15+ Tricks to Speed Up Slow Running macOS Catalina

Well, it isn’t normal for a Mac to slow down after a system upgrade. However, if you are among those unlucky ones, you can experience Mac running slow. Perhaps it can be slow startups, logins, or application launches. No matter what the issue is, these tips will help make your Mac run faster.

Why is Mac running slow after upgrading to macOS Catalina 10.15?

One of the common reasons for this problem is that your Mac laptop or desktop isn’t compatible with macOS Catalina. This could be if your Mac is made before 2012. If you find yourself in this situation, the only solution you have is to.

Thinking we’ll recommend buying a new Mac? Not at all, by disabling certain features you can try to speed up your Mac.

However, if this reason doesn’t apply to you, and your Mac supports macOS 10.15 you can try plenty of other methods explained in this tutorial to speed up your Mac OS running on Catalina.

Easiest Way to Speed Up MacOS Catalina and Make It Run Faster

Users always look forward to macOS updates as they bring plenty of exciting features, bug fixes, design tweaks, and security advancements. Sadly, updates aren’t always perfect – users might face speed issues and performance lags. Many users after updating to macOS Catalina 10.15 have started to slow down. Here are ways to speed up Mac running slow.

Before that, here’s a tip for you: Download Cleanup My System & delete useless startup items, clean junk files, and other redundant data to reclaim space and boost speed.

However, if you want to fix a Mac running slow on your own, here are the best solutions for you.

How to Speed Up MacOS Catalina: Top 14 Ways

Here are listed the best ways to make your MacOS Catalina run faster:

1. Restart your Mac

It might look like an easy fix but it is all it takes sometimes to fix the temporary issues. If you are suddenly facing a slow speed on your new Mac, it might be a glitch. There are possibilities that can cause the Mac to be exceptionally slow. So, the initial step should always be to restart your Mac to fix the slow-running macOS Catalina. It will close all of the running applications and processes. The reboot will clear the system and user cache and allow you to have better performance. 

2. Disable Startup items

Like Windows when you boot a Mac for the first time several programs start automatically without your consent. These startup items always load at boot time unless you change the settings, and this causes Mac to run slow. If you want to get rid of these programs starting automatically follow the steps below:

item desibled

  1. Click Apple Menu > System Preferences > Users and Groups.
  2. Now, click on the username > login items.
  3. This will show you a list of programs that start automatically when you boot your Mac Machine.
  4. Select the programs you wish to disable. Once selections are made click (-) located at the bottom.

This will disable selected startup items.

Read More: Best Startup Manager Apps for Mac

Tip: Not all programs that automatically get launched at the Mac Startup are visible to you. Some of these programs remain hidden, which means that even after disabling certain items, you may not experience any change in overall speed. To resolve this issue, we need to use a tool that can help detect Startup apps. For this, we recommend using Cleanup My System. Once you have the tool installed on your Mac, head towards the Startup Apps section and eliminate launch agents and login items, you don’t need.

  • Download the program and launch the utility on your Mac. 
  • To manage login items, navigate to the Startup Manager module. A list of all the Launch Items and Login Items will be presented to you. By default, all the items will be selected. You can uncheck the ones you wish to keep and hit the Clean Now button!

Cleanup My System

This way you can remove unwanted and hidden items to speed up Mac without putting in a lot of effort! 

3. Reset both System Management Controller (SMC) and PRAM

If your SMC or PRAM is corrupt, you might face speed issues on your Mac. However, there’s nothing to worry about, you can reset both.

System Management Controller helps in the smooth running of hardware like CPU fans etc. Hence while following the steps mentioned below you need to be very careful.

To reset SMC on a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or MacBook follow the steps below:

  1. Switch off the Mac and remove the power cables.
  2. Wait for 15-20 seconds before plugging in the power cable.
  3. Before switching on the Mac, hold the Left Shift, Option, Control, and Power keys for a minimum of 10 seconds.
  4. Now, release all keys and start Mac.

This should reset SMC.

Read More: Your Startup Disk is Almost Full – How to fix it?

If there’s an issue with the resolution of Mac, only then reset PRAM. To do so follow the steps below:

  1. Shut down Mac and leave it this way for a few seconds.
  2. Power on your Mac and press the Option+Command+P+R keys.
  3. Hold these keys until you see your Mac restarting and making a beeping sound.

These steps will help reset SMC and PRAM. Worry not resetting RAM does not cause any data loss.

4.  Add More RAM

Sometimes the only solution to fix macOS 10.15 speed issues is to add more RAM. If your Mac has RAM slots and you can afford more RAM it is worth investing.

Read More: Tips to Reduce Memory Usage on Mac

You might find various tools in the market that claim to speed up Macs. Don’t trust these apps and the ones that tell your Mac is hijacked – this is a well-known scam. On the other hand, there are apps like Cleanup My System that come with a plethora of modules to clean, optimize, and keep your security intact!

Give it a try by using the free version – no commitment 😉

5. Take Control of Spotlight

Spotlight on Mac indexes each folder, including the ones mounted on external drives. And this can slow down your Mac. Here’s how to exclude folders from Spotlight indexing and speed up Mac running macOS Catalina.

1. Click the Apple logo to open the menu > System Preferences

2. Select Spotlight pane > Privacy tab.

pravicy setting

3. Press + to add folders to be excluded or simply drag folders to be excluded.

4. Exit System Preferences.

This again will help speed up slow Mac running macOS

6. Optimize Storage

This is an essential step as it will help free up storage space. If you haven’t activated this feature, follow the steps below:

optimize storage

  1. Head to Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage.
  2. You will now see a pop-up message with various options. Choose the option that reads Optimize Storage.

