MacBook Pro Runs Slow after Updating to macOS Ventura

It’s that time again. Apple has come out with its latest macOS and it is time to update. macOS 13 Ventura is the newest release and like most, it has some cool new features. Even with the new features, it can be worrisome to update because it is possible that your system may run a bit slower.

Slowdowns after a major macOS upgrade are nothing new and there are some common causes and fixes. There are also a couple of new ones that I will inform you about and provide some possible solutions to.

macOS Ventura slow

My name is Eric, I use a 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020). And as a software engineer and configuration manager, I work with software upgrades on a daily basis. Sadly, they can slow a system down at first but there are often valid reasons for it and the issues are normally resolved in a short amount of time.

If you would like to see some explanations for some of the slowdowns that may be caused by Ventura and what can be done to fix them and improve your MacBook Pro’s speed, then keep reading below and I will give you some tips on how to do this.

Why Did the macOS Ventura Update Slow Down MacBook Pro?

Unfortunately, it is all too common for a MacBook Pro (or any Mac) to run a little or even drastically slower after a major macOS update like Ventura. You might be asking why would a new version of macOS cause my MacBook to run slower? After all, it’s a new version, shouldn’t it run faster?

Well, there are a variety of things that can happen, and it may even just be a coincidence. The good news is that most of these things can be cured. First, let’s take a look at some of the issues that are specific to Ventura, then we will look at some that are common to all upgrades.

Common macOS Ventura Slowdown Issues and How to Fix Them

All major system upgrades have the possibility of having slight or even major issues, especially when upgrading during the beta phase. There are general issues that can happen with all upgrades and there are problems that may be specific to that particular update.

Here we will look at some of the issues that are specific to Ventura that may slow down your system.

System Requirements

This is a factor for any major system upgrade, but for Ventura, the System Requirements seem to be even more of a factor. As Apple is moving towards the use of its own M series chipsets, some Intel-based MacBooks will have issues with the macOS Ventura update.

The new macOS is now designed to specifically work with the M1 and M2 chipset, so if you are using a MacBook that has an Intel processor, you are very likely to see a slowdown and maybe even other issues. Check the list of compatible Macs to ensure your MacBook Pro will work with Ventura.

If your system does not match the required specifications, you will either have to live with the slowness or roll your system back to Monterey. This is not a great solution but the only other may be to purchase a new MacBook Pro that fits the requirements and that can be costly.

Stage Manager

Stage Manager is a wonderful new feature in Ventura that allows easy management of your desktop. Just keep in mind that this is a new feature and since it is still in the beta phase, it has a great possibility of bugs and inefficiencies.

Many have reported that Stage Manager seems to noticeably slow down their system when it is running. This could be due to the way the new application handles its memory allocation on your Mac and is most likely something that will be fixed in coming updates.

If you have it enabled, I would recommend disabling Stage Manager for now and seeing if this helps speed things up. If it helps, it may be beneficial to leave it disabled until there are updates that fix the problem. If you see no difference you can easily re-enable it.

It can be disappointing to not be able to use a great new feature like this but it is one of the popular ones being promoted for this macOS version so I am sure it will be addressed rather quickly and it can then be turned back on again.

Below are the steps to disable Stage Manager. Give it a try and see what happens.

Step 1: Open System Settings by clicking on the Apple symbol in the top left corner of the screen and then selecting System Settings.

Step 2: In the left side pane of the System Settings, select Desktop & Dock.

Step 3: Scroll down the page on the right side until you see Stage Manager. 

Step 4: Click the switch to turn Stage Manager off.

Check your system to see if there is an increase in speed. If you don’t see immediate results it might be wise to reboot your system just to make sure everything is reset and any processes related to it have been cleared from memory.

General Slowdown Issues After a Major macOS Upgrade

There are many things that can cause your MacBook Pro to run slow after any macOS upgrade. They are not necessarily specific to Ventura. Below I will discuss some common factors that may be causing your system to run slower after the update.

The Waiting Game

Major macOS updates are not simple. Although your experience in installing the update may (or may not) have gone smoothly, there are numerous things that take place in the background that you don’t ever see and may not know about.

In fact, once your MacBook Pro is restarted after the update and it says it is complete, there is a chance there are things still running, indexing, configuring, and optimizing on the system. Spotlight is often one culprit of system slowdowns that can take place after an update like this.

Since these processes are still running, your system can be slow because it is using processing time to finish some of the final activities of the installation.

I always recommend waiting at least a couple of hours and even a day or so to see how things pan out. Once the system is done indexing and optimizing you may see a significant gain in speed. Multiple restarts can also help. Try restarting again after you have given it some time.

Out of Date Applications

It’s possible that one or more of your applications may also need an update if there is one available. Many of the applications you were running have probably not yet been optimized for Ventura and hopefully, they will have an update on the way.

The culprit application may be running and you might not even be aware. You may have started it or it may have been started when your Mac started up. If this is the case, the best thing to do is find out which of the apps is causing the problem. 

One method of doing this is to take a look at what applications are running and Force Quit all of them. Use the steps below to do this.

Step 1: Press the Option + Command + Esc keys at the same time. This will bring up the Force Quit Applications window.

Step 2: Select each application listed and click on the Force Quit button. You can select all the apps at once by holding down the shift key and clicking on each one.

If your MacBook Pro speeds up after this, it will tell you that one of your running applications might be causing the problem. Start each one up again, one by one, and see which one causes it to start slowing. 

If an application is causing the problem, you will need to stop using that application or wait for an update that will fix the problem. It may be possible to contact the creator of the application to let them know it is having issues and they may have a solution for you.

