Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
Ever since I updated my 2014 iMac 5K to Catalina, I've been seeing insane slowdowns in the UI. Like, resizing a Finder window and having it noticably lag behind the cursor. Or, worse, selecting text and finding that the highlight actually takes a while to draw (!) It's not normal behavior at all.

If I restart, the issue goes away for a while but seems to come back within a day or so.

It's a fairly old Mac at this point, but I've got a lot of RAM installed it was performing quite nicely under Mojave -- but now these slowdowns are making the machine pretty hard to use.

I think my next step is to make a new, virgin user account and boot up into only that one and see what happens. But before I do that I just wanted to see if anybody has any other suggestions.

Thanks!

iMac 2020-04-15 at 12.43.57 PM.png
 

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
Not yet. Was just hoping to hear whether there are any known issues I might chase down before I do all that.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
Replace your hard drive with an SSD. The difference will amaze you.

Oh really, SSDs are faster? Who knew :rolleyes:

Thanks for the insightful comment, guy, but I'm talking about a specific and pretty severe slowdown issue that started with Catalina.
[automerge]1587073563[/automerge]
Try booting into safe mode and see if you have the same issue.


Yeah, I could try that but the issue only comes up after a day or so. And Safe Mode tends to also make the UI super laggy anyway.

I might just make a new user account and only work in that, see if that helps.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
Oh really, SSDs are faster? Who knew :rolleyes:

Thanks for the insightful comment, guy, but I'm talking about a specific and pretty severe slowdown issue that started with Catalina.
[automerge]1587073563[/automerge]


Yeah, I could try that but the issue only comes up after a day or so. And Safe Mode tends to also make the UI super laggy anyway.

I might just make a new user account and only work in that, see if that helps.

The other thing you could try is create a new partition and install 10.15.4 to the new partition.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
It actually sounds like his iMac is booting in safe mode for some reason.. But this is still not a bad tip. See if safe mode looks any different.
It's not booting in safe mode. I'd probably notice the big red banner that says SAFE BOOT on the menu bar.

As I wrote in my original post, UI graphics performance starts off normal and then degrades after period of time -- usually a few days.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
It's not booting in safe mode. I'd probably notice the big red banner that says SAFE BOOT on the menu bar.

As I wrote in my original post, UI graphics performance starts off normal and then degrades after period of time -- usually a few days.

Try running the EtreCheck app when the UI is sluggish.

 

BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,029
You're not the only one that has noticed the overall slowing of the UI. I can't stand it. Moving windows, resizing, just seems like I'm running a 10 year old computer.

Getting a Windows 10 custom built PC last month did not help me at all... It's nice having an OS that isn't laggy.

I love Mac OS - the text is a lot sharper, easier to read, and it stays out of my way but ...

And I have a 2017 MBP 13' TB.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
You're not the only one that has noticed the overall slowing of the UI. I can't stand it. Moving windows, resizing, just seems like I'm running a 10 year old computer.

Getting a Windows 10 custom built PC last month did not help me at all... It's nice having an OS that isn't laggy.

I love Mac OS - the text is a lot sharper, easier to read, and it stays out of my way but ...

And I have a 2017 MBP 13' TB.

Is this under Catalina? If so, did you see this problem under Mojave or did it come after the Catalina update?

Like I said, though, this isn't a problem I see until the machine has been running for a while.
 

BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,029
Is this under Catalina? If so, did you see this problem under Mojave or did it come after the Catalina update?

Like I said, though, this isn't a problem I see until the machine has been running for a while.

For me it came after Catalina. But I'll be honest, I can't remember all that much of Mojave. Mac OS has always had that "animated" attempt at smoothing OS operations that resulted in a "laggy" OS feel - but it got obscene in Catalina. Moving windows, resizing windows made me feel like I was on a 486 - that started in Catalina if I remember correctly.

Happens regardless of using an EGPU or the onboard graphics of the MBP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
For me it came after Catalina. But I'll be honest, I can't remember all that much of Mojave. Mac OS has always had that "animated" attempt at smoothing OS operations that resulted in a "laggy" OS feel - but it got obscene in Catalina. Moving windows, resizing windows made me feel like I was on a 486 - that started in Catalina if I remember correctly.

Happens regardless of using an EGPU or the onboard graphics of the MBP.

