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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
I am using a MacBook Air 2019 with macOS Catalina installed. My question is related to SPACES.
When I have a few spaces created with at least an app in each then switching between spaces by selecting the app from the dock is not smooth. The transformation animation stutters. I understand that it has to do with availability of RAM (8GB on this MacBook Air) while several apps are open (MS OFFICE apps, Safari, iMessages) and also not having a better graphics card/adapter.
But here is when things are smooth. If I switch spaces by using a three finger swipe on the trackpad then the animation is silky smooth from one space to another. The stuttering occurs only when I select an app from the dock and move to its space.
So, why is it smooth when I use the trackpad and why is it not when I use the dock? Furthermore, is there a setting from the Terminal that I can change to make the transition/animation from the dock as smooth as when I do a three finger swipe form the trackpad?

Axel F.
 

jparker402

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2016
370
30
Bellevue, NE
I do not know the answer. But I also have no idea what you mean by "spaces" and switching them. I am a novice and would like to know is why I ask.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
I do not know the answer. But I also have no idea what you mean by "spaces" and switching them. I am a novice and would like to know is why I ask.
Spaces are separate desktops created on the same MacBook screen and have different apps running in each space. Makes things easier to manage when one is working with several apps/documents.
More information in this link/article Using Space in MacOS . Thanks for your response.

Axel F.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
232
161
UK
Spaces works fine here, no stuttering. MBA 8/128. I usually have four or five full screen, with the "home" space used for small and random apps.

I think the animation is different because you have to pull the space about 1/3 of the way across the screen before it switches, whereas clicking the dock is immediate.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Spaces works fine here, no stuttering. MBA 8/128. I usually have four or five full screen, with the "home" space used for small and random apps.

I think the animation is different because you have to pull the space about 1/3 of the way across the screen before it switches, whereas clicking the dock is immediate.
Yes I agree and thought the same that when you pull on trackpad then it preloads before you finish the motion. So, in your case, choosing directly from dock does not produce any stutter while the spaces change?

Axel F.
 
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jparker402

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2016
370
30
Bellevue, NE
Spaces are separate desktops created on the same MacBook screen and have different apps running in each space. Makes things easier to manage when one is working with several apps/documents.
More information in this link/article Using Space in MacOS . Thanks for your response.

Axel F.
Thank you! Most informative! And I discovered several articles on YouTube discussing spaces. One question I have is if dividing up work into individual spaces would reduce the memory drain of having a number of apps open on the same space?
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Thank you! Most informative! And I discovered several articles on YouTube discussing spaces. One question I have is if dividing up work into individual spaces would reduce the memory drain of having a number of apps open on the same space?
The opposite is true that I found. Have one space open with the same number of apps will consume slightly less RAM space than having apps opened in multiple spaces. The difference is that in the former you do not have to switch spaces and in the latter you do.

Axel F.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
232
161
UK
So, in your case, choosing directly from dock does not produce any stutter while the spaces change?
Nope, it's quick and stutter-free.

btw, it might be worth further testing by using the keyboard commands: ^1, ^2, etc. and ^←, ^→
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Hi Auxbuss-
I believe that after months of stuttering UI which especially noticed easily while switching spaces, I have solved the issue. The stuttering was so bad at times that I wanted to throw this 2019 MacBook Air out the window and was chalking the whole thing up to 8GB of RAM however I knew better that 8GB RAM was enough for the applications that I was running and should UI should be stutter free. I struggled daily for months. I tried removing and reinstalling the MacOS. Removed Catalina and went back to Mojave and then back to Catalina and each time wiping the disk out and installing fresh applications and retrieving only data from backups. I performed countless NVRAM and SMC resets. I got so good at those that I could do those in pitch darkness while drinking beer with one hand. I also abused the Activity Monitor app in the process and suspected nothing out of the ordinary.
Now the SOLUTION for me - It was Microsoft ONEDRIVE. I just happened to look at one folder, about 600MB total data, which was shared with my Windows computer to maintain continuity etc. There were several files in that folder from Excel, to PowerPoint and Word. ONEDRIVE ran in the background on my Mac and it kept the SSD busy often and during idle times. That explained the worst amount of UI Stuttering happened after a few moments of idle time or returning after screensaver was invoked or waking the MacBook Air from sleep. I removed the sharing properties from that folder and rebooted while resetting NVRAM and SMC............. it has been butter since then. Stutter is gone and for the first time in months I know how smooth a MacBook Air 2019 can run.
Thought I would update you with these news.

