macOS Sierra Slow? Here’s Why & How to Speed Sierra Up

Oct 4, 2016 - 82 Comments

Speed up slow macOS Sierra

Some Mac users who have updated to macOS Sierra have felt their computer is running slower than it should be. If you have noticed a performance hit after upgrading to macOS Sierra, there is likely a good reason for it, and it’s even more likely to have a simple solution.

Read on to learn why macOS Sierra may be running slow (some MacBook users notice their Mac is hot and fans are blasting away too), and what you can do about it.

5 Ways to Speed Up MacOS Sierra

OK so let’s assume your Mac with macOS Sierra is running slow. Why? How? And more importantly, what can you do it about it to speed up your computer again? Let’s review five main reasons and what to do so speed things up in Sierra again, and also discuss some other reasons a Mac might be slow.

1: Slow Mac After Sierra Update? Fans Blazing? WAIT!

Immediately after updating to macOS Sierra, the Mac must re-index the drive for use with Spotlight and Siri, the built-in search functions in Mac OS. This can take quite a while to complete, particularly if you have a large hard drive with a ton of files. It is important to just let this process complete itself, interrupting Spotlight indexing will cause Spotlight to not work properly, and it will just attempt to re-index again anyway.

Spotlight running in background of Sierra needs to complete

Another possible cause of a perceived slowdown after updating to macOS Sierra is the new Photos app, which indexes and scans all photos for identifiable features and faces. This can take quite a while as well, particularly if you have a very large Photos app library. This is another process that you need to let complete in order for Photos to work properly.

The solution? Wait it out. I know, waiting isn’t always satisfying, but it’s easy and it works! For the vast majority of users, the reason their Mac feels slow after updating to macOS Sierra is because of the reindexing features that are going on in the background. These tasks can consume a notable amount of CPU cycles as they complete, leading to blazing fans, slow performance, and Mac that feels like it’s running hot, but once the background tasks are finished the Mac will be speedy again. (this can also be the case with iOS 10 sluggishness, by the way).

Clock icon

Let the Mac sit turned on overnight while it’s not in use, and all indexing processes should be complete by morning with performance returned to normal.

2: Mind Your Messages

Do you use the Mac Messages app? If so, pay attention if you are receiving tons of animated GIFs and stickers, which can arrive in abundance from an iOS 10 iPhone user who is having fun with the new Messages stickers, gifs, effects, and other chaos that can be sent from iOS 10 Messages app.

Messages gifs can slow down Messages app on Mac

Receiving animated GIFs in particular can cause a temporary slowdown on the Mac and in the Messages app in particular, if those message windows are open and actively on display and animating as intended.

Mac Messages slows down with animated gifs displayed

The good news is that the animated gifs will stop playing and pause automatically once they are off screen in the Messages app, so just send a few messages in response, or clear the chat log, and Messages app will be smooth again and whatever sluggish behavior will remedy itself.

While gifs, effects, and stickers are undoubtedly fun (even though you can’t send the message effects back from a Mac… for now anyway), just have a little awareness about leaving these message windows open on the Mac.

And by the way, for the technically inclined people, you can test this out immediately by opening a new message window and sending or receiving a few animated gifs and leaving that chat window open… in Activity Monitor you will see Messages spike in CPU activity.

3: Use Reduce Transparency & Reduce Motion

Eye candy effects like transparent windows and overlays sure look nice, but they can also lead to performance reduction as each new window requires more system resources to draw and maintain. Additionally, the Mac has many motion type effects within Mission Control and elsewhere that zip and zoom around.

Fortunately macOS Sierra allows you to turn this eye candy off, which can result in a notable performance increase, particularly for power users who have a lot of apps or windows open concurrently.

  1. Open the Ô£Ņ Apple menu and go to System Preferences, then choose “Accessibility”
  2. Go to “Display” settings
  3. Check the box for “Reduce motion” and “Reduce transparency”
  4. Exit out of System Preferences

Speed up slow macOS Sierra with Reduce Motion and Transparency

This will have an immediate effect on the appearance of Mac windows, titlebars, sidebars, and other UI elements by using reduced transparency, and you won’t see as many animations throughout Mac OS either with Reduce Motion turned on as well, which is a new option in Sierra. The result can be a speedier Mac.

