Slow Mac? Test Your Connection

Title - HowTo.004My 2007 Mac was getting slower and slower. Although I regularly perform routine maintenance to remove cruft, things were getting so … very … slow. My first thought was to blame the internet carrier, but that was not the problem. Piece by piece, here’s how I checked my system. 


First, do a speed test.  Google the word “speedtest” and your provider’s name. In my case, it’s Comcast, so the search resulted in

The test showed my connection was working just fine. Nevertheless, I went outside to check that all internet wires were still connected. Hey, I live in Chicago. Internet wires have come loose in storms before.


Next in line was the router – an Apple AirPort Extreme. It’s one of those things that just sits there quietly, doing it’s job. It turns out there was a firmware update last fall. Unlike the Apple software, AirPort doesn’t flash annoying notifications when it needs to be updated.

Go to Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility

If you are using a different router / cable modem, check the manufacture’s site to see if it needs an update.

Internet slow?

If tests slow, go outside and see if any wires got loose (it’s happened). If not obvious, call Comcast.
Mac slow? Here’s what I do for routine Mac cleaning.
  1. See if hard drive is full. (Right-click on hard drive > Get Info)
  2. Trash any easy stuff I don’t need… the installer programs and disc images on my desktop and downloads folder.
  3. Uninstall unneeded apps. I use AppZap, tho I see it is now $13 (It wasn’t before.) You could shop around.
  4. Use Monolingual to delete extra languages.
  5. Videos – movies, tv shows – those are real space hogs. Delete some or move to a separate hard drive.
  6. Clean up Safari caches and cookies (directions below). Consider cutting no-longer-needed bookmarks, cutting down reading list (that I never get to anyway)
  7. Empty Trash – especially iPhoto trash.
  8. Quit all programs and restart. See if anything works better.
Mac still slow?
  1. Go through files to see what can be tossed. Those 7000 cat photos…
  2. Look for duplicates to trash. iTunes and some programs have a Duplicate Finder. I use Gemini – feel so-so about it. Have not yet found a good way to find duplicate photos.
  3. Empty trash.
  4. Run Disk Utility (directions below).
  5. Restart.
Still slow? Do you have 8GB of RAM?
Still slow? Call Apple.


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Marketing copywriter and creative brand strategist specialising in direct response, healthcare, blogging and content creation