7 ways to make your Mac boot faster.


When your computer first turns on it needs to load the system software (OS-X) and some settings from the hard drive. This is called ‘booting’.  Boot time can slow down over time as you accumulate more software and hardware connected to your computer. Here are some tips to make your Mac boot faster.

1. Get an SSD Drive.

The latest generation of Hard Disks (appearing in Macbook Airs) are called  SSD drives. They use memory on a chip (like a thumb drive). They have no moving parts. They are much faster. An SSD drive doesn’t speed up everything that you do on your mac, but it certainly does speed up boot time, opening Applications, and saving files. If you don’t have one it’s by far the best way to reduce your boot time and speed up the load time of applications. See this article for how to install one!

2. Quit apps when you Shut Down.

Lion and newer versions of OS-X  automatically open all the applications and windows from when you last shut down your mac.   If you had 10 applications open,  this will make your boot time terribly slow as it will open all 10 applications again!

To improve this you can either (1) quit apps  before you shut down,  or (2) disable the automatic opening of apps  by deselecting the ‘Reopen windows when logging back in‘ option in the shutdown menu:


Another way to achieve a similar result is to go to general preferences and select this option: ‘‘close windows when quitting application“.


OS-X will now launch the apps but it won’t open every window you had open.

Personally I like it to open all my apps and windows,  so I keep both these features enabled but I make sure I close any unnecessary apps before I shut down.

3. Create some extra space on your Hard Drive.

Generally the more free space on your hard disk the faster your computer will run. This is because OS X  is very clever and has all kinds of built in tricks to make your computer run faster.  Some of these ‘tricks’ require a lot of free disk space. The more free space you have, the easier it is for OS X to tweak your disk performance.

I try as a general rule to have approx 25% of my disk free but it must be at least 10% or things will really slow down.

This article explains a bit more about disk usage and it explains how to free up some hard disk space if you are running low.

4. Clean up your Desktop.

I know they say a messy desktop is the sign of a creative mind,  but your computer has to load the icon for every one of those files on your desktop as it boots up.  Yes – it has to fetch all those icons,  and if,  like me, you tend to accumulate literally hundreds of icons on your desktop, this can slow down your boot time significantly. Get rid of them – move them somewhere else.

Your computer has delighted everyone of those icons on your messy desktop individually.
Your computer has to load each of these icons individually.

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12 responses to “7 ways to make your Mac boot faster.”

  1. Ken Moses

    I’m interested but very new to Mac. Not sure which startup items are not necessary. And “no antivirus”? That sounds risky as I am coming from Windows machines exclusively since the time of Windows 3.1 (long time!)

    1. There’s never been a mac virus yet. There may be one eventually but we will know about it – it will be famous! Which startup items do you have?

      1. Ken Moses

        I do not know. This is a new iMac direct from Apple store with OS X 10:11:13. I have set up my email account and added an external WD HDD for Time Machine backups. It starts up pretty fast anyway with 3.3 GHz i7, 16 GB Ram and 512GB Flash drive.

      2. Morgan

        There were Mac viruses but they were back in the days of the Classic OS (c1990s( and don’t work under OSX

  2. koes

    Ken, you really don’t need an antivirus on Mac. My OS X installation running well since 2008 until now, even a lot of USB flash drive connected to exchange files and open a lot of files there. Never heard a real virus here. The only things you have to watchout is a trojan, which you ramdonly downloaded from internet and you installed it with admin access.

  3. Wally Busch

    How do you know what you need in /Library/LaunchAgents ?

  4. antonius

    point 5.
    i did delete all files in these two folders:
    1. /Macintosh HD/Library/StartupItems/
    2. /Library/LauchAgents
    and now my monitor display nothing except black screen.
    how can i restore those deleted files?

    1. I sent you an email. Did you get it working in the end?

  5. stephen Staples

    Hi I wonder if you can help me I have 27inch Mid 2011macOS High Sierra ver 10.13.6
    processor 3.4GHzIntel Corei7
    Memory 32gb
    Hard drive 1TB SATA Disk
    Available 781.42GB
    Virginmedia with cable in to the router
    But it takes a while to boot up sometimes Clean my mac pops up but I uninstalled it but I can’t find that file that pops up
    Any help would be great

    1. Certainly have plenty of RAM!
      A 2011 i7 should work for a little bit longer as long as you don’t need to upgrade to Catalina, but that HDD will definitely be slowing you down (if it is not an SSD drive).

      You will need to toss up whether you wold upgrade to an SSD drive or wait and get a new computer.

    2. motti

      “Clean my Mac” is a malware, serving others – not you. Most probably it is the reason for slowness too – it installs lots of “ad-ware” agents that enslave your Mac to the advertisers paying “Clean my Mac”.

      Your Mac is both strong, new, and relatively empty, so there should not be a slow boot (Can you please also state how long – in seconds it takes to cold-boot ?)

      My recommendation to you: Download and run “MalwareBytes” – a kind of free virus+adware identifier and remover. I does have a payed mode – but for your purpose – just checking once if there’s any adware/malware installed on your iMac, the free version should suffice. you’ll find it here: https://malwarebytes.com

      If after running it, and supposing it found nothing suspicious on your iMac, you still boot slowly – it is time to check how many things you allowed your Mac to automatically run at boot time (have you installed many extensions, add-ons, drivers, etc. ?) Maybe some of these also attempt to communicate with remote internet servers – this may take lots of time depending on network conditions, and again may slow down your booting time. But please report your MalwareBytes results before we go on.

  6. Replacement Laptop Keys

    Some good pointers here!!!! These are some great ways to make Mac boot faster…Thanks for sharing!!!

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