4: Clean Off a Cluttered Desktop

Many Mac users store tons of files on their desktops, resulting in a very cluttered desktop full of files and folders and other stuff.

Don’t do this. It can slow down performance.

Dont have a cluttered desktop

The easiest solution to this is to drag and drop everything from the desktop into a separate folder on the desktop, call it “Clutter” or “Desktop stuff” or whatever you want, and then open and use that folder when you need to access your desktop stuff. Another option is to hide all desktop icons completely using a defaults command, but that is best for advanced users since it involves the Terminal and disabling the Desktop feature.

5: Check Activity Monitor for Background Tasks & Oddities

If a Mac feels sluggish, the simplest way to quickly see if something is actively consuming resources on a Mac is with Activity Monitor.

You can open Activity Monitor from /Applications/Utilities/ then go to the “CPU” tab and sort by “% CPU”, the topmost items will show you what, if anything, is using high amounts of CPU (shown as a percentage of CPU resources).

In this screenshot example, the “mds” and “mds_stores” processes are running and using a notably high level of CPU – these processes, along with “mdworker” are part of the aforementioned Spotlight indexing that will complete itself. Until these are finished running, the Mac may feel a bit slower than usual.

Spotlight running in background of Sierra needs to complete

Other than normal system background tasks and apps, it’s possible you’ll find an errant process or unusual task running and taking up a lot of CPU. If this is the case, quit out of the application as usual, or if it’s a background task, you may need to update the parent application to be compatible with Sierra.

Advanced users can force quit the app, or even uninstall and remove the app if it won’t behave at all. Absolutely do not start force quitting random tasks and processes, the Mac has many system tasks that run in the background and if forcibly quit it will certainly mess something up and cause bigger problems.

Consider Alternate Causes of Slowdowns

If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still experiencing what you consider to be unusual slowdowns or sluggish behavior with macOS Sierra, it’s always possible there is something else going on. Maybe it’s an incompatibility with a specific app, maybe it’s Time Machine stalling out and grinding resources while it prepares for eternity, or maybe you’re experiencing a rare but truly problematic macOS Sierra experience full of kernel errors and other headaches.

You can engage in troubleshooting various Sierra difficulties, or you can always clean install Sierra or even downgrade macOS Sierra and revert back to the prior Mac OS X version if you declare it’s all too much of a hassle.

Another aspect worth noting is that some users have reported slower perceived internet speeds with Sierra, often with a less reliable wireless connection. If that describes your situation, you might be able to fix a macOS Sierra wi-fi issue with these instructions.

Did you notice a change in performance after updating to macOS Sierra? Did any slow behavior resolve by waiting or trying the tips above? Is your Mac faster or slower with Sierra? Let us know your experiences in the comments.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Danielle says:

    I lost a bunch of files when I upgraded to Sierra. Would you happen to know how I could retrieve all of this? I have even gone into my iCloud and unable to locate them, which a back-up was performed before the upgrade. This thing is sooooo slow now and I’ve gone through all of your steps (which thank you, a lot of them have been extremely helpful and has shown some improvement.)

    Any thoughts & ideas are greatly appreciated!


  2. Tareq sumon says:

    I have Mac IOS serria 10.12.1 on Mac pro mid 2010 it’s successfully installed in ssd
    But when it’s open smoothly after sometimes automatically it very slow or hung beside when it’s connected usb docking then it’s smoothly running pls let
    Me know how to easily use in internal storage ssd in Mac pro mid 2010 upgrade serria

  3. jyg says:

    TL;DR: Sierra slows up because it is inherently slow and unable to efficiently operate some of its most basic features. If you use the operating system in a stunted capacity Sierra will /appear/ faster.

