So you have just bought a new (or new to you) Mac and excitedly set it up to find it slower than your old Mac and with shorter than expected battery life. What a disappointing feeling! Fortuntaly this is temporary as your device is running background processes associated with preparing your Mac for use.
Optimising Your Mac
After completing the setup you will reach the desktop and may see a notification on the top right advising “Optimising Your Mac - Performance may be affected until completed.”
When setting up a Mac for the first time, installing a new version of macOS or restarting your Mac after a long period of uptime there may be some processes that need to be completed. macOS does this in the background so you can still use the device but it can impede performance and battery life until complete.
Depending on the amount of data contained on your device or iCloud account the time to complete can vary from a few minutes to a day.
So what exactly is your Mac doing in the background?
There can be a few different processes need to be run.
- Spotlight indexing - The search function in macOS will be indexing your data to provide fast search results when used.
- iCloud synchronisation - If you have signed into your iCloud account then your Mac will be synchronising the data between your Mac and the account. If you have lots of photos and videos this can take sometime, especially if your internet isn’t super fast.
- Photos app - This app will run indexing on all the images on on your device in order to give you extra search functionality, for example facial recognition.
What’s the fix?
Patience! macOS will only continue the optimisations whilst the device is on, so sit back, relax and let it do it’s thing. You can keep an eye on processes that are running in the background by opening Activity Monitor and checking the CPU tab, remembering to order the column % CPU descending. Do not be tempted to quit any processes unless you know that it’s safe to do so.