How to Optimize the Usage of RAM on Mac?

“Beach ball of death”, “spinning wheel” and “rainbow pinwheel” are the things every Mac user hates to see on their machine. These dreadful signs usually reflect problems with the computer, for example, a failing hard drive, lack of free storage etc. However, if you see a spinning wheel on a relatively new Mac, most likely it is the result of insufficient RAM amount or its inefficient distribution among the apps and processes. If you’d like to learn how to manage your RAM effectively and keep your desktop or laptop as fast as it can possibly be – this article is for you.

Before describing methods of optimizing your Mac performance, let’s first find out what RAM is. Long story short, RAM or Random Access Memory is the ‘working memory’ of the computer and a thing that allows applications to be open and running alongside each other at the same time, so the more RAM you have – the better. Modern Mac computers come with at least 4GB of RAM, which can be upgraded (on certain models) to allow users perform more complicated tasks.

Checking your Mac’s Random Access Memory capacity can give you a hint in understanding the reasons for frequent freezes, slow boot, app crashes and other problems. Before taking steps to improve the performance of the computer, identify how many gigabytes of memory you have installed.

Now that you know what RAM is and how many gigs you have on your machine, we can move on to the tips on enhancing the performance of your Mac. Basically, there are three main methods of improving the speed of your computer:

  1. Upgrading RAM
  2. Tweaking and high-tuning the operating system
  3. Using specialized software.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

 

Upgrading RAM

Upgrading RAM, or, in other words, replacing the original pre-installed memory with a larger amount is an ultimately effective, but at the same time – quite expensive way of making your Mac work better. RAM upgrades are performed by Apple at the time of purchase of the device (certain MacBook Air models) or on demand of the customers, by Apple-authorized service providers or by third-party companies working without Apple’s certification. It is also possible to replace the RAM module on your own, however, if you don’t think you’re skilled enough in tearing down electronics, that’s not the best idea.

Those who want to upgrade RAM at the Apple Store should first make the appointment and come to the outlet at the time they have selected.

If you don’t have an Apple Store with a Genius Bar in your area, try finding your local authorized service provider. The technicians will replace old RAM modules with those of higher capacity. Of course, if your computer supports RAM upgrades.

Turning to third-party services should be considered as an option by those whose warranty has already expired or those who don’t have an Apple Store or Apple authorized service provider in the country.

If you know the difference between a screwdriver and a wrench, you can also upgrade RAM module on your own. You will need a compatible memory module, a set of tools for opening and disassembling your Mac and a good tutorial. Please note that a DIY-upgrade will void the warranty and may brick your computer, so be careful.

 

Tweaking and high-tuning the operating system

That is probably the most interesting part of this post. There’s a handful of methods of speeding up your Mac without replacing the RAM modules installed by default.

If you have a MacBook Air or an older MacBook Pro model, you won’t be able to physically upgrade RAM as it is soldered to the logic board. However, you can use some tweaks to make the operating system consume less memory. If you haven’t got a Mac right now, but plan to purchase it soon, keep one thing in mind: spend extra money, but choose the model with maximum amount of RAM or pay to upgrade the memory on the computers that have it soldered to the logic board.

Manage your login items

If you have a lot of applications set to launch automatically when you log in to your computer, the RAM consumption may rise drastically. To add/remove login items, open System PreferencesUsers & Groups, select a user and hit Login items. Remove the apps you don’t need to boot up alongside your operating system.

 

Control the amount of free storage on your drive

When the amount of RAM is not sufficient to handle all active processes, your Mac uses the free storage available on the hard drive or SSD, so make sure it is not stuffed with unused files (old documents, logs, caches etc.). Having at least several gigabytes of free storage on your Mac ensures you won’t see a beachball after you load your memory with something more difficult than internet browsing or listening to music.

 

Disable resource-intensive visual effects

  • Stop using animated desktop background
  • Open System PreferencesDock and make sure Automatically hide and show the Dock is unchecked
  • Go to System PreferencesDock and select Scale effect under Minimize windows using
  • Open System PreferencesMission Control and disable Dashboard (If you use OS X El Capitan, Dashboard is disabled by default)

 

Using specialized software

Users who are not very computer literate and those who simply don’t want to mess up with system settings, might consider using specialized software as the most acceptable option. Dedicated applications for RAM consumption optimization are much cheaper than physical memory upgrades, yet these apps can give you a hand in freeing up precious megabytes of RAM.

