Download Speeds Slowing Down On Macbook Pro

Close Unnecessary Apps and Browser Tabs – If your MacBook Pro has slow internet, then check if you have dozens of apps and websites open. All these are trying to connect to the internet in order to update and synchronize, slowing down your connection. Websites might even begin to hang! Close unnecessary apps and tabs to solve the issue. The junk files or the temporary files are the most useless files that eat up space, and moreover, they slow down the macOS Catalina process on your MacBook. These junk files also include the cache, which even slows down your system. So here’s how to remove it. First off, open Finder.

The new macOS 11.0 Big Sur is a huge update packed with lots of amazing features. Refreshed design, new Control Center and Messages app, improved Safari browsing experience, the list goes on.

We are all excited about the new macOS and hit the update button, only to find our Mac experiencing performance issues such as the machine runs slow after updating to macOS Big Sur. Common symptoms include:

  • Apps are slow to open or keeps freezing.
  • The fan is constantly running and has high noise.
  • Internet becomes super slow and it’s impossible to watch YouTube videos.

If you are facing one of those macOS Big Sur slow issues with your Mac (iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air), read on to find out how to fix it. We are going to share with you some of the best tips and tricks. Let’s get started.

Note: there are many possible reasons behind a slow Mac, we’ll start with the basic fixes. If one particular fix doesn’t work, try another one.

1. Check Whether Your Mac is Compatible with Big Sur

Download Speeds Slowing Down On Macbook Pro

Technically speaking, this is not a fix but it’s worth checking as the first step. Every new macOS that Apple has released has a minimum requirement on hardware. If your Mac machine is showing its age, it’s going to have a difficult time running the latest operating system, or even not compatible with the latest version at all.

Click here to learn the list of macOS Big Sur supported Macs and check whether your Mac is on the list or not. Usually, your Mac needs to have at least 4GB memory (RAM) and 35.5GB available storage.

If you find that your Mac is too old to run macOS Big Sur, it’s probably a good idea to revert to an older version since you’ll encounter more performance issues after updating and there aren’t many tricks you can play around to speed up your machine.


2. Disable Startup Items (Apps & Hidden Launch Agents)

Best for: When your Mac is slow to start up.

Take a look at what start-up applications you have running and stop as many of these from opening as possible. The fewer programs that run automatically on startup, the faster your Mac will be. To disable these startup items:

  1. Click on the Apple menu from the top left corner.
  2. Click on System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items
  3. Select these apps that you don’t need to auto startup and hit the minus “” option.

Besides autoruns, there might be some launch agents (i.e. hidden apps/services that keep running in the background) that slow down your Mac’s startup speed as well. And they are not that easy to be spotted out unless you use a tool such as CleanMyMac X.

Here’s how to remove them:

  1. Run CleanMyMac on your computer.
  2. Click on Optimization > View All Items > Launch Agents.
  3. You’ll see a list of small helper and service applications that automatically run after your Mac boots up. Select those you don’t want and hit the Remove button.

Then you’ll all set. You should notice some speed gain when you reboot your Mac machine.

3. Find and Quit Resource-hungry Apps via Activity Monitor

Best for: When your Mac is slow when running specific applications.

Another reason why macOS Big Sur running slow is that those resource-hungry applications are taking away too many system resources while running. Big programs like Photoshop, Camtasia, and Final Cut Pro tend to use much power than smaller ones. It’s usually fine when these programs are working with a big photo or rendering a video effect, but if they are constantly taking more share than they should, something is probably wrong.

To find out which applications/services are over-consuming your system power, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Finder > Applications > Utilities.
  2. Locate this app called Activity Monitor and double click to open it.
  3. Look at the processes from the top of the list, see if there are any processes that are using much power, e.g. taking more than 50% CPU.
  4. If you spot any processes that seem to be resource-hungry, try quitting them by simply selecting and clicking on the “x” button from the toolbar on the top, and see what happens.

Sometimes this might be all that you need to do and your Mac will run smoothly again.

Note: for those big photo/video editing applications that you often use, it’s also a good idea to check whether they have a newer version. If yes, you’d better update the apps to the latest version for optimal performance.

Macbook Pro Speed Up

4. Clean up System Junk and App Junk

Best for: When macOS Big Sur runs slow for no obvious reason.

