Speed up OSX Mavericks

February 9th, 2014 by Mark Nanut Leave a reply »

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.

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