Apple’s iMac has been around for almost 20 years now and continues to carry on the legacy of a solid performance machine in a sleek package. The only aspect where iMac falls short is limited upgradability. While it’s true that you can slide in a new RAM stick through the access door on older iMacs, other core components are not made easy to swap out. Regardless, iMacs are build to last and with proper care their performance won’t let you down.

Why Is iMac Running Very Slow?

Despite being an overall excellent package, iMacs are not fully fail-proof. A common issue that Apple computer users tend to run into is browser slowdowns. Suddenly, web content takes ages to load, the app becomes unresponsive, and the entire system can slow to a crawl. There is also a known issue when system boot up starts taking noticeably longer.

Most frequently, this kind of underperformance is a result of software-related issues. Either it’s the corrupted or outdated cache, excessive number of login items, full startup disk, etc. Diagnosing and dealing with software-based issues is definitely easier and less costly. Catching up on hardware typically calls for a bigger budget, yet may still be a more reasonable investment. Adding RAM or upgrading hard drive to an SSD is a more wallet-friendly option to go for when compared to buying a brand-new machine.

How to Speed Up iMac Performance: Hardware Upgrade

When maintaining your iMac reasonably clean on a regular, the only issue you will inevitably face sooner or later is hardware aging. You then confront a decision of either having to manage your resources and monitoring the load of individual components, or having to upgrade.

As most iMacs already come equipped with either a fusion drive, SSD, or even a decent HDD, RAM tends to be the most upgrade-worthy hardware component.

memory upgrade imac

RAM is relatively inexpensive and iMac makes it simple to swap out. Check out a more detailed guide from Apple on choosing and installing iMac RAM. Adding extra memory can make a world of difference on the ram-hungry macOS, especially if you multitask a lot on your iMac.

If you are willing to take it a step further, consider a drive upgrade. iMacs released between 2009 and mid-2012 featured 2 drive bay — a DVD/CD SuperDrive one and another for the hard drive. Most choose to replace the SuperDrive with an SSD and keep the hard drive for additional storage.

imac hard drive ssd

While acquiring an SSD will drastically improve loading times and overall iMac snappiness, there is a downside. Hard drive replacements will require skill, time, patience and a few tools to perform manually. Check out the folks at ifixit for detailed iMac drive replacement guides.

How to Clean Up iMac: System Purge

Start by checking hard drive space. If you experience a sudden drop in your overall iMac performance, the lack of available storage should be the first thing to suspect. When available space on the startup disk drops below 20GBs or 10-15% (whichever is greater), you will start noticing hiccups and lack in stability in iMac performance. You’re not dealing with a virus, it’s just that you Mac is short of space that macOS tends to use as virtual memory. The solution to this problem is simple — drive cleanup.

Begin by reviewing your entire Downloads folder (or the folder where you store downloaded files). This folder often houses tons of forgotten files that take up major space. Move things to Trash, relocate to external drive, archive and sort out documents.

Continue by revising your Applications and getting rid of dated ones. It’s true that many utilitarian apps don’t need much space, however suites like iWork, GarageBand, etc. are the space hogs you should be looking out for.

storage utility imac

Bonus tip: Peek into Apple’s storage management tool to see if you can squeeze out an extra bit of free space. Access it by opening Apple Menu>About this Mac>Storage>Manage.

Use iMac Cleaner: Storage Optimization

When looking for ways on how to wipe iMac clean without fully reinstalling macOS and starting from clean slate, consider cleanup software. Picking up the right app may take some of your time, but it’s definitely going to pay off in the long run.

Mac maintenance applications provide shortcuts and even automation to your routine cleaning. Tools provided by apps like MacFly Pro help reduce time spent cleaning to a couple of clicks. The convenience of a reliable utility is often underestimated. Finding duplicates, locating and erasing caches, sweeping app leftovers, taking control over RAM can all be done within the same interface and a click of a button.

All things considered, there is a number of ways to deal with iMac’s underperformance. Whether it’s the hardware that is due for an upgrade or macOS that calls for some cleaning, that can extend the relevance of your system.

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