How to Get More Out of an Older iMac

Whether you have an old iMac or buy it really cheap, here’s how you can breathe new life into it and get more out of an old iMac.

As technology advances and software requires better and better hardware, older Macs naturally start to slow down. Plus, performance can take a hit with additional usage and files piling up in OS X, but luckily you can revive an old iMac and give it back some of its old fire. In fact, if you take advantage of a few software tweaks and upgrade the hardware, you can get your old iMac running like new again.

Despite all the improvements and new features in OS X Yosemite, older iMacs still have problems. OS X Yosemite was released to critical acclaim in October, and while many users were excited to install the new operating system and try out the new features, there were quite a few Mac users who spent less than stellar time with OS X. Yosemite

While OS X Yosemite may run on older Macs as far back as 2007, that doesn’t necessarily mean it works well enough. We’ve heard that there are many issues affecting users who have installed OS X Yosemite on their Mac and have had a terrible time with it. Apps were slow, startup time sucked, and overall performance was lacking.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way, as there are a few tweaks you can make to OS X and your older iMac to make it perform better overall, from reducing eye candy to disabling a handful of resource-wasting features and even your iMac’s hardware. update some.

Install a Fresh Copy of OS X

Honestly, the best and easiest way to get maximum performance from your old iMac is to start fresh and install a clean copy of OS X. A fresh clean install means your computer’s hard drive is completely wiped and OS X is restored to factory settings. . This also means that no apps are installed and no files are stored – just the default apps and files that come with OS X.


Personally, I do a clean install every year because it’s good to start fresh. After a while, you’ll have tons of apps that you never use, and those apps create a series of temporary files that take up space and slow down your machine. Sure, you can use a cleaner utility like CCleaner, but nothing works better than an old-fashioned clean install.

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Be careful though: Performing a clean install of OS X requires you to create a bootable installation drive using a USB flash drive and using it with Terminal. If this isn’t something you enjoy doing on your own, we recommend leaving it alone or hiring a friend to help you perform a clean install.

Reduce Fantasy Effects

All the things that make OS X Yosemite look good are probably slowing down your old iMac, but you can disable most of them:

  1. Open.
  2. Click .
  3. put a check mark next to it.

Once there, you can put a checkmark next to folders and windows to make them easier on the eyes.

Many users have had success by disabling the transparency feature. The overall performance is increased and the opening speed of applications and Finder windows is much faster.

Disable Notification Center Widgets

The new widgets in Notification Center are great, but if this is a feature you’ll probably never use, it’s a good idea to go ahead and disable all the widgets so they don’t use resources all the time, especially if they’re ‘just sitting there’.

mac-notification center-1

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click all the way on the Notification Center icon in the upper right corner of the screen in the menu bar. This opens the Notification Center.
  2. Click the tab if it’s not there yet, and then click below.
  3. Click each of the red delete buttons next to each widget to remove it from Notification Center.
  4. Click at the bottom to save the changes.

This will speed up Notification Center as a whole and slightly improve performance on your iMac overall.

Set Minimize Window Effect

This feature goes back a few versions of OS X, but it’s still a good one to replace if you need some extra performance from your iMac.

  1. Open.
  2. Click .
  3. Find and change to .

This will get rid of that fancy swoosh minimizing the impact of the windows and turn it into something simpler. It certainly won’t give your iMac a huge speed boost, but it can help windows open and close much faster.

Upgrade Hardware

While the above methods don’t involve spending any money, one change you can make to your iMac that will seriously improve its performance is to upgrade the hardware. It takes some money to do this, but for as little as $100 (give or take), you can seriously speed up your iMac and have it run like a brand new computer.

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Older iMacs allow you to open it and swap RAM fairly easily. I upgraded the RAM on my 2008 iMac from 2GB to 4GB and it has helped quite a bit, especially with OS X Yosemite running the show.

You can also replace the internal hard drive with a much faster solid state drive, which is probably one of the best hardware upgrades you can make. It will speed up boot times and opening apps will be fast and smooth. It does require some research into your iMac, however, but iFixit has great guides on how to do it.