What to Do When Mac Keeps Hanging after Updating to El Capitan

A faster Mac is better than a slow one. But what are you going to do when your Mac keep hanging? That’s exactly what a reader was suffering.

“Hi, I just couldn’t resist the temptation and updated my MacBook Pro to latest OS X El Capitan. Well, it’s supposed to run faster and perform better (that’s what Apple said in the release). But not for my Mac. Now it keeps hanging around every now and then. When that happens, I couldn’t do anything but wait because it seems the whole system froze up. What should I do?”

Here’s my answer:

You are not the only one who suffered after updating to latest OS X El Capitan. Take a look at here and here. Many of the Mac fans were furious after the system upgrade. I’m sure Apple was not prepared to see these feedback.

I’m on El Capitan already. I remember the first few days after upgraded to the new system, my Mac was slow as well. But the performance went back normal. I guess it has something to do with Spotlight indexing, which could take 24 to 48 hours, according to this StackExchange Apple community discussion.

So, I’d suggest you wait a day or two and leave your mac open (do not shut it down), then get your hand on it. See if the frozen issue still exists.

If it still persists, now try to isolate the real culprits and fix them.

First, check how many programs are running on startup. You can find it out from Login Items. The more you have there, the more likely your Macbook is going to freeze up due to limited RAM.

Next, check the CPU and RAM usage from Activity Monitor. If the number is too high, no surprise that your Mac is performing sluggishly. Try to close as many applications as possible, especially those that tend to “eat” up more system resources (aka, heavy software).

Also, make sure you have enough free storage space — at least 15% available is ideal. The more, the better. Learn how to clean it from these Macbook speed up tricks. Take a look at the first tip.

Last but not least, not sure if you have the habit of updating software. In particular, after a major OS X upgrade, third-party software are supposed to release a new version to better work with El Capitan. Unfortunately, some may take a while.

That’s all. Hope you find it helpful. By the way, as I was reading some resources, I also found this Apple tip very comprehensive. It may also give you some hints.

How to Make an iMac Run Faster without Getting a New One?

Yesterday morning, I got an interesting question from a reader of this blog. Just thought it might be worth sharing here.

Hey, love the things you’ve been doing in the blog. I know you are using a MacBook, but I have a question about iMac which is the model I’m using. Recently it is painfully slow. Not sure if it’s because I’ve installed too many apps, or the machine just shows its age. How do I make an iMac faster? Are there any magic tricks out there without me buying a new Mac?

The reason why I said it was interesting is that we all look forward to the “magic trick” to fix things. Sadly, in reality that rarely exists, so far as I am aware of.

Here’s my answer to her question:

If I have to recommend one magic trick that is guaranteed to tune up its performance, I’d say — replace your current hard disk drive (HDD) with a solid state drive (SSD). I’ve just done that with my MacBook Pro, and the speed I gain is so obvious.

For example, it used to take about 40 seconds to start up and launch the first screen, now it’s less than 10 seconds. 300% performance increase (though this might be the best way to measure).

Like you said, since I’m using a MacBook, I’m not sure how much similarity an iMac would have with a MacBook, though I know they both run the same operating system — i.e. OS X. However, the hardware configurations between the two models can be different, thus the solutions to make an iMac faster vary.

So, I can’t provide a step by step tutorial to troubleshoot the issue and help you out. All I can do is to share some resources with you, hope you find them helpful.

How to swap your old iMac’s hard drive for a fast new SSD — Jeremy Horwitz also recommends replacing the hard drive if your iMac is three to five years old. If you decide to do so, watch this video first:

iMac Running Slow or Freezing? 6 Simple Speed Solutions — Nikki Scanlon shows the common reasons why an iMac runs slow and provides a list of fixes.

How to speed up your Mac in 30 minutes — Peter Cohen looks at the detailed ways you can improve your Mac’s performance beyond factory spec.

Questions? Leave a comment below.