Top 3 things to make OS X go faster?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by komatsu, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. komatsu macrumors 6502

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    #1
    In general, what are the Top 3 things you can do to make a 3-4 year old OS X running on an iMac or Macbook go faster? (not including memory upgrades)
     
  2. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #2
    SSD, but perhaps you meant to exclude storage as well as memory.

    Sticking to software, I'd say:
    * a clean install
    * sticking to Apple built in software like Safari
    * avoid stuff running in the background
    * avoid 3rd party software that installs updaters running in the background (Adobe, Chrome)
    * keep at least 10% disk space free for an SSD, or 50% free if still on a harddrive
     
  3. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #3
    Where did you ever find any mention of "keep 50% free space if still on a harddrive"
    That makes little practical sense, particularly in this era of 2 to 5TB (or more) hard drives.
    Maybe you meant to say 15%?
    I use 10% free as a minimum, either with spinning drives, or SSD.

    Sticking with the OPs question.
    1. SSD instead of HDD.
    2. watching Activity Monitor for clues about system processes or apps that are using a lot of CPU or RAM.
    3. You would STILL want to know if memory is an issue, and if it is possible to upgrade your memory, you should be aware that insufficient memory will affect system operation, and therefore speed. You should only exclude memory upgrades when it is not possible to upgrade the memory. A 3 or 4 year old Mac mostly would be upgradeable.
     
  4. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Does this mean I can install a new OS and then migrate over the old one using Migration Assistant - does this count as a "clean install"?
     
  5. BLUEDOG314 macrumors member

    BLUEDOG314

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    #5
    You wouldn't want to use migration assistant, but that's not to say you can't keep your information and programs. When I do a clean install, to me that means erasing the partition, reinstalling the OS, and not moving anything over with migration assistant. I then install all my programs from scratch, freeware/shareware download from whatever site I got it before, App Store stuff redownload there, and anything subscription or installed with a key like Office or Adobe just redownload and use keys that hopefully we have saved somewhere. I then move all my content back from one of my various backup solutions, so iTunes library, movies, documents, pictures, etc.

    In a nutshell I try to avoid migration assistant if at all possible.
     
  6. Fishrrman, Feb 18, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016

    Fishrrman macrumors G3

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  7. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #7
    1. Don't let Time Machine run every hour
     
  8. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #8
    Exactly. You want all of that cruft gone, and start fresh.

    Funny thing is, I usually install all sorts of one-off apps. A reinstall is great to get rid of those.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 18, 2016 ---
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/255224/how_to_partition_your_hard_drive_to_optimize_performance.html
     
  9. e93to macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    #9
    I clean re-installed both my iMac (3 years of use, Mountain Lion) and MBP (6 years of use, Snow Leopard) recently. As far as I could tell, there was no improved performance. I was very shocked that after all the years of carelessly using the OS did not degrade the performance of the machines.... Yes, clean install does resolve a a lot of problems, but I recommend NOT going through the hassle unless you notice there is noticeable decrease in performance (lag, glitches, bugs, crashes, etc) compared to when you first got the computer.

    As for top 3 things...

    1. The first thing would be to reduce the amount of softwares running in the background (like others said). This includes menubar apps, app updaters, digital dongles for softwares etc. So, just delete softwares if you no longer use them. And sticking to Apple's apps (Safari for example) could help improve performance.

    2. Stick with the OS that came with the computer. I still use Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion, and I have no complaints so far. Things are running smooth and snappy. However, you will miss out on new features, and, most importantly, security updates.

    3. Install SSD

    4. If you are experiencing issues, you can do some trouble shooting by - booting into Recovery mode and repair permission, booting into Safe Mode, resetting PRAM, resetting SMC and performing Apple Hardware Test.
     
