Nowadays the world is dominated by the constant web surfing, as well as regular using and updating different applications. Your learning process, business affairs or simply pleasant pastime may suffer from a low-quality Internet connection. If your Internet speed is slow, you become irritated because your always-needlessly-double-clicking expectations aren’t what you have already paid for and your dreams of a good Internet service remain something unreal.

In most cases, it means that the provider has some issues. However, quite often the problem is at the user’s end. The overall drop in computer’s performance may cause sluggish Internet as well. When it happens, you cannot blame provider. It is better to monitor the health of your Mac to avoid such situations. In this article, a casual user will find useful tips for testing speed in general and how to test Internet speed on Mac in particular. So if you’re asking yourself “How can I check the Internet speed to know what the problem is?” read on to discover the answer. Fortunately, you don’t need any special knowledge to use it.

1. How to check your Internet speed on Mac and other connection data

Third-Party Application. To make you fast Internet surfing real, you first need to check your Internet speed. The easiest way to do it on your desktop is to download the application to either your Mac or your mobile (http://www.speedtest.net/apps/mac). With it, you have to get your ping, download and upload speeds in a very short period of time, verify the speed, track prior test and share your results. If you download and install apps from the trusted sources, you may be sure about its safety and accuracy. Such applications work is based on an original algorithm that cannot be tricked by speed enhancement instruments. A test like that is a single-threaded exam. It means the app applies only one connection to download the sample files. That is closer to what a user does during everyday browsing and downloading activities.

An ‘option-click’ method. An ‘option-click’ feature will deliver the result the fastest way, probably. Hold down the Option key when clicking on the menu bar to open the AirPort utility. The next thing you will see in the window that pops up is the detailed information about the Wi-Fi channel, quality of the signal, M.A.C. address of the base station, and – the speed data.

internet sharing off

Network Utility. How about the special network tool to detect the wireless speed? It is possible to apply Network Utility with the help of Command and Space keys. Pull up the Spotlight search field and enter the tool’s name. Another option is to navigate through Applications -> Utilities and get the required information in the Network Utility. Find out the IP address, connection speed, error counters, and packets sent and received.

Activity Monitor. It is possible to use good old Activity Monitor feature to test the Internet speed. With the help of this utility, a user may control overall Mac’s state. It is a built-in tool, so there is no need to search for it elsewhere. Once a user launches it, he/she can notice a tiny Network tab. It will display several helpful metrics about your connection. Mind that this app shows data since the last boot of the device.

2. Use Helios LAN test

It is a professional tool for network administrators, software vendors, and casual users to test and measure the performance of AppleShare services. It is a reliable testing solution for Mac clients, where five different setups are available (from slower networks up to 40 Gigabit Ethernet).

3. Speed up your connection using iDoctor

One of the most powerful and popular resources for running speed test for Mac is iDoctor. This app will improve your Mac performance and optimize it the best way possible. You can be sure that it will turn your Apple computer or mobile into a fast and powerful machine. If you want to stop searching on Google “How can I boost my Internet speed?”, iDoctor might be the best solution to the problem.

4. Use an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi

When at home, some people prefer using Wi-Fi, but not everybody knows that it is better to use an Ethernet cable, which is much faster. Moreover, everyone who lives in an apartment with lots of neighbors is surely familiar with the poor performance that Wi-Fi sometimes gives. You should be aware of this fact and make your Internet speed faster in this very easy and simple way: just connect your Mac to the router using a cable.

5. Use Apps and Browser Tabs only when you need them

Almost for sure, you have in your Dock many Internet-related apps and browser tabs that you don’t open every day (Safari tabs, Mail, Skype, Reeder, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). They eat up your valuable bandwidth and lower your Internet speed. So, if you don’t have an extra-emergency case to use them, remove them from the Dock and open them only when you actually need them.

6. Use Safari as a web browser for Mac

Many people use Chrome or Firefox as a browser, but Safari is the one, which has been optimized especially for Mac, was tested many times, and also showed top results in many Internet speed tests. Hence, you are welcome to explore this free and available tool for making your web surfing faster.

