In today’s world of connectivity, instant messages, and online gaming, slow internet can be massively frustrating because it renders any smart device basically useless. You can still do some stuff, such as writing (without any research) or playing some games (with limited functionality), but let us be honest – most things we do require an internet access.

slow internet mac

Why is the Internet So Slow on My Mac?

If webpages load slowly, Safari shows you a spinning “beach ball” and you cannot watch video online because it is lagging, the list of possible causes is quite long. Namely:

  • Something may be wrong on the part of your ISP
  • The problem is with your router
  • DHCP lease could expire
  • Something is wrong with your Wi-Fi or Ethernet port within the device
  • Browser issues
  • Something is slowing down your Mac and slow Internet is just one visible outcome (not enough memory, resource hogs, etc.)

Most of these are easy to tackle, while others may require some hardware upgrades.

How to increase Internet speed on Mac

If Internet speed used to be satisfactory and then gradually dropped down, you can restore it to its former glory. Keep in mind, however, that if your Mac is working at the top of its capacity, there are no cheat codes to make it even faster. Except, probably, getting a better router or new subscription plan from your ISP.

Therefore, if there is clearly something wrong and the Internet speed is lower than it was for some reason, try one of the following solutions.

How to test Internet speed on Mac

Before deciding how to speed up the Internet on a Mac, learn what is causing the trouble. First, try to check your current Internet connection speed. Several free online tools allow you to conduct so-called “ping test” within seconds.

speed up mac internet connection

Try, or similar tools. Then look up what the upload and download speeds are supposed to be according to your Internet service provider. If the speeds are lower, call your ISP customer support – they should know what to do.

Test your Mac

If you own more than one Mac device – try connecting to the Internet from each one. The problem might be with the particular device you are using.

  • Hardware issues (faulty Wi-Fi or Ethernet port, etc.). In this case, your Internet will be fast and smooth when you connect the device directly via the cable. To solve this problem you will have to upgrade the respective piece of hardware.
  • Software issues (these are much more diverse). Some problems may arise after your Mac receives software updates. It is a relatively rare case, but some users reported Internet speed issues after updating to OS X El Capitan, and later to macOS Sierra. There are also devices that are particularly prone to the slow internet, such as Mac Mini – the issue with it tops the list of commonly reported problems.

Try renewing the DHCP lease and resetting PRAM (turn off Mac, then holding Command+Option+P+R, hit power button, wait for two chimes and release the keys).

If this does not seem to help, try contacting Apple support and report when exactly the problem appeared for the first time, what is your OS

version and so on. They might be already working on the solution and needing more details from different users.

Check your router

Another tried way to speed up Internet connection on Mac is restarting your router. When you are actively browsing the web and the connection suddenly breaks, it is probably due to the hampered memory of your router. Switching it off and on again works in 80% of all cases, as router restarts and clears itself.

Sometimes distance is the issue, so moving the router closer to your desk (or other hotspots in your home) might solve the problem. Also, avoid such barriers as metal structures, microwaves, and such, as they create additional interference.

how to deal with slow internet

Alternatively, you may consider getting a new router, as older models do not support a high-speed connection. In short, it does not matter what speed your IPS is providing, if your router is outdated. Slow router creates a bottleneck and there is no way to make it wider. It simply does not have the capacity to give you the Wi-Fi of the same speed.

Check your browser

Another software culprit might be your browser. Browser issues are covered in details here and here, but the rule of the thumb is to have an up-to-date version of whichever you use and keep a number of tabs at minimum. Also, avoid overloading your browser with bulky extensions. They eat up the resources and may cause some compatibility conflicts.

Free some disk space

Sometimes everything is okay with your connection, router, and browser, but the web content just will not display itself, because it has no place where to load. For you to see the page and the interface, it must be loaded into your computer. The information is stored on your disk for a short while in temporary folders and normally it is erased afterward.

You should always leave some free space on your SSD so that your Mac could operate normally. There is no hard rule as to how much of the space must be free, but there are general guidelines:

  • Depending on the overall capacity of your SDD, leave 10% to 15% empty (even with the vastest storage available on the market this number should not be less than 5% – it is the bare minimum).
  • Still, percentage is a relative number, so in terms of the amount, free space should not be less than 5GB (it is an absolute minimum). You should leave empty up to 15GB or even more if you process complex graphics, play games or stream videos in high resolution).
  • Insufficient RAM adds to the problem, so you might want to check if you have enough.

If your disk is stuffed full, consider deleting some bulky apps you do not use, storing large media files in the cloud or using cleaning software to identify junk and leftovers that clutter your disk.

Keep it simple

The majority of performance issues are caused by the overload of your device – too many files in the storage, too many tabs in your browser, too many resource-greedy fancy personalization apps, etc. Keep it simple, avoid unnecessary and bulky apps. Alternatively, upgrade your hardware to meet your needs, if you have to use demanding software and process vast amounts of data.