  10. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #10
    I don't see anything in that article about keeping more than 50% free space on a hard drive.
    That article is mainly about "short-stroking" which basically means creating a smaller partition for the boot system in the fast (sweet spot) area of a hard drive, and doesn't even mention how much space should be left free on that partition.
    I think that "free space" is not about true hard drive speed, but simply working with a drive so that you don't run low on drive space, giving the system enough room to perform at its best.
    Making a choice to have your boot partition on a smaller partition, just on the chance of better performance would leave you with, well, a smaller partition, more likely to run low on space, slowing down - thus defeating the purpose of that faster partition.
     
  11. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #11
    Pick the best HD (HHD/SSD) setup for your needs, utilize the optimum network for your needs, and utilize the optimum connected-drive setup for your needs. QED. "Faster" is subjective; I own Macs and run a small company that bills by the hour - clean installs often seem subjectively faster, however, it's OSes that get out of a user's way that make money (or don't cost as much on therapy...).

    Using an SSD, as others indicated, means faster. Picking the correct SSD, to me, means faster. Cheaper isn't better in this regard, to me. Some offer that the Samsung 850 EVO is an improvement, I counter by offering that the Samsung 850 Pro is a much better choice - you wanted "faster" (see page 2 of this comparison: http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-ssd-850-evo/2/ - the Pro blows the EVO away as an OS drive, which I can see for myself on my own Macs). We use older Intel 730 drives in addition to 850 Pro drives - even the old 730 SSDs are faster OS drives than the 850 EVO SSDs (which are fabulous storage drives).

    Your network is likely killing your Mac, from a performance perspective. Your slowest connection is your connection to the internet. Turn off services related to iCloud - especially Safari sync services like history and cookies.

    Clean installs of an OS that's stabilized can be "nirvana". The final builds of Snow Leopard, Mavericks, and El Capitan are some of the better OS X releases coming from Apple. I loved Snow Leopard's stability, and find the same adoration in 10.11.3 - clean installs of 10.11.3 have excellent peripheral (printer, 4k display, storage) support and have been rock solid - but I'll recommend only clean installs. 5 2012 Mini Servers are running 10.11.3, some with 5400 RPM drives (but all with only essential iCloud services) run very well.

    Pick your poison. You may choose to enable iCloud services - a slower Mac, but with iCloud stuff turned on is faster than spending time driving to your therapist 200 miles each way...
     
  12. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    #12
    This is #1 free option by a wide margin, especially if on a spinner.

    Also, delete Xcode if you don't use it. Oh, did anyone mention SSD?
     
  13. bent christian, Feb 19, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #13
    1. Disable all but absolutely necessary applications from Login Items.
    2. Disable animations wherever possible and magnification at the dock.
    3. Leave as much space as possible on your boot drive (or 20%). Uninstall all unnecessary application, empty Trash frequently, clean out old system files manually or with a third-party app. You might be surprised how much space you recover. I have used CCleaner for the past ten years without issue. CCleaner gives you have access to Login Items as well.

    (4.) Boot externally using an SSD through USB 3 and don't worry about any of this (except space).

    +1 on the Samsung EVO Pro rather than the regular EVO. My tests show that the Pro model is 100MB/sec faster externally in the 256GB model. The Pro uses the MEX controller, so Garbage Collection is much better as well.
     
  14. Mcmeowmers macrumors 6502

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    Jun 1, 2015
    #14
    I've found performance drops when you approach 75% full on SSDs. Don't think I could stand letting it go to 10%!
     
  15. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #15
    I think 20% free is a good rule of thumb for any drive. It's a good round number that is easy to calculate at any size.
     
  16. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #16
    1. As a general maintenance step, run Disk Utility and Onyx. Set Onyx to delete caches and reestablish links. Things will run slowly for a bit while the Finder rebuilds stuff, but it helps if things had been pranged before you cleaned them out.
    2. If you've noticed that the Finder is running slowly or apps are crashing, consider running DiskWarrior to have it rebuild your drive directories and search for corrupted files.
    3. Check out the Activity Monitor under Utilities and see if anything is sucking down outrageous amounts of CPU resources
    4. Turn off effects on the Dock (magnification, animations, etc.)
     