  4. Daniel says:

    It is not perceived slowness, it is slowness. It is not indexing. It is almost as if there are wait looping in the upgrade for the 2011 folks; a push to buy a new model? I am a software engineer and I see a standard lag in almost every task. The code smell is common lag time is equivalence. I understand that the a recent update on the phones slowed devices down intentionally. It is almost unworkable situation. Feels like a downward spiral for a while. I will wait for the next upgrade to determine if it is time for linux mac.

    • St√©phane says:

      I think the same. I have been using Macs since the beginning and I have never seen a system slowing down a new generation computer that much. I think it’s just intentional on the part of Apple. It’s 2018, and the new Macs are slower than the first computers on the market. Frankly, who’s making fun of who? It’s not caused by this or that, or even that … computers have never been so powerful in the history of computing and we’re seeing a movement of these companies to force people to always buy the new model supposedly more powerful. When programmed obsolescence can not be used, they use other ways to roll their economy. At the end of 2017, Apple used a very bizarre ploy to slow down their system. OS X was programmed so that the year has 13 months, which caused processes to return an error and run in a loop, slowing down the entire machine.

      • Scooter says:

        What evidence do you have to support your claims? You think Apple “programmed” the Mac to erroneously create 13 months? What?

  5. captain srinivas says:

    hi guys
    i have been having massive problems.
    1. my system takes a very very long time to boot.
    2. Most importantly i am unable to transfer my photos either from my camera or my card reader my photos i am talking of both raw and Jpg files please could you help.
    should i revert back to the earlier version for my problem with photos

  6. DANIELRP says:

    I have a MacBook Pro late 2011.  Everything was fine while I was running with LION until the moment that I decided to upgrade to SIERRA on July 2017.  My Mac became slow, very slow! For your reference, it took around 8 minutes to open the browser Safari. You can imagine?!  I then phoned Apple Support and followed all their instructions. Nothing worked!! I thought that the problem was caused by memory RAM, as I had 4GB (2 slots with 2GB each).  I then talked with several authorized Apple offices and all them suggested me to install an SSD.  I followed their suggestion and.. it worked!! Now my MacBook is very very fast.  It opens several apps at same time in an impressive speed. I am very satisfied now. Note that I did not have to change my memory RAM. I still have 4GB RAM. Another point of interest:  my original HD has 500GB. However, I bought a SSD of only 120GB.  So, I decided to remove my DVD and installed my original HD 500GB in its place. Now my MacBook does not read DVD, but I have 720GB HD and a very fast notebook. This is my experience.

  7. s says:

    ” Perceived ” slowdown ?? I just got a spinning colored pinwheel as I tried to type the first word of this sentence. You make it sound like we are just idiots that can’t use a computer.
    The suggestions you make are useless, and to suggest that a machine with 2GB of RAM can’t handle a messy desktop is absurd ! Do you remember the days of computers that had 128 MB of RAM, and 300 Mhz speeds ? Even then, the slowdown from having a cluttered desktop was minimal.
    Stop trying to glorify Apple’s failure, and put the blame on the user.

  8. Mitch says:

    Nothing of all suggested solutions solved the sluggishness of my MacBook Pro (13-inch, mid-2012) after I upgraded to OS X Sierra from OS X El Capitan. What I did eventually after doing all the suggested solutions (from here and other sources and from different people) was to install a fresh OS X Sierra, wiping out all the previous OS and files entirely from the hard drive. Voila! Fast as it was when I first used this laptop 5 years ago. The drawback is that you will have to backup everything. I think the sluggishness is something to do with the apps installed when the OS was El Capitan, creating some incompatibility problems with Sierra. (Although I never considered this solution because my old apps works fast after “clean”-install.)

  9. Baffour Ankomah says:

    After installing macOS Sierra 10.12.3, I can’t any longer manually control the icons on the desktop of my macbook pro retina 13″. What can I do to go back to manually arrange the icons as I want, not as the auto-arrange wants?

  10. Attila KB says:

    I tried everything you listed. I appreciate the you putting this list together, but it did not help.

    I have Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015, 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB, and SSD

    I just upgraded to Sierra – it takes about 2 to 3 seconds for an image to preview… Everything is getting stuck. Whatever app I use CPU usage jumps to 99% for the first 10 seconds.

    I had El Captain before – everything was lightning fast.

