Speed up OSX Mavericks

February 9th, 2014 by Mark Nanut No comments »

Hi, so the tips for speeding up Mavericks are mostly the same as with Mountain Lion, with a few
exceptions, so I’m sort of copying the content over. Main differences are that you don’t need to necessarily use Chrome for browsing, since Safari 7 in Mavericks is finally fast again. The other tweak that won’t work is switching to a 2D Dock – in Mavericks there is only a 3D Dock. So the tweaks below are again mostly related to disabling vertical sync (BeamSync) and then ironing the anomalies that result from it – weird Mission Control and full-screen switching animations, so what we do is we basically disable those animations, problem solved = snappy UI.

1. Disable vertical sync (BeamSync)

Some remarkable human put together an app that disables BeamSync – no need to play around around with QuartzDebug anymore, so you can mostly forget about the jibba-jabba I wrote in the related ML post.

The program is called BeamSyncDropper2 and it works with Mavericks as well. Here is the link to it:


Run it and enjoy disabled vertical sync. Even better, make it start at boot.

2. Show scroll bars only when scrolling – to fix scroll lag

In System Preferences > General, set scroll bars to show only “When scrolling”. This fixed choppy scrolling in a couple of apps and I decided to stick with this setting.

3. Disable laggy trackpad inertia scrolling

Inertia scrolling feels mostly laggy and Apple wants to force it down out throats. Disable it by going into System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad options

and set “Scrolling: without inertia”

4. If you have two graphic chips, switch to a more powerful one (with GfxCardStatus)

Obviously, switching to a more powerful discrete graphic processor (say, Radeon 6750M/6770M, NVidia 330M/650M,…) will speed things up. But don’t worry, you can still have a fast Mavericks even if you only have integrated Intel HD 3000/HD 4000 graphics.

Contrary to the title, you don’t actually need GfxCardStatus program to switch to a more powerful graphic processor – you can do this in the Energy Saver preference pane as well by disabling “Automatic graphics switching”. It is just that it’s much more convenient to switch between discrete or integrated graphics with GfxCardStatus, so I definitely recommend installing it.

Download it from here: http://gfx.io/

5. Speeding up or disabling Mission Control transitions

So, we disabled BeamSync and now we have smooth scrolling, but somewhat choppy Mission Control transitions. Fortunately, Mavericks has an option to set transition duration. The shorter you set this, the less lag you will feel. You can not only shorten the transition time – you can also disable the animation completely.

To make a faster Mission Control animation, open up Terminal and type:

defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.15
(and then type “killall Dock”)

To disable animation completely, type:

defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0
(followed by “killall Dock”)

Play with what works best for you. Hint: set it to zero.

6. Speeding up or disabling full-screen app switching animation

Unfortunately there is no system setting to kill or speed up the often unnecessary slow animation when switching between full screen apps, if you use apps in full-screen mode at all. Fortunately, a program exists, called TotalSpaces, which circumvents this limitation. With it you can dramatically speed up the transitions between desktops/fullscreen apps and even change the type of transition (Cube, Swap, Slide or Flip). You can also choose to not use transitions at all – switching between desktops will then happen instantly and save you a couple of milliseconds time at every switch, resulting in a lifetime saved over a course of a couple of million years. Worth a shot if you ask me. “I want more life, f***er!” :)

Note that TotalSpaces has no effect on zooming in/out of a full-screen mode. This zooming in/out might still feel slow and possibly even look ugly.

Get Totalspaces here: http://totalspaces.binaryage.com/

7. Have your browsing experience fully GPU-accelerated – use Chrome as your main browser (very optional)

Safari 7 in Mavericks is plenty fast, no need for Chrome really. But if you are going to use Chrome, below’s a few tips.

First of all: to my knowledge, in Chrome versions later than 29 the option to disable GPU VSync was removed, not sure if it was recently added back (at the time of writing this Chrome 32 is out). You can get the older version of Chrome 29 on the internet, but you will have to disable automatic Google updates, which requires some file tweaking.

Ok, the tweaks. Type “chrome://flags” in the URL bar (omnibox) and set:

GPU compositing on all pages: enabled
Threaded compositing: enabled
Disable GPU VSync: enabled (mind the wording – you are actually “enabling the disabling” of vsync in Chrome)

Then relaunch Chrome. You should have a super snappy Chrome browser now.

8. Minimize with Scale effect

Go into System Preferences > Dock

and set “Minimize windows using” to “Scale effect”. For good measure, you can also disable “Animate opening applications”.

9. Disable elastic scrolling

defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -int 0

10. Disable zooming in Accessibility preference pane

Go into System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom

and uncheck all options.