MacKeeper Memory Cleaner

MacKeeper Memory Cleaner is simple and effective tool for instant memory cleanup. Once opened, the utility scans all processes loaded in RAM and removes those that are inactive and unused by the system or current user. Apart from that, one can set up automatic cleanups and forget about opening the app each time the computer starts to work slower.

Together with Memory Cleaner, you get 16 other tools developed to make the more secure and efficient and this seems to be a good reason to give it a try. Want to know more? Read Mackeeper Review – Does It Actually WORK?’

You can find additional information about the product at its official website.

 

Memory Booster – RAM Optimizer

Basically, Memory Booster – RAM Optimizer is a Memory Cleaner alternative with a different design and a handy menu bar widget allowing you to keep an eye on the amount of free and used memory. The app utilizes the algorithms used by other popular cleaning utilities, so in terms of functionality is considered to be quite similar to the program described above. It lacks additional features included in the MacKeeper package, so it’s a good choice for those who don’t need any other tools to maintain their machines.

Head to the App Store to read more about Memory Booster – RAM Optimizer.

 

MemoryKeeper

MemoryKeeper is another App Store application for cleaning Random Access Memory. It’s probably the simplest and most intuitive tool among those mentioned in this and it’s absolutely free. RAM maintenance is lightning fast, apart from that, the design of MemoryKeeper is simply awesome. One can set up two cleanup modes, Quick and Full, as well as manage other options easily via the Preferences pane.

Read more about MemoryKeeper at its App Store page.

 

These are the simplest and the most effective steps that can help you perform more tasks with your Mac.

Do you know any other methods of RAM usage optimization on Mac computers? Let us know in the comments section down below.

Best Mac AntiVirus Apps – What to Look For?

With Mac viruses fast becoming big business for hackers and scammers it is important we protect ourselves with effective, trustworthy and up to date virus protection. The demand for Mac virus protection is steadily increasing and so are the number of Mac antivirus softwares on the market. While choice can be a blessing, enabling you to hand pick the software that suits your needs and budget the best, it can be a bit of a hassle trawling through the competition. There are many great ones out there and albeit some mediocre ones.

When you are looking for a Mac Antivirus software to protect your cherished Mac and personal files, make sure it is…

1.) Always Up-to-Date

In order for a Mac Antivirus software to work it needs to be able to identify all Mac virus threats so when one approaches your machine it can effectively block and eradicate it. As there are thousands of new Mac virus strands created and set loose every year, in order for a Mac antivirus program to stay effective and forever keep your beloved machine out of harms way it has to stay up-to-date.

 

2.) Can Identify all Types of Mac Malware

The Common Virus, Trojan, Worms and Spyware are the main types of threatening Mac Malware. Each have different characteristics and specialisms. But even though there are only 4 main types of viruses there are hundreds of variants under each. A good Mac anti virus app needs to be equipped to cope with all of them.

 

3.) Hunt Down ‘ALL’ Lurking Mac Viruses

A lot of people are a little slow off the mark and only look to install a Mac anti virus software after an invasion of online bugs has already hit their computer. This is fine as long as the app is clever enough to overthrow the army of Mac viruses. In order to keep your Mac and personal files safe and secure every trace of the virus needs to be hunted down.

 

4.) Removes ‘ALL’ Traces of Virus

Computer viruses are very good at rapidly spreading and hiding themselves around your entire hard drive. Just like taking antibiotics for a throat infection, in order to cure the infection the solution needs to track down and eradicate all signs of unwanted invaders. This would leave your hard drive clean and pure once again.

 

5.) Fixes Damage Caused By Mac Viruses

Luckily most Mac viruses cause more of a nuisance to your computer than a devastation. If a virus has left you dealing with a slow performance, broken apps, freezing screen and missing files, then you need a program than can fix these frustrating issues and get your computer working like new again. More sever damages to your hard drive and bank account will need to be looked at by an outside professional.

 

6.) Prevents Virus Spreading

It is very easy to spread viruses from one computer to another via file sharing. A Mac compute can even spread a Microsoft infection without knowing. Some top Mac Antivirus programs can prevent you from accidentally infecting a colleagues or loved ones computer, great for your conscience and street cred.

