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How to Breathe Life into Your Old Mac

How to Breathe Life into Your Old Mac

As with other computers, as Mac ages with usage, its performance tends to follow a downward slope compared to when it was new. Applications take time to launch, some freezes while in operation and requires you to restart your computer before you can do anything productive, processing executions take longer than necessary, switching among browser tabs lags, and many more. This kind of slow performance on a Mac is usually not because your hardware cannot handle the processes running on it.


old mac book pro

old mac book pro

Macs, be it MacBook or iMac, are known for their durability and their ability to run recent technologies developed by Apple Inc for their computers. This is one of the many advantages of owning a Mac. If well maintained, a Mac can last you several years before the need to replace it. However, for many users, a slow performance of their old Mac puts them on edge to get a new one. If you’re one of such users, I’m happy to tell you a new Mac might not be necessary because you can make that old Mac work like new.

There are several things you’ll come across over the Internet, especially about how you can make your Mac work faster. Here, we will focus on the two parts of your Mac that can resuscitate your computer, allowing maximum efficiency. The first part is the hardware, which will cost you some amount of money, and the other is the software part that costs you little or nothing. Let’s get down to it:

 Software Cleanup

Reinstall your Operating System

Your Mac keeps running slowly day after day because you’ve given it more tasks, over time, than it should be made to handle. You may have installed several applications in the past that you don’t use anymore. Some of these applications hug your Mac’s memory, leaving you with a small amount of memory to handle more productive tasks.

A clean OS installation can save you a lot of memory stress as it is one of the best ways to give Mac that feeling of newness. You should back up your files on another storage so that you don’t lose everything. After a fresh OS install, only reinstall applications that you use. Don’t just install an application you’re not sure you’ll ever need. Also, keep only useful and important files on your Mac’s storage. Keep it light and simple.

 Run disk utility software to keep things tidy

Although with recent features in OS X, the need to clear caches and repair permissions may not be the first call to action for a slow mac. However, checking the status of your start-up disk is not a bad idea. You can perform a check on your storage regularly for possible signs of impending failures to quickly mitigate their effect on the general performance of your computer.

To do this, simply run Verify Disk in disk utilities.

 Use the latest OS

Apple releases new versions of OS to keep mac users at performance best. With every new release of Mac OS comes new features that ups the performance of any mac.

When prompted, upgrade to the latest OS. This ensures that your Mac has full support from Apple Inc. in terms of features and security if you’re not sure of how your hardware will on a new OS release, you can create a backup of your systems, do to upgrade and test your hardware compatibility with the operating system. If there are any compatibility issues, simple restore your Mac to the backup you created before the upgrade.

Don’t overwork your Mac

Running many apps on your Mac can be the reason for its sluggishness. Your Mac can be powerful, but overworking will reduce its efficiency. Don’t run too many applications at a time – it tells on memory, hence, the overall performance. Only run those that are important to your productive tasks.

Clean up your file system

Many users think only the RAM is important to keep their Mac working at the required speed and efficiency. They assume there’s nothing wrong with keeping files in their HDD or SDD to up to 80% of the entire capacity, especially when they have a larger storage size than usual.

Well, the truth is, you need both enough memory and storage space for your computer to work at optimal capacity. Leaving just a bit over 100GB of storage space in a 500GB hard drive is not very healthy for your Mac. Create more room for it to breathe. Move some files to, say, an external storage device, in order to keep your computer light and fast.

Hardware Upgrade Tips

Change your hard disk to a Solid-state drive (SSD)

The traditional hard drives used in computers slow down the performance of processes and applications. Before now, we’ve known hard drives to be fast enough to complete our daily tasks. However, with more sophisticated software and the need for better graphical display, more resources need to the pooled from a hard drive per time. If the number of rpm (rotations per minute) provided by the hard drive is not enough to provide the required resources to the processor per time, there will be a trade-off on time.

With an SSD, processes take a shorter time to complete, applications are more responsive, and the overall performance of a computer is better.

If your old Mac runs on an HDD, consider replacing it with an SDD. You can choose any SSD size based on the amount of storage capacity your work requires and the among of money you’re willing to spend on reviving your computer.

It is best not to start fresh on a new storage drive – from the operating systems to file storage. Don’t just copy everything from your old HDD to a new SSD. There’s a high chance you no longer need most files and applications on your HDD.

Upgrade your RAM

You may think you have enough RAM to make your Mac run fast enough, but don’t conclude just yet. People often ask what RAM capacity to upgrade to. Rightly, this is subjective and largely dependent on your work efficiency.

You can check how the computer uses its memory by launching Activity Monitor. This gives you an overview of how its memory is used by each running application and the available memory. With this, you can easily tell whether you need a RAM upgrade or not.

Usually, it is advisable to have a minimum of 8GB of RAM installed on your Mac for the smooth running of applications. If you have below 4GB of RAM installed on your computer, you definitely should change it for a higher one. RAMs don’t cost so much money and are easy to self-install.

Get good backup

 Unlike your computer’s hardware, batteries degrade as the years go by. A MacBook that only lasts you only an hour can be frustrating. In breathing life into your old Mac, you should also consider replacing the battery.

Some Mac machines have easily removable batteries, while others are sealed. You can simply purchase a replacement battery if you use the detachable type. If your Mac is the sealed battery type, take your computer to an Apple authorised store to get it replaced, or use some other third-party services available near you.

Blow out the Dust

Weed them out!

Your Mac is made of electronics parts that accumulate specks of dust with usage over time. When dust coagulates excessively inside your computer, it reduces ventilation to the parts in it, which can, in turn, increase the running temperature. Cleaning your Mac will require opening it up, which is a bit technical. If you do not have the experience, go to a reliable computer repair technician to help you get the dust blown out.

Conclusively, we have provided you with nine useful tips to rejuvenate your old Mac, and make it work, just like the new ones you covet. Using all these tips will surely, save you the huge cost of getting a new Mac. You’ve had a “byte” of wisdom; it’s time to use that Mac the new way. Congratulations on this discovery. Enjoy!

Written by The Original PC Doctor on 2/12/2019.

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2 thoughts on “How to Breathe Life into Your Old Mac

  1. Gav Milne

    I have a 17 inch 2011 Mac needs an upgrade and thinking that it’s probably not worth the costs of upgrading better get a new one.
    So the question would be how many years would you go either to get an upgrade or brand new computer?
    Would it be cheaper to get an upgrade and how long do upgrades last?
    I would like to see the difference between an upgdrade and new computer

    1. The Original PC Doctor Post author

      Hi Gav, Thanks for the post that’s a great question we get asked that a lot everyday by Mac owners. We do a lot of upgrades on vintage macs that turn out really well. We first start by cleaning the machine internally with compressed air and a vacuum brush to remove all the dust; this will give the machine a better ability to keep cool and perform under pressure. We then recommend that you update the storage device with a solid-state drive or SSD, this will give you fantastic performance on the machine, for example, much faster boot-up times and more responsive user experience. Then depending on your budget, we can replace the RAM with a new one as this has a finite usable life with a certain number of read and write operations, so it wears out over time it’s so slow that you won’t notice it. You can also add in extra ram this will allow you to boot the computer faster and also load applications faster and overall better user experience. Give our team a call on 1300 723 628, and they can assess your machine and give you an exact quote on how much it will cost to bring your Mac back to life. It is a lot cheaper to fix up your current machine than buying a new one too!


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