Sounds great? It is, but Big Sur has more of an impact on your Mac’s resources than the previous version. This means you may find your Mac slowing down after installing Big Sur, but we’re here with some handy tips on getting your macOS back up to speed again.
Note: the following post is an affiliate written article. I’m publishing it because I’ve been using CleanMyMac for several years now, and I strongly recommend it. If you decide to purchase CleanMyMac, please consider using my affiliate link which gives me a percentage of your payment to support this site.
Check the Activity Monitor
First, you need to find out if there are any apps or processes that may be making your Mac run slower, and you can find out by using the Activity Monitor. You’ll find it in Applications/Utilities. Launch the Activity Monitor and click at the top of the column labeled CPU to arrange processes in order of the CPU cycles they are using.
If any of them are using more than around 20%, it needs investigating. Bear in mind that resource-hungry apps like Photoshop may need that much power if working with large files, but small apps and background processes don’t usually need as much.
If you see any processes that seem to be using a lot of power, then try quitting them and see if that speeds things up. Sometimes it’s something as simple as this that makes all the difference! Choose the process and press Quit Process in the toolbar to close them.
Is Your Mac Drowning in Junk?
Yes, I know – going through all your old files and junk to get rid of them is a complete pain in the neck. It has to be done though – all the junk that’s built up on your Mac over time adds up to a surprising amount, and the more junk, the slower your Mac runs.
You can go through your files and delete them, but you may not be getting rid of all the system junk that’s taking up space. A much simpler way is to use CleanMyMac X (affiliate link) to scan and thoroughly clean up your system in minutes. Download and install CleanMyMac X if you don’t already have it, and click on Smart Scan. CleanMyMac X goes everything and you’ll probably be surprised at the amount of freed up space.
Update Your Apps
Keeping your apps updated can be a burdensome chore, unless you’ve got Automatic Updates set up for App Store apps. To do this, launch the App Store, click on the App Store menu, and choose Preferences. Click the box next to Automatic Updates, and you’re done.
Now for the bad news – if you have apps that didn’t come from the App Store, you’ll have to launch each app individually, click on the menu with the name of the app, and choose Check for Updates. Meh. More time spent doing Mac housekeeping. There is an easier way to work smarter instead of harder, though – use CleanMyMac X to update all your apps in a couple of clicks.
Launch CleanMyMac X, choose Updater from the sidebar and select View All Updates. Check the box next to each app and then press Update when you’re done. Swift and simple. CleanMyMac X can also help manage your login items and launch agents which also contribute to slowing your Mac down, as well as quit any hung apps for you. You’ll find these tools in the Optimization tab.
Other things you can do to help speed your macOS up is to make sure you don’t have loads of tabs open in your browser. Yes, open tabs are convenient, but they suck up RAM and CPU cycles because each page has to be constantly refreshed. If you want to keep the pages handy, press Command-D to bookmark them for later.
Big Sur promises to be a groundbreaking update for macOS, but like all things, it’s not perfect and could cause your Mac to slow down. If it does, then follow the tips above to get it running faster again.
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Great article Bakari.
I did use these tips and worked on my speed. Thanks!
I have also compiled a summary of your article with some add-on here.
Thanks a lot for the great tips!
Main thing is stop running stuff from start up especially any sort of heavy security suite. Unless you have a top end MacBook Pro many Macbook’s have low powered Intel chips. Not that they are really awful but if they have to run a bunch of background tasks constantly its going to leave less performance for everything else. Sometimes you just run apps that are just not very good with resources. They are the one’s you need to identify and find out if they need updating, or maybe you just need to accept they will slow your Mac down.
Thanks, John, for your feedback. I totally agree with you. I also use SuperTab to automatically quit applications in the background after a certain specified period of time. That seems to help with performance.