac, Go!

Computers are complicated little machines, and so there are a number of factors that feed into their speed (or lack thereof). Luckily, a few simple maintenance tasks can make your Mac go faster, and there are plenty of software products on the market that can have an even greater effect. By poking around under the hood, you will become familiar enough with the inner workings of your device to give things a tune-up when necessary — and keep you and your Mac traveling happily along the Information Superhighway!

How computer-savvy are you? Ever problem-solved an issue that was slowing down your MacBook or other computer? Any additional tips for coaxing your computer to go just a little faster? Share your thoughts in the comment section!