How to make downloads faster on your Mac

If your internet connection is speedy enough, you can play games, download videos, watch movies in HD, and stay connected to the rest of the world. Even a simple task as typing in a word-processing document relies on a stable internet connection to sync data and check for updates. So, if your internet is running slowly, it can be very frustrating. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to fix it. In this article, we’ll show you how to download faster on your Mac.

Why are downloads so slow?

In order to speed up downloads on your Mac, you’ll have to identify the reason they are slow in the first place. Here are the most common reasons.

  • Problems with Wi-Fi on your Mac, your Wi-Fi router, or network
  • Problems with your broadband provider’s network
  • An outdated or slow web browser
  • Malware
  • Problems with the website you are downloading from
  • Lack of available memory

Now that we know what causes slow download speed, we can move on to troubleshooting the issue.

Tip

Slow downloading could be a symptom of your Mac being clogged up with junk files that take up disk space, occupy memory and otherwise slow your Mac down. The solution is to give it a bit of a clear out. CleanMyMac X makes that very easy thanks to its System Junk module. It gets rid of lots of files you don’t need and can free up several gigabytes of space. 

1. Download CleanMyMac X and install it, then launch it. 

2. Choose System Junk in the sidebar. 

3. Press Scan then, when it’s finished, Clean.


How to speed up downloads on your Mac

Before you do anything else, try downloading from a different website to make sure it’s not just one website that is downloading slowly. If the problem is repeated on other websites, try a different browser.

If the problem seems to occur in only one browser, here’s what you can do to fix it.

  • Check for updates
  • Close tabs you’re not using
  • Disable extensions
  • Check for malware

1. Update your browser

How to check browser version

The process of checking for updates varies according to the browser you use. For example, Safari is updated using Software Update in System Preferences. So, to check for updates, you can go to the Apple menu, choose About this Mac, then Software Update. This will also tell you if you are running the most recent version of macOS. If there are updates available, install them.

how to check macOS version

Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers, are updated from within the app. Usually you can check whether your browser is up to date by clicking on the name of the browser in the menu bar, then “About…”

2. Close tabs and disable extensions

Have your Mac fans ever run at full speed when you were browsing the web? The browser pages use a lot of memory, and if you have more than nine pages opened, your browser may get unresponsive and even crash. So, if you’re struggling with slow download speed, try closing some of the tabs to focus your Mac’s memory on one task.

The same applies to browser extensions. They can conflict with each other and make your browser sluggish. To remove extensions from Safari, go to the Safari menu and click Preferences. Go to the Extensions tab and uninstall the extensions you don’t use anymore. To learn how to disable extensions in other browsers, read our article.

3. Scan for malware

Malware can cause all kinds of problems, slow down your browser and even your whole Mac. The only way to check if your Mac isn’t infected is to use a dedicated anti-malware tool or the Malware module in CleanMyMac X. Choose Malware Removal in the sidebar, then press Scan. You can also configure CleanMyMac X to scan your Mac for malware in the background.

4. Turn off Wi-Fi on your Mac

Sometimes all you need to do to fix the problem is turn off Wi-Fi on your Mac and turn it back on again. It has worked for us many times.

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi symbol in the Finder menu bar.
  2. Turn it off.
  3. After a couple of seconds, turn it on.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, and your Mac has an Ethernet port, you can try connecting your Mac to your router with an Ethernet cable to see if that helps.

5. Try other devices

If using a different browser and turning Wi-Fi on your Mac off and then on again don’t work, try a different device like an iPhone, iPad, or another Mac. If downloading is slow on those as well, you know the problem isn’t your Mac. It must be either your Wi-Fi router or broadband connection.

The next step is to switch your router off and then on again. If that doesn’t help, try moving your Mac closer to your router if you can or repositioning your router so that it’s further away from the wall or anything else that might interfere with the signal. If none of that works, it’s time to contact your broadband provider.

If the internet connection on the other devices works ok, the problem is with your Mac. Restart your Mac.

The last resort, if nothing else works, is to reinstall macOS. But on most occasions, it won’t come to that.

Whether you buy movies to watch offline, download music, or send and receive large files to and from colleagues, slow downloads can become very frustrating. However, if you follow the steps above, you should be able to diagnose the problem and speed up downloading on your Mac. And if you use CleanMyMac X, you’ll end up with a clutter-free, smooth-running Mac as well.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.