Nice people posted on the previous post some additional tips (thanks!), which are:

11. Disable OSX notification center
12. Disable mouse acceleration
13. Disable unused fonts in Font Book


All these tips should result in a dramatically more responsive and usable operating system. Of course there are many other things you can try if your system is slow, such as repairing permissions etc.

Hope all this works well for you. Cheers.

Automator app to reboot from OSX into Windows

May 24th, 2013 by Mark Nanut No comments »

To reboot from OSX into Windows directly, I have tried using the application called Bootchamp. It does work all right, mostly, except that by rebooting via BootChamp the volume and brightness controls under Windows don’t work anymore. To overcome this I have tried to reboot into Windows via preference pane Startup Disk and in this case the brightness and volume controls in Windows work the way they should. So I put together this Bootchamp alternative of sorts: an inglorious Automator app to reboot into Windows via StartupDisk.prefpane. Here is the app – together with the script which you should tweak to your own liking (change volume names) or re-record in order for it to work: Download

One thing though: this will set Windows as the startup volume and this change will stick until you set otherwise. To overcome this, you can devise another Automator app in the same vein to reboot from OSX into, well, OSX. :)

Speed up Mountain Lion

March 14th, 2013 by Mark Nanut No comments »

MLUPDATE 15.3.2013: Today 10.8.3 update came out and it seems to work smoother than 10.8.2. Still, applying these tips will give you an even smoother performance.

So you have this feeling that Mountain Lion (10.8.2) on your new or old Mac feels sluggish. In this post I’ll give some extra tips on how to improve this. Keep in mind that these are merely ADDITIONAL tips that do work, and you shouldn’t ignore the more general optimizations (make sure you have enough RAM, upgrade SSD, have enough disk space left). Let me point out that Mountain Lion DOES invariably feel laggy also on relatively new and capable machines such as:

MacBook Pro quad i7 late 2011
(2.2GHz quad i7, 8 GB RAM, Radeon 6750M graphics and Intel HD 3000 graphics, 128 GB SATA3 SSD)

MacBook Air dual i5 mid 2011
(1.7GHz dual i5, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD 3000 graphics, 128 GB SATA3 SSD)

With these tips I substantially improved performance on both of them. These methods will also work and improve performance on older Core 2 Duo Macs as well, but I cannot tell whether the results will be as great. One thing to add: the explained methods work very well and Mountain Lion will work faster to the point of feeling very fast, yes, yet still not as fast as Snow Leopard 10.6.8 – at least on my quad MBP. That’s why I currently prefer using Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to Mountain Lion 10.8.2, which is something I wrote about in my earlier post. » Read more: Speed up Mountain Lion

Downgrade to Snow Leopard for performance boost on a late 2011 quad Macbook Pro

March 8th, 2013 by Mark Nanut No comments »

symlinkAt the time of writing this post, the latest version of OS X is 10.8.2 Mountain Lion. While it brought many nice features and definitely is nicer and faster than Lion, it also comes with some compromises. I already wrote about how Apple uses power throttling in order to make battery run longer and this behavior persists in Mountain Lion. » Read more: Downgrade to Snow Leopard for performance boost on a late 2011 quad Macbook Pro

Extend space of a Bootcamp partition with symbolic links (Win7)

March 8th, 2013 by Mark Nanut No comments »

symlink Are you running a dual boot configuration (OSX and Windows 7), presumably not on a very large SSD drive, and are often running out of space on a Windows 7 bootcamp partition? Instead of resizing the partition, there is a more simple solution – move some of the files from bootcamp partition to another partition/drive and provide a symbolic link to them.

If you use your Windows 7 bootcamp installation for gaming, then you probably ran into low disk space issue more than once, had to delete/uninstall games in order to install another one or temporarily move game files to another drive only to copy them back later. Fortunately, ever since symbolic links have been introduced into Windows 7, you can leave game files or directories elsewhere and simply provide a symbolic link to them. Have in mind that this will work only with Windows 7 installed, not with Windows XP (which doesn’t have symbolic linking). » Read more: Extend space of a Bootcamp partition with symbolic links (Win7)

Get rid of OSX lag and run your Macbook Pro GPU at full speed

December 3rd, 2011 by Mark Nanut 1 comment »


To avoid a lengthy intro, here is the thing: at some point OSX – and I’m talking specifically Snow Leopard 10.6.8 here – started feeling sluggish. The transitions didn’t feel smooth anymore and the general feeling was that OS was not as snappy as it used to be. Turns out all this has something to do with OSX’s built-in GPU power management, which reduces GPU clock speeds in order to save power. So what we want to do here is to turn this sort of throttling off and keep the GPU at its maximum speed at all times. » Read more: Get rid of OSX lag and run your Macbook Pro GPU at full speed

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