Apple, your users have got a problem. Given: a not-so-many-years-ago-bought Mac starting up slow. Generally, startup may take 40-60 seconds, which is much longer than when a Mac is just taken out of the box.

Goal: make Mac boot up faster. As fast as possible, actually. Solution – ?

Sooner or later, the vast majority of Mac owners face this problem, no matter if are we talking about laptop or desktop. Hardly one can think of something more annoying than when their precious iMac or MacBook Pro startup slow. It is clearly not the case when ‘slow but sure‘ is an option. Below you’ll find a comprehensive set of action measures that together make up a robust solution to your Mac booting slow.

Remember to back up all your data before taking steps described in the article.

1. Examine and Single out Startup Apps and Processes

Naturally, when we talk about problems with the startup, the first thing we advise you to do is, of course, check out what apps and processes launch when you turn your Mac on. The thing is, the more items are activated on startup, the longer it takes Mac to boot.

There are three categories of elements you need to pay attention to: login items, startup items, and launch agents.

To deal with the login items, go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups -> Login items and remove all apps that you don’t really require leaving only system components.

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To deal with the startup items, open Go to Folder in Finder -> type in /Library/StartupItems/. This will take you to a hidden folder, where you can find apps that start even before you log in. Delete anything that you obviously don’t need at launch. Do the same with the launch agents; get to them by visiting /Library/LaunchAgents folder.

2. Quit Apps When You Shut Down

That’s an easy one. By default, the latest MacOS versions automatically restore all applications that were active on shutdown. Yes, we know, it’s an extraordinary convenient feature, but it’s killing Mac’s startup pace. So, if you’re ready to sacrifice some comfort for speed, go to the shutdown menu and uncheck Reopen windows when logging back in option there.

3. Verify the Hard Drive and Repair Permissions

From time to time, hard drives catch errors (mostly related to third-party applications performance), which influence the startup speed. It’s particularly true if the error pops out on a boot disk. Luckily, this issue is easy to fix with the help of Mac’s built-in Disk Utility. Just open it via Spotlight or Finder (Applications -> Utilities) and Select the disk you wish to recover. Then:

  • If you have MacOS version Yosemite or older, click Verify Disk Permissions; in case the app finds any errors, click Repair Disk Permissions. Repeat these two steps until the report shows no problems.
  • In El Capitan and Sierra, it’s even simpler. Just go to First Aid tab in Disk Utility and hit Run in the popup window. The system will automatically check the volume for errors and fix them if needed.

4. Reset SMC and NVRAM (PRAM)

If all these abbreviations look kind of hieroglyphic for you, brace yourself. Take a couple of deep breaths and read on, it’s not that hard as it seems. You do want to know how to make Mac startup faster, don’t you? Performing what’s described below can fix not only boot speed but also many other problems that you might not even suspect about just yet. Ready, set, go!

  • Restarting System Management Controller (SMC):

On a Mac with a nonremovable battery:

  1. Turn Mac off;
  2. Simultaneously press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard + the Power button and hold them for 10 seconds. Then, release all keys;
  3. Switch your Mac on.

On Mac desktop computer:

Turn it off -> Unplug the power cord -> Wait 15-20 seconds -> Plug the power cord back in -> Wait 5-10 seconds -> Turn your Mac desktop on.

If you have older Mac with a removable battery, check official Apple SMC reset guide.

  • Resetting non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM, PRAM on older Macs)
  1. Turn a Mac off;
  2. Turn it on and immediately press Option-Command-P-R at the same time and hold it for about 20-25 seconds;
    why is my mac slow to boot up
  3. Release all keys after a Mac startup sound.

Note, that this operation may reset some of your Mac settings, e.g., screen resolution, volume, time zone or startup disk selection. To make sure everything is in order and – if needed – adjust the changes, visit System Preferences.

5. Free up Space on the Hard Drive + Clean up Desktop

Yes, you’ve heard this tip little less than a zillion times. But you know what? That’s because it really works! Depending on how you use your Mac, for good performance and quick startup it needs from 10% up to 30% of free space on the disk. So, after you read this article, you better turn on the ‘search and delete’ mode and regain couple dozen of gigabytes on your hard drive. And yeah, don’t forget to clean up that mess on your Desktop over the course of your mission.

6. Turn On Automatic Login

Do you work in the White House or Pentagon? If yes, then jump to the next tip. Everybody else – consider whether you really need a password protection halfway the startup process. Frankly speaking, automatic login doesn’t influence the boot speed process directly. But it definitely will let you get your Mac ready for action faster. You can enable automatic login in System Preferences -> Users -> Login Options.

7. Reinstall or Update OS X

Yes, that freaking simple. First, check for new MacOS version and other updates in System Preferences -> Software updates. Got something? No time to explain, install it. Nothing’s there? Then giving your old MacOS a new life is your best shot. First, back up your data; then, open MacOS Utilities window and select Reinstall MacOS option. Congrats, you’ve just got yourself a brand new operating system!

Completing these 7 steps should fix the slow boot-up problem and grant your precious start a truly flying start given that the issue was software-based. If it persists, this indicates that you should turn your head to hardware.

 Is Your Mac Startup Still Slow?

If your Mac is slow and still starts up not fast enough even after all procedures mentioned above, you might need to take more radical steps. We’re talking about buying a new SSD or upgrading/increasing memory, or both. It will cost you a pretty penny but this way you would resolve not only the slow startup issue but also greatly improve your Mac overall performance. Happy and fast using your Mac!

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