Once this feature is activated it will manage all files and will organize them in different categories. What’s more, it will even remove unused files thereby freeing up space. This will speed up Mac and make it run faster as macOS Catalina 10.15 will now have more space to work.

7. Clean System and App Junk

Cleanup My System

Do you keep your home cluttered? No, then why keep all the junk data on your Mac? When upgrading the system to a new OS a lot of data is written – and soon it gets obsolete as the update is done.

Cleaning all this data manually isn’t easy. To get this job done and to avoid slowing down your Mac you need a third-party app.

We recommend using Cleanup My System for effortless and regular Mac cleaning and optimization. This advanced app features a clean interface and great controls. By simply running a scan using the One-Click Care module, you can easily identify junk files, log files, caches, and other redundant data that are responsible for making your Mac slow! Uninstall Manager is the module to clean up the unwanted application quickly. 

8. Close Unused Browser Tabs

Using lots of browser tabs is convenient, but not closing them when not in use might slow your Mac. Therefore, close browser tabs that aren’t needed.

9. Disable Power Hungry Apps

If you still haven’t found the reason why your Mac is running slow, you might probably want to disable power-hungry apps. To find these apps, head to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor. Double-click on it to open up applications.

close force fully

You’ll have various columns, click on the %RAM column to identify programs taking up a lot of RAM. If that application is not in use, click on X to stop the app. Likewise, to identify other apps, click on the CPU tab and repeat the process. Click Force Quit to stop the app.

This will help speed up macOS Catalina.

10. Check Your Mac Compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina

If none of the methods have helped so far, it’s best to make sure and check if your system is compatible with macOS 10.15.

  • MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (2012 and later)
  • MacBook (2015 and later)
  • iMac, Mac Mini (2012 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)

If you are familiar with this try using the methods listed below.

11. Edit Display Settings

Apple surely has improved the user interface and for this, it uses some power and resources resulting in slowing down Mac. Therefore, to fix this issue and speed up Mac, try reducing motion and transparency. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on Apple Logo > System Preferences > Accessibility.
  2. Click the Display option > check the box opposite to Reduce Motion and Reduce Transparency.

This might not make a noticeable difference but don’t forget everything matters.

12. Update Applications

If applications installed on your macOS Catalina are outdated the performance might get worse. Hence it is recommended to apps. To update apps downloaded from AppStore, head to Preferences and choose Automatic Updates. This will help to keep all the installed apps updated.

For apps not downloaded from the App Store, launch them individually and check for updates from the application menu.

13. Shutdown Mac regularly

The latest Macs are designed to run without being restarted, therefore, most Mac users avoid shutting down the Mac. All thanks to low-power sleep mode. However, if you want to speed up Mac running macOS Catalina shut down Mac as it helps clear temporary files, freeing up RAM.

Restarting Mac regularly helps speed up Mac and make it run faster

14. Use Safe Mode

Safe mode fixes a lot of problems that lead to slow boot time like unwanted applications starting at boot time, system errors, etc. Therefore, to speed up Mac running macOS 10.15 and make it faster try using Safe Mode.

To enable Safe Mode on Mac, start holding the Shift key while starting up Mac. Do not release it until you see the login window on your Mac. This will make your boot into Safe Mode. Now see if you can see speed enhancements on your MacOS 10.15.

Read More: Boot Mac In Safe Mode: When, How And Why?

15. Reinstall macOS 10.15

By far we have discussed all the possible ways to boost Mac speed running MacOS 10.15 Catalina. However, if nothing worked for you so far, we would suggest doing a clean install of macOS Catalina. As it can potentially fix various problems associated with the macOS.

16. Check the iCloud sync

There is a possibility that your Mac is slow because it is running file synchronization between devices. This applies to those who use iCloud to sync their data on their Apple devices. To fix this issue, you can tweak the settings on your iCloud and avoid syncing large files on your Mac unless required. You can also turn off the iCloud sync for the meanwhile using Mac.  

Which solution worked for you to Speed up macOS Catalina?

At last, we highly recommend our readers update their Mac to the latest version to avoid any sluggishness or problems that may appear in older macOS versions like Catalina. The latest macOS update – Sonoma, brings a plethora of new features and improvements that can enhance your overall computing experience. You can check out this official guide to learn more about this latest macOS version.

This wraps up our guide on “Tips for speeding up your Mac (running macOS Catalina). There are numerous solutions to improve the speed of your MacBook & we’ve covered the most useful ones. We’d love to hear from you about which methods worked best for you. However, if we missed something, do let us know, we’re always happy to hear from you. 

FAQs –

Q1.How do I fix a slow Mac running Catalina?

There are multiple ways to fix the slow Mac running Catalina – keep the system updated, uninstall unwanted applications, disable unwanted login items, and declutter hard disks. Check out more reasons and fixes with details in the blog.

Q2. Does Catalina slow down older Macs?

If your device is not compatible with Catalina, it will suffer major speed issues. Therefore, check the official Apple pages before updating to newer macOS. 

Q3.How much RAM is needed for Mac Catalina?

4 GB of RAM is essential as the minimum system requirement to run Catalina on your Mac. But for better performance, we suggest 8 GB of RAM. 

Q4. Is Catalina faster on older Macs?

No, it depends on whether the Mac you are using to run is compatible with Catalina or not. If it is not compatible with the system, it can not run faster. Along with factors such as free storage space and running low CPU usage applications can determine a faster speed for older Macs.


  • comment_avtar
    Stan C
    The third option worked!!! Thanks alot

    2 years ago

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