Author Topic: Slow iMac  (Read 445 times)

Offline Fulk

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4464
Slow iMac
« on: April 08, 2021, 08:54:41 am »
Hi, any Mac buffs out there, I have a desk-top iMac that I bought in 2012 and that still works perfectly well, apart from having slowed down quite a lot. This is particularly noticeable when first switched on. Does anybody have any tips as to how I could speed it up? (The operating system is Sierra 10.12.6.)

Offline aricooperdavis

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 545
  • Cornwall to Cumbria
    • Cooper-Davis.net
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 09:12:44 am »
A bit more RAM and switching to an SSD can give these machines a new lease of life. Can you post a screenshot of the "about this Mac" window so we can see the stats?

Offline ttxela2

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 164
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 09:19:18 am »
Interesting, my wife has just swapped her 2013 one out for a new one after spending hours on the phone with apple support trying to speed it up. I don't really understand why it would slow down, she uses the same patient management software on it she always had and it's been stripped right back and reinstalled and still runs slow, surely if it was doing the same thing happily in 2013 it should do it now? Perhaps the bearings are worn or it needs a re-bore  :shrug:

In theory it was a trade in but the old one is still knocking around the house as the arragements for sending it back are convoluted. They only offered her £150 for the trade in so I've been wondering about having a look at it myself  :unsure:

Offline Fulk

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4464
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2021, 09:23:59 am »
Hi Ari,
The machine came with 2 x 2 GB of memory, and I installed a further 2 x 4 GB 3 or 4 years ago.
Here's the screen shot you asked for:


Offline mountainpenguin

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2021, 09:29:02 am »
if its drastically slower thats probably an indication that the hard disk is on its way out.
make sure you have backups (time machine is great) and that they are up to date
Fitting and SSD will make a MASSIVE difference regardless though you might need an app afterwards to stop the fans running at MAX.
SSD upgrade is defiantly worth it. I have a 2009 imac that I still use a lot after doing the SSD upgrade and adding even more RAM (12GB)

Offline sinker

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 86
  • O-Level woodwork BlockbusterVideo Gold Card
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2021, 10:03:47 am »

Fitting and SSD will make a MASSIVE difference regardless though you might need an app afterwards to stop the fans running at MAX.
SSD upgrade is defiantly worth it. I have a 2009 imac that I still use a lot after doing the SSD upgrade and adding even more RAM (12GB)


I know *naff all* about PCs and computers so can't comment on technical matters but what I do know is that upgrading to an SSD is probably the best single thing that you can do.
My old 2008 vintage Toshiba laptop has been transformed and all for less than £100.



Ah, well, now, you see...erm...

Offline Caver Keith

  • Keith Edwards
  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • The Dudley, SWCC
    • Dudley Caving Club
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2021, 10:25:58 am »
Mine is a 2015 model and I have noticed that after some of the recent OS updates it now takes significantly longer to boot up. It seems to hang for a significant time during the process. Before adding memory or swapping to a SSD I would wait to see what discussions take place on the forums. It may be something that will be sorted in the next update.

Offline kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2731
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2021, 10:38:33 am »
Mine is a 2015 model and I have noticed that after some of the recent OS updates it now takes significantly longer to boot up. It seems to hang for a significant time during the process. Before adding memory or swapping to a SSD I would wait to see what discussions take place on the forums. It may be something that will be sorted in the next update.

He’s still a long way back on OSs. There’s High Sierra, Mojave and Catalina to go

Offline aricooperdavis

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 545
  • Cornwall to Cumbria
    • Cooper-Davis.net
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2021, 10:48:56 am »
Do you have 2x 2GB cards and 2x 4GB cards in there then? Having different sizes like that might throttle performance because of channelling limitations, but it'll still be better than just using either of the pairs. You can use the built in Activity Monitor app to check how your RAM is performing during slow periods to see if that's an issue.

That being said, in my experience an SSD upgrade does a lot to improve speeds, particularly at boot. They're not horrendously expensive either.

I wouldn't hold your breath for Apple to release a software update to speed things up for a computer of this age and with this OS - it's very much not in their best interests and they're not exactly known for good behaviour...

Offline David Rose

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 10:50:32 am »
I have a 2013 Macbook Air with an i7 processor and 8GB RAM and a 250GB SSD that runs perfectly, and a 2015 iMac with a 3.2GHz i5, 500GB SSD and 24GB RAM for which the same is true. These machines are durable. 

I stopped using Time Machine because mine got full but backup everything via the Cloud (Dropbox for documents, iCloud for photos and music).

Offline Fjell

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2021, 11:24:52 am »
I put my 2011 iMac in the cupboard because it cannot be updated any more (security), but it still works fine. I took a spare Late 2012 MacMini and put 16GB Ram and an SSD in it. Runs very well. The Late 2012 model is the last one you can mess with yourself with any certainty of success.
At some point I am going to get a new MacMini having bought a decent screen. Probably a couple of years from now when the Mini is a decade old but prob still running fine. Again it will be for security reasons.

