7 Fixes For Mac Running Slow After macOS Monterey Update

Mac Running Slow After macOS Monterey Update

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Is your Mac running slow after upgrading to Monterey? There are a lot of fixes, like restarting, checking activity monitor, resetting NVRAM/SMC, and disabling startup items to speed up your system.

Let us look at it in detail for better options.

Key Takeaways:

  • Restarting your Mac is the easiest first step to speed up a slow system after a Monterey update.
  • Check the Activity Monitor to identify power-hungry apps to force quit and free up system resources.
  • Reset NVRAM and SMC on Intel-based Macs to help resolve hardware-related performance issues.
  • Disable startup items and optimize storage to free up disk space taken up by unused apps and already-viewed media files.
  • Reinstalling Monterey is the last resort to completely refresh the OS if other fixes don’t work. Back up data first.

How To Fix Mac Running Slow After macOS Monterey Update

When your Mac starts acting slow after a macOS (operating system) Monterey update, the first thing to check is if you have enough disk space for the update.

Once you have ruled that out, start by disabling the startup items and free disk space as well, you can also stop power-hungry apps from running, such as Google Chrome, from the Activity Monitor.

Apart from this, there are more fixes to help you out. We’ve covered it in the upcoming sections. Another factor to consider is how you’ve downloaded the software. If it is not through the official Apple website, then that could be why your Mac is facing performance issues.

Fixes For Mac Running Slow After macOS Monterey Update

1. Restart Your System

If you have recently updated to Monterey, and the system is too slow to function, you might have to restart it once again.

That is the first and foremost thing that you need to do before we can move up to other aspects.

Here is how you can do it.

Click on the Apple menu icon on the top left. > Choose Restart.

Wait for the system to restart and check if everything is working fine.

2. Check Activity Monitor

You can check the activity monitor to figure out if there are any apps or software that are taking up too much energy or resources on your system. Here is how you can stop such apps and force quit them.

  • Press the Space bar + Command to open Spotlight Search.
  • Now, type Activity Monitor > open it.
  • Select the app that you want to quit > double-click it.
Check Activity Monitor
  • Choose Quit.
Check Activity Monitor - Google Chrome Helper

Once the app quits, you can restart the system and check if the problem still exists.

3. Disable Startup Items

Another method you can try is disabling some of the startup apps or software. It’s definitely easy to access some of the apps that open directly at startup, but too many of these can slow down your system even if you have updated to a new software.

You can choose to disable them by following the series of steps below.

  • Click on the Apple menu on the top left of your desktop.
  • Choose System Settings.
  • Now, scroll down > click on General >  select Login Items.
Disable Startup Items
  • Under the Open at Login section, you can choose the app you want to disable.
  • Click on – to remove them from the list.
Disable Startup Items - Login Items

You can also do this by making a two-finger tap on any of the apps in the dock and clicking on Open at login. This will do the job.

4. Reset SMC & NVRAM

If restarting the Mac does not work, you can try resetting SMC and NVRAM. This is mostly used when you face hardware issues that are not resolved by general methods.

This process works differently for M1 & M2-based Macs as compared to Intel-based.

Here is how to do it.

For M1 & M2 MacBooks:

There isn’t any option to do SMC or NVRAM reset in M1 & M2 based Macs. In fact, you don’t need one. With Apple’s Silicon chip, a simple restart might be enough to reset the system just like you would want.

For Intel Based MacBooks:

Here is what you can do if you are still on an Intel-based MacBook.

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold the following keys.
    • Shift (Left Side) + Control (Left Side) + Option (Left Side) + Power Button.
  • Hold all the keys for at least 10 seconds.
  • Wait for a few seconds and restart your system again.

This works no matter what issue you face with your system, including slow-running performance.

5. Optimize Storage

The Optimize Storage feature on Mac allows you to have enough storage to run the system smoothly. Once you enable it, all your already-watched movies or TV shows will be removed from your Mac to save some space.

Here is how you can enable the Optimize Storage option.

  • Click on the Apple icon on the top-left of your screen.
  • Now, open System Settings.
  • Go to General > open Storage.
Optimize Storage
  • Now, click on Optimize beside Optimize Storage.
Optimize Storage
  • To confirm, click on Optimize again.
Optimize Storage

That’s it! Now, all the movies and shows you’ve seen will be removed to save you space.

6. Run Disk Utility

Running disk utility allows you to scan your storage disks to check for any internal errors and fix them through First Aid. We will be trying out the same to check if there are any such issues your Mac might be facing that could be slowing it down.

  • Open Spotlight search by pressing Command + Spacebar.
  • Then, type Disk Utilities > double-click to open it.
  • Now, choose any disk > press First Aid.
Run Disk Utility
  • On the dialog box, click on Run.
Run Disk Utility

Wait for the system to check for any errors on your disk. If any errors are detected, the system will fix them. You can keep doing it for all the disks.