  11. Andre Felix says:

    I like to tell a story about the use of your desktop for files and folders.

    1. It is using power to redraw the icons and files.

    2. It looks like crap and you give the impression that you are not organized.

    3. If you have a crash of your hard drive the files on the desktop are the first to go and you will not get them back.

    I had this happen (3) to me and I had to reshoot a clients images all over again as I had put the folder with all the images on the desktop and was going to make a backup later. Wrong move!

  12. Greg says:

    I use a macbook pro Mid 2012 15 inch.
    It is running exremely slow. sometimes it takes 5 to 10 seconds to see what I type on the keyboard appearing on my screen.
    I noticed my mac was running slower and slower with every update. What i hear from apple resellers is that apple made the new OS for the new macs, it expects the use of a SSD drive (witch is probably related with features such as the new indexation of Photo and Siri that’s not optimised for our old and slow hard drives ).

  13. cherriez88 says:

    One thing to update in this article is Keyboard Slow Response when typing & instructions to fix this issue:

    Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Accessibility.

    Click Keyboard, then select Enable Slow Keys.

    Click Options, then drag the Acceptance Delay slider to set how long you want your Mac to wait before it responds after the key is pressed.


  14. Xrisomalis says:

    I have finally figured out why, after upgrading to macOS Sierra on my Mini Mac 2010, it runs slow. It is nothing more than MEMORY. This machine had 2GB of physical memory and 300GB of storage. Sierra needs more PHYSICAL MEMORY to make everything move fast. I purchased two (2) 4GB from Crucial which lifted my PHYSICAL MEMORY up to 8GB. FINALLY, my MacMini is running like a champ – just the way it is supposed to be. I had read all the other threads and searched the internet for the answer. NO ONE had every posted anything about memory. They stated it would take time for the applications to catalogue – sync – blah blah blah. Now, the memory is priced reasonably and TOTALLY simple to install. Check out a video on YouTube to learn how to remove the old PHYSICAL MEMORY and install the new. It took me ten minutes and couldn’t wait to share this info with everyone.

  15. Martin says:

    My MacBook Pro is very slow after the update. It takes hours to do tasks that only is marked with a few minutes.
    The system CPU usage is about 2%.
    The user CPU usage is about 2%.
    And the idle CPU is about 96%.
    And there is no heavy programs running. But still it is unbelievably slow. And it started shortly after the update.
    I am searching for advise on how to solve it rather quickly, because I’m in the midst of writing an very big and important exam paper.
    Thanks for replying in advance.

  16. Bruce Bathols says:

    My late 2013 21.5″ iMac has always been a slow starter to boot up. Upgraded to Sierra, and it runs even slower. Not impressed ! It now takes 3 minutes from the “boing” at switch on for the Apple icon to appear, then a further 2 minutes for it to for the boot sequence to complete. Am considering upgrading the HDD to SSD. Memory is 8GB. I was running Parallels as I have MYOB business accounting system in Windows. I have now totally deleted Parallels and have re-instated an old Windows laptop for my accounting. Deleting Parallels made no difference. Anyone got clues on this ?

    Anyone got any clues on this ?

  17. Ron says:

    My wife loved her iMac for a few years, after the OSX update I find her crying at her desk. So far I’ve spent a few hours following all the recovery advise online here. Apple was my last hope for a usable desktop for a non tech artist, forcing features on your user community put Apple in the same useless crap hole as Microsoft. Now until I can get her using Linux I’ll be stuck in the hell created by business people who have no creative vision. Man I miss Steve Jobs.

    • Phan Steven says:

      I’d recommend downgrading to El Capitan or Mavericks if you’re having that many problems with Sierra. Sierra, in terms of features, does not offer much that most people will use, but it can introduce a fair amount of issues that make it worthwhile to downgrade rather than be annoyed or upset.

      I have downgraded one of my macs from sierra to El Cap and it runs OK again. Then another one of my Macs runs fine with Sierra. The irony is the machines are exactly the same, they have cloned data and user preferences through Migration Assistant. Why one works and the other doesn’t, who knows, Sierra is buggy.

