How To Speed Up a MacBook Pro

My 2010 MacBook Pro is getting a little long in the tooth, so I’ve been working on a few ways to speed up its performance. There’s a level of wear that can’t easily be corrected for, but there are a few tricks you can perform to stretch a little more life out of the system.

Naturally, my first reaction is to add some more RAM–especially since I don’t have the maximum amount compatible with my logic board. You can see how to do that in a previous article and how-to video.

Meanwhile, if you’re still having hiccoughs and spinning beach balls of death, there’s a few software tools to help improve performance. First off, start the system in Safe Mode (yes, Mac has a Safe Mode). To access Safe Mode, shut down the MacBook and wait at least 10 seconds. Turn the MacBook back on, then press and hold the Shift key as soon as possible after the startup tone plays. Release the Shift key once the Apple logo and progress indicator appear.

Once you’ve booted into Safe Mode, open the Disk Utility located in the Utilities folder of the Launchpad. Select the startup disk in the panel on the left and click “First Aid”. If the utility indicates that the disk is about to fail, you’ll need to backup the disk and replace it. Otherwise, click “Verify Disk” to see if there are any reparable problems.

If all else fails, you can attempt to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). To reset the SMC, shut down the computer and attach the power supply. Hold Shift-Control-Option on the left-hand side of the keyboard and press the power button once. Release all the keys, then press the power button to boot the computer.