Axel F.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
232
161
UK
Ah, that makes sense. I've heard similar tales from folk using Dropbox. Glad it's working for you now. And yes, the MBA is cracking little machine – and indeed, 8Gb is more than enough for the vast majority of users.
 
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smirking

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,626
2,293
Silicon Valley
I'm on a 32GB 2018 MBP with a Vega20 and I've also experienced stutter when swapping spaces. I'm not quite sure what causes the stutter except that it's not constant for me. I haven't been able to nail it down to one program though it does appear that running a Time Machine backup does increase the chances that I do get stutter.

I haven't seen a stutter in weeks though so it could be that the program that was causing the stutter no longer was problematic after an update in the past few months.

So, it's not just your humble MBA that runs into stutters. A really juiced up Mac has the same issue and I'm certain I'm not running out of resources. The root cause is definitely a software issue for me.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Hi SmirKing,
You bring up a good point about Time Machine backups. I failed to mention in my response above that when Time Machine was running then the chances of Stutter, while switching spaces, increased to near 100%. At present, I have set Time Machine to backup manually and I do that at will. This prevents the frustration from happening every hour for me. Yes, there is more to backup this way in one shot however I do that at my convenience.
For now, my humble MBA is operating as I expected it to when I bought it.
I also have a Mid-2015 MacBook Pro with 16BG RAM with the same MacOS (Catalina) and it is mainly stutter free especially when connected to an external monitor via the Display Port. It does not have a secondary video card and runs on Intel Iris Pro Graphics and works well (No Gaming or graphics intensive software for me). I, intentionally, did not mix the thought process of troubleshooting the MBA based on the settings and software of the MBP.

Axel F.
 
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jparker402

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2016
370
30
Bellevue, NE
Hi Auxbuss-
I believe that after months of stuttering UI which especially noticed easily while switching spaces, I have solved the issue. The stuttering was so bad at times that I wanted to throw this 2019 MacBook Air out the window and was chalking the whole thing up to 8GB of RAM however I knew better that 8GB RAM was enough for the applications that I was running and should UI should be stutter free. I struggled daily for months. I tried removing and reinstalling the MacOS. Removed Catalina and went back to Mojave and then back to Catalina and each time wiping the disk out and installing fresh applications and retrieving only data from backups. I performed countless NVRAM and SMC resets. I got so good at those that I could do those in pitch darkness while drinking beer with one hand. I also abused the Activity Monitor app in the process and suspected nothing out of the ordinary.
Now the SOLUTION for me - It was Microsoft ONEDRIVE. I just happened to look at one folder, about 600MB total data, which was shared with my Windows computer to maintain continuity etc. There were several files in that folder from Excel, to PowerPoint and Word. ONEDRIVE ran in the background on my Mac and it kept the SSD busy often and during idle times. That explained the worst amount of UI Stuttering happened after a few moments of idle time or returning after screensaver was invoked or waking the MacBook Air from sleep. I removed the sharing properties from that folder and rebooted while resetting NVRAM and SMC............. it has been butter since then. Stutter is gone and for the first time in months I know how smooth a MacBook Air 2019 can run.
Thought I would update you with these news.

Axel F.
Axel, how does one know if OneDrive is running in the background? I have some OneDrive files on my MBA left over from Windows days. Don't know what they all are, which will be the subject of another questions later. But I don't know if they are running or not.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Axel, how does one know if OneDrive is running in the background? I have some OneDrive files on my MBA left over from Windows days. Don't know what they all are, which will be the subject of another questions later. But I don't know if they are running or not.

Hello JParker,

If you are in doubt whether OneDrive is running on your computer or not then you probably do not have that application on your MBA. OneDrive is a very visible application when it is present and active on your MBA. Here are some the ways that you can confirm whether you have OneDrive application on your MBA or not:
1. Search for the Application - In Spotlight search, type in OneDrive and see if it finds it on your SSD. OR Go to your applications folder and see whether OneDrive.app exists in that folder. If spotlight search does not find it OR you cannot locate it in the applications folder then you can stop right here because it does not exist on your computer.
2. If it exists then you can determine whether it is running in the background or not by simply running the Activity Monitor application on your app. In your spotlight search type in "Activity Monitor" and it will find the app and you can run it there. IF the app exists then it will be shown there including how much resources is it using on your MBA.
3. Your data files that you recovered from your Windows days are more than likely MS Office files (Excel, Word etc) and they themselves do not run in the background without opening those files in their respective associated applications. You are good here.
4. Check to see if you have a folder named OneDrive. Note that just because the folder exists then it does NOT mean that the OneDrive application exists as well.
5. OneDrive is a part of MS OFFICE Suite of programs and if it were running on your MBA then, at some point, it would have drawn your attention to it. Its function is to sync the files in the OneDrive folder across all of your devices that run the OneDrive application.

