Troubleshooting your MacBook Pro Performance

Improve your MacBook Pro’s Performance

I have been using Apple’s MacBook Pro line since they first came out in 2006 and have serviced quite a few since then. I have pulled together some helpful tips to help you increase your performance and get the most out of your MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. These tips address best use practices, dealing with sluggish performance and battery issues.

Good Sound Apple Advice
Right out of the box make sure you follow some of the tips found in the MacBook Manual. This includes conditioning your battery and other helpful tips.

Increase Your Performance
If you leave your MacBook on 24/7 only plugging it in to recharge it and you notice in decrease performance you might want to consider shutting it down waiting a while and then restarting. Most people say that the MacBook should be designed to operate all the time but you should give it a rest once and a while mainly because it needs to run maintenance scripts in the background. These maintenance scripts run every hour, day or week and if you contently put it to sleep it won’t have the opportunity to run them. When you restart the system checks the last time they have been run and forcibly runs the ones you haven’t run in a while.

Another way to increase performance is to check your Energy Saver Preferences and see what your graphics are set to. Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver. Click on the Graphics pane at the top and enable ‘Higher Performance’ instead of ‘Better Battery Life’. This forces your MacBook to run faster graphics instead of the lower more energy efficient on.

Single Button Trackpad Troubles
If your MacBook (late 2008) is one with a single button and found that it is sometime unresponsive then your are probably due for a Firmware Update. You can restore your trackpad back to its old glory by installing the MacBook Pro Trackpad Firmware Update 1.0. One note of warning here that if the Firmware install gets interrupted, or was interrupted, for any reason you may wind up with an nonfunctional trackpad. If this happens you will need to find a wired mouse and perform the Firmware update again.

Battery Not Holding a Charge
This is a common issue with most MacBooks that are now 2 years old. Make sure you have conditioned your MacBook Battery, check out my Getting Started guide for MacBook. If you feel a new battery might be your next step make sure you have installed the latest MacBook Pro Battery Update. How to tell if the battery update has been installed.

  1. Go to SystemConfiguration folder: From the Go menu select Go to Folder.
  2. Type: /System/Library/SystemConfiguration
  3. Click Go.
  4. Select the file named BatteryUpdater.bundle.
  5. From the File menu, choose Get Info and check the Version or type Command-I.
  6. If the version is BatteryUpdater 1.3 your system and battery are up to date.

If installing the batter update does not work you can test your battery with coconutBattery. coconutBattery shows your current charge of your battery and its current maximum capacity in relation to its original factory capacity. This might prove that you need a new battery and a visit to the Apple Store might be in order. Your MacBook might qualify for a new battery even if it is out of warranty.

Sleep Issues
If your MacBook Pro doesn’t turn on or start up after being turned off or going to sleep try the following suggestions in order until your computer turns on:

  1. Make sure the power adapter is plugged into the computer and into a functioning power outlet. If the power adapter is not charging you won’t see the indicator light on the power adapter turn on when you plug in the power cord. Try unplugging and replugging the power cord to reseat it on the MacBook and try a different outlet.
  2. Check whether the battery needs to be recharged. Press the small button on the left side of your computer. You should see one to eight lights indicating the battery’s level of charge. If a single light indicator light is on, connect your power adapter to recharge. If you press the battery button, and all battery indicator lights flash five times quickly you may need a new battery.
  3. Try returning the computer to its factory settings by disconnecting the power adapter and holding down the power button for at least 5 seconds.
  4. If you recently installed additional memory, make sure that it is correctly seated and compatible with your MacBook. Try removing the new RAM and reinstalling the old chips allows the computer to start up.
  5. Press the power button and immediately hold down Command+Option+P+R keys simultaneously until you hear the startup sound a second time. This resets the parameter RAM (PRAM).

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