by Jim Lynch

Fix OS X Yosemite problems with a clean install

Apr 23, 20156 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMacOSOperating Systems

Apple has patched OS X Yosemite but some users are still experiencing problems. A clean install of OS X Yosemite might be the solution if you're one of them

OS X Yosemite is certainly one of Apple’s biggest updates ever to its desktop operating system. When it was first released users reported a fair number of bugs and problems. Apple has been working hard to fix the bugs in OS X Yosemite, but some users are still experiencing problems. The Apple subreddit had an interesting discussion about what’s still broken in OS X Yosemite for some users.

Enricosusatyo asked if OS X Yosemite was ready for him to move to from OS X Mavericks:

I’m one of the latest Mavericks holdouts. Any apps not working, or any major lingering bugs?

I need to update because finally Xcode 6.3 requires OS X Yosemite 🙁

More at Reddit

His fellow redditors responded:

Thescort: “No showstoppers. Every app launches and works. Some people are upset about the new Photos App. I’m not. There are some little quirks but nothing that impedes use and nothing more than what was present in past OSs.”

Ryushe: “Whenever I right click on a file, ‘Open With’ takes forever to populate. Never used to do that before Yosemite, and it annoys the hell out of me. Everything else seems to work as intended though.”

Michikade: “Wi-Fi is still a little stupid for me but it seems to have gotten more stable with the most recent update. Everything else seems to work fine.”

IfUHadAZuneIHateYou: “Animation speed is still really awful. My Mac Pro (16GB/6 core) with Yosemite is substantially slower for basic tasks, most noticeably Exposé, than my PowerBook G4 with Leopard.”

CraigFL: “The only real bug that I see on a daily basis when I switch desktops via the four finger left/right gesture on the trackpad, it often gets stuck in between two desktops, or it may not even completely switch to the other desktop so I have to go back and switch again. It’s a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.”

More at Reddit

A clean install fixed OS Yosemite on my Macs

I guess that I’ve been fortunate because OS X Yosemite has actually worked pretty well for me. The only significant problems I’ve had were a certain slowness and also some inconsistent behavior with the Continuity feature. I’ll get to the slowness problem in the next paragraph, but Continuity was a real bear for me for a while. Sometimes it worked, and other times it just didn’t. I couldn’t seem to get it to work reliably on my Macs, and it was quite frustrating after a while.

The slowness problem, however, was a major headache of my own making. I had been doing upgrades of OS X one after another, going all the way back to Leopard. Yes, Leopard. Well of course this is eventually going to cause some problems since you are installing one version of OS X over another over the course of five or six years or whatever. And to top it all off, I had also installed some OS X betas, so you can imagine what a mess my Macs were by the time I installed OS X Yosemite!

Fortunately, I finally realized that I needed to start fresh and that’s exactly what I did. I did a clean install of OS X Yosemite on all of my Macs, and I could not believe the difference in performance! Even my aging iMac from 2009 turned into a little speed demon while running OS Yosemite. Well okay, it’s not really a speed demon but it was markedly faster after I did the clean install of OS X Yosemite.

My newest Mac is a 5K retina iMac, and while performance was still good even with the earlier OS X upgrades installed, I felt it could be better. And it also had an annoying bug that happened each time you opened an application. The app would start to open but then the window would disappear and I’d have to restart it to see the application on my screen. The clean install improved the 5K iMac’s performance but it also got rid of that annoying bug.

Continuity also worked much better, and I didn’t see the problems I saw before the clean install. I could easily make phone calls from my Mac, and sending SMS text messages works great now. Now that Continuity works so well, I can’t imagine living without it on my Macs. Yes, it’s that good and I think it’s one of the best things about OS X Yosemite.

I can’t guarantee that a clean install will fix every problem you might be having with Yosemite, but it certainly made a huge difference for me. So if you are having problems with OS X Yosemite, I recommend trying a clean install right away. At the very least you will probably get significantly better performance from your Mac, and you may also get rid of any lingering problems you’ve been experiencing in OS X Yosemite.

How to do a clean install of OS X Yosemite

Doing a clean install of OS X Yosemite might seem a little daunting at first, but don’t let that stop you from doing it. OS X Daily has a great step by step article that will walk you through a clean install. That’s what I used to do my own, and I couldn’t be happier now with all of my Macs.

Just be sure that you back up all of your data before doing a clean install. And do NOT restore your system from a Time Machine backup. I recommend grabbing your home folder and sticking it on an external disk (along with whatever else you want to restore later on). This makes it easier when you want to copy all of the data back to your Mac after the clean install. And be sure to install all of your applications fresh as well, don’t restore any of them from Time Machine.

Clean installs for all major versions of OS X from now on

I’ve learned my lesson about major OS X upgrades. From now on whenever a big new release of OS X happens, I will be doing a clean install on all of my Macs. No more upgrading over the previous version of OS X, and certainly no more betas! Clean installs really do bring out the best performance possible in a Mac, especially older ones.

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