Accelerate your Mac!

Speeding Up Your Mac: A Joe On Tech Guide

Joe Kissell

Don’t settle for a sluggish Mac! If it seems your Mac has become slower and less responsive over time, it’s not your imagination—but it’s also a problem you can solve without buying a new computer. This comprehensive book teaches you how to find the exact causes of slow performance and take steps to make your Mac zippy again.

This product has been discontinued.

Over time, your Mac can become bogged down with extra background tasks, run out of free RAM and disk space, and encounter a wide variety of other issues that lead to slow performance. With expert advice and a little detective work, you can return your Mac to its original, peppy self.

In this practical, hands-on book, Joe Kissell shares the results of his extensive research in order to teach you to:

  • Separate myth from fact when it comes to performance.
  • Measure your Mac’s speed before and after making changes.
  • Diagnose performance problems and run benchmarking tests.
  • Repair file and directory errors that can slow down your Mac.
  • Reduce the demands on your Mac’s CPU and RAM.
  • Speed up Web browsing, email, and other network activities.
  • Perform simple, inexpensive hardware upgrades.
  • Eliminate unnecessary delays in booting, sleeping, and waking your Mac.
  • Get the best possible performance from peripherals (including hard drives, SSDs, RAIDs, and input devices).

This book is aimed at Macs running 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, and 10.12 Sierra.

Hey, What’s This?
We can focus our attention on only so many books, so when our friend and longtime collaborator Joe Kissell proposed revisiting this topic and creating a new book on his own, we jumped at the chance to bring it to you. It’s his book, not ours, so it looks different, but the content is great and you can manage it in your Take Control library, just like a Take Control title.

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

Changes in version 1.1 of this book include:

  • Added “Use Optimized Storage in Sierra”

  • Made minor Sierra-related changes in “Speed Up Your Email”

  • Made small corrections to the data migration procedure in “Install an SSD”

This book is based on an earlier title of mine called Take Control of Speeding Up Your Mac, which was last updated in 2012. It has since been retired, but with the kind cooperation of the folks at Take Control Books I’ve “adopted” that book and turned it into the one you’re now reading about. I’ve thoroughly updated the text to cover newer Mac models, the latest technologies, and recent versions of macOS. (And, of course, I’ve altered the look and feel of the book to reflect the Joe On Tech brand.)

You can think of this new book as being equivalent to a major new edition. In this book I made hundreds of small changes (mainly to reflect the changes in 10.9, 10.10, 10.11, and 10.12, and in third-party software and services), along with several larger ones:

  • Removed several topics that are no longer applicable with modern Macs and recent versions of macOS, such as running Apple’s Unix maintenance scripts, disabling unused Dashboard widgets, and adding a faster video card

  • Updated Freeing Up Disk Space and Defragmenting and Optimizing Your Hard Disk to discuss the ways in which adding files to a hard disk can lead to performance degradation

  • Updated the various mentions of Disk Utility (for example, in Run Disk Utility and Watch Out for Memory Leaks) to cover the significant changes in El Capitan

  • Reworked Benchmark Your Mac’s Performance to cover Novabench rather than Xbench, which hasn’t been updated in quite a few years

  • Revised Use Activity Monitor to account for the numerous changes in this utility since the previous incarnation of this book

  • Rewrote Check for Damaged Preference Files to describe my currently recommended procedure for doing so

  • Revised Update Your Software to remove the the discussion of PowerPC apps and other irrelevant issues

  • Changed topics involving iPhoto (notably Move Your Photos Library) to cover Photos instead of iPhoto

  • Added the topic Block Ads and Trackers, which provides a good way to speed up web browsing and also helps to protect your privacy

  • Totally reworked Manage or Disable Flash, which now argues more strongly for getting rid of Flash, but also covers browsers’ built-in tools for disabling it selectively

  • Tweaked various topics in Speed Up Your Email to cover the latest versions of Mail, Outlook, and Thunderbird

  • Reworked Monitor Network Activity to describe using Activity Monitor and Private Eye rather than Rubbernet, which has been discontinued

  • Updated Check Your Wi-Fi Connection to include coverage of 802.11ac

  • Revised Upgrade Your Hard Drive or SSD to reflect current facts about SSDs as well as internal and external hard drives

  • Updated Add a Second (or Larger) Display to reflect current options for using multiple displays on a Mac (including apps that enable you to use an iOS device as an external display for your Mac)

  • Overhauled Speed Up Your Peripherals, which now covers USB 3.1 and the USB Type-C connector, as well as Thunderbolt 3, and says much less about FireWire

Do you have a book that talks about older versions of the Mac operating system?

Why, yes! I'm so glad you asked. Take Control of Speeding Up Your Mac is effectively the first edition of this title, and it looks at systems from 10.5 Leopard through 10.8 Mountain Lion.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Speeding Up Your Mac Quick Start
  • Learn What Makes a Mac Fast (or Slow)
  • Try a Few Quick Fixes
  • Diagnose Common Speed Problems
  • Fix File and Directory Problems
  • Lighten Your CPU Load
  • Increase Your Free RAM
  • Improve Your Disk Performance
  • Speed Up Your Browser
  • Speed Up Your Email
  • Speed Up Your Network
  • Speed Up Booting, Sleeping, and Waking
  • Speed Up Mouse and Keyboard Input
  • Upgrade Your Hardware
  • Speed Up Your Peripherals
  • About This Book
  • September 20, 2016 - With the release of version 1.1 of this book, which brings it up to date with Sierra, Joe has no updates planned for the near future.

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