How to Make an iMac Run Faster without Getting a New One?

Yesterday morning, I got an interesting question from a reader of this blog. Just thought it might be worth sharing here.

Hey, love the things you’ve been doing in the blog. I know you are using a MacBook, but I have a question about iMac which is the model I’m using. Recently it is painfully slow. Not sure if it’s because I’ve installed too many apps, or the machine just shows its age. How do I make an iMac faster? Are there any magic tricks out there without me buying a new Mac?

The reason why I said it was interesting is that we all look forward to the “magic trick” to fix things. Sadly, in reality that rarely exists, so far as I am aware of.

Here’s my answer to her question:

If I have to recommend one magic trick that is guaranteed to tune up its performance, I’d say — replace your current hard disk drive (HDD) with a solid state drive (SSD). I’ve just done that with my MacBook Pro, and the speed I gain is so obvious.

For example, it used to take about 40 seconds to start up and launch the first screen, now it’s less than 10 seconds. 300% performance increase (though this might be the best way to measure).

Like you said, since I’m using a MacBook, I’m not sure how much similarity an iMac would have with a MacBook, though I know they both run the same operating system — i.e. OS X. However, the hardware configurations between the two models can be different, thus the solutions to make an iMac faster vary.

So, I can’t provide a step by step tutorial to troubleshoot the issue and help you out. All I can do is to share some resources with you, hope you find them helpful.

How to swap your old iMac’s hard drive for a fast new SSD — Jeremy Horwitz also recommends replacing the hard drive if your iMac is three to five years old. If you decide to do so, watch this video first:

iMac Running Slow or Freezing? 6 Simple Speed Solutions — Nikki Scanlon shows the common reasons why an iMac runs slow and provides a list of fixes.

How to speed up your Mac in 30 minutes — Peter Cohen looks at the detailed ways you can improve your Mac’s performance beyond factory spec.

Questions? Leave a comment below.

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