There are loads more tips and tricks to look out for when browsing for an effective Mac antivirus software, please see our follow on article for more details.

Best Mac AntiVirus Apps – ‘What to Look For’ Continued…

In this article we are exploring the functions and features one should look for when shopping around for an effective, professional and trustworthy Mac Antivirus Program. We have already covered some essential features in our first article so to catch up please check out…

Best Mac AntiVirus Apps - What to Look For?

Now lets continue with the list 🙂

 

7.) Protects your Money

It is especially important you invest in the best Mac virus protection possible to safe guard your personal and financial information. Notorious Spyware is the usual culprit behind emptying online back accounts and they work in SILENCE. Top professional Antivirus softwares should have a feature that double backs up your passwords precious information.

 

8.) FREE Mac Antivirus Software Updates

If you payout for a software you ideally want it to be a one time thing (unless you initially get it for a real bargain). Some Mac Antivirus softwares provide free updates. Also in an ideal world these updates will be automatic, I never remember to update software and find it such a chore.

 

9.) Safeguards Children

While the word wide web can me a magical invention brimming with entertainment and knowledge it can also be a very dangerous place. Some top Mac antivirus softwares have an added parental guidance feature which helps protect children against sick sexual predators, block inappropriate adult content from popping up, prevent sneaky app store purchases and control across gaming and social sites.

 

10.) Compatible with your Mac System

Apple update their system quite often so the Mac antivirus apps have to stay on top of the changes. Even though OS X Yosemite has been available for ages, some free antivirus softwares still only work on OS X Mavericks and previous systems. If you want to install protection that works to the best of its ability then make sure you find one that is compatible with your Macs system. This shouldn’t be too difficult as most apps like to have an edge on their competitors and are usually pretty quick off the mark to stay on par with Apples updates.

NOTE: There are a couple of good free Mac antivirus softwares available to download, such as Clamxav. While they are certainly worth exploring they will naturally not be as effective as a paid for one. Aside from the obvious user-friendly controls, good graphics and the abundance of extra useful security features that professional programs come with, free apps are moderated by volunteers. In order for a Mac antivirus software to be effective it is imperative it stays up-to-date with the latest viruses rooming the web.

TIP: A lot of the professional Mac antivirus programs are similarly priced, but to give them the edge over competition some offer extra bonus features. For example I really like Mackeepers dedicated Security tool which enables your computer to be tracked if ever a thief stole it. This feature even allows you to activate the camera on your Mac from you location to record the criminals identify, talk about getting caught red handed!

MEGA TIP: Reading product reviews can be very interesting and insightful, especially Mac Antivirus software comparison review, but actually trying out and experiencing a product first hand is second to none. Some Mac antivirus softwares even offer a Free trial download! So what are you waiting for?

Top 12 Ways Apple Macs Get Viruses – Pt 4

If you have just joined us, please feel free to browse our previous articles in this category…

Top 12 Ways Apple Macs Get Viruses  – Part 1

Top 12 Ways Apple Macs Get Viruses – Part 2

Top 12 Ways Apple Macs Get Viruses – Part 3

In that last instalment we conclude our list of the 12 biggest and most common ways our precious Apple computers can fall prey to evil Mac viruses.

How to Scan Your Mac for Virus

10.) ‘Out of Date’ Mac Antivirus Software

In order to keep your Mac cushioned and safe from relentless online virus attacks you must install a dedicated Mac antivirus software that will stay on top of the pressure and demand. Hackers and scammers quickly create and release new virus codes in an attempt to bypass virus protection barriers. If an antivirus program is not alert and up-to-date they will not identify the approaching threats, leaving you vulnerable to a Mac virus invasion.

TIP: Only install a professional Antivirus program that will identifying all types of threats old and NEW.

Note: While any top professional app should provide software updates to ensure your Mac warns off any new virus threats, they are not always automatic. If you are anything like me and can not rely on yourself to be alert and regularly check your Mac antivirus program for any updates, a software that provides automatic updates may be more suitable. After all I would hate your computer to get an infection simply because you forgot to update your protection app.

