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ZachNathan

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 25, 2014
64
99
New York, NY
Hi all

So I have the entry-level 2015 12-inch MacBook, and in recent years (and even up to the recent dev betas of Big Sur) it really has been a struggle to maintain some semblance of good performance.

I think this was largely due to my use of Chrome and other non-Apple apps, which often seemed to provide a speed boost at first but gradually had my Mac dragging it's feet.

However, with a fresh install of the official Big Sur release (and 11.0.1) and going back to Apple apps, it seems the machine has had a sort of comeback in terms of raw performance and battery life (even with a depleted 77% capacity battery, soon to be replaced).

Has anyone else had the same experience? Is anyone planning on keeping their 12-inch until a future OS upgrade kills it? If so, what are some of the things you do to eke out as much performance/battery life as possible?
 
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paddylaz

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2012
84
103
Not exactly a relevant answer to your specific question because I have a 16inch MacBook Pro, but I'm now a converted believer in the art of the Clean Install.

I was initially disappointed by Sur's performance on upgrade but a wipe of the SSD and fresh install and now it's running smoother than ever.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2006
3,706
1,715
UK
Not exactly a relevant answer to your specific question because I have a 16inch MacBook Pro, but I'm now a converted believer in the art of the Clean Install.

I was initially disappointed by Sur's performance on upgrade but a wipe of the SSD and fresh install and now it's running smoother than ever.
I don't believe a clean install per se guarantees improved performance but if there are unnecessary or problem processes going on it will probably eliminate them, but so would maintaining and troubleshooting an old install.
 
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paddylaz

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2012
84
103
I don't believe a clean install per se guarantees improved performance but if there are unnecessary or problem processes going on it will probably eliminate them, but so would maintaining and troubleshooting an old install.
Yeah I agree it's just a 'housekeeping' type thing that could be reproduced simply by knowing what bloat/spam/clashing apps need to be removed/erased.

I think I'm mostly converted to the Clean Install despite the extra effort though due to some latent OCD ?
 
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EugW

macrumors G5
Jun 18, 2017
13,733
11,421
Clean install --> Improved performance
Big Sur --> Fresh new interface

As for Chrome, run an ad blocker. That will speed it up greatly.

I will be keeping my 12" MacBook a long time, but mine's a 2017 with 16 GB RAM, with hardware HEVC video support and significantly faster CPU. To be honest, I felt the (base model) 2015 MacBook was a little big sluggish at times even back in 2015.
 

MiamiBeach

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2020
259
156
I am very pleased with the performance of my base 2015 MacBook. I did get some sluggishness the first day or so after I upgraded from Mojave I’m guessing due to a full hard drive but since I got rid of some old programs I no longer used it has been smooth sailing. I didn’t do a clean install, however, but don’t think I would see any improvement as things are very good at present.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,622
2,337
USA
Hi all

So I have the entry-level 2015 12-inch MacBook, and in recent years (and even up to the recent dev betas of Big Sur) it really has been a struggle to maintain some semblance of good performance.

I think this was largely due to my use of Chrome and other non-Apple apps, which often seemed to provide a speed boost at first but gradually had my Mac dragging it's feet.

However, with a fresh install of the official Big Sur release (and 11.0.1) and going back to Apple apps, it seems the machine has had a sort of comeback in terms of raw performance and battery life (even with a depleted 77% capacity battery, soon to be replaced).

Has anyone else had the same experience? Is anyone planning on keeping their 12-inch until a future OS upgrade kills it? If so, what are some of the things you do to eke out as much performance/battery life as possible?

Well that is good news. I have a 2017 base model 12" MacBook. I forgot which software is on it, but I was avoiding upgrading to the newer ones bc I was concerned that it might become slow.

I am honestly elated to hear that Big Sur has been a good experience for you. I may download it and keep it on my Mac. I think that way I can choose to upgrade to it in the future.

For now I am still getting security updates, so will stay on the current software.

My MacBook is not a beast, but performance is acceptable, and I am happy with it.
 
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Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,622
2,337
USA
Clean install --> Improved performance
Big Sur --> Fresh new interface

As for Chrome, run an ad blocker. That will speed it up greatly.

I will be keeping my 12" MacBook a long time, but mine's a 2017 with 16 GB RAM, with hardware HEVC video support and significantly faster CPU. To be honest, I felt the (base model) 2015 MacBook was a little big sluggish at times even back in 2015.

I never found a browser I really loved until recently.

Safari always felt slow, firefox felt...fast sometimes and slow other times. Chrome was always a resource hog in my experience and then didn't always feel fast as time passed on and I used it more.

BUT

Then I found a browser which I truly love. Don't laugh at me, but Microsoft Edge is a dream come true. It is the best browser in my experience and I love it so much.

