Why is Mac Running Slow After Installing OS X Mavericks?

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Since its release over four years ago, in October 2013, OS X Mavericks is still very popular operating system among Apple users. It's no wonder as its features, flawless operation and nice design are something many would like to enjoy for a long while. Whether you just want to try out a different OS or would like to reinstall your current OS X Mavericks for any of reasons, a clean install will do great for you. However, you should be ready to face certain inconveniences once the process is done. Slowdowns in the work of Mac after a clean install of OS X Mavericks became a well-known issue. Perhaps, you are one of the users who faced this problem and are looking for explanations and solutions of how to speed up OS X Mavericks.

Installing Mavericks

You shouldn’t worry though: our guide is here to explain to you why your Mac is running slow after installing OS X Mavericks, and what are the other possible reasons of a slowdown after the installation of the OS.

How does Spotlight work?

In case your Mac’s performance slowed down after a clean install of OS X Mavericks, you should learn the reason for it, to be able to fix the problem properly.

Probably, the most common issue is Spotlight indexing. Spotlight is a search engine covering all system; it is one of the most used features on Mac. It can be extremely useful and save your time unlike Finder, which takes a while to show the search results. Spotlight can find practically anything as it indexes up to metadata in files: information such as the size of a file, date of its creation, geotags, location, etc. inside a picture file, for example. This ultimate search tool got major improvements since its introduction back in 2005 and had even become a part of iOS.

Spotlight works lightning fast thanks to a special database it creates – Spotlight Index. It means that Spotlight indexes (or keeps track) on names of all files, all metadata and even every single word within all documents on your Mac. Whenever you edit a file or save a new one, Spotlight indexes the contents of it. Each time you enter a word or a phrase into the Spotlight’s search bar, it consults the Index and within seconds gives out all results meeting your search query.

Possible slowdowns caused by the Spotlight indexing

After updating to OS X Mavericks, doing a clean install or re-installing it, many users noticed their Mac working extremely slow due to Spotlight taking ages to index. The issue can last for hours “estimating’, without showing any definite time it needs to be finished. It blocks almost all other processes on Mac and causes drastic slowdowns.

It is clear that you need to shut down Spotlight, to be able to perform next steps on recovering the normal performance of your Mac device.

To disable Spotlight, try out this combination in Terminal: sudo mdutil –a –i off

It won’t solve the problem though as you might still be not able to search the Finder or Mail. A possible solution is to delete Spotlight’s directory (named /.Spotlight-V100) and reboot. Spotlight will re-index self after the restart. Look for more detailed manuals to help you fix the problem in the other guide.

Other possible reasons for Mac becoming slow

Now let’s take a short look at some other issues possibly causing a slowdown in the performance of your Mac after installing OS X Mavericks.

  • Meeting minimum requirements

In case you are going to perform a clean install of OS X Mavericks, you should make sure that your Mac meets the minimum requirements of this OS, to avoid any possible issues after the process is done.

  • First of all, your Mac should be running on OS X Lion, Mountain Lion or Snow Leopard 10.6.8.
  • It has to have no less than 2GB of RAM and at least 8GB of free disk space.
  • As to Mac’s processor, it has to be the one 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or further. This means that processors in all Mac models released after 2008-2009 will work fine.

Before the installation, we advise you to do a thorough cleanup and a back up as well. You can either get rid of a clutter files on Mac manually or use one of the cleaning apps, to save your time. Time Machine will help you out with a backup. Now your device is ready for the clean install.

There’s a chance of your Mac becoming slow in case a clean installation was done on devices that do not meet the requirements listed above.

  • Clean up the Desktop. The excess of media files on the Desktop alone can lead to glitches and slowdowns in the work of Mac. Move them to the other folders, on an external disk, for example.
  • Uncheck all of the boxes in the preference pane of iCloud. Sometimes iCloud can cause slowdowns after installing a new OS.
  • Disconnect any non-essential wired peripherals. Devices attached to a Mac device via a wire may cause a conflict with a new OS.
  • Try running Disk Repair. As a variant, you can try to start Mac in Recovery mode, launch Disk Utility, then run Repair Disk.
  • In some cases, resetting SMC (the System Management Controller) might be helpful.
  • Turning off automatic graphics switching on MacBook Pro running on dual graphics may become a solution. You can disable it in the preference pane of Energy Saver.

Installing OS X Mavericks or upgrading to it may not always go as smoothly as planned, but we believe that this OS is worth your effort to solve any possible issues.