In general, it takes between 10 and 30 seconds for a Mac machine to fully startup, depending on the hardware configuration and the number of auto-startup items. For example, Macs with flash storage (solid-state drive) will start up much faster than those with HDDs (hard disk drive).
Years back, ZolloTech did a comparison test on the startup time between an SSD-based MacBook Pro and an HDD-based one. The result? The MacBook with SSD only took 22 seconds to fully startup while the other was 49 seconds.
So, it’s pretty clear that a MacBook with an SSD is a lot faster than a traditional HDD. We thus highly recommend you upgrade the hard drive if your old MacBook is very slow on startup.
How to check if your Mac is with an HDD or SSD? Just click Apple logo > About This Mac > Storage.
Now let’s go back to the topic. If your MacBook Pro takes more than 30 seconds to boot, or even minutes, beware that your Mac may have performance issues.
We’ve found fix possible causes and related fixes to boost MacBook startup time. Some fixes work better than others. We’ll show you all of them so you can determine why your Mac is slow on startup and figure out the best tune-up solution.
1. You just installed a new macOS
If you just updated your MacBook Pro to the latest macOS, you probably have noticed that your Mac takes a bit longer to fully load up and respond to general tasks. This is normal because some apps (especially Spotlight, and Photos) need to re-index or update its data.
How to fix: keep your Mac on for 24-48 hours, and restart several times after that.
Why this helps: apps like Spotlight and Photos usually need quite some time to re-index data. For example, Spotlight has to scan the internal disk drive and reindex all the files, likewise, Photos (formerly iPhoto) may update the while photos library as well. The process could take a significant amount of time to complete, and lots of system resources are required for the task. Once completed, your Mac’s overall performance would improve automatically.
2. Your Mac has too many login items
Like a car, it can be much slower to take off to 60 MPH if you’ve loads of heavy items in the trunk. The same goes with a MacBook Pro. Your Mac will take longer to fully boot up if it has dozens of login items and auto launch agents (i.e. applications and services that automatically launch every time you press the start button on your Mac).
How to fix: remove unnecessary Login Items.
- Click the Apple logo on the top left corner, then select System Preferences.
- Find Users & Groups and click on it.
- See the Login Items tab next to Password? Click it.
- Here you’ll see a list of apps that run when you turn on your Mac. Check the apps you don’t need, select the checkbox in the “Hide” column, then click the “-” icon.
You can also do so by using CleanMyMac X, via the “Login Items” and “Launch Agents” features. By the way, some auto-startup services may not show up on Login Items, but you can find and disable them via Launch Agents within CleanMyMac. Here’s a screenshot:
3. Your Mac’s hard drive is nearly full
Nothing slows down a MacBook Pro more than having an almost full disk, even if your Mac has a high-performance SSD. You’ll notice your Mac lags not only on startup, but during normal usage as well.
How to fix: clean up your MacBook drive until it has at least 20% free space.
The easiest way to get this done is to use a dedicated Mac cleaning software, which can save you quite some time locating those unused third-party programs, junk junks, and large old files that are safe for removal.
If you prefer to do this manually, start with checking those folders where you tend to save your pictures and movies. Then go to the “Applications” folder, sort apps based on last modified or used, remove those you no longer use.
Don’t forget the web browsers — Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. Clear the web caches, history, and outdated extensions. Last but not least, transferring big files to an external drive would help lighten your Mac too.
4. Disk permission issues
macOS system files are usually saved on a hard disk — primarily “Macintosh HD”.
Disk errors can occur due to poorly designed third-party applications/add-ons, and when those errors add up your Mac startup can slow down, even worse, unable to boot up.
How to fix: verify and repair disk permissions
If your MacBook runs macOS El Capitan or an older version, use the built-in Disk Utility. Learn the detailed step-by-step instructions from this Apple support guide.
For Macs with Big Sur or later versions, unfortunately, Apple has taken away the disk repair functionality. Fortunately, you can do so with CleanMyMac (open the app > Maintenance > Repair Disk Permissions)
5. Corrupted preferences files
The preferences files on a Mac are those files that keep the parameters — i.e. rules that define how applications behave. If they are broken due to application crashes or hard drive corruption, your Mac will start up and run slowly.
How to fix: find and update those broken preferences files
They are usually stored in the ~/Library/Preferences folder. To fix them, you’ll have to delete them first and create new up-to-date preference files.
6. SMC and NVRAM need to be reset
If your MacBook is not only slow to boot, but together with some wonky issue such as trackpad doesn’t work (or not responding), can’t connect to Wifi, status light or battery acted abnormally. Then something is probably wrong with your Mac’s system management controller (SMC) or non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM).
How to fix: resetting SMC and NVRAM
That wraps up this MacBook Pro slow startup fixing guide. Do you find the above diagnoses and solutions helpful? Did you manage to speed up the startup time on your MacBook Pro? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below.About Eric