Tips on Fixing El Capitan
Running Slow on Mac

OS X El Capitan was released in September of 2015 and became the successor to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The upgrade to OS X 10.11 El Capitan should have brought mainly stability, security and performance improvements. And while El Capitan did deliver on all three points, everything did not go all that smoothly. Despite its user acclaim and positive reviewer ratings, OS X 10.11 has been reported to run slow on some Macs. In case you have happened to experience performance issues on your Macintosh computer after upgrading to El Capitan, these tips will have you optimize Apple’s twelfth OS X release.

How to Fix El Capitan Running Very Slow

To be fair, OS X El Capitan was a solid release which improved stability and introduced new features. In fact, it is a better experience than the preceding OS X Yosemite in every way, provided your Mac has at least 2GB of RAM to meet minimum requirements.

So why have some users experienced decreased performance and sluggishness of their systems? Here are a few common reasons for OS X El Capitan running slow on your Mac.

Spotlight Indexing

Spotlight helps you find anything and everything on your Mac using Spotlight search. To make that happen, however, Spotlight needs to carry out indexing first. The process is completed automatically in the background and can significantly slow down your entire system, if you own a lower-end machine. In this case, just let Spotlight do its thing and the problem will fix itself reportedly in 24-48 hours.


FireVault is used to secure all of your data by automatically encrypting the contents of your disk. While you’re better safe than sorry, the background process of data encryption could take away from the available performance of your Mac and cause it to feel slower. Try heading to System Preferences>Security & Privacy and turning off FireVault in the respective tab.

mac turn off firevault

Lack of Free Space or Memory

In order to maintain a consistently stable performance, OS X requires a certain amount of free hard drive space and RAM to carry out operations. Usually, it is recommended to keep approximately 15% of the total startup disk space available. You will also need to make sure your RAM is on par with your demands. You can use dedicated software, such as MacFly Pro, to quickly free up disk space, otherwise taken by temporary files, and optimize available memory on your Mac.

Software Issues

Applications installed on your Macintosh computers can sometimes misbehave and consume way more resources than intended by the developer. Such issues typically happen with third-party applications. Luckily, you can track such applications with relative ease using built-in Activity Monitor. Go to Finder>Applications, find Utilities folder and launch Activity Monitor located within. Switch between the tabs observing the processes. What you are looking for is an app that uses too much of CPU power or Memory. Simply close or relaunch the app to see whether the responsiveness of your system has been improved. Reinstalling or updating the application can help fix the problem too. Note, multimedia apps like Final Cut, Adobe Photoshop or video games are all performance demanding and will require powerful hardware to run.

How to Speed Up Mac Running El Capitan

After fixing the issues that were causing your Mac to underperform, you can take it a step further to optimize, or even speed up, your Apple computer operating under OS X El Capitan.

Ditch Apple Mail

Apple’s Mail app has caused a fair share of trouble to its users. Remember the times when Mail’s logs used to get out of hand and clutter your system? Fortunately, that’s been fixed. However, there is still a handful of things wrong with this app. In certain cases, Apple’s Mail application can take over 5% of your CPU and memory recourses simply by running in the background. Not to mention the fact that it caches attachments, which end up taking gigabytes of space. This can be quickly fixed with the help of MacFly Pro.

clear mail cache

MacFly Pro will not be deleting the actual attachment from your letters, but only erase app’s cache. Attachments will be cached again when opened from with the Mail app. That is why it is recommended you move on to a different app after cleaning out your Mail cache.

Install Updates

This one is really simple — do not overlook updates. Whether it’s one of the apps or OS X, updates are there for a reason. Even if it can seem like an insignificant update that hardly brings any changes on the surface, installing it will most likely fix some bugs and improve security. OS X El Capitan version 10.11.4 introduced a bug that caused an entire system to freeze up. Apple later recognized the issue after rolling out the fix in OS X 10.11.5 version. Letting your software update while you’re getting coffee can help fix the issues you’re currently experiencing or not yet encountered.

User a Reliable Maintenance Application

Regardless of how good you are at handling Mac’s issues, preventing them is always a better option. While you can go about maintaining sufficient disk space, removing application leftovers, excessive temp data all by hand, having a reliable set of tools at your disposal allows for better results costing less time.

How to Choose a Cleaner for Mac El Capitan

Mac utility applications, while varying in features and functionality, serve the same purpose of keeping your Macintosh computer working well. What you may be looking for in an app like this will vary depending on the type of user you are.

For instance, Maintain’s Cocktail for Mac is an optimization powerhouse full of boxes to check, scripts to run and tabs to explore. It definitely has tremendous potential, but if you are anything short of a Mac guru, you will not be making great use of the app.

To give you a different example, Prosoft’s Drive Genius 5 is an app for all things hard drive. When it comes to managing your HDD, with Drive Genius you can repair, rebuild, partition or pretty much do whatever you put your mind to. The pricing is steep and don’t expect a user-friendly design, but if hard drive is your system’s weakest link, Drive Genius can get in your spotlight.

On the other hand, MacFly Pro focuses on making Mac maintenance as simple and easy to pick up as possible. While you won’t be able to set up a custom system script, or partition your hard drive, MacFly Pro will let you take control over apps, files, processes and hidden data on your Mac. Anything from deleting duplicate items to cleaning out El Capitan system clog. It also comes with a Smart Assistant, which will analyze the data and make sure you are notified when your Mac needs a cleanup.

Dealing with a sluggish computer is never a pleasant experience, yet it becomes significantly less frustrating with the right tools at hand. Follow the steps outlines above to troubleshoot a slow Mac, and consider opting for a trusty utility to make regular Mac maintenance that much easier.

MacFly Pro

Powerful Mac cleaning utility
enhanced with Smart Assistant.