  18. Sheryl says:

    My MacBook Pro is a mid 2012 model.

    I implemented few of the fixes I found here and on another site and my Sierra is running well so far on the day after installation.

    Last night I did notice a few issues with freezing (not being able to click on hyperlinks, additional tabs, other apps, etc.) that I haven’t seen yet today.

    Before I installed Sierra I was having issues with random restarts that began a few days after I installed Sophos antivirus. I uninstalled Sophos but waited until my Sierra upgrade to implement a fix that seemed to work for some. I hope it works for me too because the restarts are more than annoying.

  19. Carlos says:

    Is there any advice on the reason why macOS Sierra seems to run slower on less than 3GB RAM macs than in those with more? It seems obvious but even after clearing lots of clutter and extensions, etc… it should be performing fine but it doesn’t. Just updated my Mac Mini late 2012 and although there is plenty of storage, it comes down to maybe not enough RAM. Or, isn’t it?

  20. Kaitensatsuma says:

    This probably isn’t the place to raise the issue, but is it just me or it infinitely odd that it is up to users to work around the issues that Apple has introduced as a part of the new operating system? Not even solve or disable, which are usually available, but literally have towork around or “Put up with”

  21. mark sins says:

    Right ignore what I said about uninstalling kaspersky, the problem re-occurred. I think i have now sussed it.
    My mac is now running erfectly after doing a NVRAM reset ( alt/cmd/p/r at reboot ). I also did an smc reset but pretty sure it was the nvram reset which cured it.

  22. mark sins says:

    had the same issue. tried all sorts of suggestions from here and other places. Only thing that has worked is de-installing kaspersky internet security as I noticed kav was constantly running. I currently have no protection so will retry installing but speed back to normal without kaspersky.

  23. MacA says:

    Not sure everyone has the same problem. After updated to Sierra, each time i turn on my Mac, my ipad and android tablets that connected to wifi unable to to connect to or very slow loading pages. Once I was thinking probably the server but then…nope….is my mac….each time i put my mac to “sleep” or “turn off wifi”, both ipad and tablet working as normal but then i open my mac and start browsing, my ipad and tablets again….very slow and sometimes lost connection too….need help here…

  24. MC says:


    Microsoft Office won’t work properly with upgrading to Sierra on MacBook air. PowerPoint is outrageously slow and Word keep on freezing. Is there a quick fix?

    Many thanks in advance.

  25. Roxanne says:

    UGH. I installed Sierra yesterday, and it destroyed an entire day of productivity while it installed. I left it overnight to process, came back today expecting better performance. Instead, it’s slower. Powerpoint won’t run and constantly freezes when I do get it running. Even opening Finder takes forever. HATE IT. Have disabled Siri (didn’t want it in the first place) but that doesn’t seem to help.

    This seems like the worst upgrade ever, especially for people with deadlines to complete.

    • Rade Naumoski says:

      Had same issues.
      Need to run following commands in Terminal.
      sudo mdutil -E /
      This will delete & reindex Spotlight.
      Allow to run overnight – it takes forever.

  26. Robin says:

    Maybe you could solve this not easier, but … easier ;-)
    Create a new user account and copy all the very needed (app) files – such as preferences – to the new user.
    I experienced a very fast setting.

  27. lassi says:

    This could be pretty much a copy-paste from any other osx update and I strongly suspect so.

    Actualy fixes would be appreciated to situations where disk reads are slow as f- but disk bench gets 90mbyte/s easily – yet copying files takes minutes when it should take mere seconds. and apps take forever to load and they are not hogging the cpu either, just waiting the os to switch some flag or another.

  28. kathy says:

    Microsoft Outlook 2017 for Mac is ridiculously slow. Almost 5 minutes to open, and often closes itself…and can’t hit on button in dock to reopen window, even thought it’s open.

  29. Rob says:

    I’ve been running Sierra for a couple weeks now. It runs pretty much like El Capitan. Except. Photos Faces (or People now) is very very slow. I’m not sure if it is running the new algorithm each time I open a face or if it’s experiencing a problem, or if it’s just buggy. Anyway, that’s my take on it and that’s my experience at this time.

