Why is my iMac so Slow? – Fix Mac Slow Startup

Generally, an Apple Mac starts up in 30 seconds or less, depending upon the kind of storage media used – SSD (solid-state drive) or HDD (hard disk drive). But if your iMac or MacBook Pro takes too long to boot up, something is wrong with the system. It gets annoying when your Mac takes forever to startup, especially when you have to meet work deadlines or complete school assignments. Research reveals that such a slow booting results in time wastage and spoils our health.

Why is my iMac so Slow?

Your iMac is so slow because your disk space is almost complete in most cases. Additionally, iMac can be slowed down because of overloaded startup programs, disk problems, software updates, and third-party connections. Remove unused programs to speed up iMac.

Your Mac takes forever to start up because of one of the following things:

  • Startup Items: If too many apps or processes are set to launch automatically when your Mac starts up, it can cause a delay in the startup process.
  • Hard Drive Issues: If your Mac’s hard drive is almost full or has errors, it can slow the startup process.
  • Outdated Operating System: Running an outdated macOS version can cause slow startup times, as newer macOS versions are often optimized for faster performance.
  • Faulty Hardware: If your Mac’s hardware is faulty, such as a failing hard drive or a damaged logic board, it can cause slow startup times.
  • Corrupted System Files: If important system files become corrupted or damaged, it can cause slow startup times and other performance issues.
  • Too Many Open Apps: If too many apps or browser tabs open when you shut down your Mac, it can slow down the startup process as your Mac tries to reopen everything.
  • Limited RAM: If your Mac has limited RAM, it can cause slow startup times as it struggles to load all necessary processes and applications.
  • Malware or Virus: If your Mac is infected with malware or a virus, it can cause slow startup times and other performance issues.


Hence, you only need to try clearing these issues with specific solutions. Some of these solutions are fetched from Apple forums and communities, while others have been suggested by consulting experts at Apple’s Genius Bar.

Why my Mac takes forever to startup?

Mac or iMac is slow to start up because of either overloaded startup programs (you need to remove all unnecessary startup programs) or because it is in standby mode. To turn off sleep mode on an iMac, go to System Preferences > Energy Saver and “Turn to display off” after the slider to “Never.”

Below is a detailed overview of seven major causes of slow Mac startup and ways to resolve them:

Nearly Full Disk Space

This is one of the main reasons for a slow startup or other performance issues. So, when your system’s disk space is almost complete and very little storage is left, the software applications will exhibit decreased efficiency. Therefore, make it a point to keep your disk space at least 20% free for optimal performance. Besides, some of the applications and processes are more resource/power-hungry than normal ones. Hence, it is better to uninstall these items.

To speed up your Mac’s startup, try the following tweaks:

  • ·       Delete the unneeded files like redundant third-party software data, duplicate files, junk files, etc.
  • ·       Uninstall unnecessary apps and remove the related large files.
  • ·       Shift the required large files (movies, pictures, etc.) to an external/ backup drive.
  • ·       Clear browser add-ons, cache, junk, and history
  • ·       Empty Trash
  • ·       Reduce files on the Desktop
  • ·       Turn off the applications used for visual effects

However, if you aren’t familiar with Mac’s system yet, one good alternative for the above-listed fixes. You may use the application CleanMyMac to tackle the cleaning task of the Mac disk. This app itself identifies and eliminates the unrequired data that is consuming excess space of the storage system.

Overloaded Startup Programs

Another common cause of system slowdown is the excess of startup services and apps. When you start your system and notice too many auto-startup programs, you must wait until they are launched. This directly impacts the system’s performance. Therefore, you must remove some auto-startup or login items to reduce the system’s load.

To do this, go to the Apple icon and select ‘System Preferences.’ Next, click on ‘Users & Groups’ and choose the ‘Login Items’ tab next to the ‘Password’ option. Now, select the items you don’t require to open up at startup, and then click the ‘-‘(minus) symbol corresponding to them.

In addition, you may also check and remove the unrequired launch agents that appear on the Menu bar of Mac—for example, Adobe Creative Cloud Tools, Amazon Music, etc. When apps like Adobe or Amazon are installed, their helper tools are usually pre-installed alongside. Unfortunately, these tools and apps do not feature among Login programs. So, it is better to use CleanMyMac to find and disable these agents.

NVRAM-related Issues

NVRAM (Non-volatile Random Access Memory) is one of the common types of RAM that stores information associated with Mac’s OS. The system requires this data before it loads up. Hence, if the memory values in NVRAM are distorted, your Mac will not start up quickly. NVRAM issues are found to be the most typical cause of Mac’s slowdown. However, the earlier Mac systems used PRAM instead of NVRAM. PRAM (Parameter RAM) works in quite similar ways.

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To fix NVRAM, firstly, you need to shut down the system. Then, press the start button/key. As soon as the system makes the startup sound, quickly hold on to the combination keys: Command + Option + P + R. Now, when you hear the sound for the second time, release the keys.

This will resolve the problems occurring in NVRAM. The process is the same for all sorts of Mac models.

Third-Party Connections

Your Mac’s performance is also affected by the connected peripherals. People often attach several peripherals to their systems. Generally, these connections are the scanner, printer, USB-C hub, iPhone charger, portable SSD, etc. If there are too many third-party connections on your system, it will most likely slow down. In addition, third-party devices usually lead to software issues.

Therefore, it is best to disconnect the devices you don’t require all the time. Besides, check the related software settings to ensure it is all updated and correctly set.

OS Update

When you update your Mac’s OS, it may exhibit changes in booting time. For instance, updating High Sierra to Mojave may slow down the Mac a little or keep it the same. But upgrading the MacOS from 10.13.1 to 10.13.4 makes it a lot faster than before. Generally, any significant update usually results in more booting time.

There are no proper solutions to this except for restarting the system several times. However, it is standard for a method to show a slow performance after the update. This is probably because the system needs to adjust to the newly installed OS version and bring corresponding changes in associated applications. So, post a few restarts, your system should start working at its regular or better speed.

Hard Drive Failure

Every device has a particular lifespan, after which it stops functioning or doesn’t work well. Hence, the reason behind the slow working of your Mac may be the expired hard drive. In such a case, you may observe that your system isn’t slow in a startup but performs poorly in every other task. However, if the hard drive is not too old, check if it’s corrupted and, accordingly, estimate how long it will last.

An obvious solution for this issue is to replace the spinning HDD with SSD (such as Samsung 860 Pro). Apart from a faster startup speed, your system will benefit in many other ways.

Disk Problems

If your Mac is an older model of Apple, especially of 2012 or before, there is an excellent chance that some faults have occurred in its disk. Errors are often seen in Mac SSD and HD if the models are too old. Such problems hit the complete performance of the system, including its startup speed. The way to rectify this issue may slightly vary as per the operating system of your Mac.

So, firstly navigate to ‘Finder’ and choose ‘Applications.’ Then, select ‘Disk Utility. This option will help you in repairing and verify the system’s disk. If your Mac is working on OS X Yosemite or any previous versions, you will notice two options in the rightmost corner under the tab ‘First Aid.’ Here, choose the option ‘Verify Disk’ and then click on ‘Repair Disk.’ This should fix the problem.

Alternatively, if the Mac is running on macOS Sierra, Mojave, High Sierra, or OS X El Capitan, you need to click the tab ‘First Aid,’ and the system will show up if the disk requires repair or not.

The above-listed solutions should suffice in fixing up your system’s slowdown. However, if it still doesn’t speed up, you may get it checked by a professional. In the other case, the procedure usually needs a thorough overhaul of all its essential software if it’s quite an old model.


Igor Milosevic
Inflation Is Eating IRA/401(k) Savings! How to Protect Your IRA/401(k) in Bad Times?


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