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13 Tips to Optimize Your Mac After Yosemite Installation [UPDATED]

In Apple, Fix It, General, Hardware, How To, HTD Tech Tip, Technology by Michael Sheehan95 Comments

As most of us know, Apple’s latest operating system Yosemite (10.10), a free upgrade from Apple, is now available. And with it come a lot of nice new features, visuals and enhancements. But, as with any upgrade, there is always the possibility of having issues. While I had been running the Developer Preview on my MacBook Air and had not encountered any issues, when I upgraded my 2010 MacBook Pro, I started noticing that it was slow, laggy and simply not performing the way it had under Mavericks (the previous Apple OS). So, I decided to do some research and some tests and have come up with 13 Tips to Optimize your Mac after Yosemite Installation.

How to make Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) Run Faster

Hopefully you found this article by doing searches like:

  • Slow after installing Yosemite
  • MBP slow after Yosemite
  • Mac crawling after installing Yosemite
  • Yosemite slowing my Mac down
  • Yosemite running slow after upgrading from Mavericks
  • Tips to optimize your Mac after Yosemite upgrade
  • (Add your search to the comments!)

Well, I’m here to help (hopefully). After going through and compiling and testing some possible fixes, I thought it would make sense to list them all out here. While I cannot guarantee that any of them will help you, do know that I did get my 2010 MacBook Pro running much better. By the way, I have 8 GBs RAM, a 1 TB hard drive (that I upgraded myself), and an Intel Core i7 in my configuration.

UPDATED 01.23.15 – Given the popularity of this article, I created a How-To video that goes over what is contained in this article. The video is embedded below and is also available directly on YouTube.

13 Tips to Optimize Your Mac After Yosemite Upgrade

I haven’t put these in any real type of order, however, I have noted the ones that I believe fixed my issues of slow-down and “lagginess” (or that seemed to fix other people’s issues). If you have another one to add, please leave a comment!

1) Repair Permissions

This should be one of the things that you do before installing an upgrade to the OS as well as after. It can fix a variety of things. You can do it without restarting but you may want to run from the Recovery Partition that is automatically created with new installations of the operating system.

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2) Check Disk for Errors

This is another thing you you should do from the Recovery Partition. You can Verify your disk/hard drive but you cannot fix any issues.

HTD-Verify-HD

3) Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

I believe that this (in conjunction with a few other things) truly fixed my issue. If your fans on your MBP are running all of the time, it’s probably worth doing this. Read this Apple Support Article that tells you how to do it on different Macs – http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964. Basically, here are the steps you can do on a MacBook Pro:

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Plug in your Mac power cord into the wall socket
  3. Hold down the Left Shift + Option + Control + Power Button, simultaneously, for about 10 seconds
  4. By doing the key presses listed above, your Mac won’t power on but the reset will be done
  5. Release all keys after about 10 seconds and turn on and run your Mac like you normally do

4) Reset PRAM

Similar to resetting the SMC, you should periodically reset your computer’s PRAM. Here is the Apple Support Article for Yosemite – http://support.apple.com/kb/PH18761. I believe this helped with my issues. Here are the basic steps though:

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Press the power button
  3. Press Command + Option + P + R in combination, all together, before you see the initial startup screen
  4. Press and hold until your Mac restarts
  5. Release the keys when you hear the familiar startup chime/bong sound that your Mac makes when it starts up (you may hear it twice which means that the PRAM has been reset)
  6. Your PRAM reset should be complete

5) Reduce Transparency

This should really be called “reduce translucency” but some users have reported that this helped reduce the slowdown. Just head over to System Preferences > Accessibility and click the “reduce transparency” option. Anything you can do to reduce the graphics processing is always helpful. I did this in conjunction with other items.

HTD-Reduce-Transparency

6) Disable FileVault

It seems like FileVault is causing A LOT of slow-down issues. As part of the upgrade process, I was asked if I wanted to enable FileVault (which effectively encrypts your entire hard drive, making it more secure). I elected NOT to enable FileVault. Some users are reporting that the encryption process, as it happens, really bogs down the performance. Some also are reporting that the encryption hangs. My recommendation is, if your Mac is currently encrypting your hard drive, let it finish. Performance should improve after that. However, once the process is done, you can then uncheck FileVault encryption (which will also take some time to un-encrypt your hard drive) and then the performance should improve or even get better. Head over to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault and check your settings and make any changes. DEFINITELY CHECK THIS SETTING TO SEE IF IT IS ENABLED OR NOT OR IN PROCESS.

HTD-Disable-FileVault

7) Reduce Spotlight items

With Yosemite, Spotlight has become extremely powerful, almost like a “Super Search.” There are a bunch of different things that Spotlight can look for, probably too many for most people. And remember, the more things that are searched for locally, the more time it will take Spotlight to index them (and the bigger the index search file will be). Reindexing always takes time initially. So head over to System Preferences > Spotlight and be sure to check only the things your truly want to appear in your Spotlight searches. You can reorder them as well.

HTD-Spotlight

8) Free up disk space

With any platform (Mac or PC) and Operating System, your computer will run much more efficiently by ensuring that you have lots of free disk space. There are plenty of utilities out there that can help you find the larger or older files. If you don’t need them, delete them or move them to an external hard drive.

9) Update your apps

Sometimes it takes application developers time to optimize their applications for the latest operating system. Always be sure to check for Apple Updates/App Store Updates for 3rd Party applications as well as application updates. Many apps now include updaters within their software so be sure to use those. There is also a good 3rd party application called AppFresh that will scan your hard drive for applications and tell you if there are updates for your installed applications.

10) Install faster or bigger HD

As I mentioned earlier, having more free hard drive space definitely helps your OS. One thing that you can do on some Macs is install a larger and/or faster hard drive. You can see my How-To article that I did for my 2010 MacBook Pro where I replaced both the hard drive and the battery.

11) Do a clean install

If all of the stuff above doesn’t work, you can always do a complete clean install. This will take a lot of time as you will have to re-install all of your applications and migrate your documents. But it does help eliminate any left-over issues that you may have from simply upgrading. Some users have had to resort to this.

12) Add more RAM

New operating systems LOVE having more RAM (memory). If your Mac has the ability to have more RAM added (and be sure to check become some Macs have the RAM soldered in and can’t be replaced), it’s a great upgrade that you can easily do.

13) Roll-back to Mavericks

Assuming you have regular backups of your computer, you could always try to roll back to the previous version of OSX. Personally, I don’t recommend this because eventually you will have to upgrade back to Yosemite. But you could wait till the next main version comes out and then do the upgrade once all of the bugs have been resolved.

Please Comment & Share

Hopefully something on this list will help you make your Yosemite install or upgrade run a bit better or faster. If you try something that WORKS, please leave a comment so that others can benefit from what you have found.

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HTD-EtreCheck

There is also a nifty free 3rd party utility that you can use to fully analyze all aspects of your Mac called EtreCheck. Their product description says it all:

“EtreCheck is a simple little app to display the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to help people help you with your Mac.”

I only just discovered this utility in my searches to solve the Yosemite slow-down issues so I’m not an expert on how to interpret results (yet).

These #tips really helped me optimize my #Yosemite installation on my Mac! Try them! Click to Tweet

As I said, PLEASE let me know which of the items above worked for you. AND PLEASE share this article within the relevant communities. The more people who see it (and who can add feedback), the better.

HTD says: Apart from the initially lagginess of Yosemite, I really like it.