  30. Scott Porter says:

    Best idea is not to use Safari, to be honest. Chrome is a much more capable browser, and will not stress the CPU/batteries as much. If you’re stuck in the Apple bubble, you may not be aware of other software, but it’s out there if you look!

  31. Daniella says:

    Hi there, I just updated my MacBook Pro to Sierra and I can’t work anymore with my computer !! It ist extremely slow … it takes about 5 min just to open a window … what should I do I’m pretty scared that it the mac will stay this way

  32. Iain says:

    My fans run constantly when I open Safari, Activity Monitor show no other applications are hogging CPU % (e.g. uploading to iCloud, reindexing, photo facial recognition), just safari. Any ideas why?

    • Carl Fontbath says:

      Show all tasks for all users in Activity Monitor to get an accurate representation of activity, kernel_task and WindowServer are often doing something busy, swapping or drawing transparency, etc.

      For Safari: It’s probably Safari media, maybe a video. Don’t use Flash or Java with Safari, both will make it run poorly. Beyond that it could be an extension or plug-in, all of which perform poorly in my experience. Remove any extensions from Safari, clear cache, don’t leave tabs open if they won’t be used, etc. Using Chrome can be a good test too.

  33. Meri says:

    Drag and drop is SO slow. I can’t move files around–takes minutes per file. Windowserver was taking up most of my CPU–down to 16% today so maybe the index is finishing. Is my OS Sierra conflicting with MS office 2011–is that why everything is SO slow? Ready to downgrade OS systems unless this changes by tomorrow.

  34. Myla says:

    #3 worked like a charm, thanks!

  35. Gerald says:

    This upgrade is catastrophic for me.It took a whole day to get back running as before on an old MacBook, but it is even worse on a more recent iMac.
    Nothing wrong shows in the activity monitor but every single application takes for ever: uploading 3 pictures to my website dashboard has taken 1h and 13 minutes !!!
    Firefox crashes 2 to 3 times an hour and even Safari freezes for extended periods.
    What a mess this system makes.

  36. Ken says:

    —several seconds—

  37. Ken says:

    It says photoanalysisd 102.9% CPU. It takes several to open any folder. It has been doing that process for 6:20:00

    • Paul says:

      You probably have a lot of photos stored in the Photos app, it can take many hours to finish analyzing photos for facial and feature recognition. Let it run overnight, it should be done by morning unless you have an enormous photo library.

      • pinkhousegirl says:

        I have upgraded to Sierra and it took about an hour to restore photo library. But I still can’t upload any photos which is very annoying as I need to do this for work. Does anyone have any suggestions. Photo library has about 50k photos. Should I just clock on upload and leave it (I just get a spinning wheel).

        grateful for any help, thanks

  38. ben says:

    I had most of these issues and more, constantly maxing out of fan, processor, apps running slow etc etc until i found this – – and unplugged my external screen! now it runs beautifully! insane… but there we are…

  39. Rogier says:

    1. VLC player stopped working
    2. iTunes…the disaster keeps getting worse and worse. REALLY, COME ON APPLE, WTF (every os update makes this program turn worse; I remember the last one when it started creating many duplicates in the artists section…) I have my library on an external Toshiba Disc, which suddenly went from ‘read & write’ to ‘read only’. Also, iTunes suddenly cannot locate 1000s of files. Then: it keeps switching to the ‘standard’ iTunes Library on the Mac HD itself. iTunes also crashes/doesn’t respond. When will you start debugging this program? Yes, I’m frustrated with this. The last few updates really didn’t make anything better and causes a lot of work to fix stuff again.

    • Steve says:

      Rogier, I had the same problem with my Toshiba drive. I had to install Tuxera Software to be able to read and write on the NTFS format drive. Hope this helps.

  40. Rachel says:

    I’m just noticing a few bugs on Apple Mail. It takes forever to send a messages, and it deleted all of my signatures.

