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Is your Mac running slow? Beach balling? Need to upgrade?

Mac upgrade, SSD, RAM, Apple support

Is your Mac running slow? Beach balling? Need to upgrade?

Is your Mac running slow?  Beach balling?  Should you upgrade?  Every Mac user has experienced it at some point in time, that dreaded spinning pinwheel that replaces your cursor, often referred to as the spinning beach ball of death or our personal favourite, the spinning wheel of misery. It is most commonly the result of your Mac’s hardware not being able to handle the software task you have instructed it to perform. Sometimes complex activities can temporarily overload the CPU but in the majority of cases beach balling can occur performing basic repetitive tasks like emails and working on Office programs which progressively get worse over time.

The longer you’ve had your computer, the more likely it is that your Mac is going to suffer performance issues — but that does not mean you couldn’t have the same issues with a new Mac, from time to time.

Luckily there are a few simple solutions to kick start a slow Apple Mac, and deal with beach balling.

Step 1:  Look in the Activity Monitor.

To find out if the CPU is affecting the performance of your Mac, use the Activity Monitor (/Applications/Utilities) to monitor the CPU usage. The Activity Monitor can show you how hard your CPU, hard drives, RAM and network equipment are working. Anything that is using more than 10% of your CPU could be the reason behind the sluggish execution. If and when you have found the culprit quit the application if you are not using it.  Be careful some applications called ‘root’ or system tasks should not be shut down.  If you are unsure please drop us a line!

To display each different type of usage, click the tabs at the top of the Activity Monitor screen. For example, if you are on Mac RAM Memory, you see the amount of unused memory; click CPU or Network to display real-time usage of your Mac’s CPU and network connection

Step 2:  Quit some apps.

Having too many applications open can also slow your Mac’s operating ability. It is easy to leave applications open long after we have used them. To find out which apps you are running hold command and press tab a few times to see which apps are open, and switch between them. When you land on one you want to quit, keep holding command and press q.

Step 3:  Close browser tabs.

If you have an Internet browser such as Safari or Chrome open with a lot of tabs, that can slow things down quite a bit. If you are not using a tab close it, it makes a big difference! Sometimes clearing your browser cache can also work wonders.

Step 4:  Restart.

This may seem like the simplest instruction but not everyone shuts down their computers at the end of the day. If you leave your Mac without a break for a couple of days you could experience a decrease in the performance. A restart is like a mental health day for your Mac.

Step 5:  Check your RAM

The beach ball may also appear if you don’t have enough RAM. Insufficient RAM consumes CPU cycles; the process by which a computer retrieves a programme instruction from its memory determines what actions the instruction dictates, and carries out those actions, which means fewer CPU cycles are available to apps. If apps can’t get the CPU time they want, the beach ball appears. When you run out of RAM, your Mac starts using virtual memory instead. And since the latter relies on the hard drive to store information, it’s painfully slow. If you have followed instructions 2, 3 and 4 and still don’t have enough Ram then it is worthwhile considering an upgrade for as much as your Mac will allow.

Step 6: Consider hardware upgrades

Sometimes the only way to fix a slow Mac is through hardware upgrades. Software tweaks and changes can make a big difference, but you may need more. Outdated hardware is not always up to the demanding needs of new operating systems or applications. Upgrading Apple Mac system hardware can lead to significant performance improvements. Besides buying additional Apple Mac RAM you could also use cloud storage or an external hard drive to relieve the pressure from the main drive. Or better yet, replace it with a Mac solid-state hard drive to add loads of speed.

Step 7:  Update your software

When Apple releases a new software update, the upgrade often offers an improvement in speed. Just please back up your Mac before installing a new operating system… just in case.

If you can isolate a hardware cause, the solution is obvious: You need to upgrade. In the case of the CPU, however, that means buying a new Mac. If it’s the RAM or the hard drive, you can upgrade those individually.

Mac slow, speed up my Mac, Upgrade RAM, upgrade SSD, Beach balling