It's fast, reliable, and easy to use. As far as battery, I keep my devices plugged in a lot, but I haven't noticed battery being particularly bad. If I had to guess safari is probably better, but I am going to be using Edge for a good while I believe.
 
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ZachNathan

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 25, 2014
64
99
New York, NY
I never found a browser I really loved until recently.

Safari always felt slow, firefox felt...fast sometimes and slow other times. Chrome was always a resource hog in my experience and then didn't always feel fast as time passed on and I used it more.

BUT

Then I found a browser which I truly love. Don't laugh at me, but Microsoft Edge is a dream come true. It is the best browser in my experience and I love it so much.

It's fast, reliable, and easy to use. As far as battery, I keep my devices plugged in a lot, but I haven't noticed battery being particularly bad. If I had to guess safari is probably better, but I am going to be using Edge for a good while I believe.
Your experience with Edge is understandable. Back in my Linux days, I would use the open source Chromium fork for maximum performance on my itty bitty 2010 Toshiba netbook. As you can see, I'm well accustomed to maximizing performance and battery out of what is objectively less-than-normal specs.

Chromium ran very, very well on that netbook for whatever reason, so it's understandable that Microsoft has taken advantage of that dynamism and flexibility with Edge (a Chromium build itself).

I suppose I resist using Edge (even on my Windows laptop) out of spite towards Microsoft's failure to learn it's lessons from the 90s. I let a lot slide with tech companies, but I absolutely hate when these corporations think they can thrust unwanted software in my face. That belief extends to Apple and is no different in that regard.

TL;DR I'm glad you've had good experiences with Edge. Given it's foundation in open-source Chromium, it's no surprise it runs well.
 
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ZachNathan

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 25, 2014
64
99
New York, NY
I am very pleased with the performance of my base 2015 MacBook. I did get some sluggishness the first day or so after I upgraded from Mojave I’m guessing due to a full hard drive but since I got rid of some old programs I no longer used it has been smooth sailing. I didn’t do a clean install, however, but don’t think I would see any improvement as things are very good at present.
Yeah, and I think that's just what living with any MacBook is like... you deal with average performance on a day-to-day basis, and accept that what you desire – ultra-portability, small size, early-adopterness, etc – came with occasional performance and battery trade offs at the time of the release. These days with M1 those can be achieved basically without consequence.

I've found I only really need a clean install if performance really degrades. Luckily, my persistent use of this MacBook kinda forced me to adopt a wireless-focused system, given lack of ports and such. I can basically wipe any of my devices if need be and I don't have to worry about losing anything except maybe my Downloads folder.

I think that's really where I've benefited from the handicaps of this machine, and as such (ironically enough, using an outdated and underperforming Mac) I feel I am and have been a few years ahead of the mainstream tech curve.
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2015
2,266
2,293
San Antonio Texas
I am amazed how 11.0.1 runs on my 2012 i5/16/2TB MBP . I did a clean install and its a lightning quick. MUCH faster than 10.15.7. I bet a 2015 will fly on Big Sur.
 

SO8

macrumors member
Oct 29, 2020
40
23
UK
My MB seemed to love Big Sur and Geekbench 5 showed maybe 20% improvement in speed. That said, I've just traded it as I don't need three computers. It was only used as a spare and for taking out and about when I didn't want to use my new MBA/MBP. I will miss the small form factor but am lazy and love the fingerprint unlock of the newer machines.
 

Student of Life

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2020
672
716
My MB seemed to love Big Sur and Geekbench 5 showed maybe 20% improvement in speed. That said, I've just traded it as I don't need three computers. It was only used as a spare and for taking out and about when I didn't want to use my new MBA/MBP. I will miss the small form factor but am lazy and love the fingerprint unlock of the newer machines.
You can do Apple Watch unlock on them which I think is better and less intrusive. I really do love my 12MacBook that was a hand me down.
 
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SubMacUser

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2020
11
2
Kota Surabaya, Jawa Timur
i have the 2017 base model, the performance in the last 3 years is okay at best. struggling a bit during zoom calls due to heat, solve it easily with a 10 dollar cooling pad. after big sur came out, the only issues that i have notice is when using 10 apps at once. other than those 2, its quite okay.
 

mk313

macrumors 68000
Feb 6, 2012
1,955
1,064
I have two MacBooks, a 2015 with the high end processor(I forget the name, maybe M3?) and once Apple announced they were discontinuing them, I bought a high end 2017 model, with the i7 processor, 16 gigs of Ram & A 256 SSD (I would have bought 512, but couldn't find one).

