Mac Slow After Mavericks??? Here’s How You Fix It?

Updated 18th October, 2014 – As you might already know, OS X Yosemite is out. If you are having Yosemite related performance issues on your Mac, please read this post about troubleshooting a slow Mac with Yosemite installed on it.

Is your Mac slow after Mavericks installation? Even though the latest OS X update has been generally lauded for the spew of enhancements and improvements that it brings to the table, there have also been many complaints that the upgrade to Mavericks has brought about several performance issues, with particularly several MacBook owners complaining that their MacBooks have begun to run quite slowly after they decided to take advantage of the free Mavericks update.

Below, you will find simple solutions that will help fix your Mavericks related performance issues.

1. Ruling out a bloated Mac

First, before you do anything else, you must rule out a bloated Mac. What is a bloated Mac you might ask? Well, it is a Mac that hasn’t cleaned up in a long time. If your Mac has years of junk like system logs, massive cache files, incompletely uninstalled apps and also very low hard disk space, it can lead to very, very slow performance, particularly after you have upgraded to a resource hungry operating system like Mavericks OS X.

Thankfully, there is software that can both check and clean up a bloated Mac, with all but just a click. Clean My Mac, award winning and Mac community approved software does just that. If your Mac is one of those bloated Macs, Clean My Mac will have OS X running smoothly in minutes from now.

Clean My Mac 2 is available here.

2. Is your hardware good enough to support OS X Mavericks?

It could just be that you might have jumped the gun with the OS X Mavericks installation. There are certain minimum hardware requirements for OS X Mavericks to run smoothly. If you ignored these requirements and installed Mavericks on an older Mac, it could just mean that you are giving your Mac too much to handle in an operating system.

Though Apple haven’t officially stated minimum RAM and Processor requirements to smoothly run OS X Mavericks, the general consensus from the Mac using community is that your Mac will probably do well with Mavericks if it is less than 4 years old. To see an official list of Mac models that will efficiently run OS X Mavericks, read this post where we talk about OS X Mavericks requirements for your Mac.

Recommended hardware requirements to smoothly run OS X Mavericks

  • 2 GB of RAM is bare minimum to run OS X Mavericks. 4 GB is good and 8 GB is ideal
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or better (Basically means that Mac processors after 2008-2009 are OK)
  • At least 8 GB of free disk space although 40+ GB is highly recommended

If you now realize that your Mac’s hardware is not quite good enough for Mavericks, you can still go back to your older OS X like Snow Leopard or others. Though it is a fairly drawn out process, it is definitely possible and will help you restore palatable performance levels in your Mac. A very helpful Apple Discussions community member has laid out the steps to restore an older version of OS X, after a Mavericks upgrade.

3. Bad OS X install or upgrade

Surprisingly, this has turned out to be one of the most common reasons for people to experience slow performance in their Macs after upgrading to OS X Mavericks.

Here are steps to reinstall OS X Mavericks a second time, this time in a manner that allows it to function smoothly, without that annoying spinning Beach Ball showing up all the time.

Please note that it is prudent to take backups, anytime before an OS X re-install or repair process.

1. If your Mac is really crawling along, taking forever to carry out even simple tasks, you must first go to your energy savings settings and make sure your Mac doesn’t sleep easily as this Mavericks reinstallation can take 2-3 hours

2. Choose Apple Menu –> Restart

3. Once you have restarted, wait for the gray screen and then press Command (⌘) and R keys, simultaneously

4.  If your Mac isn’t automatically connected to the Internet, choose your Wi-Fi connection and authenticate it so it can connect to Apple servers to download OS X Mavericks

5. Select the Reinstall OS X Mavericks option

6. Follow the installation steps and reinstall OS X Mavericks on the same hard disk where your current OS X Mavericks is installed (This happens by default)

7. Persevere and patiently wait for full installation, even if the progress bar crawls along and gives you estimated time remaining as 6 hours, 2 hours and then 5 hours again! It will eventually complete in 2-3 hours

8. Restart and be pleasantly surprised by smoothly running OS X Mavericks

P.S. – Reinstalling OS X Mavericks using the above mentioned instructions will allow you to keep your user data untouched and intact.

Hopefully. after reading through this post, you must have figured out the Mac slow after Mavericks issue. If you still can’t figure it out, post a comment about what particular issues you are facing and we will try to do our  best to point you in the right direction.

You can also use various types of system resets like PRAM reset and SMC reset along with a few cleanups to see if it will speed up your OS X Mavericks. You can learn more about such resets in this 21 point Mac clean up post that we wrote a couple of weeks ago.

