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OS Sierra & Photoshop running slow


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My iMac is old, from 2011.  Within the last few months, PS has been running ridiculously slow.  I takes sometimes 5 minutes to save a PSD file.  I have PS 20.0.4 as it won't do anymore updates because it is not compatible with my OS.  Is it running so slow because my OS is so old and I have not updated PS?  I have a 2TB drive with 106 GB of storage left.  I am constantly removing files and have been at this storage limit many times before without this terrible lag.  Do I need to look at upgrading my computer or is there something else to look at in PS?

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Oh yeah, a new computer is in your future. Especially if you have a newer camera. The more MP you have, the harder your computer has to work. So while a 12MP camera worked will with your 2011 iMac, it’s a different story if your camera is now 20-24MP. 

That being said, the biggest things that kill a Mac are a full HD (which is what you have) and tons of files & folders stored on your Mac Desktop. In reality, you want to never go above 80% full on any HD. So with a 2TB Drive, you are gonna need to free up about 500-700GB. Or more. 106GB might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. Today’s GB is yesterday’s MB.

For example, if this was the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, you have a 2GB HD with 106MB free. 

Yep, it’s that bad.

If you haven’t purchased CleanMyMac X from Macpaw.com, it’s the best $40-ish you will spend. It really helps clearing out gunk that accumulates with normal computer use. I run CleanMyMac weekly  

Oh, be sure to check your downloads folder. You would be surprised on just how much junk is in that folder. Be ruthless. Cull-Cull-Cull. Those 75 photos of your lunch from 5 years ago? Delete them. Those blurry shots that have no use or will never see the light of day? Delete them.

like I said, your target should be 700GB free on your main HD.  

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In case. you are wondering...

What Macintosh Desktop Computer does Brian Recommend.

Whatever you do, SKIP the current 21.5" iMac. The 2009-2011 21.5" models were "fine." They just had smaller screens, but similar components to their larger counterparts. IT IS NO LONGER THAT WAY. The current 21.5" iMacs are severely crippled and are a complete waste of money.

Please give my article a read before buying ANYTHING.

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Are SSD's easy to swap out on a Mac?  My son thinks I could get the 512 SSD and he could upgrade it for me.  I have always heard Macs are not as easy to swap parts like windows.  Should we even attempt this or just spend the money to get either a 1 TB SSD or 2 TB SSD already in the iMac?  Thank you for the link above, very informative!

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If your iMac has a built-in DVD Superdrive...YES, you could upgrade the HD to a SSD model. If there isn't a built in DVD Drive, then the answer is a Hell No. That said, 2011 models still had DVD Drives in them, it was 2012 when they started switching things over to the models that didn't come with DVD Drives. What's the big deal and why am I asking? The reason is for the iMacs that do not contain a DVD drive, the screen is held by special glue-strips and not magnets, like the 2009-2011 models. This makes reassembly a real pain in the ass. That stupid tape takes knowledge and a steady hand. 

In either case, is it easy? NO.

You will need to remove the screen and pretty much take the thing apart. In addition, you just can't plop any-old SSD drive in it, due to Apple having proprietary cables and thermal sensors. Combine that with the flimsy cables that attach to the screen, and if you aren't careful, you could permamently damage your computer as Apple no longer repairs your model. So if you break anything, you are screwed, unless you can find a local repair shop that fixes Macs. From my point-of-view, the two most dangerous things to one's computer are:

  1. Brothers-in-Law
  2. Sons, especially ones that are 14-15 years old and either "Know Computers" or have "Built their own..."

I have fixed more computers from those two sources over the years. LOL! Fortunately, there are upgrade kits and plenty of YouTube Videos demonstrating the upgrade process. These kits are important as they usually contain those special Mac-Only cables and sensors. If you are going to upgrade the HD, do not install a 512GB SSD, opt for a 1TB Model. A Samsung Evo 860 2.5" 1TB SSD should work.  You will also need a OWC Upgrade Kit. DO NOT do what the guys do in the video, who use double-sided tape to mount things; PLEASE spend the stupid $15 and purchase the 2.5" to 3.5" SSD HD Mounting Tray.

In reality, it's 2020. Time for a new iMac. I know, it's expensive and times are tough.    

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Thank you!  His attempt was to lower the price of my new mac by having me select the smallest SSD and would upgrade.  He is 16 and knows more about computers than I do but also feels he knows way more than maybe he does :).

We'll just stick to upgrading the RAM.  I don't want to void the apple care.  It saved me many years ago.  Thank you for your help.


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Oh Hell No!!



The only thing you can upgrade yourself on a 27" iMac is the RAM, and I encourage you to do that.

Apple does things differently. They do weird stuff with their internals and I'm 100% sure he would break something. I have been a Professional Computer Technician for 27 years, and even I wouldn't take apart a new 27" iMac! I know I would break something. Upgrade the 2011 iMac? Probably. It's doable if you are careful. It's the stupid glue strips that current Macs use today, and not magnets, combined with the proprietary stuff that Apple does and you are asking for trouble, handed to you on a silver platter.

Take a look a Linus Tech Tips. These guys tried upgrading stuff on their $4000+ iMac Pro and they ended up breaking the screen. It doesn't take much of a mistake for that to happen. Apple wouldn't sell them a new screen, nor cover it under warranty. So how would you like a $4000+ Paperweight? LOL!

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Don't worry, I am following your advice and will only upgrade the RAM on the new machine.  I can't complain too much, the current iMac lasted 9 years and technically still works just super slow.  Not bad for a computer!

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