How to Speed ​​Up an Old iMac

If you’re using an older iMac as your everyday computer, then you’ll get more power, but if you want better performance, here’s how to speed up an old iMac.

We’ve talked about a handful of cheap Apple products lately that are worth buying and using. An older iMac was one of them. They may not perform as well as the newer models, but they still work pretty well and you can usually find one really cheap.

I have a 20-inch 2008 iMac that I could buy for $150 at a garage sale. The CD drive wasn’t working but I didn’t care much for that. The computer worked great otherwise. However, I wanted to speed it up and make sure it did its best based on what it was capable of.

If you’re in the same boat and looking for ways to speed up an older iMac like mine, here’s how to do it.

upgrade RAM

Perhaps one of the easiest upgrades you can do to speed up your old iMac is to upgrade the RAM (aka memory) and add more than is currently available.

A newer operating system like OS X El Capitan requires at least 2GB of RAM to run adequately, and while my old iMac had the required 2GB, it would run under minimum requirements, so I decided to boost my iMac with 4GB of RAM.

When you decide to go out and buy more RAM for your iMac, make sure you get the right type, as RAM comes in different sizes and speeds. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen and select . Next, click on the tab and it will be shown what type of RAM you want to buy.

From there, it’s just a matter of opening a compartment, sliding out the old modules and inserting the new ones.

Replace Storage Drive

Not surprisingly, older iMacs come with spinning 3.5-inch hard drives, but you can replace that with a dormant solid state drive for a significant speed boost.

Not only that, you can also replace the CD drive and install a second storage drive to get more storage space.

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iFixit has essential how-to guides It’s all about how to do it, and while you’ll probably need a few tools you don’t have, it’s a worthwhile project to seriously boost the performance of your old iMac.

Install a Fresh Copy of OS X

Perhaps the easiest way to get the best 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 storage 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.

If you want to install OS X El Capitan, you can. This latest version of OS X works with older iMacs up to 2007 and its performance isn’t half bad, but you’ll want to make sure you follow the next tip wisely.

Disable Features and Reduce Fancy Effects

With each new version of OS X comes a host of new features and fancy effects that make OS X look prettier than ever before, but these aren’t always easy on older Macs with slower hardware.


You can do yourself a huge favor by opening it, clicking on it, and placing a checkmark next to it. Once there, you can also place 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.

Disabling Notification Center widgets can also help performance.