Speed up your Mac – only thing that worked for me!

I’ve tried repairing the permissions. Limiting desktop icons. Removing Safari’s support for ICO icons.  Clearing more hard drive space.  Nothing. Frickin’. Worked. I have been so frustrated by how slow my Mac Pro has been.  I have 2 2.66GHz dual-core processors, 2 GB of memory, and still I was getting spinning beach balls, crunching hard drives and slow menus…and nothing seemed to fix it. I decided to take action.  I was fed up!  And you know what?  It’s really quite simple.

DISABLE YOUR FONTS!

As reluctant as I am to get rid of fonts (being a designer), I don’t need all my fonts all the time.  I had over 700 fonts that were activated in Font Book, and was using a demo of Suitcase Fusion to manage additional fonts as well.  The second I disabled the fonts in Font Book, my life was Snappy™ again 🙂 !The change in speed is dramatic. I can finally not curse Adobe when I’m using Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver CS3 at the same time.  It had been torture.  Now it’s the bliss I knew it should have been.Applications with the most speed difference are:

  • Safari – no longer sucks compared to IE on Windows.  Loads HTML soooo much faster.
  • Adobe CS3 Suite – no longer churns away when doing the simplest of tasks (like switching a site in the Files window in Dreamweaver or opening new files in Illustrator)
  • Mail – as zippy as it should be
This improves the quality of my life, and I hope it does yours.  

Author: Zack Katz

Zack Katz is the President of Katz Web Services and the developer of WordPress plugins with over 700,000 downloads. He lives in Southwest Colorado with his wife and two cats.

11 thoughts on “Speed up your Mac – only thing that worked for me!”

  1. Does that include any /Library fonts? Or System? I’ve pared down both fonts folders at least since Panther, waiting for ill effects that never happened. Not the basic fonts, of course, but if all the languages got installed by some ungodly oversight, there’s a lot to prune. Or, say, not vital fonts that one will never, ever use. They get stored in Shared, a good place for archiving if it’s just your machine.

  2. Hi Zo,
    What I did was disable all the fonts that I don’t use. I started with 774 active fonts in Font Book. Now I have about 80 active fonts.
    I didn’t move fonts around or remove duplicates, all I did was go into Font Book (Applications > Font Book), and select all the fonts, then disable them. I then went through and enabled the System fonts, as well as font libraries I like the most.
    I enabled most of Adobe’s fonts (they’re my favorites), and didn’t bother with the rest. If I need them for web design or graphic design, I’ll browse what I want, and enable it one at a time.

  3. thanks, that really helped. I have no idea about fonts, disabled everything and found that the critical ones can’t be disabled anyway via fontbook. To be sure I enabled the ones that showed up as critical in apple’s system fonts list but could be disabled. so far no trouble.

  4. Wow is all I can say! I have been getting really frustrated with my 12 month old mac that is used for the most basic functions (itunes, mail, safari & ms word only) and this has had a DRAMATIC difference. Thank you so much.

  5. I went to the little search glass, typed in font book, chose computer, disabled all and no ill effects yet. I noticed that some of them did not disable, that is cool. I wonder if one is needed if my mac will tell me to enable it.. I have a great ppc 9600 that I use at the office for basic functions and it is dragging so slow and I have reloaded its OS9, any idea how to speed it up?

  6. @Matt – Wow man, OS9! I’ve not had to think about speeding up OS9 in years.

    Um, zap the PRAM? 😛 Seriously, I don’t remember, but I’m glad you’re still getting use out of the old computer.

  7. is this just a Snow Leopard thing? my machine was humming along just fine ‘n’ dandy before the big SL upgrade for me, and i’m wondering if this is my imagination or a known issue that Snow Leopard ( one of the many for me … it took my 5 minutes to type this short note out …. grrrrrrrrrr ) brings to the desktop :[

    i have to say, hatin’ my Mac lately … HATING IT

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