Optimize Mac OS X El Capitan for Faster and Steadier Performance

Mac OS X El Capitan (version 10.11) is the 12th OS X release for laptops, desktops, and server Macintosh computers. Coming next after OS X Yosemite, it’s oriented on security, performance, and stability. If you wish to upgrade to El Capitan, the best way is to install it from scratch and migrate the user accounts and data.

However, if you choose to upgrade on top of the current OS version, you may discover that your operating system has become slower. This may happen due to bringing the previous settings and files over. El Capitan requires more disk space and RAM to ensure proper performance. Luckily, it is possible to optimize OS X 10.11 El Capitan and remove the factors hindering the system performance.

optimize mac os x el capitan

Why is Mac OS X El Capitan Running Slow?

Of course, you got used to Mac’s fast and proficient performance. Coming across problems like slow bootup, lagging apps or system freeze-ups within a working session is disappointing. Why do these problems occur? There are several typical reasons for a Mac to experience performance issues:

Hard drive space shortage

Unnecessary apps load on startup

Unwanted background system processes

Being short on free disk space is a serious issue. The first thing most Mac users come up with is uninstalling a few cumbersome apps, getting rid of old movies or music albums. Some go even further and remove the unneeded language packs. The bad news is, manual cleaning is only a temporary way out. There is an option to use standard Mac OS optimization utilities. However, there may be residual app data you still have to remove down the road. To reclaim diсk space and optimize El Capitan with maximum effect, choose comprehensive cleaning tools.

Tips to Perform Mac Tune-Up for El Capitan

So, how can you make your El Capitan-operated Mac work faster? Take a look at the top ways to boost your OS X 10.11.

Optimizing your Mac's startup

If a dozen of applications starts loading once you turn your Mac on, check your login items. Most likely, you don’t need the majority of apps launching on startup. This may be causing slow bootup of your Mac OS El Capitan. Go to System Preferences -> select ‘Users & Groups’. The next step is to choose your username and deselect the unneeded applications. You can always go back and restore the previous settings if needed.

Users & Groups

Reclaiming Mac’s disk space

Make sure you have all the important user data backed up before you start freeing up the disk space. Mac users are strongly recommended to make regular backups to prevent severe data loss.

There are two ways to learn how much space is actually occupied:

  • Select your primary hard drive on the desktop -> hit ‘Command’ + ‘i’. The info window will display the overall disk capacity and available space;
  • Go to Applications/Utilities folder -> start Disk Utility.

Always leave a minimum of 10% of disk space unoccupied to ensure RAM-intensive applications have enough space to store temporary files. Also, it is possible to analyze the disk space using free or paid third-party applications.

Cleaning up the hard drive on Mac OS X El Capitan

If you choose to free up your Mac’s disk space in manual mode, be aware: this can take some time. Follow the next sequence of actions to perform this procedure:

  1. Go to Finder -> click ‘All My Files’ in the sidebar menu on the left. In case, it doesn’t display, hit ‘Command+Shift+F’ (⌘+⇧+F).
  2. Click ‘View’ in the top menu bar -> choose ‘Show View Options’. Arrange all files by selecting ‘Size’ to display them from the largest to the smallest.
  3. Another way to go is to purge the outdated files or the files you haven’t used in a while. To do that, change the file arrangement by selecting ‘Date Last Opened’.
Show View Options Size

Purging the Downloads folder

El Capitan has plenty of corners to conceal "space-eating" data. Enter the Downloads folder and hold the ‘Command + I’ key combination to display the information about the available space. Identify the downloaded files you don't need anymore and send them to Trash immediately.

Emptying the Trash Bin

Have you checked the Trash yet? Before you empty the Trash, make sure it doesn’t contain any files you might want to restore. For this, take a tour around the Trash folder and manually restore specific data, if needed. In case there’s nothing to recover, use a ‘Command + Shift + Option + Delete’ key combination. Or you can right-click the Trash icon and choose ‘Empty Trash’ to permanently delete the files.

Activity Monitor Memory

Controlling Activity Monitor

El Capitan requires significant RAM to function properly. As a rule, Macs are apt at memory management. However, checking the applications that run in the background is necessary to control memory usage. Launch ‘Activity Monitor’ (you can find it with Spotlight) and click the ‘Memory’ tab.

Almost equal ‘Physical Memory’ and ‘Memory Used’ values mean that your Mac is running out of memory. Soon enough it will resort to using Virtual Memory, which is an unwanted outcome. Virtual Memory mainly relies on using hard drive’s resources slowing down the overall system performance. To manually clean the memory, do the following:

  1. Launch ‘Terminal’ and type in sudo purge command.
  2. Wait until the command is processed and the system returns the prompt.

Is it Worth Using El Capitan Cache Cleaner?

Cache is a location on your Mac’s hard disk where your operating system, applications, and browsers keep files they might need for work. The large cache files can eat up a lot of disk space and reduce OS X performance. Why is cleaning cache so important? First of all, it helps to reclaim a considerable amount of disk space. In case your Mac computer works slowly, freezes up or gives “Your startup disk is almost full” alert, it’s time to purge system cache.

cleaner for mac el capitan

How to Clear Cache on a Mac OS X El Capitan Manually

It is possible to access all cache files within Mac Capitan manually. Follow the below instructions:

  1. Enter Finder -> choose ‘Go to Folder’ in the ‘Go’ menu on top of the screen.
  2. Type in ‘~/Library/Caches/’ to access ‘Caches’ folder. Make sure to purge only the contents of these folders, but don’t remove folders themselves.
  3. Repeat these steps, but type in ‘/Library/Caches/’ omitting the ~ symbol.
  4. Reboot your operating system.
Library Caches

There’s also an option to seek for specific caches for targeted removal. For instance, to purge Safari browser cache, delete "Cache.db" in the folder "com.apple.safari." This way, you can remove caches and temporary files for a particular user account. Some system-level applications may also create temporary files, most of which shouldn’t be manually deleted.

Manual cache cleaning on Mac has its drawbacks. First of all, it’s hard to define how much space is taken up by specific folders in Caches. Secondly, deleting some of these files unknowingly may cause a system crash. Plus, the process itself is time-consuming, so it could use some automation.

How to Clear Cache on a Mac OS X El Capitan Using Third-Party Apps

Using third-party apps like El Capitan Cache Cleaner or MacProCleaner turns out faster and handier compared to manual cleaning. As a rule, free or paid third-party applications have a user-friendly interface, are easy to use and complemented with rich documentation. They offer users an array of functionality targeted at specific areas:

  • Integrated anti-virus protection;
  • Extensive cache cleaning functionality;
  • Repair of system permissions, libraries, and databases;
  • System testing, customization, and optimization capabilities.

Using trusted third-party maintenance utilities is effective, safe, and fast. These apps require minimum involvement, prevent users from deleting important system data and ensure anti-malware protection. Remember to download the third-party apps only from trusted providers to avoid malware and fraudulent software.

In conclusion

Timely servicing Mac OSX El Capitan will help your Apple computer will run smoothly. Clearing cache is important to prevent logs, unneeded language files, and system trash from piling up. It is possible to conduct all cleaning procedures manually. Alternatively, Mac users can resort to third-party apps targeting specific areas to make cache cleaning fast and efficient.