Interesting. There's definitely a lack of "snappiness" here, but I'm experiencing slowdowns that go way beyond that. Like, I drag my cursor along a line of text and the selection highlight actually takes a while to catch up -- which is insane. And then as I mentioned I restart and all is back to normal... until it slows down again.

I'm messing around with Etrecheck now to see if anything pops up. Might do a clean OS reinstall at some point, though, since I've been doing updates to this same install for a few years now and there might be some cruft built up in the corners.
 

BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,029
Interesting. There's definitely a lack of "snappiness" here, but I'm experiencing slowdowns that go way beyond that. Like, I drag my cursor along a line of text and the selection highlight actually takes a while to catch up -- which is insane. And then as I mentioned I restart and all is back to normal... until it slows down again.

I'm messing around with Etrecheck now to see if anything pops up. Might do a clean OS reinstall at some point, though, since I've been doing updates to this same install for a few years now and there might be some cruft built up in the corners.

I found having an external 8TB spinner attached to Mac OS resulted in OS lockups randomly - like what you're saying. But they were more system freezes while the OS waited for the disk to spin up even though what I was doing had nothing to do with the external drive. (Not sure if you got an external spinner attached, but thought I'd mention it).
 
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
7,215
12,032
I found having an external 8TB spinner attached to Mac OS resulted in OS lockups randomly - like what you're saying. But they were more system freezes while the OS waited for the disk to spin up even though what I was doing had nothing to do with the external drive. (Not sure if you got an external spinner attached, but thought I'd mention it).

Same. I generally have a big, slow mechanical Time Machine drive attached and it causes horrible beach-balling anytime the Finder starts rooting around for available places to open/save files -- or as you say at random times. (It's garbage behavior and I keep meaning to see if I can rig some kind of script that mounts the drive a couple times a day for backups but otherwise unmounts it.)

Unfortunately, that's not the case here. I disconnected the external and I'm not seeing beachballing, but just a horrible slowdown of things being drawn on screen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigMcGuire

ISKOTB

macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2011
973
193
Florida
same here " horrible beach-balling anytime the Finder starts rooting around for available places to open/save file" and I did pretty much everything like safe mode, checked login items, rest smc....etc I can't afford to format/restore things all over.

Same. I generally have a big, slow mechanical Time Machine drive attached and it causes horrible beach-balling anytime the Finder starts rooting around for available places to open/save files -- or as you say at random times. (It's garbage behavior and I keep meaning to see if I can rig some kind of script that mounts the drive a couple times a day for backups but otherwise unmounts it.)

Unfortunately, that's not the case here. I disconnected the external and I'm not seeing beachballing, but just a horrible slowdown of things being drawn on screen.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
Have you tried reinstalling Catalina clean on another partition?

This is what I suggest as well. Not having a sanity check can make diagnosing the problem difficult. There could be a third party software causing the problem.

If you are having an issue with an external hard drive attached maybe try a SMC reset as well.

 
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

AGGRX

macrumors newbie
Jul 21, 2020
1
2
Interesting. I'm having the same problems with Catalina on exactly one machine (a 2019 iMac) as well.

Symptoms:

* "WindowServer" CPU usage is 98% for long periods of time.
* Finder lag is EXTREMELY high. As in, resize a window and it takes 1 or two seconds for the mouse drag to be registered.
* Millions of log entries in the Console.app, accumulating 200+ per second. Most are by "loginwindow" and "diskarbitrationd" and "mDNSResponder."

If I reboot OR log out and in again, the problem goes away for a while (usually 2 or 3 days at least)

I assume a clean install would probably fix it, but that's too much trouble so I just reboot.

I have not been able to diagnose the problem at all beyond "high WindowServer CPU" and "so many log messages."
 

drackows

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2020
6
2
Warsaw
Hi
I tried to find for some time solution for my issue and it's first time I get here by google...

I have MBP Mid 2015 (2,2GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD few days ago replaced with new 960GB, Intel graphic only).

For me it's similar to described here - everything it's working perfect on 2 screens (internal+external) for some time after restart ... even if I start a lot of heavy apps ... then (maybe after putting mac to sleep...) this whole annoying thing is started: laggy selecting text in ie. IntelliJ, scrolling web pages, moving google map ... biggest lagging is on moving google maps with switched to real photo maps...