The 2017 is definitely faster than the 2015, but the 2015 is still very usable, especially under Big Sur. I do tend to stick to Apple software and maybe that helps, but I haven't really had any issues with it. I do get the beachball at times, but nothing terrible. If I didn't have the 2017, this one would be my main Mac for the foreseeable future. I will probably upgrade if/when Apple releases an M1 MacBook that is similar in size, weight to the MacBook, but until then, I'm good with what I have. I do prefer the keyboard on the 2015 to the 2017, but both of them are great machines.
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
957
327
I haven't noticed a significant difference on my 2016 M3. Main complaint is choppy scrolling on some sites when using Safari (reddit home page is a good example). However my 2018 Air also had similar scrolling behavior despite it being more powerful.

I also recently put Win10 back on the MacBook and performance is excellent. Better than Big Sur.
 

dubstar82

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2013
27
3
Los Angeles CA
I haven't noticed a significant difference on my 2016 M3. Main complaint is choppy scrolling on some sites when using Safari (reddit home page is a good example). However my 2018 Air also had similar scrolling behavior despite it being more powerful.

I also recently put Win10 back on the MacBook and performance is excellent. Better than Big Sur.
I noticed extreme lag on Reddit using Safari, yet no lag when using Microsoft Edge browser or Chrome.
 

infernoguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2011
311
107
Nashville, TN
I haven't noticed a significant difference on my 2016 M3. Main complaint is choppy scrolling on some sites when using Safari (reddit home page is a good example). However my 2018 Air also had similar scrolling behavior despite it being more powerful.

I also recently put Win10 back on the MacBook and performance is excellent. Better than Big Sur.
I just reacquired a MacBook 12 inch 2015 and installed Win10 via Boot Camp. So much faster than Big Sur.
I noticed extreme lag on Reddit using Safari, yet no lag when using Microsoft Edge browser or Chrome.
This is normal unfortunately. Safari and the new Reddit UI don't play well together.
 

bingeciren

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2011
1,069
1,009
My 2016 12" Macbook (m7 - 512) is absolutely fine on Mojave. I created an experimental APFS Container and installed a clean & lean Big Sur on it to try it out. It runs pretty much the same as Mojave and I cannot detect any difference in performance. Perhaps aesthetically looking a bit better but still, I will not switch to Big Sur because I don't want to lose the ability to run 32 bit apps and I don't want to shell out a full upgrade price to go from 1Password6 to 1Password7 (licensed version, not sub).

Also, I see no compelling reason to buy an M1 Mac yet because I use Bootcamp and/or Parallels as well as 32 bit apps.
 
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infernoguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2011
311
107
Nashville, TN
My 2016 12" Macbook (m7 - 512) is absolutely fine on Mojave. I created an experimental APFS Container and installed a clean & lean Big Sur on it to try it out. It runs pretty much the same as Mojave and I cannot detect any difference in performance. Perhaps aesthetically looking a bit better but still, I will not switch to Big Sur because I don't want to lose the ability to run 32 bit apps and I don't want to shell out a full upgrade price to go from 1Password6 to 1Password7 (licensed version, not sub).

Also, I see no compelling reason to buy an M1 Mac yet because I use Bootcamp and/or Parallels as well as 32 bit apps.

How is Parallels on your MB12? I used Vmware on my 2015 (1.2) and it’s slow.
 

bingeciren

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2011
1,069
1,009
How is Parallels on your MB12? I used Vmware on my 2015 (1.2) and it’s slow.
I use Parallels 15 and its performance is very good. It loads fast and runs fast. My Windows and linux files are about 15-20Gb in size. I guess it was a good decision to choose the maxed out Macbook (m7-512).

I may be lucky with the keyboard too because unlike most people, my butterfly keyboard is problem free. Only the battery is down to 70% and the condition is "Service Battery" yet still gives me 6 hours on full charge. I'll get it serviced when it drops to less than 4 hours.
 
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infernoguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2011
311
107
Nashville, TN
I use Parallels 15 and its performance is very good. It loads fast and runs fast. My Windows and linux files are about 15-20Gb in size. I guess it was a good decision to choose the maxed out Macbook (m7-512).

I may be lucky with the keyboard too because unlike most people, my butterfly keyboard is problem free. Only the battery is down to 70% and the condition is "Service Battery" yet still gives me 6 hours on full charge. I'll get it serviced when it drops to less than 4 hours.

I took the plunge this morning and did a 14 day trial of Parallels 16. Created at Win10 VM and it runs really well so far but that price tag per year... Ouch!!!

Maybe I need to create a fresh VM in VMWare Fusion 12 Player and compare.
 

MiamiBeach

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2020
259
156
Anyone notice a speed improvement after upgrading from 11.0.1 to 11.1 on their MacBook? I feel as though I get much less lag and scrolling seems much smoother now than when I first upgraded to 11.0.1.
 
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