How to Make a MacBook Faster

By Contributing Writer

Despite their easy-to-use interface and reliable operating system, Apple MacBook laptop computers can slow down considerably. If your MacBook's processing speed has lost its luster, the most surefire way to speed things up is to add more random access memory or RAM. However, before you upgrade RAM, perform a few simple diagnostics that can make a MacBook faster.

Things You'll Need

  • Administrator access
  • New RAM cards that are compatible with your machine (if applicable)
  • Phillips size 00 screwdriver (if applicable)

Diagnostics

Step 1

Check hard drive space. Go to the desktop and right click or hold down control and click the hard drive icon. If your free space is less than 1GB, install a bigger hard drive or purchase an external drive.

Step 2

Make sure your processor isn't overworked by applications in the background. Go to: "Applications > Utilities > Activities Monitor" and look at the list of running applications. Close any that you are not using.

Step 3

Fix disk permissions. Go to: "Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility," and click the drive you'd like to repair. Then select "Repair Disk Permissions."

Step 4

Check energy saver preferences. Go to: "Applications > System Preferences" and click on "Energy Saver." Make sure your machine is set to "Better Performance" as opposed to "Better Energy Savings." Note: Newer versions of OSX may not have this option.

Step 5

Make sure "Web Sharing" is off. Go to: "Applications > System Preferences > Sharing." Uncheck "Web Sharing" if it is selected.

Step 6

Make sure all software is compatible with your processor and graphics card. View your processor type by going to "Apple menu > About This Mac;" to see your graphics card type, open the System Profiler by choosing "Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info," and click "Graphics/Displays." Refer to your software documentation for its requirements, and quit all incompatible applications.

Step 7

Make sure you have enough memory (RAM) for the applications you are running. Consult the system requirements of your software, then open the System Profiler by clicking "Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info." Click on "Hardware" and look for the row that says "Memory." If your software requires more memory than you have, replace the software or upgrade RAM.

Add More RAM

Step 1

Check RAM type. Open the System Profiler by clicking "Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info," and select "Memory," or view the Apple Specifications & RAM Installation in the Resources section of this article.

Step 2

Consult your machine's documentation to determine if it can take more memory, and purchase new RAM if necessary.

Step 3

Shut down your computer and wait at least 10 minutes to allow it to cool.

Step 4

Access your computer's RAM slots, making sure that you do not touch other components and that you touch a metal surface inside the computer to discharge static electricity. Since there are many different models of MacBooks, consult the Resources for instructions on how to access memory slots.

Step 5

Push the ejection levers on the sides of the memory module so it pops up at an angle.

Step 6

Remove any memory you are replacing by holding the side notches and pulling. Be careful not touch the gold connectors.

Step 7

Align the new RAM with the lowest memory slot, tilt the card, and with two fingers push in the card.

Step 8

Repeat Step 6-7 to install additional memory, making sure the modules are parallel to one another.

Step 9

Click down the memory module and reassemble all parts.

Step 10

Connect the power source and boot your machine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider a FireWire external hard drive if you need more space, because unlike USB drives, you can create a startup disk with FireWire hard drives.
  • For best performance, fill both memory slots with an equal RAM card. For example, install two 2GB cards instead of one 2GB and one 1GB.
  • Consult all documentation and compatibility before replacing or upgrading any component.