macOS Sierra Slow? Fixes Here

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Written by Techsviewer

When macOS Sierra was unveiled, it brought several benefits including the apple “Siri” assistant that provides personal touch to your Mac. Its expanded memory, recognition integrations and ability to search quickly through documents are some of the selling points of the OS. It also serves to bridge and bring together macOS that combines iOS, tvOS and watchOS. At a glance, macOS Sierra offers several advantages of the modern tech and makes everything easier. However, there have been various reports of macOS Sierra Slow and undesirable performance. In fact, it is already clear that older macOS (2008 – 2009) will not work with the new package and it proves troublesome even with the best upgrades. Fortunately, there are various was to fix slow Sierra without much effort or worry.

How to speed up Sierra?

Many people who have bought the new OS are probably worried that it is very slow on their Macs. There are a few solutions that can help you determine whether your machine will work with macOS. Some of them include the following:

1. Clean Up Your macOS

It has become expected of most macOS packages to be memory hungry and uses more RAM than others and like El Capitan, Sierra is no different. Basically, this is why macOS Sierra will only run on Macs made in 2009 and later. If the macOS is compatible with your Mac, then there is no need to worry. Apple says such cases may often require simple fixes as freeing up the disk space by cleaning the macOS partitions.

Sierra Slow


Sierra Slow


There are various ways to do this although the simplest involves installing disk-clean software. Cleanmymac 3 is one of the most popular software used to free up macOS partitions and create more space. It simply finds and frees unnecessary occupied disk space converting it to usable memory. This added memory reduces the load on your RAM making it faster. It is important to find the recently upgraded cleaning software. The ones designed for macOS Sierra may present different challenges but you can update them to include recent upgrades. CleanmyMac 3 is a freely available disk cleaning software you can download online. If your disk partitions are fully packed, your Sierra will be very slow and you may need to find external storage or upgrade your internal memory to create more disk space.

Clean My Mac 3 is available for a FREE download here.

2. Check compatibility

The first thing to do before attempting to install the new macOS Sierra is check if you have a compatible Mac. If your Mac is not listed as compatible with the OS, you will have various challenges and problems that include Slow mac Sierra. There are people who still want to use their old Macs with Sierra and some achieve this with different hardware and software upgrades. However, this is not recommendable as your Mac will encounter problems and require lengthened troubleshooting to verify algorithms. Those with compatible Macs need not to worry. Nonetheless, if you have an old Mac, the simplest way to upgrade it to support Sierra is perform a RAM upgrade. The OS uses a lot of memory to run and offering more RAM is one of the biggest ways to boost its performance and support.

MacBook Pro (2010 and later)
MacBook Air (2010 and later)
Mac Mini (2010 and later)
Mac Pro (2010 and later)
MacBook (Late 2009 and later)
iMac (Late 2009 and later)

3. Moderate the UI experience

One great benefit of the Sierra OS is the provision of top class fresh looking user interface. The experience can be personalized to look perfect. However, you will soon encounter Sierra slow if you fail to moderate and tone down the glamour. Exciting effects like the transparency and heavy app duty will take a toll on the processor’s performance once they are on. It gets even worse when you open many windows and quickly move from one to another juggling them around. It does not mean you should avoid using the OS features but full multitasking is bound to slow down performance.

Turn off “heavy effects”: Go to Apple Menu –> System Preferences –> Accessibility –> Display

macOS Display Accessibility


macOS Display Accessibility


4. Use the new optimized storage upgrade

This new upgrade constantly works to free up unused disk space and clean up files. It organizes files in different categories and removes unread, unused or idle items from your Mac storing them on iCloud. From old screenshots to unused Mac apps, full-resolution photos, I Tune U courses, old presentations, unused fonts, old documents, old image and text files as well as old Mail attachments among others. It sends messages that prompt the user to allow the app installers to clear memory, cache, duplicate downloads and logs among such memory tags.

Go to Apple Menu –> About this Mac –> Storage:

Sierra optimized storage


Sierra optimized storage


5. Maximize iCloud

When using macOS Sierra, you have access to identical backup of everything you have on your HD stored in the cloud. This backup can be accessed on your Mac and you can also download and use it on another Mac elsewhere. The remote access and unlimited nature of this storage is something to maximize by simply storing some of the data in the cloud and freeing up your disk space. You can always retrieve the data and files when need for their use arises. However, an external offline backup is often more preferable especially since the cloud backup automatically syncs and may choose to lose some data if unused for quite a long period of time.