Another quick method you can use to speed up your MacBook or iMac after updating to Big Sur is by cleaning out system junk and app junk. Each time you update your Mac, there are some files written on the computer but you don’t need once a new macOS finishes installing but they might still be stored somewhere on your Mac. Same with third-party apps. Often times by cleaning those unnecessary files, your Mac with Big Sur will run faster.

However, it’s not that easy to identify these junk files than it might sound unless you are a computer person. For most of us (i.e. general Mac users), the best way is to use a third-party tool. Again, we like CleanMyMac and recommend it for this job because it’s easy and simple to use. Both a free version and a paid version are available. The free version will do an OK job of cleaning system junk and app junk but the paid version will actually prevent junk files from building up in the first place, which makes it worth considering.

How to clean it?

  1. Open the CleanMyMac app and click on the System Junk from the left panel.
  2. Click the yellow “Grant Access” button to allow the app to find more junk.
  3. Hit the Scan button to get started.
  4. Soon you’ll see a list of junk files that are safe for removal.
  5. Don’t forget to navigate to Photo Junk, iTunes Junk to clean app junk.

5. Enable Optimize Storage with Your Mac

Best for: When your Mac is running out of storage after updating to macOS Big Sur.

In general, the more storage space you have for your Mac machine, the faster it will run. The question is how to quickly free up some storage? Optimize Storage is a cool feature that you can take advantage of. It saves space by automatically removing your watched movies and TV shows from this Mac.

  1. Click on the Apple logo.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select About This Mac > Storage > Manage.
  3. You’ll see a window like below, click on the “Optimize” button for Optimize Storage.
  4. Wait until it’s completed.

6. Reset SMC and NVRAM

Best for: When your Mac fan or sound is running loud, battery and power drain fast, etc.

According to Apple, resetting the system management controller (SMC) can resolve certain issues related to fans, battery, power, and some other features. Similarly resetting NVRAM on your Mac can help address issues related to display resolution, sound volume, startup-disk selection, and recent kernel panic information. If you feel your Mac is acting after updating to the latest macOS Big Sur, it’s probably a good time to reset SMC and NVRAM.

Resetting SMC and NVRAM are harmless operations and they are easy to be done. You can follow the guides linked above from Apple, or watch this YouTube video for step-by-step instructions.

7. Clean Install (Re-install) macOS Big Sur

Best for: When you’ve tried all the above techniques and your Mac is still slow.

macOS Big Sur is probably the greatest operating system ever, but it’s not perfect. That’s why Apple has been fine-tuning it since it was firstly released in June. If you’ve tried all the fixes above and your Mac still lags, then re-installing might be your last resort.

A clean install will erase all the data on your Mac hard drive so you have no customization, no third-party apps, no user data, etc. just like you are having a new computer that should be quite fast. Check out this article from 9to5mac for more information.

Important: make sure to back up your Mac before you start the clean install.

Why iMac or MacBook Pro Can Run Slowly after Updating to macOS Big Sur

There can be quite a few causes. The first one is if your computer is not actually compatible with the latest macOS. Apple has made a list of devices supported by Big Sur, they are:

  • MacBook: Early 2015 or newer.
  • MacBook Air: Mid 2013 or newer.
  • MacBook Pro: Late 2013 or newer.
  • iMac: Mid 2014 or newer.
  • iMac Pro.
  • Mac Mini: Late 2014 or newer.
  • Mac Pro: Late 2013 or newer.

As you can see, your computer needs to be a model made in 2013 or later to even run the macOS Big Sur. If you are using a model made in 2012 or before, you are not going to be able to run this new macOS, unfortunately. Even if your Mac is compatible but it’s showing its age, there isn’t much you can do to speed it up either. Your best option is to reinstall an older operating system.

Other reasons can be categorized into two types. One is hardware-related, and the other is software. If your Mac is running with a spinning hard drive other than flash storage (SSD), it’s going to be slow in general because SSDs (solid-state drive) are much faster than HDDs (hard disk drive). Software could be the culprit as well as outlined above, and we’ve shown you the best solutions accordingly.

Final Words

The newest Apple operating system, macOS Big Sur, is definitely powerful, beautiful, and exciting to install for we Mac users. But sometimes when new software is released, even by tech giants like Apple, there are glitches that can cause frustration. One such glitch is that it can cause some Macs to slow down after updating. There are some fixes for speeding up macOS Big Sur as we introduced above.

So, back to you now, did your MacBook Pro or iMac run slower after updating to the latest macOS? And did you manage to fix it? Leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to help you out.

