Is it necessary to format/reinstall OSX occasionally?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BadboyHouse, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. BadboyHouse macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2011
    I've got a late 2011 MBP.

    It had OSX Lion on it originally and I upgraded via the Mac App Store to Mountain Lion, Mavericks and then Yosemite as and when they were released each year.

    I'm aware that with Windows, it slows down over time and it's good practice to format Windows based systems and reinstall the O/S ever year or so if possible. This makes quite a difference in terms of performance.

    Do Macs also benefit from improved performance after a format/reinstall?

    My Mac doesn't run too slow - I'd say it's a bit sluggish after first booting but that might be because it has 4GB RAM.

    I remember when I first got it in 2011 it was very fast and programs opened almost immediately.

    Since I've had the Mac it hasn't really had much software installed - just programs like Numbers, Pages and one or two others. Everything else is stock installed.

    I've got a 6GB iPhoto database which is pretty slow to open.
  2. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Short answer - No. It's a placebo.

    If you want to increase performance on Yosemite, install an SSD. It makes a huge difference.
  3. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Short answer. Reinstalling the OS after a couple of years will speed up the computer because it gets rid of all the various bits of OS bloat. It won't be a huge increase. Now this only really works if you manually copy back the files you need instead of restoring from a backup. It can be time consuming, but it helps you keep your system small and optimized because you are only putting back what you need right now.

    I'm sure there are easier system optimization apps you should run first.

    Something else you can do is install an SSD for your OSX drive and replace your optical with a second, platter hardrive. You can probably put your optical in an enclosure.
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Not really, no. Unless you encounter a problem that is.

    6GB's worth of photos takes a long time to open because the computer has to generate thumbnails for them. That'll bring pretty much any computer (especially one with a mechanical hard drive) to its knees.
  5. BadboyHouse thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2011
    Safari and Photos (and iPhoto before the recent update) seem to be the worst offenders. I get the coloured spinning wheel quite frequently in these.

    I got the size of the iPhoto library completely wrong - it's actually 55GB. That probably explains some of the sluggishness.
  6. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    I regularly reformat and reinstall Windows - every 6 months or so. Still not had to do it yet for OS X. I have to admit I'm totally won over by OS X after being a Windows guy for so long, if I was able to get OS X with native DirectX then I'd never use Windows again.
  7. OldGuyTom macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    Re-installing the software won't help - unless of course you're re-installing an earlier version of OS X.

    I would suggest what you're seeing as a "slow down" is probably the gradual bloat in the operating systems. IMHO since Mountain Lion the OSes have continually gotten slower and slower.

    If you think it's a hardware problem you could probably use Scannerz at to check it, but don't hold your breath thinking it's going find a drive or system problem….it's probably Yosemite.

    You might want to check the comments in the App Store about Yosemite.
  8. MacRobert10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2012
    You've done an update every year and every year it seems to get slower. It's no placebo. I think 4G or RAM should be enough. Not great, but generally enough. Mavericks and Yosemite both use icon services agent that will kick on and start generating icons for files opened…possibly every one of them, maybe even including individual photos…I don't know. Anyway icon services agent can sometimes bottleneck a system and so can MDS indexing used by spotlight and time machine. Web services in Yosemite seems to be quite the little hungry warthog as well.

    it's just a lot of little things that consume more and more as time progresses.
  9. Sital macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2012
    New England
    I also have a late 2011 MBP. Best thing I ever did was install an SSD and up the RAM to 8GB.
  10. netsped macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    I make a clean install with every new release (once a year).

    I've found out that you gain more space back than performance, I guess it's a personal preference. At the end of the day, it won't do any harm.

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