April 11, 2016

6 Simple Guides to Optimizing Slow Startup on MacBook Pro

guide optimizing Macbook slow startupThe startup time for a normal Mac machine is usually around 30 seconds, depending on the hardware configuration the Mac is equipped with. For example, Macs with SSDs (solid state drive) load faster than those with HDDs (hard disk drive).

If your Macbook Pro takes more than 40 seconds, or even minutes to fully start up, watch out. That means your Mac could have some problems.

We’ve found 6 best ways to boost your Macbook startup times. Depending on your Mac situation, some fixes can work better than others. We’ll show you all of them so you can determine why your computer is slow to start up and figure the the best tune up solution.

#1: You just installed a newer OS X

You’ll probably notice that your Mac takes quite a bit longer to fully start up if you’ve just finished upgrading to the OS X El Capitan. This is quite normal unless directory or permission issues are involved.

How to fix: keep your Mac on and open for 24-48 hours, and restart several times afterward.

Why can this help: your Mac system usually needs to re-index everything — e.g. Spotlight reindexes hard disk data — after you’ve updated to a more current OS X. The process could take a significant amount of time to complete, and a lot of system resources needs to be allocated for the task. Once completed, you can expect your Macbook startup time and overall performance to return to normal.

#2: Your Mac has too many login items

Like a car, it can be much slower for it to take off to 60 MPH if heavy items are loaded in the trunk. The same principle goes with a Macbook as well. A slow startup is expected if you have too many login items (i.e. applications and services that automatically launch every time your Mac starts up).

How to fix: remove unnecessary Login Items.

  1. Click the Apple logo on the top left corner, then click “System Preferences”.
  2. Find “Users & Groups” option and click on it.
  3. See the “Login Items” tab next to the “Password”? Click it.Remove Login Items Macbook Pro
  4. Here you see a list of applications or services that will open when you log in. To remove an item you don’t often use, select the checkbox in the Hide column, then click the “-” icon. That’s it.

#3: Disk permission issues

Your Mac OS X system files are saved on a hard disk–primarily “Macintosh HD”. If the disk has errors caused by third-party applications/add-ons, your Mac startup can be affected, from slow startup to a worst-case scenario of being unable to boot up.

How to fix: verify and repair disk permissions

If your Macbook runs OS X Yosemite or an older version, you can do so using Disk Utility. Learn the steps from this Apple support guide. For Macs with latest OS X El Capitan, unfortunately Apple has taken away this functionality. However, you can rely on Terminal commands to get it done. See more from this OSXDaily post.

#4: Your hard disk is nearly full

Nothing slows down your Macbook more than an almost-to-capacity hard drive, even if your Mac is using an SSD (which tends to run faster). You’ll notice your Mac lags not only in startup, but during normal usage after bootup.

How to fix: clean up your Macbook hard drive until it has at least 30% free space.

The easiest way is to rely on a third-party cleaning software such as MacBooster or CleanMyMac. It can save you tons of time getting rid of unused web browser files, finding and removing large duplicated items, uninstalling applications you don’t use, etc.

If you prefer to do this manually, start with checking those folders where you put your pictures and movies. Then go to the “Applications” folder, sort apps based on last modified or used, remove those you don’t need. Also, don’t forget the web browsers — Safari, Chrome, Firefox (yes, check this post for more). Clear the web caches, history, and dated extensions. Last but not least, transferring big files to your external hard drive would help as well.

#5: Corrupted preferences files

The preferences files on your Macbook are those files that keep the parameters–rules that define how the applications behave. If they get broken due to application crashes or hard drive corruption, it can cause a slow startup as well.

How to fix: find and update those broken preferences files

They are usually stored in the ~/Library/Preferences folder. To fix them, we’ll have to delete them first and create new up-to-date preference files. Learn more from this MacObserver article on how to get started.

#6: SMC and NVRAM needs to be reset

If your Macbook is not only slow to boot, but some wonky issues also show up–such as trackpad doesn’t work, you can’t connect to Wifi, battery or status lights act abnormally. Then there is probably some problem with your Mac’s system management controller (SMC) or non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM).

How to fix: resetting SMC and NVRAM

To reset SMC, see this official Apple guide.
To reset NVRAM, refer to this article.

What’s your feedback?

Do you find the above diagnoses and solutions helpful? Did you manage to speed up startup times on your Macbook Pro? If so, kindly let us know by showing the differences. We’d love to hear from you about any obstacles you may have met in the process, and we are happy to help you overcome them the best we can.

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