I recorded behavior by phone because recording screen breaks smoothness of screen.
Laggy:
Smooth (for comparison):

I would like to ask if anyone found solution for this lagging-UI issue. I tried to kill process after process also killing WindowServer what causes restart of UI... no success. I have new SSD (because I needed bigger one) and I recovered system from TimeMachine (I don't have much time to install everything manually). I tried also with stop using BetterTouchTool (I found some described issue about lagging UI because of that) and it was ok for few days - I thought that was it but unfortunately not :(
 

chipsandsalsa

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2020
473
2,120
I have a similar issue with my MBP 2015 with both discrete and iGPU, and its very random but I believe stems from the iGPU not fully coming out of sleep mode speed after a sleep/wake cycle - which is why rebooting fixes it. Reading about a few users experiences, it seems to get 'stuck' at 200mhz after a sleep cycle instead of going to its maximum of 750mhz. This never happens with the discrete Radeon card and in fact while the issue is going on I can toggle the graphics in 'Energy' settings and its full speed. Then toggling back, it goes sluggish. Very irritating and unfortunately can't remember if Mojave or High Sierra had the problem.

One thing additionally, it seems to be a bit more prevalent in 'dark mode' than 'light mode'.
 
  • Like
Reactions: drackows

drackows

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2020
6
2
Warsaw
Oh - good tip @chipsandsalsa - I will try to look for some solutions there. It matches to my suspicion (more feel than suspicion) that it always happens just after opening MBP from sleep - not while I'm working...
A pity that there is no something like "Hibernate" in OSX to turn off fully all devices - maybe it would be helpfull.

I checked a bit and found here related issue:
Old one and unfortunately without solution. The question is if there is issue reported to apple.

...quite fresh and no answer :(
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: chipsandsalsa

drackows

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2020
6
2
Warsaw
Have any of you tried to disable PowerNap for both Battery and AC? Maybe the issue is caused by that? (while Mac is doing some PowerNap stuff - graphics is not needed).
Two cases comes to my mind: 1. problem is caused just while PowerNap executes or 2. problem appears when we wake up Mac while PowerNap is on going

What led me to this place? Related issue where someone told that he can see issue when iTerm is on full screen mode (I'm using it too) and I've checked it's details and I found in ActivityMonitor that it has "Yes" in AppNap column in Energy tab.... but I don't know how to reproduce it :(
 

chipsandsalsa

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2020
473
2,120
Oh - good tip @chipsandsalsa - I will try to look for some solutions there. It matches to my suspicion (more feel than suspicion) that it always happens just after opening MBP from sleep - not while I'm working...
A pity that there is no something like "Hibernate" in OSX to turn off fully all devices - maybe it would be helpfull.

I checked a bit and found here related issue:
Old one and unfortunately without solution. The question is if there is issue reported to apple.

...quite fresh and no answer :(

Yep, I also show in the Big Sur thread that some folks with '16 2020 MBP having similar issues and its a long standing bug. Very annoying.

Have any of you tried to disable PowerNap for both Battery and AC? Maybe the issue is caused by that? (while Mac is doing some PowerNap stuff - graphics is not needed).
Two cases comes to my mind: 1. problem is caused just while PowerNap executes or 2. problem appears when we wake up Mac while PowerNap is on going

What led me to this place? Related issue where someone told that he can see issue when iTerm is on full screen mode (I'm using it too) and I've checked it's details and I found in ActivityMonitor that it has "Yes" in AppNap column in Energy tab.... but I don't know how to reproduce it :(

Ugh that is annoying. I've disabled power nap on both and rebooted. Ill see how long it takes to show degradation/performance slow down. Yesterday was 2 days before it went south. Fingers crossed.
 

drackows

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2020
6
2
Warsaw
Unfortunately it doesn't helped :( After whole night it was ok, but after short brake in last 2h it's back - and I can confirm by "Intel Power Gadget" that "GFX AVG" is now 0,2GHz (not as previous 0,75GHz :/ ) So disabling PowerNap doesn't help :(

How I've left MBP for whole night?
- charger connected to MBP but not connected to AC (so I can assume that it's disconnected)
- connected with DP and turned off external monitor (by DisplayPort)
- connected USB cable with some devices
- I've chosen manually "sleep" from menu and closed internal display

What was the state when problem appears?
- everything like above
- everything turned on
- Mac went to sleep automatically
 
  • Like
Reactions: chipsandsalsa
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.