    • groover says:

      the mail sig issue is because the new mail prog has a header in the sig file that says its the new version so the old mail sigs are saying the older version so are overlooked just make a new mail sig and co to the library mail then signatures any custom old sigs should be locked or just older than the new default sig/. copy the sig text in without changing the little header bit all good.
      Ultimate Nerd

  41. Charles says:

    I believe the facial recognition agent running in Sierra is called “photoanalysisid” because when the Mac is running hot and fans are loud as can be that is often what you find taking up 100% of CPU or more, slowing down the entire Mac. The bigger the photo library the longer “photoanalysisid” runs and the more it slows down the Mac until it is finished.

    I suspect if you really wanted to you could locate the photoanalysisid binary and prevent it from running entirely and that may block the photo face scanning too, but it could break Photos app. I have not tested it yet.

    Anyway, if your Mac is hot, slow and fans loud check for photoanalysisid it needs to run for like 10 hours to finish. Crazy.

  42. Aviral Bansal says:

    After update to Sierra, started having strange problem. In mission control view I am able to move spaces around but not apps running in full screen mode. They just drop down and disappear from the spaces tray and and then turn up at the beginning of the end of the test. Called Apple support and they made me reset the PROM. Has been working fine since.

  43. RM says:

    Haven’t upgraded yet, curious if mdworker is still a ravenous whore.

  44. Warren O says:

    After the upgrade, my 2013 rMBP wasn’t running slow, but the fans were running full tilt all the time. iStat showed low temps for the CPU/GPU, so it seemed like it was running the fans unnecessarily.

    I did an SMC reset, and the fans went back to normal. Other than this minor hiccup, Sierra has been a painless and enjoyable upgrade.

  45. maccy mcmacface says:

    Since I installed Sierra, my GPU failed. Mid 2011 iMac. Waiting to hear if Apple think that European trade law applies. Coincidence? Probably but who knows?

    One thing I’m sure of is I’ll never buy another mac – cramming all those heat generating parts into a tiny space so that they are bound to get too hot and then making it so difficult that only an expert can fix them is not how I think good design works. If Apple won’t fix it, then it’s a Windows PC in a nice big open box for me!

  46. ab65 says:

    Since I’ve disabled Spotlight completely from system.
    (use find any file instead)
    Old MBP 8.2 (16GB memory/ SSD) does his job to my contentedness.
    No more mds worker nagging cpu. Not to mention Spotlight doesn’t find anything in the first place.

  47. Bernard says:

    Yet another nail in the coffin of “It just works”.

  48. jolehp says:

    I just found out that now we have reduce motion like on iOS.. I’m suprised :D

  49. Tarquin Shrapnel-Carruthers says:

    Both late-2013 iMac and 2012 MBA feel sluggish. Photos facial recognition is a disaster: the iMac, where my library is stored, is stuck on 26,013 of 48 thousand.

  50. J-L says:

    On the whole Sierra performs well after a problem free installation. Disk free space went from 75 to 125 Gb. I had an issue where fans were blazing while using Safari. After troubleshooting this turned out to be Trusteer Rapport. Switched it off and all good.

    • J R Rockwell says:

      There are many app and accessory incompatibilities with Sierra, especially for such a minor OS update. At this point unless you somehow desperately need Siri on the Mac I would not recommend anyone update until the issues have been sorted out and apps have been updated to work together. 10.12.1 is going to be out soon but third party app makers need to work on their part too.

  51. Anne says:

    If I never use Siri or Spotlight it sounds like not upgrading my 2012 Mac Mini is a good idea.

    I’m still debating about my iPad.

    • Jason says:

      I’m running it on a 2011 MacBook Pro without issue. Just let it bake overnight and life will be fine.

      Disable sleep after X minutes will help keep it awake over night while all the indexing apps finish their work.

  52. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Safari has some kind of issue and it is slow.

  53. J Carr says:

    I’ve notice a general increase in speed. Things are generally “snappier”. No problems so far. And, I’m running it on an “unsupported” MacPro. (Shame on Apple for arbitrarily cutting out so many capable machines. I’m going to but a new iMac anyway – if they EVER get around to updating the hardware…)
    The only slowdown I notice is when the online backup program is running – but this is no different from elCap. I just pause it if it is annoying.