 

11.) Mac Antivirus App is ‘No Longer Compatible’

Apple regularly update their system and release an entire system overhaul every two years or so. With this in mind it is important that your Mac Antivirus app stays on top of the changes. Most dedicated professional applications are very good at this as they are obviously keen to beat their competitors to the update, but free antivirus apps however are either a one off or only maintained by a volunteer so they often take ages to catch up with the new system and left incompatible. If your Macs Antivirus program is incompatible then you leave the risk of your Mac being a sitting duck with no protection against virus attacks.

TIP: While new and exciting Antivirus apps look snazzy and talk the talk, there is no proof they can walk the walk like established programs such as Norton, Kasperky and Mackeeper. They may of course be brilliant but as they are so new you do not know if the company is still afloat by the next time Apple release a new system update, older apps that have stood the test of time however are going to actively ride the changes.

 

12.) User Stubbornness

The last and biggest way viruses can infect a Mac is ‘user stubbornness’. We all know that the internet is riddled with nasty computer viruses of all shapes and sizes, especially if you were once a Microsoft user as you would have no doubt had first hand experience with viruses. One of the very first things we are taught in IT lessons is to ignore and immediately delete dodgy popups and Websites. We know that we should tread carefully when making purchases online and to not download illegal content off shifty sites. If we all behaved like gold star students than computer viruses would have a harder time cracking into our systems. Instead people splash the cash online, freely handing over their bank card details to all sorts of unestablished sites, sharing unchecked files with one another left right an centre and downloading loads of pirate files. Theres no wonder Mac viruses are a major threat.

TIP: Wise up and pay close attention to all the Mac viruses tips we have noted in our ‘How Can Viruses Infect a Mac – Top 12 list’. I understand that you can not be alert 100% of the time so to ensure your computer stays virus free, install a Mac antivirus software. Please see our ‘Best Mac Antivirus Comparison Review’ to find out what app is ideal for you.

How to Know if your Mac is Infected by a Virus?

What is a Mac Virus

mac got a virusIn short a Mac virus is a nasty piece of code that infects and spreads throughout your cherished computer. Some Mac viruses can be relatively harmless and just cause your machine or certain apps to run a bit slow. Others however can permanently damage your Macs hard drive, delete important files and even spy on you to steal your valuable personal information.

There are different types of Mac viruses – the common Virus, Worms, Trojans and Spyware. Collectively they are sometime referred to as ‘Malware’.

 

How to Know if your Mac is Infected by a Virus

Due to the different types of Mac malware having certain characteristics, there are various side effects your Mac can suffer from.

1.) Mac Running slow

Sometimes the rapidly spreading Mac virus can cause annoying physical side effects. You may notice your Mac beginning to run slowly without warning or perhaps your screen randomly freezes from time to time.

If you notice that your Mac is suddenly starts to suffer from any of these physical symptoms, then there is a chance your computer maybe infected with a virtual bug. We suggest you use a ‘Professional Mac Antivirus Software’ to eradicate the multiplying virus and rewind any damage it may cause.

 

2.) Apps Playing Up

Certain Mac viruses prefer to just focus on a single app. So even if your Mac in general is running smoothly but an application has started to act out, being slow, freezing, shutting down on auto etc, then you may still have a pest problem to fix.

 

3.) Can’t find Valuable Files

Some virus can actually munch up and delete saved files. So if you have just spent the past half an hour searching for a file you are adamant you saved, then a lurking infection may be the culprit.

 

4.) Your Internet Browser is Stuck

It is quite common for your internet browsers to get hijacked by a virtual nasty, especially since there are in the front line of fire for online bugs. You will be able to tell if your internet browser is infected as you will not be able to make changes to your homepage and general settings. The viruses can make it so difficult to restore any of the default settings that you usually have to delete you entire web browser and reinstall. Not the end of the world, but very annoying if you have a lot of stored bookmarks and saved passwords.

 

5.) The Worst Mac Virus Effect is…

The worse and potentially the most scary virus effect is noticing NOTHING…. If you have challenged by any of the above physical symptoms then the blessing in disguise it that you will be able to sort out the pest problem before any irreversible damage is done. Spyware infections can easily go unnoticed for quite some time and in my opinion the main Mac virus to be on guard about, especially if you shop online or do any online banking. Spyware is designed to silently go unnoticed. It lurks in the background waiting to take note of your valuable personal details, then it send over the date to a third party criminal.

