After Apple recently announced a delay to OS X 10.5 Leopard I had to delay my iMac upgrade until the Autumn. This led me to thinking about how to speed up Tiger to get the most out of my ageing G5. This is what I came up with:
1. Repair Disk Permissions Navigate to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Select your Macintosh HD and select Verify Disk Permissions. If needed you can then Repair Disk Permissions.
2. Clear out login items Its good to check that unwanted programs are not starting up when you login to your Mac. This can be done from System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items.
3. Clear out unwanted applications Go through your applications folder and see if you can save yourself some disk space by removing any applications you no longer use.
4. Clear out unused system preferences Check in your system preferences if there are any unused system preferences tabs that can be removed. If you do find something you don't use you can either disable it within its menu or remove it from '~/Library/PreferencePanes'. You may have to reboot or do a force empty trash (see #38).
5. Clear Desktop Its been reported numerous times that having a clear desktop can increase the speed of your Mac. So either put your junk in folders or delete it!
6. Empty Trash (if it wont empty see #38) I'm always amazed when I'm looking on someone's Mac and they haven't ever emptied the trash! Check what's in there then save yourself some space and empty it.
7. Turn off Universal Access (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Universal Access and turn off anything you're not using.
8. Turn off Bluetooth (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth.
9. Turn off speech recognition (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Speech Recognition.
10. Turn off internet sharing (if not used) Navigate to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet
11. Check there is plenty of disk space on the boot drive. Your Mac uses some of your hard drive space as virtual memory when there is not enough actual memory available. Its good to always keep 10% of your hard drive free for such activity.
12. Remove Unwanted Language Packs OS X contains hundreds of languages that you most likely wont use. Monolingual is a free program that can root out these languages and remove them saving you some extra disk space.
*Edit: Warning people have experienced problems with Monolingual so becareful what you remove. Only a reinstall will put the languages back so decide weather you really need the extra space by removing them.
13. Remove any desktop changing programs Until recently I had a nice program that would put a different babe on my desktop each month. It looked great but once I started looking in activity monitor it was taking up lots of memory and processor time.
14. Check dock for unwanted apps. Your dock should only contain your most used applications so take a look through to see if there is anything you can remove or uninstall.
15. Choose suitable applications for files Be sensible when choosing what applications open by default - think do you really need Photoshop to open just to view an image when preview will work fine? Right click on a file then select Get Info.
16. Check Software Build If you have an Intel Mac then check the build of the software is universal - it might be that the application is still running through Rosetta and that a universal update is available.
17. Remove dock animation Navigate to System Preferences > Dock then un-tick Animate Opening Applications.
18. Avoid animated desktops Navigate to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver then un-tick Change picture.
19. Remove unused widgets. Each widget takes some memory and processor power even when you're not using the dashboard so only enable the ones you use. Alternatively you can disable the dashboard - see #23.
20. Check to see how much processing power and memory each widget uses. Some widgets are more intensive than others, if there is one that is particularly demanding see if there is one with similar functionality on the Apple website. To do this run Activity Monitor - Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
As you can see the widgets I have running are all using an acceptable amount of Real Memory.
Tinkertool Tinkertool is a utility that gives you access to additional settings within OS X.
21. Remove animation effects. The animation effects are the eye candy that make OS X look nice but they are not really needed, you can turn them off from the Finder pane within Tinkertool.
22. Disable Dock shadow. From the Dock pane un-tick Enable Dock shadow.
23. Disable Dashboard. If you don't use the Dashboard you can deactivate it from the General pane.
24. Skip checksum verifications when opening DMG files. This will speed up the loading of disk images when opening. This can be found in the Applications pane.
25. Remove or deactivate unwanted login items from the Login Items pane. You might already have done this in #2.
26. Reduce delay time for display of loading pages in Safari. This should speed up your web browsing experience, found within the Safari Pane.
OnyX OynX is similar to Tinkertool however has many more options and preferences.You may have already done some of these in previous tips. Parameters
27. Un-tick Graphic Effects (Finder tab). You may already have done this with Tinkertool #21.
28. Un-tick Animate 'Opening applications' and 'When alert in background' (Dock tab).
29. Disable Dashboard (Dashboard and Expose tab). You may already have done this with Tinkertool #23.
30. Set Safari speed of web page display to fast (Safari Tab). You may already have done this in #26. Maintenance
31. Repair Disk Permissions. You may already have done this in #1.
32. Run Maintenance Scripts.
33. Reset Spotlight Index (it may take over a day to rebuild the index afterwards).
34. Run complete system optimization. Cleaning
35. Clear Internet Settings.
36. Clear User and Font Caches.
37. Clear unused logs.
38. Force Empty Trash Automation
39. Check settings - The default settings should be fine here. Click Execute.
You can do some of the following by resetting Safari - click Safari > Reset Safari. *Edit: Resetting Safari does not clear Favicons.
40. Clear Cache. To speed up page loading Safari saves a copy of every page in its cache however if the cache gets too large it can actually slow down page loading so its best to empty it occasionally. To do so click Safari > Empty Cache.
41. Clear History. Safari can remember every single site you have visited which can have a negative effect on its performance. You can empty it be selecting History > Clear History.
42. Clear AutoFill. AutoFill is the data is saved in forms such as your username and password on websites. As with the cache and history the AutoFill can mount up over time. To empty select Safari > Preferences then select the AutoFill tab. From here you can go through the three AutoFill sections and clear out data that you no longer want stored.
43. Clear Favicons. Favicons are the little icons you see to the left of the URL in the address bar. These can be cleared by emptying user folder/Library/Safari/Icons.
44. If you use Firefox then you can get specially optimized versions of the browser based on your processor architecture - either G4, G5 or intel.
45. Extensions Firefox has some great extensions but they can slow down the browser so take a serious look to see weather you really need that extra toolbar!
46. Smart Playlists These can slow down the operation of iTunes as they reload the contents of the list every time the program loads. If you have a a smart play list that does not change very often then you can either deactivate live updating (by clicking file > edit smart play list) or copy of the contents of the smart play list in to a regular play list.
47. HP Printer drivers can often cause problems and use a lot of processor power so check in the activity monitor for HP Communicator, if it seems to be constantly running at 80% - 100% then try uninstalling it. I had problems on my Mac Mini for my HP PSC 1110 all in one with the HP software on OS X 10.3 maxing out the CPU after printing. I had to remove the software and just use the basic drivers rather than the full suite.
48. Check Classic is not running if not being used. Classic can be disabled from within System Preference.
49. Run Software Update. The latest updates sometimes provide speed increases as well as fix bugs and vulnerabilities.
51. Add More RAM. There is only so much you can do with software, the cheapest way to give you're Mac a speed boost is to upgrade the memory.
52. Reboot your Mac. After doing all this optimization it might be an idea to reboot your Mac. If your like me and use sleep mode for the majority of the time then a reboot once in a while often helps too!
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