Hope this helps.

Axel F.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
I was gonna say. Even on my 2013 MBA 8/256 its silky smooth all the time. Glad you figured it out!
It has been a year since I posted to this thread and I have an update on this, "Switching Spaces is NOT Smooth" thread. I had posted that I had solved the issue by limiting ONEDRIVE however that did not last more than 3 days and after that stuttering continued and I had given up. Struggled for months to address this by downgrading, upgrading macOS from Public to BEtA releases as well and finishing up with macOS Big Sur. Disabled Time Machine, ONEDRIVE, iCloud Drive etc. Stuttering continued. This MacBook Air was 2019 8GB RAM Intel i5 and 128GB SSD with 65GB Free space available and never lesser than that. I had to get the butterfly keyboard replaced a few weeks ago as well.
Then, 14 months since my MacBook Air purchase, came along the M1 based MacBook Airs. I read the rave reviews and, on a whim, tired of the stuttering, made a trade-in for the M1. I used Migration Assistant and transferred all data and settings within 40 minutes. Started up the new M1 MacBook Air 8GB RAM 256 SSD and changed some settings and began using it. There was some stutter for about an hour while Spotlight was active. I allowed that process to completed and rebooted the M1 MacBook Air.
The Conclusion - This M1 MacBook Air runs better, more efficient and smooth as butter. 14 months of stuttering gone in one night with the M1. Frankly it runs like an expensive souped up MacBook Pro. Is the M1 MacBook Air so good or was my 2019 MacBook was so bad? Good Bye Stutter between Spaces.

Axel F.
 
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minimo3

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2010
513
404
Im running Mojave on a 2014 MBPro with 8GB RAM and spaces switching is super laggy. i have 4 spaces and i use ctrl + arrow to move between them. The first switch is usually fine, but the subsequent switches can have up to a 5 second “pause” between switching. Using ctrl + 2 is equally slow. I don’t have OneDrive, the only 3rd party apps on this machine are visual studio code, IntelliJ and Adobe photoshop.
 
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nothingtoseehere

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2020
304
278
The Conclusion - This M1 MacBook Air runs better, more efficient and smooth as butter. 14 months of stuttering gone in one night with the M1. Frankly it runs like an expensive souped up MacBook Pro. Is the M1 MacBook Air so good or was my 2019 MacBook was so bad? Good Bye Stutter between Spaces.

Same with me: 13“ MBP 2015 (Mojave) was somewhat laggy, funnily enough only when switching to or from space 1. My spaces 2-4 were smooth, however 🤔

Now as I got a M1 Mac mini, everything is super fast, even space 1 👍

I think, whatever it is worth, that macOS draws a lot of resources to give us the polished GUI :) Win 10 in Bootcamp on my old machine is rather speedy. Good move from Apple to design their own chips, seemingly better adapted to the needs of macOS.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Im running Mojave on a 2014 MBPro with 8GB RAM and spaces switching is super laggy. i have 4 spaces and i use ctrl + arrow to move between them. The first switch is usually fine, but the subsequent switches can have up to a 5 second “pause” between switching. Using ctrl + 2 is equally slow. I don’t have OneDrive, the only 3rd party apps on this machine are visual studio code, IntelliJ and Adobe photoshop.
The thing is that I experienced what you are for 14 months and everyday it would eat at me and I would try different things as mentioned in my original post. That lag drove me crazy. Still do not know why it was happening.

Axel F.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
Same with me: 13“ MBP 2015 (Mojave) was somewhat laggy, funnily enough only when switching to or from space 1. My spaces 2-4 were smooth, however 🤔

Now as I got a M1 Mac mini, everything is super fast, even space 1 👍

I think, whatever it is worth, that macOS draws a lot of resources to give us the polished GUI :) Win 10 in Bootcamp on my old machine is rather speedy. Good move from Apple to design their own chips, seemingly better adapted to the needs of macOS.
I am in agreement. The M1 architecture suits macOS's operation and efficiency is therefore highlighted.

Axel F.
 
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AxelFoley

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 16, 2015
88
60
I feel like it is the macbook air that I always wanted. No fan but still fast enough for all but the heaviest workloads.
I do not play games at all. My use is for MS Office Products, Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. The M1 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM actually does the job efficiently for my needs. The Intel version struggled so much so that I only used it for MS OFFICE.

Axel F.
 
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