Once done, try restarting the system and see if the device is back to its normal speed.

7. Reinstall macOS

This is the last method you can try when nothing else works. Since the issue started after you updated your Mac, reinstalling the system might be the only way to fix this. It might take time, so ensure that your device is charged.

You can reinstall without losing any data. However, just to be on the safer side, it’s always good to create a backup of all your files and settings in case they get deleted by accident.

For Apple Silicon MacBooks:

For this method, make sure you’re connected to the internet.

  • Go to the Recovery app.
  • Click Reinstall macOS Monterey > click Continue.
  • Follow the instructions that appear onscreen.

Note: When asked to select a disk, make sure you choose your current macOS disk.

For Intel Based MacBooks:

  • Press and hold the power button on your Mac.
  • Release the button.
  • Press and hold the Command (⌘)  + R keys till you see the Apple logo.

Your Mac will now enter the Recovery Mode. From here, you can reinstall macOS.

  • Choose Reinstall macOS Monterey.
  • Now, follow the on-screen instructions to install Monterey again.

Wait for the system to restart after the process is complete. You might need to give some time for the system to set up everything to determine if it is running normally.

Worried about someone accessing your Mac remotely? Not sure how to fix it? Check out our easy guide for help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Mac slow after the Monterey update?

It could be because your system does not have enough space left to run the normal applications after the update. For this, you can either choose to Optimize storage or remove files that you do not need. Moreover, it could also be because the system might still be indexing the files after the update. Hence, you might need to give it some time.

How do I speed up my slow Mac Monterey?

You can try getting rid of apps or software such as Google Chrome or any similar apps that you have used and are power hungry. They take up most of the energy of the system, and even memory slows down the system. You can check the Activity Monitor to determine this.


A slow Mac after updating to Monterey is frustrating but fixable. Start by restarting your device – this simple step often does the trick. If not, check the Activity Monitor to force quit resource-hogging apps. Resetting NVRAM/SMC, disabling startups, and optimizing storage can also help.

As a last resort, reinstall Monterey. While safe for your data, consider backing up as a precaution.

We hope these tips get your Mac speed back to normal. Let us know in the comments which method worked for you!

About Eric
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Eric currently uses a 15-inch MacBook Pro for both work and personal errands. He did all the research and testing to make sure all the fixes and optimization tips shared on the blog are relevant to Apple’s latest macOS updates as well as fact-checking.

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  • David

    Amazing how the desktop Mac can be slower after every update. I think Apple should tell people how much their system will slow down with every – cough – upgrade.

  • venner

    My iMac from end of 2015 with Monterey

    After my many phone calls with Apple support (and let me say that I’m pleased with the time they took), the problem wasn’t solved untill I came across the link below. I configured my network(s) as 2.4 and a 5Ghz. So the original network was named xxxxxx and the second one xxxxxx5 for the 5Ghz one. Same password though.

    I connected my mac to the xxxxxx5 and the wifi speed was up 10-fold.

    So, what the cause of the problem is I don’t know but for my this was the solution.


    Most negative thing about it all was that someone from the helpdesk let me know the possibility that end of 2022 it just might be the last update for the systems produced before 2016. I would detest that from Apple.

  • Stefan

    It seems most people experience a mac running slower each time they upgrade. I am supprised Apple have no comments about this, presumably it is intentional. I have just upgraded to Montery, a big mistake!!
    My mac now runs slower that my old microsoft XP machine.

  • Paul Undari

    Big Sur problem solved:  The problem isn’t with the memory. The problem is with the heat. Your mac is overheating because the fans are not spinning in proportion to use.
    1. Open activity monitor. You’ll probably see the CPU LOAD is idling at 20-30%. The culprit is the kernal_task, which is probably running over 1000 percent of CPU LOAD.
    2. Now take a look at the Memory Pressure. The pressure should be relatively low.
    3. Solution:
    1. Reset the SMC on startup. https://www.howtogeek.com/312086/how-and-when-to-reset-the-smc-on-your-mac/
    2. If problem still persists, download Macs Fan Control (MFC) from App Store, which is free.
    3. After downloading, launch it. Make sure the icon shows in the upper right corner.
    4. Make sure you have the disk utility showing on your desktop. You’re monitoring the CPU LOAD.
    5. Now open the MFC and press the first thing you see ( show MFC).
    6. Now press “Full Blast” for about 30 seconds to a minute.
    7. Now make sure to press “AUTO” for Left Side Fan and Right Side Fan. Do not mess with the “Custom” feature.
    8. Also, make sure in the MFC window — make sure “Active Preset” to Automatic.
    9. And voila. Check the CPU LOAD and you should now see consistently an idling pressure above 90%.
    4. I hope this works. It took me four months to figure it out, which includes 4 repair shop visits and a half dozen Apple workers.
    5. Any questions, let me know. Ignore the system junk idea or clearing your caches.
    6. Lastly, your kernel_task should fall below 100, rather than having it run at over 1000.
    7. BTW, I did the fixes on a 2020 MBP w/16 gigs of RAM and 1T hard drive.