Maximize iCloud


Maximize iCloud


Many reasons for Slow Mac Sierra involve low memory and disk space. For owners of new Macs, the OS probably works very efficiently. If you have already jammed the memory with many software applications and extensions that run in the background, you may need other packages that frequently free up memory by closing apps and windows that are not necessary. If you still have Sierra slow problems even with a big extra disk space and memory, it is likely a compatibility issue.

6. Manage Startup Items To Fix Slow Login

Clean startups assist in speeding up MacBooks that are running slow. With fast Macs there is no way you can waste time in your attempt to get the apps running. You can instantly access all the programs you wish when your Mac gains the speed that you so much need.

Manage Startup Items


Manage Startup Items


The optimization ensures that you benefit from getting a huge leap in terms of the performance of your computer; this is always a boon for anybody using a computer. As the computer fires ups its speed, so do the apps commence on performing with the stability that is so much needed over a long period of time

To do this perfectly, you must first go to the System Preferences of your computer so that you can access groups and users before clicking on your Username. Click on the Login Items and select a program that you do not need at that moment. If you follow the above instructions, you can fix Sierra slow login.

7. Reset SMC and PRAM After Update

You must baseline and reset your System Management Controller (SMC) and your Parameter RAM (PRAM) device. Both of these components are minor cogs in the wheel, but once they get corrupted, things slow down. If your Macbook slow after sierra update, you should reset SMC and PRam. This is what you do:

SMC Reset on MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air: 

You do not risk the loss of data or any other catastrophic event, so let out a sigh of relief. Power down the Mac. Unplug power cable and wait at least 15 seconds. Plug the power cord back in. Now hold down these four keys simultaneously; Left Shift +Option + Control + Power Button for at least 10 seconds. Release all the keys and power that baby back up like a regular start.

SMC Reset on iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini or Xserve:

Power down the Mac and Unplug power cable, wait at least 15 seconds. Plug the power cord back in and wait at least 5 seconds. Turn on your Mac.

PRAM Reset: 

Power down the Mac. Let it sit for a couple of seconds. Start it back up and press these four keys simultaneously before the gray boot screen comes up; Option+ Command (⌘) + P + R. Don’t release those four keys until the Mac restarts. When you hear the beep indicating its restarting, release the keys.

8. Using the Activity Monitor

One of the main reasons why an application you are using may slow is due to another application or other applications using up too much CPU space. An easy way to find those apps that may be causing the processor to stall is to use the Activity Monitor.

Activity Monitor will show all the applications and processes running on the Mac at any given time. To access it:

1. Go to ”Applications” folder.

2. Open the ”Utilities” folder. Look for “Activity Monitor” and double click on it to launch it.

Once in the Activity Monitor the aim is to find the applications that are taking the highest portion of the CPU. To find this, go to the ”%CPU” column and click on it. Check that the processes are arranged with those occupying the most space at the top. If not, click again.


Activity Monitor


From here you can quit the applications that are taking up too much CPU space as you wish. There is no do this or that here, it is up to you to decide on the processes to close. Whichever you choose proceed as follows:

1. In the Activity Monitor window, click on the application to be closed.

2. Click on the “Quit Process” button. Here you will be able to choose whether to force quit or just quit the process.

Choosing “quit” may take a while to be effective but any unsaved changes in the process such as a word document will be saved. On the other hand, choosing “Force Quit” forces the application to shut without saving any changes. With this option the process closes much faster but this comes with the risk of losing data. However, Force Quit is the preferred option because it is always effective and is immediate so the Slow Sierra can pick up on speed instantly.

9. Remove Apps in Preference Panes

When you install applications on your Mac, some install extras called System Preference Panes. These may be left even when the application is uninstalled and they occupy space which may cause the Mac to become slow. Removing them will clear up memory space and improve the Mac’s performance. To remove apps in System Preference panes:


Remove apps in Preference Pane


Right click or CTRL+Click on the preference pane icon. Select the preference pane app to be removed Click on ‘Remove.’ This will be send to the trash folder. To remove from the Mac permanently just empty the trash.

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