As spyware is almost invisible but can have devastating effects, it is a good idea to regularly scan your Mac for virtual hidden nasties with a professional Mac Antivirus Software. Compare the top ones here ‘Best Mac Antivirus software Comparison Review’.

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips – Part 3

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips – Part 1

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips – Part 2

If your beloved Mac computer is currently running slow, freezing and generally being a nuisance, look no further. Here we have covered some general Mac troubleshooting tips that can get your computer out of that sticky spot of bother and running like new again!

 

Turn off Mac Screen Savers

Funky screen savers are great but not if they could be causing your Mac to run slow. Screen savers can actually cause conflicts within your computer making it play up, particularly if you have downloaded it from a third party website or an unreliable source. Theoretically you should not have any issues using a pre installed Apple screen saver as they have be designed to be seamlessly compatible with your Mac.

How to change Mac screensaver

How to Turn Off Screen Saver on Mac

If you suspect that your screensaver is causing more trouble than it is worth, simply delete it or change it by going Apple menu > System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver and make the necessary changes here.

If you found the screensaver instructions above a little too rushed, please see our article ‘How to Change Mac Screen Saver’ for easy breezy step-by-step tips.

 

Check Mac Start Up (Login) Items

Mac Start-Up (also known as Login items) can be great if you have a concrete routine every morning as it saves you that little bit of time opening up apps individually. However, making your Mac wake up its internals and battle to open up several apps simultaneously can cause conflicts, making it running frustrating slow.

mac trouble shooting

If you believe that your Mac Start-Up Items are upsetting your groggy Mac, then simple disable the apps from opening during the booting up of your computer. Just follow Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups and select the Start Up or Login tab to edit the demands.

 

Check Mac Permissions

If you or other users are experiencing problems when trying to open up an item or app, it could be down how your permissions are set. For example, the main admin user of the Mac (usually the admin user is first account that was ever created on the Mac) has the ability to restrict the movements of other users. There may be a permission on the unresponsive item that was accidentally set in your permissions and is effecting the way you or another user account can work on it. I suggest you go an take a quick look at the set permissions and see if there is an unwanted restriction in place.

trouble shooting on mac

 

How to Check Permissions on Mac

1.) Select the item in the Finder (the item may be a text document, a file or app etc)
2.) Click on the ‘File’ tab from the Finder toolbar
3.) Scroll through the drop down menu to the ‘Get info’ option.
4.) At the bottom is a category called ‘Sharing & Permissions’. Here you will be able to set and lift any restrictions or permissions to allow other users, or yourself to read, write or have no access to the item in question.

 

Check for Mac Viruses

Due to Apple machines being so irresistible and popular unfortunately there are hundreds of thousand of breeding Mac targeted bugs and viruses buzzing about the internet. If your Mac is running uncharacteristically slow it may have been struck down by a hungry virus. Not to worry, there are some great Mac softwares such as award winning MacKeeper, Norton for Mac and Kaspersky for Mac that can help eradicated the virus and restore damaged files.

Sophos Antivirus

If you are interested in safeguarding your Mac from evil bugs, check out ‘Compare the Best Mac Anti virus softwares!’

 

Mac Cleaner

If you have exhausted the Mac troubleshooting options above and your Mac is still devilishly slow or playing up, then a spot of spring cleaning should do the trick!

Specialist Mac Cleaning softwares like MacKeeper and CleanMyMac can free up potentially gigabytes of disk space from old, unwanted and duplicate files, as well polishing up your Macs insides as go as new with their impressive array of Mac maintenance tools.

I personally clean my Mac out every few months to get that signature snappy Apple Mac speed back again.

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips – Part 2

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips Part 1

If your Mac is playing up and causing you a bit of grief, try these simple Mac troubleshooting tips to get it back up and running with no hiccups.

 

Check Network Settings

If you are suffering from frustrating network or internet connections try these few steps…

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips

a.) Click on your airport symbol from your toolbar and turn it off and then back on again. Sounds silly but I have to forever do this on my old MacBook to keep it connected to the Wi-Fi.

b.) Check your networking settings in System preferences. Sometime when you make even a subtle change to one item it can have an adverse effect on a element in your settings. Just make sure everything is as it should be and nothing has shiftily switched options behind your back.

