Are you asking the question “why is my MacBook Pro so slow?” There can be several reasons why a Mac isn’t performing as it should, but they are often due to one or more of the following:
- The Mac is old or its hardware can’t keep up. At some point the processor, drive, amount of RAM and/or graphics card simply can’t keep up with the latest software. New versions of macOS are generally compatible with Macs going back several years, but if yours is among the oldest supported by the current operating system, it may not have what it takes to be fully efficient.
- There is a hardware problem. One of the components in your Mac has failed or is failing.
- There is a software problem. The operating system or specific applications are not working as they should.
MacBook Pro So Slow – Troubleshooting Steps
Troubleshooting a MacBook Pro so slow is a process of elimination. And troubleshooting can take a time which is why ClickAway Mac Repair technicians are here to do it for you. But if your Mac is getting slow and you want to try and resolve it yourself, follow these troubleshooting steps to find what’s wrong and hopefully make it faster.
Back up your data
Whether the cause of your MacBook Pro so slow is hardware or software, the first thing to do is ensure that you don’t lose any data. If there are hardware issues, then your Mac could potentially stop working, or your drive could be corrupted. You can use Apple’s Time Machine to back up your Mac. If you have multiple backups, and your Mac fails, having two backup solutions is the best way to ensure you don’t use data. Sometimes backups get corrupted, or their drives fail too.
Restart your Mac
Restarting your Mac is quick and easy, or at least it should be. When you restart your Mac, it clears the memory and forces any processes that may have been stuck to reload. The amount of time it takes for your Mac to go from black screen to loading your desktop can also be a good indication of where to look for issues. Most Macs, regardless of configuration and operating system version, should be up and running in no more than one minute or two; Macs with SSDs should go to the login screen in seconds. If the startup process takes longer, this doesn’t give clues as to what’s wrong, but it does suggest that something is happening when the Mac loads macOS rather than later.
If the restart process takes a long time, try again after disconnecting any peripherals connected to the computer, especially hard drives. Sometimes problems with external hard drives can slow down Macs, as the Mac is trying to read and perhaps index the drive. At other times, even keyboards or mice can have issues that conflict with your Mac.
Check Resource Usage
If a restart did not solve your MacBook Pro so slow issues, or only fixed them for a short time, you should check how your Mac’s hardware is being used. Is your Mac using too much RAM and running out of memory? Are certain stuck processes causing your Mac to slow down? MacOS has a useful utility called Activity Monitor. This utility gives you a live view of your Mac’s processor, RAM, energy, disk, and network usage. You can find this utility in Applications > Utilities.
First, set up Activity Monitor to make it easy to use:
- From the View menu, select Update Frequency, and then set it to its lowest value, 5 seconds. This makes it easier to see what’s happening; the display won’t change too quickly.
- In the same menu, make sure you check All Processes. Processes are apps that you see, and those that run in the background; your Mac runs dozens of different processes. Activity Monitor shows all processes in real-time. The information is sorted into different tabs that display processes in the category specified, and each one can help you narrow down the issues you’re having. ClickAway MacBook repair techs can answer any questions you have about Activity Monitory.
Check available storage space
One common cause for Mac slowdowns is when your startup drive gets full. You need disk space to store files, but also to use virtual memory. If you run out of space on your drive, then any task where virtual memory is needed may be slow.
To check your Mac’s available storage, go to the Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage. If you’re running out of space on your drive, you’ll need to move some files. Again, ClickAway is here to help you with any data backup or data transfer needs you may have.
If you frequently run low on drive space, then you’ll need to move files to an external drive, and consider upgrading the drive in your Mac, if possible, or getting a larger drive on your next Mac.
Test the Hardware
Is your Mac just spinning when you ask it to do something? Your software may not be the cause of MacBook Pro so slow. A failing drive, faulty RAM, or other hardware issues can sometimes cause the same type of symptoms. For example, the dreaded spinning beachball could be caused by a software or hardware problem.
Using the above steps, if the issue is caused by software, you should have a pretty good idea of what the culprit is; however, to test your hardware some different tools are required. There are tools built into your Mac you can to use to help identify hardware issues that may cause a slow Mac.
You can use Disk Utility to test your Mac’s hardware. Disk Utility is an app that you can use to erase, format, and partition drives, and you can also use it to check if your drives are running smoothly. You can find it in Applications > Utilities.
Select your drive and click the First Aid button. This is a good first check, and you can run it on your startup drive, or external drives, to check their integrity. Disk Utility will tell you if your disks are running correctly, will repair some issues, and will tell you if there are more serious problems that it can’t fix.
Take Your Mac to An Apple Expert
When you have checked the software and the hardware but can’t find anything wrong, you can always get more help. If you have Apple Care support for your Mac, call Apple, and they’ll help you. If not, take the Mac to ClickAway. We will do checks of the hardware and the operating system, and let you know what needs to be done and how much it will cost. Our computer tuneup service can speed things up as well by looking at the OS, RAM, temporary and duplicate files, dust in the fans and much more.