    • Arjun

      Even when I do the points you have mentioned above, my fans run at 6K rpm all the time, I have MFC downloaded and it does basically nothing, I’m hoping that the next Mac update fixes this, which is currently going to release in 30mins

  • Mark

    Poor. Very poor update. My 2019 iMac 24 with 32meg ram runs sluggish since upgrade. Crashed ALL THE TIME. Adobe products unstable. Chrome is. No other way to put it. It was bad move to upgrade in March/April 2021. Fix it Apple.

  • Les

    Not only is my Macbook Air Mid 2013 running slower with Big Sur but this last update to 13.3.1 relly slowed it down.

    Also I have problems opening web sites from an open site. I have and old pc running Windows 10 and it has no problems opening the sites. Go figure!!

  • JohnIL

    Just a terrible OS Big Sur is. Both my 2018 Mac mini and my Intel 2020 MacBook Air boots up slower then previous releases. Safari 14 is awful and has forced me to consider other browsers on my Mac’s for the first time ever. Apple says Safari is faster, yeah when it actually loads the web page. Sometimes it only half loads a web page or doesn’t load it at all. Is anyone at Apple remotely capable of good quality control anymore?? It certainly has given me pause to even consider ever buying a Apple silicon Mac.

  • aps in Seattle

    I used to LOVE macOS (Mac OS X on). Then came Catalina and Big Sur and the focus on OVERLY restrictive flexibility-killing System Integrity Protection (SIP) program.

    I can not help but believe that there would have been ways to improve protections without restricting capabilities – using reasonable authentication…

  • Sparrow

    I have a ’17 iMac 24 and it takes the better part of 5 minutes for it to turn on now. Grrr!

  • Henri

    I have a none supported Mac mini 6.1 actually big sur is as slow as Catalina what is amazing is I use Photoshop and illustrator just to launch these apps on my Mac system takes 55 secs an eternity on my windows 10 partition illustrator 15 secs Photoshop 10 secs and big sur is now just to play around any serious work I use windows 10 I keep the MAC partition for now but will surely format and keep as additional storage .

    Its sad to see this apple upgrades their system so often that software developers do not bother to do likewise on my 15 yr old if not more Toshiba nb1000 I am still able to crank up illustrator in less time than it takes on my Mac and the little PC has 1gb if ram

    I believe this new system if to spruce up their iPhone sales because there is no valid reason for apple to bluntly discontinue a Mac I bought 7 years ago

    They did the same with my Mac cube in early 2000 but my HP presario still runs on windows 7 and bought in sane year

    I used to be a Mac man since the first Mac 128k using floppy disk I still have the USB floppy disk the difference now is windows sells their software systems and wants users to take advantage of all PC I have a webcam Logitech 4000 Pro that windows can automatically find driver on my Mac all I am able get is the microphone and the list goes on and on .

    A prime example of apple”s disregard for their clients I still have a 17” apple studio pro on my Mac there is no brightness adjustments yet windows supports more apple products than apple does

    Word of advice to future PC buyers get a windows supporting PC it will last you 2 decades Mac surely not 5 yrs if that and macs are 2 times more expensive there used to be a reason for this because older macs in my case never crashed and the ram Mac could manage ram brilliantly these days are gone now most of your ram is used on eye candy

    From a defunt Mac man

    P.s. taking Mac logo off my car 🙁

  • Pete Buchta

    Not updating. Bir Sur Sucks, Big Time

  • Husam Dajani

    Lousy software. Big mistake to upgrade. Very slow and of no benefit except the fantasies of Apple developers to keep their jobs.

  • Edgar

    Is you internet slow after updating to Big Sur? Maybe you need to flush the DNS on your machine.

    Open the terminal and try this:

    sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

    • Files Aside

      Thanks so much for this! It fixed the problem I was having with Safari in Monterey

  • Pashi4

    Same story. Done it all yet big sur lags like crazy.

  • Ed

    I have 1 mac mini, 1 imac 27″ and a macbook pro i7 all are slower since I updated to Big Sur.
    Nice recommandations but tried them all, spend hours on 3 macs no result.

    • macbookproslow logo


      What are your Macs’ specs?

  • Ami schneider

    Yes takes forever to get around the screen, everything is slower

    • Pashi4

      Same experience on the topped out macbook pro from 2019 with 64 GB of RAM.
      App launches take forever (Whatsapp, Telegram and others).

      • Dave Big Chief

        All versions of Mac OS are bug-filled beta crud until they reach revision 6. Update at your own risk… or wait until version 11.6

    • G. Collins

      October 26, 2021 – Just ‘upgraded’ to Monterey. Wish I had never done it and probably will not upgrade again. Slow, slow, slow. Everything is slow and the ‘beach ball’ appears for almost anything. I really regret upgrading this time round.