Tip: If possible, lock your preferred settings once you have applied them by clicking on the padlock icon in the network preference window.

c.) Make sure your internet provider is not down, the problem may lie with them not your computer.

 

Force Quit Naughty Apps

If a Mac app is being stubborn and has frozen and ignoring every action you make, the obvious choice to fix this problem is to ‘force quit’ the app.

Force quitting an app on Mac is very easy…

1.) Using your cursor click on your Apple menu (the mini apple icon on the far left of your toolbar)

2.) Select ‘Force Quit’.

Troubleshooting on Mac

3.) A little window will pop up displaying all of your opened apps. For now just select the app that you are having issues with and tap the blue ‘Force Quit’ button.

Ideally that should have done the trick and you can go ahead and reopen the app back up and resume as normal. However if your Mac is still running slow you could try and force quit all the open apps and give your Mac a break for a few minutes.

What if I have Unsaved Work?

Force quitting Mac apps does not harm the application or your computer, however you may lose unsaved work.

If for example you are in the middle of writing an important document but unfortunately did not save it before the app started acting up, you could…

a.) Attempt to copy the text, ready to paste it into a new document later (that is if the app will allow this action to take place).

b.) Take a screenshot of the document so you don’t have to reply solely on your memory to rewrite out the document.

c.) Give the computer 10 minutes breathing space without touching any keys or moving your mouse. Your screen my become unstuck by itself in a few minutes.

 

Eject External Devices

Sometimes external devices such as USB pen drives or installed DVDs can cause your Mac to run slow. Try ejecting any external devices and see if that helps.

Mac Troubleshooting

Note: If you can, always eject external devices correctly by dragging and dropping their icon into the trash, or for DVDs press the eject key on your Macs keyboard. Don’t just yank the external device out as that can cause more problems.

Secret tip: If you are fretting that your Mac has swallowed up a DVD for good as it is not registering it in your finder and refusing to spit it out when you press your eject key or trash the DVD icon, then give this tip a go… You can eject a disk by pressing the mouse button or Trackpad key when the Mac chimes are heard during the booting up process.

Mac OS X Troubleshooting Tips – Part 1

No matter how trendy the brand is or how eye wateringly expensive the price tag or even how new your machine is, computers can play up!

If your Mac computer is causing you problems, such as running slow, freezing and generally being more stubborn than a teenager on a monday morning, try not to worry.  While these issues can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are trying to log on to your iTunes account to download the latest gripping episode of do Game of Thrones, more often then not these problems are wonderfully easy to fix, and can be done so from the the comfort of your sofa and without the need of a Mac genus.

Despite Apples impressive OS X system being head and shoulders over its competitor, it is not bullet proof. If something dose go wrong there are a few things we need to check and a few steps we need to take to ensure that you do not lose any treasured data (that is if worse case scenario happens and your hard drive packs up, but don’t worry that is very unlikely)!

 

Backup Up Mac Data

If worse case scenario was to arise and your hard drive cuts out – perhaps you spill a cup of coffee over your keyboard or let the computer overwork and heat up to much resulting in internal damage – than backing up your files ensures you will always have the most important data safe. You can easily back up your  Mac files in a number of ways…

a.) Using your Macs built-in Time Machine app.

b.) If you want to be gently guided through the backup process to make sure you are doing everything correctly then a third party service such as award winning Mackeeper can provide 24hr support onto of their trusty Mac Backup app.

c.) You can transfer your precious files into a personal iCloud account (a virtual storage facility created by Apple that allows you to store all of your files away from your computer in an online account).

d.) Manually copy your data onto a physical external device such as a portable hard drive, USB, CD or DVD.

 

Reboot Mac

If you Mac computer has been working hard for a long time and has just started to play up, one pice of advice a IT help desks aways seem to offer is ‘reboot’ your computers. Or in other words ‘turn off the computer, wait a minuet and then switch it back on again’. For simple cases this quick little method often does the trick and after a little rest your computer will hopefully be working like normal again.

