MacBook Air is an almost universally lauded miracle of the engineering thought that was brought to the masses by Apple in 2008. Although the line of notebooks is situated below the productivity range of other comparable Apple products, Mac Air is still a solid device that is known for its ultra-portability. Given the emphasis on the portability and other priorities, there’s no surprise that some of its users find that the processor speed is lacking. Nonetheless, an out-of-the-box MacBook Air is a decent notebook for most everyday uses. However, with the passing of time, the machine is slowing down, thereby causing frustration and exasperation of Apple aficionados. If you scratch your head like the lamp of Aladdin trying to understand “What can I do to fix the sluggish MacBook Air?”, look no further than this article. It has been specifically written not only to help you solve the problem but also fathom the causes of its occurrence. Buckle up your notebook – the ride will be fast and, hopefully, entertaining.

mac air slow

How to Speed Up MacBook Air 2011

The most obvious approach to the issue of slow MacBook Air performance is to consider whether the notebook is too old to function properly. It might be the case that the device infuses the spirit of Zen into every task it performs because its hardware is approaching the point of obsolescence. Although it is obviously not the case for newer models, those who purchased their MacBook Air in 2011 or earlier should consider upgrading the hardware of the device. If you have the 2 GB model, you can add additional 2 GB of RAM in a certified Apple service center. Go to About This Mac from the Apple menu to find out more information about the notebook and the amount of memory it has. You can also go to the Activity Monitor and look at the Memory Pressure graph to have a better idea of the current usage of the system’s memory capacity. If the graph turns red, it’s time to add more RAM.

my activity monitor

Improve MacBook Air Performance: “Humane” Approaches

If you don’t want anyone opening your MacBook Air to mess with its innards or practice other engineering cruelties, there are several more “humane” approaches to boosting its performance.

For starters, a little housekeeping can always breathe life into an old notebook. One good idea is to clean Mac’s hard drive. When the capacity limit of a MacBook Air is almost reached, a user will experience inevitable performance drop. After using a notebook for some time, its drive gets riddled with duplicate photos, audio tracks, and documents. Furthermore, heavy software users who regularly install and remove various apps may overwhelm a drive of their Mac with plists, caches, language packages, and other junk files. To achieve optimal performance levels, it is necessary to have at least 10 percent of free storage space. The removal of junk files from a drive can be effectively performed with the help of professional cleaning tools. Such tools can be either purchased or downloaded freely from the Web and Apple App Store. It’s up to you to choose the app that serves your needs best. More adventurous users can apply the manual approach to the deletion of caches and app remnants. Prior to embarking on this endeavor, one should back-up their MacBook Air. This will help to avert the loss of data. The approach necessitates the following:

  1. Quit all apps that are running on the MacBook Air;
  2. Go to the Finder and open the Go menu;
  3. Select the Library option;
  4. From the Library folder proceed to the Caches folder;
  5. Select caches and other temporary files created by apps and move them to the Trash;
    move caches to the Trash
  6. Empty the Trash.

The manual cleaning of a MacBook Air doesn’t end with the removal of temporary files; it is also important to go through the following steps to delete software leftovers:

  1. Launch the Finder and select the Go to option from the Go menu;
  2. Go to this location: /Home/Library/Preferences/
  3. Locate and move to the Trash preference files of uninstalled apps;
  4. Repeat steps two and tree for the following locations to delete startup items, launch agents, launch daemons, and receipts:
  • /Home/Library/Applications Support/
  • /Library/StgartupItems/
  • /Home/Library/StartupItems/
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /Home/Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /Library/Receipts/
  1. Empty the Trash.

To locate and delete other traces of uninstalled apps, use their names as search terms for a Finder search. Move to the Trash all resultant files and empty it afterward.

Another step towards solving the slow performance issue is to close background apps. Given that the MacBook Air is less capable of executing demanding tasks than more powerful Apple notebooks, it stands to reason that its computational load should be somewhat limited to improve its performance. If a user runs multiple apps simultaneously, their notebook will lag. To stop the execution of unnecessary apps, go through these steps:

  1. Go to the Applications and proceed to the Utilities;
  2. Open the Activity Monitor;
  3. Select unnecessary apps and processes and stop their execution with the help of the Quit button;
  4. Close the Activity Monitor.

It is also a good idea to optimize login items, which are launched automatically every time a user turns on their Mac. Those who have administrative privileges should use the Users & Groups pane of the System Preferences to manage login items. From the list of apps, select the ones you don’t need and use the ‘‘ button to remove them. They can be added again with the ‘+’ button.