  17. Mcmeowmers macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Fair enough :)
     
  18. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Thanks for the great responses guys.

    Do iCloud services really slow down your computer that much?
     
  19. \-V-/ Suspended

    \-V-/

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    #19
    Get an SSD and max your RAM. That is pretty much it. All these speed tricks are generally meant for computers still on a craptastic hard drive.


    No, they don't.
     
  20. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I believe that some of them do, specifically those associated with Safari. I bought into the whole "get an SSD" thing, but I've got a 1TB SSD on my rMBP that bogged down. I also owned, at the time, a 2009 iMac with a 1TB 7200 spinner that, at times, ran circles around some of our Macs with SSDs - that iMac was connected to some iCloud services but not those associated with Safari, while some of our Macs (including my rMBP) would see that damned beachball and lag. Like I wrote in an earlier post, a short Feedly session dumped over 300 new cookies into my iOS Safari Settings and they were propagated into my Mac and iPad, along with a history. I never alluded to a global statement about iCloud services, and IMHO a global "no, they don't" is an answer I can refute in my own workspace but that's up to you to test for yourself.

    Yesterday, on my Mac I searched for a set of new tires for my Benz and didn't clean up my history/cookies/caches. I spent about an hour Googling and on Tire Rack's web portal. In my Safari Caches folder, there's over 1100 Blobs, hundreds of cookies, 5300 Records - and that's with a Ghostery extension enabled, so surely ads would have clogged up my Mac a bit more. As I was continuing my "search", things slowed down a bit more with iCloud's synching of Safari disabled.

    As to the SSD thing, I have clients visiting and using my Mini Server in the Guest user account for email/surfing/Netflix, or using AutoCAD in a Parallels 11 Win 7 VM on documents stored in my cloud space. It's using the stock spinners. Zero complaints, zero beachballs, zero Safari synching... Hey, it's free to turn it on or off. There's also no reason why, as I alluded to earlier, that service can't be turned on or off as needed. I've generally had no issues with the other services, but I also use local backups so iCloud backups are always off. Cheers!
     
  21. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 19, 2010
    #21
    Why do you continue to use Safari then?

    From my experience, there is always seems be a small time-lag when opening up a URL with Safari as opposed to Firefox.
    Firefox just seems to be about 20 % faster for general web browsing.
     
  22. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #22
    I use Safari with synching off, plus FF/Chrome/Opera/Fluid. Safari's a great browser. I also keep my other browsers' caches maintained, and use Fluid's encapsulated environment (in the paid version, @$5 it's a steal of a deal) for my various paid websites, like Weather Underground, NY Times, Netflix). To me, this isn't about Safari but, rather, far too much data swapping over the slowest data connection a PC/Mac has.

    Turning off synching makes my experience better. If I could adjust the synching interval, I'd leave it on - contacts synching is set for 2-hour interval checks, Safari seems to be more-realtime and I've used Little Snitch to "watch" all of that network activity. So, it's off for me by default and I turn it on when I need it. QED.
     
  23. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    But the only thing that Safari has to sync is bookmarks right?
     
  24. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #24
    Read my other post. What led to it for me was enlightening (to me). Links I'd clicked (tapped) on my Air 2, and the cookies/history propagated to my iPhone and Mac - the links were "greyed out" on my iPhone and Mac as if I'd read them on those other devices, and about 200 cookies were also now on the other devices, plus my history on my Air 2. I have a cellular Air 2 (and a Pro) and I leave wifi off (UL data on all of my iOS devices), and I checked my VZW portal - about 2MB of data for each device was used to sync my Air 2 surfing activity.

    So, no, there's more than just bookmarks synching... Even if you don't have other devices to sync with, your surfing data's going somewhere - and back again...
     
  25. jblagden macrumors 65816

    jblagden

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    #25
    In El Capitan, an Solid State Drive doesn’t make as much of a difference as it used to. With El Capitan, you need an Solid State Drive just to make the Mac function at a normal speed, as El Capitan is significantly slower than Mavericks.
     

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