MacBook Pro running slow, freezing

cpuhard drivemacbook promemoryssd

The Background:

I am a web developer & graphic designer, both professionally and as a student. This means that in a typical day, I have at least 2 Adobe Creative Suite apps open (Illustrator and Photoshop, usually also with XD and/or InDesign), Brackets, Terminal with my SASS Compiler and LocalHost running, and Chrome in a couple windows, one window running whatever website I'm working on and the corresponding Stack Overflow questions, and one window with my school work (and more Stack Overflow). This is, undeniably, a heavy load.

I have a Late 2013 MacBook Pro. Here are my specs:

Macbook Specs

I also have CleanMyMac3, aka my Best Friend™️.

The Problem:

This thing is constantly freezing. I mean, it's bad. The other night, I was trying to clean/organize my files, and every. time. I'd try to change the Finder window to a new folder, I'd be waiting with the spinning circle of death for a minute or two. This particular time, I also wasn't on a heavy workload. I had Chrome, Brackets, and the usual Outlook and Messages open. Checked CleanMyMac: once it loaded (a few minutes later), I had a little under 300MB of RAM. Looked on Activity Monitor, my CPU was running at 90% capacity (idle between 10% and 15%). Remember, I had a moderate to light workload on it.
To fix it, usually I can just restart. This has been happening for months now: randomly, my computer would freeze and go into this mega-slow state, but restarting and cleaning up my startup disk fixed it for a month or two. Within the past month, however, it's been getting so much worse: freezing more and more often, and living for shorter and shorter amounts of time after the restart and clean. Today, I've restarted twice because of it freezing. I'm ready to throw this laptop out of the window.

What I've tried so far:

I've looked everywhere, and here's what I've found:

  1. Restart the laptop: this fixes it for a little while, not permanent
  2. Clean the hard drive: also a temporary fix
  3. Check Activity Monitor:
    nothing threw a red flag at me — Brackets Helper and Chrome were
    both up there on the list, but other than that Finder and Kernal
    were the only two others (and expected ones) — I was only set off
    by the low amounts of CPU and RAM I have
  4. Reset NVRAM (command + option + p + r on boot): did nothing
  5. Reset SMC (command + option + shift on boot): did nothing
  6. Check hard drive with SMART Utility:
    passed, but everything was listed as either "old-age" or "pre-fail"

Please keep in mind that I have to put this heavy of a workload on my laptop. It's what I do. I cannot just stop running these "heavy applications" (as many other websites have suggested). I'm of course having some other troubles, that come with age (I bought this back in mid-2014): Bluetooth barely works (a problem many MacBook users have, as I've found), the hard drive is too small, it's running a little hot, there aren't any USB-C ports, and it's overall taken quite the beating and is falling behind. Is there anything I can do to try and save my poor MacBook, or is it time to retire and find something new? I'm looking to upgrade, anyways, as I know my workload is growing too much for my poor baby. I just want to try and milk this guy out as long as he'll last.

I've also downloaded some system monitoring software, and it's telling me that my CPU Proximity sensor is running around 140 degrees.

Best Answer

That's definitely a big load but it doesn't sound seem like it's too much for those specs. It's tough to troubleshoot something like this with a single answer but my guess is that there's an issue with your SSD.

Here's my reasoning:

  1. Temporarily fixed up on Restart.
  2. Temporarily fixed when startup disk is cleaned.
  3. You're running with only 10.7% free space.

Possible solutions:

  1. Verify that TRIM is running for your SDD. It should be if it's a stock drive but if it was updated, it probably isn't running.

    • In a terminal:

      system_profiler SPSerialATADataType | grep 'TRIM'
    • Looking for "TRIM Support: Yes" but if it's no, the free version of Trim Enabler can do this:

  2. Try running the built-in maintenance scripts. These should be running on a schedule already but you can manually run them in a terminal.

    sudo periodic daily weekly monthly
  3. You might consider upgrading the SSD before investing in a new system. is great for matching up specific hardware id's to appropriate components. I'm not endorsing that site. It's just a starting point.

Hope that helps. Good luck.