 

Check Mac Cables

This may sound like an obvious suggestion but I too are guilty of aggressively jabbing the remote control at the TV screen pondering why it is ignoring me, only to discover (10 mins later) the cable has dropped out of the back.
If you are battling a problem with an external device then double check that all the cables are connected properly and there are no loose ones. Even try pulling them out and pushing them back in again. Of course make sure you are pushing them into the correct slot – Mac computers always have loads of confusing slots and it is easy to make a mistake.

How to Use Your Mac Activity Monitor

If your Mac is running slow or an app is playing up, taking a peek inside your Activity Monitor can help shed some light on why you are experiencing problems…

 

What is My Mac Activity Monitor?

Every Mac comes with an inbuilt Activity Monitor. It is a very useful utility application that well… monitors your Macs activity! It allows you to see behind the scenes, showing you exactly how much power and memory is being used to run apps.

If you notice certain applications playing up when they are open, perhaps they themselves are running slowly maybe crashing at times, or even effecting the whole performance of your Mac, you can use your Mac Activity Monitor to help diagnose issue and fix it.

If your Mac is running slow when several apps are open but you are not sure which program is the main culprit, then your Mac Activity Monitor will certainly help you point the finger in the right direction and identify the offender.

 

How to Find Your Activity Monitor

Note Your trusty Mac activity monitor is always located in your applications folder. Follow the step by step instructions to get you there…
1.) Click on your desktop wallpaper to bring up your Finder toolbar.
2.) Three tabs along from the left you will see one titled ‘File’. Click on it.

mac activity monitor
3.) From the drop down menu please select ‘New Finder Window’.
4.) A new Finder window will pop up. From the first slim column, click on ‘Applications’ category.

how to use mac activity monitor
5.) Scroll through all of your Mac app icons until your reach your blue ‘Utilities Folder’. Click to open.

mac activity monitor
6.) Inside your Utilities folder are a few more icons. There will be a one named ‘Activity Monitor’!

 

How to Use Mac Activity Monitor

Once you click on your Mac activity monitor icon and open up the helpful utility, you will instantly be greeted by a window displaying loads of numbers. This info will constantly change and switch around. This is because the activity monitor records live info.

At the top of the Mac activity monitor window is a row of option tabs: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk and Network. These five categories are very useful as they break down the information in to sections. However, if I am checking out my activity monitor due to a slow app or my Macs struggling performance, I pay most attention to CPU, Memory and Disk.

Activity Monitor – CPU

Your CPU, a trendy acronym for the techy term ‘Central Processing unit’, is the part of your computer that carries out all the instructions of any computer program. Your CPU is built to cope with quite high demands, such as executing several instructions from different apps simultaneously. However, CPU throttling can happen. This is when the CPU can not cope with the overwhelming amount of instructions and gets confused. Resulting in a slow Mac.

mac activity monitor CPU

You can use your Mac activity monitor to see if one or several of your apps are  putting your CPU under too much pressure. If you discover this is the case, then close down any unwanted apps that do not need to be open. This should help instantly as up are taking away some pressure.

 

Activity Monitor – Memory

This section reveals details about how much system memory or RAM, a certain app is currently using. If you have a lot of large apps open that are hogging a lot of live memory, too much for your Macs installed RAM to cope with, then your Mac will start to run slowly.

mac activity monitor RAM memory

If by observing the results in your memory category you realize that your RAM is suffering under the strain of bulky apps, then try closing down any unnecessary apps. If you really need to have all of your live apps open, perhaps for work related reasons, then you may consider a RAM upgrade. ‘How to Upgrade RAM on Mac’.

 

Activity Monitor – Disk

The Disk category stands for your Macs Disk spaces, which is just a fancy term for your Macs storage space. Your Disk space is where all of your downloaded and saved files and apps are kept on your computers hard drive. If your disk space is already crowded, from years of built up saved data, and you are trying to use a space greedy app, then this may cause the program itself and your Mac to run poorly.

mac activity monitor disk usage

Freeing up Disk space is a brilliant way to help boost your Macs speed and performance. Not only can it give your CPU more breathing space, further preventing CPU throttling from happening. It can help let your RAM give better results and of course it will give you loads more storage space to continue downloading and saving files, games, movies and apps in the future .

Clearing out and freeing up potentially Gbs of Disk Space is cheap and easy. Of you have time and patience you can do this manually 7 Easy Ways to Free Up Disk Space, or on auto with the aid of a professional Mac Cleaner Software.

