macOS: Disable transparency for better performance

If your Mac is too slow, here’s how you can disable transparency to speed it up and get better performance.

macOS is a gorgeous looking operating system, but some of its amazing eye candy can come at a steep price in terms of performance. This is especially true if you are running an older Mac with a slower processor, weak video card, and less RAM.

But there’s a quick and easy way that you can help speed up a slow Mac. All you need to do is disable transparency in macOS.

How to disable transparency in macOS

Here’s how you can quickly disable transparency on your Mac:

1. Open System Preferences

2. Go to Accessibility.

3. Click on Display.

4. Click the Reduce Transparency option.

screen shot 2017 03 15 at 11.20.24 am Apple

Is it worth it to disable transparency in macOS?

Some folks might wonder if it’s really worth it to turn off transparency in macOS. The answer to that question really depends on the hardware of your Mac.

If you are running a top of the line Mac with a fast processor and graphics card then you probably won’t need to bother turning off transparency. You might not even notice any kind of significant performance increase by disabling transparency if you have very fast hardware.

However, if you have an older Mac that has started showing signs of slowing down then disabling transparency is a quick and easy way to wring additional performance from your aging hardware.

My recommendation is to try disabling transparency and see if it makes a difference for you. It’s so easy to turn transparency back on that giving it a shot won’t cost you anything but a few seconds of your time.

At the moment I’m running a 5K iMac with a 4Ghz i7 processor and an AMD Radeon M295X video card with 4 GB of video RAM. So I haven’t bothered keeping transparency off since this machine is plenty fast even with it on.

But I also have an older MacBook Pro that is not nearly as fast, and so turning off transparency on that computer actually did help speed it up. So as I noted earlier, it’s really all about your hardware.

Of course some people might want to turn off transparency because they just don’t like it or care about it enough to bother keeping it on. If you’re one of those folks then more power to you. By disabling transparency on your Mac, you get rid of a visual effect you don't like and you get the added benefit of not spending CPU power on an unnecessary bit of eye candy.

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