Why is my Mac so slow? Is there any effective way to fix it? Read on this iMobie guide to fix Mac/MacBook Air/Pro running slow problem.

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Q: ” Why is my Mac running so slow? I have a MacBook Pro (2019) model. It’s old but hardly used, and is slowing down. I am wondering why my Mac is running slow and how can make it run like new?”

— A User from Yahoo Answers
Macs like all computers, Windows or Vista, can run slower over time. By performing a few simple clean up and maintenance tricks, you can have your slow Mac back running like new in no time. Here in this iMobie guide is by no means a comprehensive list of things that could be slowing down your Mac and how to fix it to speed up your Mac.

Also Read: How to Free up Space on Mac >

Reason 1: Mac hard drive is nearly full

First of all, go to check and see if you have enough free hard drive space to work with: Click the Apple menu > Select “About This Mac” > Click on the “More Info” button > Choose the “Storage” tab to check the disk storage overview and capacity.

Like every Mac user, you might have stored many huge video files, thousands of photos and music tracks on your Mac computer. The popularity of using solid-state drives (SSDs) of Mac computers means considerably less capacity than traditional hard drives. Even an iPhoto library can quickly fill up a MacBook Air’s 64GB or 128GB SSD, and nothing slows a Mac than having too much on a hard drive.


Firstly, find the large media files on your Mac, delete the unused videos, apps, photos, etc. Or you can move all of them to an external hard drive, and remove them from your Mac.

Secondly, remember empty your trash cans, say the user account’s main trash can and the iPhoto/iMovie/Mail trash can.

Thirdly, remove the junk files generated from your web browser, system, or applications. A quick and effective way is using a smart Mac cleaning software, MacClean.

  • It removes junk files from Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera all in one place, covering caches, cookies, browsing history, download history and sessions.
  • It Clears user junk, system junk, development junk, and app leftover.
  • It works for all Macs, including MacBook Pro/Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, etc. Download MacClean now to free up more space.

Why Is My MacBook Running Slow and How to Fix It with MacClean

Also Read:

Reason 2: Don’t have enough RAM

A question from a Mac user: “I have a 27” iMac (Late 2012, OS X 10.9.2) with 8GB RAM. The usage of memory is always above 7GB, even though I don’t think I am running that much stuff. This leads to the occasional hanging of a program and occasional feeling of the computer being lagged.”

Yes, most Macs ship with between 4GB and 16GB of RAM. If your Mac has only 4GB or 8GB RAM, the system might be running low when launching programs or loading documents.

You can check your RAM by using the Activity Monitor application (under Utilities in the Application folder). Click on System Memory tab and have a look at the pie chart at the bottom. If the chart is largely red or orange which means you are running out of RAM.


Step 1. Open up Terminal: ~/Applications/Utilities.

Step 2. Enter the command: Purge, and tap the enter tab.

Step 3. Give your Mac a minute or two to complete the process.

Open up Activity Monitor to see the before and after results, you’ll find the Free size increases in System Memory.

Macbook Download Speed Slow

Can’t Miss: How to Free Up Memory on Your Mac >

Reason 3: Lots of unneeded login items

Macbook Pro Slow Download Speed

Login items are a bunch of services and applications that should launch every time you start up your Mac. When you turn on your Mac, you may notice the process taking longer and longer over time. One of the reasons might be that you’ve allowed two many items to creep into the system over time.


Kill the unneeded login items.

Step 1. Open up System Preferences, and click the Users & Groups.

Step 2. Click the Login Items tab, and you’ll see a list of apps that open every time you turn on Mac.

Step 3. Select the login items you want to kill and click the “-” button to remove them.

Lots of unneeded login items

Macbook Pro Speed Test

Reason 4: Having too much on Mac desktop

Every document file on your desktop requires memory to store. If you keep too many items on your desktop, this can slow down your Mac speed to some extent. Accordingly, keeping a relatively clear desktop helps to ensure your Mac good performance where it should be.


Download Speeds Slowing Down On Macbook Pro 15

Clean up your desktop is a really easy job. First of all, delete the files you don’t need anymore, and empty the Trash. Classified the files on your mac, and move them to some folders. Name the folder so that you can easily find the one you need.

Download Speeds Slowing Down On Macbook Pro 2017

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The Bottom Line

You can make your slow Mac run faster with the above 4 solutions now. If you have any questions on this guide, please let us know in the comment section. Don’t hesitate to share this post with your friends if it solves your problem. In addition, download MacClean to fix your slow Mac and have a free trial now >

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