Top Reasons Why Your Mac is Slow & How To Fix it!

There are many reasons why your Mac may be running slow, or why certain bothersome applications may be up to no good and negatively effect computers performance. Luckily, no matter how embarrassingly sluggish your machine is, a slow Mac is usually very easy to fix and can nearly always be done from the comfort of your sofa.

In order to fix a problem you have to identify the cause! Bellow is a lost of the top most notorious reasons your Mac is slow and of course how to fix it…

 

Over Crowded Disk Space

Snaillike processing speed can be caused by something as simple as an over crowded Disk Space. Your Mac Disk Space  it the place in which all of our saved and downloaded files are safely stored on our hard drive. If you are a self confessed hoarder, then you can easily check how much Disk Space you have already used up and how much you have left. You can even find out why type of data i.e. photos, that are taking up the most room.

For more info, check out our article….

If you know your disk space is at least over half full (anything over the half way point may cause a dip in performance) then you can easily free up gigabytes of important space by safely deleting old unwanted files, duplicates and much more manually or with a professional Mac Cleaner.

For more information on how a Mac Cleaner can do this on auto, take a look at our review ‘Best Mac Cleaner Software Comparison’.

 

Small RAM

 Slow issues may be a result of to little Random Access Memory aka ‘RAM’. If you notice that your Mac is running slow mostly when you have more than two programs or apps open simultaneously, then you may have insufficient RAM. You can easily upgrade your RAM either by yourself or with the help of a professional Mac expert. This can significantly boost your Macs speed and enable it to run heavy demanding programs such as Adobe Photoshop, alongside each other seamlessly.

For more information on RAM feel free to browse our article ‘How to Check Mac RAM Memory Space’.

 

A Rouge App Wreaking Havoc

Ask yourself when you first noticed your Macs performance dipping. Had you recently installed an app or software?

A frustratingly slow Mac could even be down to a single naughty app. Every app is made with code and just like a website, all it takes is for one of the thousands of digits to be incorrect to cause an array of terrible problems. Apple apps are nearly always perfectly crafted, so unless you have been tampering with one yourself it is unlikely to be one of those. Although a reputable app produce problems if something went wrong with the download.

If it is a rouge app wrecking havoc, then it is important you remove every bit of the apps files. Simply trashing it will still leave lots of traces files imbedded deep in your hard drive. For a safe and secure removal, I recommend allowing the help of  a Mac Uninstaller program.

If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of Mac Uninstallers, check our review article ‘How To Uninstall on Mac’.

 

Check for Software Updates

Most apps, wether it be products by Apple themselves or third party providers, your apps will receive updates. It is very important to update your apps whenever their is a newer version available. Not only will it potentially provide new exciting features, and help keep horrible hackers and bugs at bay, but it will also ensure the program is running at peek performance.

So if one or two of your apps are running slower than an obese ant carrying a heavy twig up the steep incline of their ant hill, then I would check to see if it needs an update.

You can easily Check for Apple updates using your App Store and for third party providers with an Update Tracker tool.

Tip – Save oodles of time by setting your Mac to receive update alerts in your System Preferences. That way, you will know whenever there is an update available and will never be out of date again.

 

A Nasty Virus Bug

Just like when we catch a nasty infectious cold, we also feel a bit sluggish and not up to peak performance. While Apple Macs have a better inbuilt immune system than other brands, they are not bullet proof. With the popularity of Macs rocketing every year, so is the number Apple targeted viruses. You can check to see if your Mac has a virus by downloading a free trial of a top Mac Antivirus software. I personally recommend Norton for Mac, Kasperky for Mac and Mackeeper. If they find a virtual critter, then either of these top programs should be able to safely eradicated it.

 

My Mac is Still Slow?!

If your Mac is still slow and you are really not sure what it could be caused by, then use this secret weapon… Activity Monitor.

Every Mac has an inbuilt Activity Monitor that allows you to see exactly how much processing power and memory is being used by live apps. So whenever your Mac begins to run slowly, go and take a peek at your activity monitor, it may well reveal the culprit… good luck! For mmore information, check out our article ‘How to Use Your Mac Activity Monitor’.