Apple and The spinning wheel

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 jethro kiernan 09 Jun 2019

im looking to see if there is anything I can do to speed up my Mac, primarily used for Lightroom but recently become virtually unusable.

Its 5 years old 1tb 8gb ram i5

I’ve moved a lot of photo files onto external hard drives so 250 gb is now free.

it has windows office running 

also 3 other users who have very basic desktops and usage.

 SouthernSteve 09 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Fit a SSD and double the RAM. Which model?

In reply to jethro kiernan:

As per Southern Steve - if it is using a spinning drive and especially if it is a slow (5400 rpm - but the 1Tb drives I think have always been fast (7200 rpm)) drive then it will not like the latest iterations of the MacOS (Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave) which use disk swapping a lot. Likewise if the drive is one of those hybrid spinning/SSD things that only lived up to their hype for a while. 

It may or may not be upgradeable thanks to Apple's "sealed box / walled garden" approach to everything.

[ long-term Mac user - mostly using machines older than 5 years - I used to be a keen upgrader - no more! ]

 Doug 09 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

A SSD disk & more RAM (if possible) will almost certainly help but as a cheaper option have you tried software such as OnyX which will help 'clean' your operating system & delete lots of temporary files? OnyX is free & seems to work well although I'm sure there are alternatives that do much the same thing

In reply to Doug:

Surely (much like windows) mac os has tools built in to delete temp files and defrag etc??

I'm always dubious of freeware that's gonna go rooting round my file system. 

Edit: as an unhelpful aside, one of my users at my last job used to call that wheel "Kylie". When I asked why, she said it was always spinning around...

Post edited at 18:25
 cb294 09 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

I recently doubled my RAM to 8 GB and installed a 250 GB SSD on the mid 2009 macbook pro I am typing this on, behaves like a new computer....

That said, you should take care to use the correct terminology.

Spinning wheel, what is that even supposed to be? 

I assume you are talking about the



edit: forgot the serious part. If the computer becomes gradually slower formatting and reinstalling your windows partition may help (I assume you are running some kind of dual boot setup).


Post edited at 20:04
 Neil Pratt 09 Jun 2019
In reply to cb294:

Max out the RAM and add SSD. Depending on the  model, it might be possible to swap out any optical drive for the original hard drive and fit an SSD as the primary drive. I did something similar to my 2010 era MacBook Pro which is still running Final Cut  quite happily.

 The Lemming 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Pratt:

I bought a 120gb SSD several years ago. You can now get a 1tb SSD for the same price.

In reply to jethro kiernan:

How is the battery? We had a laptop doing this with an old battery. Replaced it and the laptop was like new.

 Doug 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Max Hangs:

OnyX is similar to CCleaner which many use on Windows PCs - although maybe Windows 10 is different. My office PC is still Windows 7 so I've never really used 10

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

I’ve looked online at some upgrade options

£200 will get me 16gb ram and an ssd drive

however the process is quite brutal as the 21.5” iMac is a closed box.

the computer is out of its warranty and I have changed iPod batteries and upgraded laptops before but if I balls it up it will be expensive, however the computer is virtually unusable for Lightroom at the moment.

I've removed as many unwanted programs as possible, but if I go down the route of reinstalling would I be better starting from scratch and reinstalling the operating system and everything else from fresh rather than copying across the drive, if there is a program causing problems in the back ground I don’t want it to move across 

i have the cloud Lightroom and all those files are on an external hard drive

really it’s just my iTunes library I’m concerned about 

and sorry I have Microsoft office for Mac not windows on a partition (although this is a monumental pain in the arse)

In reply to jethro kiernan:

Are there no diagnostics available that tell you what the problem actually is i.e. are you maxing out your RAM and hitting the swapfile?

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Toerag:

Occasionally, but even just logging in is a painful experience now, that is before you even consider stitching a 5 frame panoramic 

Post edited at 11:01
In reply to jethro kiernan:

I'm finding Lightroom a real drag at the moment, and I think it's related to the size of the Catalog.

My Machine isn't that new anymore, but the only thing that causes it issues is lightroom. (It quite happily runs Solidworks for example).

Running 16Gb ram, 256GB SSD, i7 processor, I still get the spinning wheel (and low res images) just moving between images in Library mode.

The only thing that seems to solve it is keeping catalogs down to around 1-2000 images (although after a long session it slows down after a few hours)

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to balmybaldwin:

It’s not just Lightroom unfortunately, it everything from start up onwards, trying to print a boarding pass nearly drove my wife insane yesterday:-/

 SouthernSteve 10 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

That sounds like more than just resources. I would look at whether your disk is failing - that can be difficult to pin down without some extra programmes. Definitely do a disk first aid before anything.

HTH Steve

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019

Thanks In reply to SouthernSteve:

 Doug 10 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Earlier this year this iMac became slow & then I had some error messages suggesting hard disc problems & at one point couldn't do anything much. Can't remember quite what I did now but in effect I reinstalled the OS, applications & files from a backup (luckily almost up to date and the files not backed up were on other machines). Since then I've had no problems & the machine isn't far from its performance when new a few years ago. Assuming you have a backup it might be worth a try before spending any money.

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Doug:

 Cheers Doug, I do have back ups

im going to go for a multistage approach 

• disk clean and update iOS 

• re instal and then backup

• upgrade memory and storage

anyo e managed to do this on a closed box Mac?

 ChrisJD 10 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

This article is a bit old now, but may be useful:

Also other articles like this (search "tips for speeding up lightroom":

 Sans-Plan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Is it the model with the screen held on with magnets ? The are not really a totally sealed box and are designed to come come to bits one way or another.

I looked at upgrading my 27” to SSD which is also about 5 years old and whilst it looks pretty daunting at first the online tutorials were excellent and some kits come with all the tools you need.

 jethro kiernan 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Sans-Plan:

I’ve opened up an old school iPod and changed the battery and watched the other day as my sons I phone battery was changed, I’ve got the tools (I was going to change the ssd on my iMac but that really was closed box and unchangable, got ripped of on eBay :-/

i think this is the way to go to get some more years out of it 

just going to watch a few more you tube videos first

 jethro kiernan 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Sans-Plan:

It’s actually stuck with tape, not totally sealed but a real pain with plenty of possibilities of f£&@ing it up

im going to have to go for it because the computer is next to useless 

just going to have to set aside 3 hours of undisturbed time and a lot of patience

im going to order 16gb ram and 1tb ssd from crucial

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