7. Optimise, clean and reset Safari

As we’ve just mentioned, Safari is one of the best browsers available for Mac. From time to time, it does need a spring clean, though. Thus, it’s worth performing some simple maintenance tasks to keep it running well. In the Safari menu, open Preferences and go to the Privacy tab; click the Manage Website Data button and then choose Remove All to clear the history. Delete the Safari preferences file com.apple.Safari.plist in the ~Library/Preferences folder. Naturally, you’ll lose some settings, but the file will be recreated when Safari opens next time.

improve speed on Mac

8. Make the best of your wireless router and configuration

Move the router to a central position in the house, if it is possible, or find the place where it does its best in emitting the signal. Then, in the browser address bar, type in the router IP address (by default, it should be 192.168.2.1) and explore the options of the menu.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to System Preferences and choose Network from the Internet & Wireless You will see the basic status of your Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, such as whether it’s in use and connected.
  2. Click the Advanced button at the bottom right of the network preferences window to open the advanced options to see more information about the various settings.
  3. Check each tab on the top router menu. There are tabs for TCP/IP, DNS, WINS, 802.1X, Proxies, and Hardware. In the last section, it’s normally set to be configured automatically and should already have the optimal settings chosen for your network. Typical values that you might see are: speed: 100baseTX; Duplex:full-duplex, flow-control; MTU: Standard (1500).

9. Speed test apps for iPhone or iPad

In case you use iPhone, iPad or other Internet-enabled mobile Apple device, you will surely need some tools from Apple App Store to improve speed. As for iPhone, it is Ookla, as for iPad – Speedtest X HD for free. Another company looking to get in on the mobile Internet speed testing craze is Speed A.I.

10. Use the fastest ISP

It might seem like a common-sense advice, but if you really want the fastest Internet possible, then you need to arrange a suitable premium package with your Internet Service Provider. Check with your existing ISP if you’re eligible for an upgrade, or whether you can change your current package to a faster one. Otherwise, jumping ship to another ISP can often reap the rewards with special introductory offers and discounts.

Bonus Tips: Two Ways to Check WiFi Speed

If you wish to learn how to measure the exact Wi-Fi speed and connection details, test the methods offered below.

1. Network Utility

  • Connect to the wireless router you would like to examine.
  • Just push the Cmd and Spacebar buttons anywhere in macOS to call Spotlight and look for Network Utility. Press the Return button to launch the tool.
  • Select the Info menu.
  • Pick the proper network interface from the offered menu. For example, it could be Wi-Fi (en0 or en1).

Discover the active connection speed alongside Link Speed. Notice it appears in megabits per second (e.g., 250 Mbit/s). In the rest of the chosen tab, it is possible to get details about the interfaces vendor and model. Mind that encryption will not show up on the list.

network utility

2. Terminal

If you are one of the folks who are experienced and confident enough to play with Terminal, launch this utility (it’s in the utility folder) to enter the following code:

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I

The output will consist of the details you were looking presented just like in the image below (you need ‘lastTxRate’ and ‘maxRate’):

terminal example

What about Download & Upload Speed?

Do not hurry to complain about your Internet speed to your service provider without checking the speed of downloading and uploading items. Some apps may hog the network bandwidth, which leads to the sluggish Internet performance. Scanning the system for the current upload/download speed will assist in defining whether the background software is to blame for the issues with the network.

It is simpler than you may think:

  • Launch Finder and go to the Applications folder.
  • Launch Utilities and move to Activity Monitor then.
  • Pick Network in Activity Monitor. Discover the list of upload and download speeds. The red value near Data Sent/Sec refers to the upload speed. The green value in front of Data Received/Sec determines the download speed.

The tips mentioned above will certainly help you to improve your Mac Internet speed. However, it is not the complete list of measures to help you. New – more effective and easier to use – apps and tools to run Mac speed tests appear every week. So you are welcome to surf the Web to find the solution most suitable for you.