You can put a SSD into a 2011 Mac yourself, and it would shift much faster. Reinstalling the OS helps a bit too.  I wouldn’t say it is for the faint-hearted, but if your view it would be scrap otherwise, then whatever. 8GB Ram is fine for that machine. I am not a fan of dualling the drive, lots of heat. Just put in a SSD. It’s a bit of a laugh doing it, and not something I would have touched myself when it was newer:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2428+Hard+Drive+Replacement/5954
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 11:43:46 am by Fjell »

Offline ZombieCake

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1270
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2021, 01:26:26 pm »
Also clear off your desktop if there's loads of files etc. on it.  That can also slow startup.  As others have said a new SSD will work wonders.  I recently upgraded mine (mid 2012 MacBook Pro i5) with one made by Crucial https://uk.crucial.com/catalog/ssd
Back up everything with time machine first!  And a make a second copy of important files, photos etc.  If time machine disk gets full it'll automatically clear out the earlier back ups.
It'll take a couple of hours or so to reinstall and restore data after disk replacement.
Ideally you'll need 10-20% free disk space over what data you have to gauge the size of Ssd needed.

Offline ChrisJC

  • Funky
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1453
    • http://www.cowdery.org.uk
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2021, 01:56:58 pm »
Also note that some of the more interesting recent security scares (e.g. Meltdown, Spectre) have been fixed with a significant detriment to performance.

Chris.
--
http://www.cowdery.org.uk
Mines, caves,
Land Rovers

Offline kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2731
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2021, 08:52:00 am »

Back up everything with time machine first!  And a make a second copy of important files, photos etc.  If time machine disk gets full it'll automatically clear out the earlier back ups.


The resident computer technician recently replaced the external hard which time machine was using. That gave me an improvement since all the deleting old backups was making the backups take longer and slow down other stuff while they were happening.

The fact that the cat had sat on it and cracked the casing was another reason to replace.

Online nickwilliams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1505
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2021, 01:25:33 pm »
I've been using Mac's since 1987 (not the same ones!) and currently run a fleet of about 25 of them for my business. Slowing down gradually over time is a problem with all of them, although generally less with headless servers. (IMLE it's also much less of a problem with MacOS than with Windows).

By far the most cost effective way to improve the performance is to make sure you have a good Time Machine backup, clone the hard drive to an external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner and then re-format the hard drive and install a new, clean OS. Then copy your user files back from the clone. Don't just rely on a single Time Machine backup - make sure there are at least two copies of all your data at all times.

The less stuff you copy back from the clone the better, particularly settings, application preferences and system files. If you want to save your Safari bookmarks, calendar entries, address book contacts etc. then the best way to do this is to set up an iCloud account - up to 5GB is free, which is ample for synchronising basic system data.

Don’t try using iCloud to synchronise photographs unless you only have a very small number: you will rapidly run out of space and you can’t tell which ones have been synchronised and which have been left behind.

iCloud will synchronise mail settings but not mail messages. If you have any e-mails you really need to keep then be very careful to make sure you have a backup of them, particularly if you install an updated version of MacOS as part of the disk cleaning process. Apple update the Mail program pretty much every time they issue a new version of MacOS and it’s not uncommon for the upgrade to mangle your mail folder structure. The best thing to do is export all mails as mailbox archives and then you know where they are when you want to import them into the newly restored OS. 

Also be careful to ensure you know what all your important passwords are before you start. You can use the iCloud Keychain function but it does not save every password. One advantage of making a clone of the disc rather than just relying on a Time Machine backup is that it should be possible to start the machine up from the external drive which gets you back to where you started from if you find that a vital password has not been copied across.

You can use Apple’s Migration Assistant to copy the user files back to the clean hard drive, but it copies more than the minimum necessary so just copying the files you need manually is preferred if possible. Migration Assistant is a good solution if you are not familiar with how to access and copy hidden files from the user and/or system libraries.

As has already been pointed out, replacing the hard disk drive (HDD) drive in the machine with a solid state drive is the first thing to do if you have some money to spend. As already mentioned, Crucial are a good source and have an excellent part finder on their website which will help you to identify the right SSD for your machine. If you use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone of the old drive onto the new SSD you should just be able to swap the drives over and immediately be back to where you left off (but faster) without having to move any files manually. New SSD’s should be formatted with Apple’s (fairly) new APFS format to get the best performance.

Extra RAM also helps, particularly if you are doing anything with video files or lots of images. Again, Crucial are a good place to go.
"Economics is simply the branch of sociology that deals with people trading items and the fact that they use more numbers does not make it anymore of a science."

Offline Fulk

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4464
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2021, 01:28:50 pm »
Thanks for all your replies; there's plenty of food for thought there.

Offline ZombieCake

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1270
Re: Slow iMac
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2021, 11:58:32 pm »
I'd also endorse Crucial RAM from personal experience and putting my money where my mouth is. My MacBook Pro came with the usual miserly Apple 4GB RAM, and the official guide said it can take 8GB.  Online articles said it can take 16GB.  So I shovelled in 16GB Crucial RAM without any problem.  Of course, this is just me and other people may have different experiences, and of course other makes are available.
It's a shame a lot of new computers (not just Apple) are not that upgradable anymore - it's often all soldered to the motherboard and you get what you buy and that's it.
(Also got a cheapo internal Crucial 240GB SSD that I connected to a spare SATA to USB bit of wire for what amounts to a very cheap (if not very portable) external SSD, OK a bit Heath Robinson, but it works.)

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal