Even broadband connections have different download speeds. DSL download speeds vary from 1.5 to 9 Mbps, while cable modems can be faster or slower, depending on how many people share the connection. To speed up your downloads on a Mac, you have a few options. How to speed up Internet on your Mac. This guide provides some of the common and the most helpful ways to make your internet faster. Try out these tricks to get a smooth web experience! Test your internet speed. If you keep asking yourself how to speed up your internet, first of all, test your speed.
Are there multiple iPhones and iPads in your house? What about Macs, or Apple TVs? Have you ever thought about how much bandwidth all those individual Apple devices use downloading the same updates, media, and iCloud content as each other?
Content Caching is Apple’s solution to this. Mostly intended for large institutions, this feature allows a Mac to become a cache for every macOS, iOS, and Apple TV system on a network. Previously this feature was exclusive to macOS Server, but macOS High Sierra now offers it to all Mac users by default. This means caching is now free for home users to set up.
Setting up your cache is simple, and a good idea if you’re dealing with bandwidth caps, or just someone who wants downloads to run faster the second time around. All you need is a Mac running High Sierra, ideally one that’s consistently connected to your network via ethernet.
Speed Up A Slow Mac
How to Enable Caching on Your Mac
First, choose a computer to serve as your cache. Ideally this should be a desktop Mac that’s connected to your network over ethernet—it’s possible to cache over Wi-Fi, but Apple doesn’t recommend it.
On that Mac head to System Preferences > Sharing.
On the Sharing screen check the “Content Caching” option in the left panel.
Just like that you’ve set up your cache. If you want to limit the size of the cache, click the “Options…” button at bottom right.
From here you can change where your cache is stored, and also limit how big it can get. To disable the cache later, simply uncheck “Content Caching.”
How Caching Works
So how does this actually work? Basically any software update, app download, iCloud document, or iTunes media downloaded on your network will end up in the cache. If another device needs the file it will check the cache first. That means it will grab it from that computer rather than the internet—making the download much faster and saving you internet bandwidth. To quote Apple’s explainer about content caching:
For example, when the first client on your network downloads a macOS update, the content cache keeps a copy of the update. When the next client on the network connects to the App Store to download the update, the update is copied from the content cache rather than from the App Store.
The cache is encrypted, meaning people with access to the computer hosting the cache cannot read the files directly. While somewhat annoying, this means users on your network don’t need to worry about you spying on their cached photos, which is probably for the best.
Multiple Caches For The Win
If you’ve got two Mac desktops in your house, you can become even more awesome by enabling multiple caches: just enable the cache on both devices. They’ll act as peers, as Apple explains:
When your network has more than one content cache, the content caches automatically become peers and can consult and share cached software.
Do you need to do this? No. Is it fast and super cool? Absolutely.
What Is (and Isn’t) Cached
You might be wondering what is and isn’t stored in this cache. Apple offers an official list; here’s our summary:
- Purchases from iTunes, both for Windows and macOS.
- iBooks Store content for macOS and iOS
- iCloud data, including documents and photos, to both macOS and iOS
- Garageband downloadable content
- macOS operating system updates
- Mac App Store downloads and purchases
- iOS applications
- iOS updates
- Various other mobile assets, including Siri’s voice and language dictionaries
- Apple TV updates
- Apple TV apps
- Purchases from the iBooks store
Note that, for legal reasons, some things may not be cached in certain countries. For example, iBooks purchases are not cached in Canada for legal reasons, and iTunes downloads aren’t cached in Brazil. It’s unfortunate, but Apple’s just trying to stay within the law.
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The only place I like seeing a beach ball is at a beach or in a stadium during a baseball game or concert. The one place I least like to see a beach ball is on my aging MacBook Pro, where the spinning beach ball has become an altogether too familiar a sight. If your Mac has become frustratingly slow, there are a number of ways you can speed it up again.
Before you engage in any maintenance, I would urge you to take caution and back up your data. For Macs, it's easy: grab an external drive and run Time Machine. With your Mac's drive freshly backed up, you may proceed.
1. Replace your Mac hard drive with an SSD
Moving from a traditional spinning hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) is the single best thing you can do to improve the performance of an aging MacBook. Follow Sharon Profis's instructions on how to upgrade your MacBook Pro with an SSD. You'll be shocked at not only how easy it is to do but also at the huge impact it has on performance.
I just performed the maneuver myself, replacing my 2011-era MacBook Pro's 500GB hard drive with the 500GB Samsung 850 EVO . The Samsung SSD and a SATA-to-USB cable kit cost me just north of $200 on Amazon. And the whole procedure took less than an hour (not counting the half a day it took to clone my MacBook's hard drive to the SSD).
Really, the hardest part of the whole thing was tracking down a size 6T torx-head screwdriver for the four torx screws that help hold the hard drive in place.
2. Add more memory (RAM)
While you have your MacBook opened to replace its hard drive, take the opportunity to add more memory. Like the replacing a hard drive, adding more memory is a straightforward, simple process.
First, you need to find the right type of memory for your specific MacBook model. The brand doesn't matter much, just be sure to buy the right amount, type, and speed. Apple has a handy support page that shows the memory specifications for a variety of models, along with an illustrated guide to replacing the memory.
In my case, my early-2011 MacBook Pro has two DIMM slots, each of which is occupied by a 2GB module. Since I don't have any free slots, I will need to replace those two modules with two 4GB modules. I need DDR3 memory with a speed of 1,333MHz.
After finding the right RAM for your MacBook, follow the photos below to install the new memory.
3. Clean your Mac's hard drive
Sometimes, all your MacBook needs is a data clean-up. Over the years, you've probably cluttered your Mac with files and applications you no longer use or need.
Uninstall old Mac apps
To get started, let's look in the Applications and Downloads folders. If there are apps in there you can't remember installing, odds are you can live without them. Move them to the Trash to reclaim some hard-drive space.
There are files associated with every application you install, however, and they are left behind when you simply move an application to the Trash. Since Mac OS X doesn't have a built-in uninstaller, AppZapper can uninstall apps and the related files. It's free for the first five zaps, after which you'll need to pay $12.95.
Clean up applications you still use
Next, let's clean up the applications you are keeping. When you install an app on your Mac, the piece of software arrives as part of a package of files, including permissions that tell OS X which users can do what things with specific files.
Over time, these permissions can get changed, resulting in your Mac lagging, freezing or crashing. Repairing these disk permissions, in the most basic terms, amounts to reshuffling and re-dealing these permissions so that they return to their rightful place. To address this, OS X has a built-in tool called Disk Utility that does just the trick.
Read my previous post on how to repair disk permissions for a step-by-step guide.
Find out which apps are using the most resources
If your Mac acts like it needs a nap every afternoon, when you are at the height of multitasking, there is an easy way to see which of your open applications is using the most system resources. Open the Activity Monitor.
How To Speed Up Download Speed On Chrome
The numbers are constantly fluctuating, but they show you the amount of CPU and memory resources each app is using. After watching the Activity Monitor for a while this morning, I see that Firefox generally takes up more CPU resources and more than triple the memory resources. Perhaps it's time for me to abandon Firefox and use Chrome exclusively. Also, I found that the sluggish iTunes isn't nearly the resource hog I thought it was. My apologies, iTunes.
Delete big, unused files
Now that you've paid some attention to your applications, it's time to look at the files cluttering your drive. You can use Finder to search for huge files. To do so, open Finder and select the volume you'd like to search. Next, choose File > Find (or hit Command-F). Click on the Kind pull-down menu and select Other. When the Select a search attribute window opens, check the box for File Size, uncheck any other boxes, and click OK. Change the 'equals' pull-down menu option to 'is greater than' and then change KB to MB. Enter a minimum files file size such as, say, 100MB. You can then delete any files that show up on the list that you no longer need -- or move them to an external drive at the very least.
4. Reduce login items
If your Mac is slow to boot up, the problem may be that there are too applications to open at startup. It's likely you never set them to launch at startup -- they launch by default.
- Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and then click on the Login Items tab to see a list of the apps that open when you boot your Mac.
- Highlight the apps you don't want to open at startup and click the minus-sign button below the list of apps.
5. Keep current with OS X
Apple releases new versions of OS X as free upgrades, so there is no reason not to stay current. New versions of OS X contain performance enhancements and security improvements to keep your Mac running smoothly and safely.
Check in periodically with the Updates tab of the Mac App Store for OS X updates, and don't ignore notifications of updates that are ready to install.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on April 27, 2015 and has since been updated to add new advice and tips for speeding up your Mac computer.
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