OS X Mavericks: 4 speed secrets

“If you’ve followed my earlier tips to help you squeeze more performance from your OS X Mavericks Mac, but crave a little more zest, these suggestions may help you get slightly more performance from your Mac,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“These tips tend to boost single application performance more than overall system performance, but if you run multiple apps at once you should feel a little benefit,” Evans writes. “Keeping drive space free helps boost Mac responsiveness. Files aren’t truly deleted when you delete. Traces of them continue to exist until the now “free” space they used to occupy is overwritten. To make the most of the space you’ve created on a hard drive (HDD) Mac by deleting things you don’t need anymore, follow this tip…”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Agreed! AFP is no longer needed anyway. OS X Mavericks Server now uses SMB2 as its default sharing protocol. If a user clicks on the server from the Shared section of the Finder sidebar, it will establish an SMB2 connection. AFP is still the automatic standard when using Connect To Server… I wonder why.

  1. What do we think about the tip to “erase free space” with Disk Utility. It seems like a specious tip, and the author of the article never cites any hard numbers to back up his claims.

    In the comment section he’s challenged by a reader on the same tip, and his response was to the effect of “it felt faster.”

    1. Keeping drive space free helps boost Mac responsiveness. Files aren’t truly deleted when you delete.

      Total rubbish.

      I’m always ready to learn new things contrary to my own personal ignorance. But no matter which was I consider his advice, it’s rubbish. Like at makes ANY speed difference if an HD’s free space bits are all neatly flipped to the left? NO!

      Please, if anyone can make sense of this one, let us know.

      1. It might have a slight advantage if the drive has to erase before write as back in the olden days of OS7 but I can’t imagine any noticeable or even technical difference today.

        Pointless article by a nitwit.

          1. Erase does not exist. The state of the space is no longer known buy the system so whenever it is required it will be written to. Save erase means THAT space is written to with random bits to disallow rebuilding the file allocation.

  2. Two potential issues with Evans’ guidance. First, the impact of splitting your iTunes library on iTunes Match. Second, the potential damage that might result from erasing “free” blocks on your HDD that may not be free. At the very least, I would test the health of your HDD using Disk Utility before the erase step.

    1. The iTunes tip can be very helpful. I have a few iTunes libraries. Some have iTunes Match enabled, some do not. The big speed boost I get is that my main library is just under 1TB so it’s being read from an internal HDD, while my “music I listen to now” library is much smaller and being read from my internal SSD, but even when I had two internal HDDs, the smaller library was significantly faster.

      iTunes Match doesn’t get confused. A user might, but if you learn how it works and pay attention to what’s going on, you should be fine.

  3. Erasing free blocks on your HDD is just bad advice in terms of speeding things up. It’s great for security, if you need it, but it won’t speed things up, and the author doesn’t provide any statistics that it does or answer why it would.

    This paragraph is just incomplete:
    Most Safari performance guides suggest you Empty the Cache; Reset Safari; Erase favicons; Delete preferences and disable plug-ins

    Like inactive memory, which he also suggested clearing, those things are there for a reason. Sure, they can bloat, but under normal usage, they speed things up. That’s the whole point of cache. Don’t clear, delete or disable these things without thinking through what you’re doing.

  4. I commented above about his rubbish concept of overwriting emptied trash files.

    Then there’s Safari:

    Whenever Safari begins to lag it makes sense quit and relaunch the app.

    No, not JUST that. Dump the Safari cache as well, before you boot Safari again.

    Safari had some poor memory management code written into it some time after OS X Tiger. Getting rid of it again seems to be taking ages. Apple know all about it if only because I’ve pestered them about it for years.

    Safari is most happy when:

    A) It’s version 7.x. Give up on version 6, as if you could if you’re not on Mavericks. Version 7 uses Mavericks’ new memory management trickery, which help a lot.

    B) It has LOTS of free RAM to gobble. I’m talking about free RAM that is NOT already taken up as ‘inactive’ space, aka cache space. You want lots of UNUSED RAM space. You can watch this change over time in Apple’s Activity Monitor or kewl tools like MenuMeters. You don’t want to see the cache RAM bang the RAM ceiling or your gonna have a bad time.

    C) Be aware that certain pages and certain searches are going to devour cache space, IOW eat your free RAM space. Flash is not the only culprit.

    When I run into RAM space warz, created by Safari, and I’m fed up, I:
    1) Quit Safari (often FORCE Quit it when it goes into eternal Sit&Spin mode).
    2) Dump all its cache using one of the many utilities that do this for you. (Note that dumping Safari cache within Safari’s ‘Develop’ menu is more of a joke than useful).
    3) I bomb my computer’s RAM with memory cleaning tools. One of them is the ‘purge’ command you can run if you’ve installed Apple’s Developer tools. My current freebie favorite is ‘FreeMemory’ from the Mac App Store.

    Yes, killing off all Safari cache, on disk and in RAM, makes Safari deadly slow to restart. But it stops the Sit&Spin horrors for awhile, lets you regroup, and cleans out whatever mess started the Sit&Spin in the first place. I’ve had plenty of people argue with me about cleaning out RAM. Tough. I use it. I like it.

    1. Right. Go back to Snow Leopard, which is about to no longer be able to support a lot of software. It can’t run 64bit Java from Oracle, and is therefore stuck with the older 32bit Java. Soon, Apple will phase out support for iTunes. It won’t run the latest iWork, or iLife apps. What a great idea!

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