    • John Lang says:

      Did you use the Sierra patch tool or go with the firmware patch? I went the firmware route and it’s working very well.

  54. Sierra very slow on my 2012 iMac 27″; even after 5 days. Quite disappointed really. However, it may be due to Microsoft Office as that crashes all the time so am awaiting a M$oft update before I revert to Yosemite.

    • RAN says:

      Sierra was running very slow on my 13″ MacBook Pro (mid-2012) and I’ve noticed issues with Microsoft Office as well, in particular with Word. Turning off Siri seems to have helped with computer speed. If you figure out what the issue is with Office though let me know!

    • Greg Csullog says:

      Since installing Sierra 10.2.2, my 2012 Mac Mini is essentially unusable. After only a few minutes use after booting up, I see the colour wheel after just about every character typed or mouse click. Sometimes it takes 4-5 minutes between clicks for an app to respond. Right now I am on my 2008 iMac with El Capitan 10.11.6.

      I reinstalled Sierra twice – same problem with delays and the colour wheel. My next move is to blow away my main drive (I have dual 1 TB drives) and reinstall Sierra. If the problem persists after that then I have NO idea what to do next.

      As an FYI, both my drives are encrypted and my firmware is password protected.

  55. Steve Dietrich says:

    If I understand what the article is saying is that Apple is running facial recognition on my photos – is there a way to kill this……..

    • Alan says:

      Facial recognition happens in software on the computer locally, Apple is not running it remotely. It is done securely on the local machine. You can not currently disable facial recognition in Photos app, the only way to prevent that is by not using Photos app.

  56. JA says:

    Increase contrast looks so MacOS 6!

  57. Sven says:

    I really like your site and appreciate your advices. But honestly, saying “Do not use your desktop as a desktop ” is something i cant agree with. Putting stuff on the desktop is intuitive and shouldnt bother our expensive machines, else something is wrong.

    • Paul says:

      Sven, using the desktop as a desktop is fine, and having a reasonable number of files on the desktop won’t matter, but if you have hundreds of files kept cluttered on the desktop it can become noticeable and impact performance. This is because each desktop file and icon is drawn as an element with a live preview on the screen, taking up resources to display. The advice is really for people who have tons and tons of stuff on their desktops.

    • tuqqer says:

      It’s relative. You can use your desktop as a desktop with a dozen files and 6 folders and you won’t see a slow down. If using your desktop means 140 files and 32 folders, you’ll see a slowdown.

      I screenshare with colleagues’ Macs, and quite a few use the 140 file desktop method. They all experience slowdowns at weird times.

      But at that point, I contend that that’s not using a Desktop as a Desktop. It’s bad file management.

  58. OJ says:

    I found Safari running really slow with Mac Sierra, so I removed all extensions and cleared the cache and it was fine after that.

    Also Mac OS Sierra version 10 of Safari can’t handle as many tabs, so don’t open too many tabs.

    • CFM says:

      I find the same thing with Sierra. Safari is quite slow. I’ve cleaned the caches, but can you help me clean the extensions? I don’t know how to do that.

  59. Matthew says:

    Spotlight, Photos, iCloud Photos, all took about 6 hours to complete on my Mac after Sierra installed. Then it was good to go after that. I installed in the evening and opened Photos and noticed it was scanning stuff so I let it sit until it finished.

    Sierra performance wise runs about the same as El Capitan. Overall I find Sierra to be more buggy and I get weird errors and have to reboot more often which is annoying, hope an update fixes that part. Otherwise I like Sierra.

    • Miguel says:

      What Mac are you using? I upgraded to Sierra on my 2011 Macbook Pro 13 inch and it was very slow even as I tried reducing all the effects and letting everything index. Downgraded to El Capitan and its speedy. Any suggestions would be welcome

    • analog5 says:

      I own a 2016 MacBook Pro ntb and safari load’s basic sites and the homepage really slowly. Some sites it loads fast. But Firefox is a lot faster. It’s problem however is that it crashes and also freezes up the entire system at times.

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