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  18. Kay W Reply

    Thanks for the suggestion to reinstall maverick. My machine has been slowing down for months, starting right after the Maverick install. I just reinstalled and it is a lightening fast Mac again. I wish I had seen this earlier before trying many, unsuccessful attempts to fix the problem. Thanks again!

  19. Olive Kavanagh Reply


    Thank you for the fix Vaibhav Aggarwal. Simply repairing permissions seems to have got rid of the dreaded spinning ball and it took less than five minutes. Thanks to Michelle too for the site.

    • Michelle Smith Reply

      Glad you could get your problem fixed. Thank you for your comment!

  20. Maxim Ice Reply


    My slowdown after Mavericks OS X install has to do with a 200%+ CPU usage for kernel_tasks shown in the Activity Monitor. I have a 2009/2010 MacBook Air. I know I enocuntered this nusuance before and swapped out a file in the install package using a program. Any assistance would be appreciated to get this fixed once and for all. It may have to do with the fan setting in the Air since my fan is constantly running.

  21. philip Reply

    Great job Cyro,
    And thanks to Michelle Smith
    For starting this forum.
    Thanks guys my mac is now blazing fast

  22. Rodrigo Reply

    I allready have Mavericks installed and it wont let me reinstall lion what can i do?

  23. alekks Reply

    Is there really no need to backup the data for the reinstall?!

    • Michelle Smith Reply

      Hi Alekks. Backups are always recommended, especially before OS X installs! Thanks for pointing it out. We added a small note in the post 🙂

  24. Katie O'Brien Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this! The reinstall worked wonders 🙂

  25. Milton Reply

    Sorry, by the way, I have a Macbook Pro 13″ early 2011. I’ve tried Cyro’s suggestion, but when I restart with Option key, there’s no recovery boot disk, just my regular disk. Thanks in advance!

    • Vaibhav Aggarwal Reply

      There’s an alternative method to do what Cyro mentioned here. Just open Disk Utility app on your mac, select the disk on which Mavericks is installed and click Repair Disk Permissions.

  26. Milton Reply

    Hi there, I’ve just tried this, but when it gets to step 5, there’s only a Reinstall Lion option. However, I already has Mavericks installed, so it will not allow me to reinstall Lion. What could I do? Thanks!

  27. vincent pirrone Reply

    just tried Cyro’s fix and it worked extremely well. Mac book is back to normal and a pleasure to use! Thank you

  28. Cheryl Donahue Reply

    Thanks so much for this article! My MacBook Pro was like molasses after I installed Maverick and the other solutions I saw for fixing the problem were very technical and time-consuming. I did the Mac Clean and the reinstall and everything is back to normal. Better, actually, than before. Thanks again!

  29. Corban Reply

    Cyro’s suggestion worked for me as well. Thanks!

  30. Elvis Reply

    I have just tried Cyro’s suggestion. It works perfectly well. The best thing in it you don’t need to wait hours to fix the issue. It took me less than 7 minutes. Now my Mac is waouh again 🙂 Thank you all!

  31. David Moore Reply

    Have you checked Cyro’s comment? Does it work?

    • Michelle Smith Reply

      Hi David

      We did do what Cyro did although it didn’t provide any additional speed improvements from what we had after we applier our tips.

      I think it might have to do with his system in particular. I don’t see any harm in trying it out though.

  32. Cyro Lunardon Reply

    For those who still have this problem, this is the solution:

    1 – Start the mac holding ‘option’;
    2 – Choose the recovery boot disc;
    3 – Select Disc Utility option;
    4 – Select the disc where os x is installed;
    5 – Click ‘Fix disc permissions’ button;
    6 – Wait till it’s done;
    7 – Restart you mac in normal mode;
    8 – Problem solved (At least for me and the guy that told me to do this).

    • Karen Lehman Reply

      Thank you Cyro! This finally fixed my problem! I tried the reinstall of OS X Maverick, which failed. It said not possible to create recovery file. But Cyro’s instructions worked perfectly! Thank you so much!!

    • Kr1570 Reply

      Thanks guys and girls for this posting and especially Cyro – fix disk permissions was the answer for my Macs speed problem too. Cleaning up temporary files folder added some speed also.

  33. Dave Johnson Reply

    Hi Michelle,
    Do these external hard drives you’ve recommended work with Mavericks? I have a new MacBook Pro (non-Retina) and will use the HHD as backup for location photography.
    Thanks for the great blog

    • Michelle Smith Reply

      Hi Dave! Thank you for your comment. Yes, all these drives are compliant with OS X Mavericks!

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