Disk Optimization

Your hard drive can fill up fast and installing a new macOS such as Ventura can eat up even more space. Macs need a lot of free space to run efficiently and if space is low, it can often affect the speed of the system. 

If you are experiencing slowness, it is a good idea to go through and clean up your disk drive. Empty the trash and remove junk and unwanted files.

This can be done manually or with the help of a third-party cleaning tool like CleanMyMac X for efficiency.

CleanMyMac X can help you free up a decent amount of disk space for MacBook Pro in just a few minutes.

Take advantage of Ventura’s new Storage features in System Settings to look at the current state of your hard drive. 

It helps you see what type and size of files are on your system. It also lets you empty the trash, move files to the cloud and optimize your storage space by having the system automatically remove movies and TV shows that you have already watched.

Try using this feature to help you clean up your disk drive and hopefully that will help speed things up for you.

Ventura Updates

As with any major macOS update, there are bound to be initial bugs and problems, especially if you have installed the beta version. Apple hears about these issues rather quickly, which is the purpose of a beta release, so they start working to fix them as soon as they can.

If you are experiencing a slow system and it has something to do with the new macOS, you will definitely want to keep a lookout for more updates. Fixes to bugs and issues that are causing the slow down should be addressed and fixed with future versions of Ventura.

By default, most systems are set to notify you of new updates, but you can always check for them by clicking on the Apple Symbol in the upper left corner of your screen and then clicking on About this Mac.

This will show information about your Mac and what macOS version you are running. If there is an update available it will be shown here with a button indicating that a new update is ready to be installed.

If there is one available, click the button to install the update and hopefully that can take care of some of the slowness issues you are having.

Slowdown Coincidence

It is true that updating to a new macOS like Ventura can cause your system to run slow, but it is possible that this is just a coincidence and your system already had some issues that were causing it to slow down. 

Updating to Ventura may not have caused the problem but may have just magnified it since the new OS may be using more resources than the previous one. If the suggestions we have already talked about above have not solved the problem check some of the basic items below.

Bad Applications

I kind of covered this above when talking about applications that may not be up to date for Ventura. It could also be that you just have an application that does not run efficiently in general and may not have anything to do with Ventura.

Use the same methods as above to Force Quit all your applications and then start them up one by one to detect which one is causing the problem. 

If you find one is a problem it may be necessary to stop using it and either get an update from the developers of that app or find an alternative application that works better.

WiFi Network

It’s not uncommon for a WiFi network to be a source of your slowdown. Check your internet connection and make sure you are able to access the websites you normally go to. If possible get another computer and connect to your network and see if it has problems.

Try connecting your MacBook Pro to another WiFi network and see if you experience the same issues. If you are able to reach all of your normal websites, other computers work fine on the network and your Mac still has issues on other networks you might rule out network issues.

SMC/PRAM/NVRAM

Resetting SMC and/or PRAM/NVRAM often fixed issues on older MacBook Pros. Most newer systems now reset this anytime that you reboot. See the instructions below on how to do this and maybe it can make a difference in your system speed.

SMC

There are different methods of doing this depending on the type of Mac you are using. Take a look at the recommendations from Apple Support to see how to do this with your system.

If you have a Mac with Apple Silicone (M1 or M2 chips) this reset is done automatically every time you reboot your system.

PRAM/NVRAM 

Macs with Apple Silicone also reset this on normal reboots. Other MacBook Pros with Intel chip can be reset with the steps below.

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Turn it back on and immediately press and hold down the Option + Command + P + R keys all at the same time until you hear the startup sound.

The instructions in this video are from MacBook Air, but it also works for MacBook Pros.

Clean Installation

If after trying all of the above suggestions there is no improvement, it might be time to think about doing a clean install. This may be a last resort, but a factory reset with a clean install of Ventura will give your Mac a clean slate to start from.

Doing this will completely wipe out your current macOS and everything on your computer, so make sure you have all your personal data backed up somewhere. Once the process is complete, you will also need to download all of your apps again.

There’s no guarantee this will fix the problem, especially if you have an older Mac that might be on the edge of the system requirements, but for some, it might be worth the time and risk to do it. Just follow these instructions on how to reset your MacBook to factory settings.

Final Words

Updating to a new major macOS version can be exciting. We often can’t wait to try out the new features, but it can be extremely frustrating if an update such as Ventura slows your Mac down to the point where it is difficult to use.

Make sure your MacBook Pro meets the system requirements and if it is still running slow, try turning off new features such as Stage Manager. Keep an eye out for updates to Ventura that might fix the problem and check your system for other common issues that may slow it down.

How have your first experiences with Ventura gone? Has it slowed your system down or has it improved its performance? I would love to get your feedback!

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  • John

    I was happy Ventura supports my 2018 Mac mini even though it barely made the cut. It does tend to slow down a bit more then Monterey which I did expect. I am sure given Intel Mac’s are all legacy Mac’s that optimization was focused on Apple silicon more. Even so, it works well enough on my old Mac mini to not have to downgrade back to Monterey. At least nothing so far I found unbearable. I do however think it’s another sign that days are numbered for Intel Mac’s. Having lived through the Power PC to Intel switch I get that feeling again.

    Reply
    • Eric

      Hi John,
      You are correct Ventura’s optimizations are heavily focused on Apple silicon and this will continue to be the focus in future releases. I agree with you it is definitely a sign that the Intel Macs are going to be phased out through attrition as their performance will continue to slow with future upgrades.

      Reply