Updating an older MacBook Pro

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
19,870
I'm not sure if this has been covered before (my apologies if it has) but I bought a MacBook Pro laptop in 2013. This doesn't seem like a long time ago, but I guess that it is.

Right now it's being used primarily for three things: trolling around on the internet (mostly paying bills -- not much pron, I swear), creating Word docs and listening to iTunes. And TBH, I'm only really using this machine a few times a month.

The one thing that has been getting on my nerves when I break this thing out is how slow this laptop is running, especially in comparison to the MacBook Pro that I use for work. I know that comparing a 2013 machine to a 2018 machine is stupid and foolish. Of course, the one that is five years older will run slower. But this is a bit more than that. Even simple tasks take a while to load or run. I've updated the OS, so there are no updates to deploy.

What I was wondering is if there is anything that I can download and run that will clean my computer up of bugs, malware, etc. Make it run a bit more smoothly. I know that I can Google this, but I worry about DLing the wrong app, so I ask the SoSH tech people: what do you use to make sure that your older machines are running properly?

Thanks.
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
SoSH Member
Jul 24, 2007
12,113
It's worth noting that a 2013 MacBook Pro is not slow--you're talking roughly 20-30% slower than the current top of the line and well faster than a current MacBook (the little one). I have a 2014 MacBook Pro as my primary daily-driver Mac and it's fine.

Don't download cleaners or whatever on OS X. (You shouldn't on Windows, either.) You almost certainly don't have malware (because while it exists for OS X it is mostly theoretical and I assume you have Gatekeeper enabled to restrict its possible entry). You do probably have installation cruft, leftovers not picked up by package installers, rando services installed as persistent daemons (if you've ever installed hardware drivers or VPNs or the like this is common, and most of them suck). But a cleaner utility won't catch that stuff.

The first thing I would do is take off the bottom plate of the laptop and clean the hell out of it. These things get dusty and that dust causes airflow problems, which causes the processor to throttle down. This isn't just a "blow some canned air into it" type of thing, though that'll help--your fans' bearings are probably also a shitshow too, and cleaning them as deeply as you can is important.

The second thing I would do is reinstall the OS. Back up your crap, go into Recovery, and reinstall the OS. Then be a little judicious in what applications you reinstall--as a rule of thumb, anything you get out of the App Store is basically fine, anything you side-install should be considered a little bit.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
17,313
Newton
What OS are you on?

I literally just updated my MacBook Pro from 2013 from Mavericks to High Sierra in the last 24 hours. It wasn’t so much that it was “slow” that I got tired of some things working well but other things no longer being supported (ie, Dropbox). The reason I had held off so long is that my music software—ostensibly the reason I bought the computer in the first place—was doing well, but since I’ve started using it as my work computer the other stuff has mattered more. Safari was almost unusable. Chrome no longer could update, etc.

Good suggestions on the bottom panel tho.
 

B H Kim

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 24, 2003
4,661
Washington, DC
If you’re willing to put a little money into it, consider adding a solid state drive. I removed the optical drive from my 2011 MacBook Pro and create a hybrid drive set up with the OS and applications on the SSD and data on the HD. It improved performance tremendously.

I bought a kit from OWC to do this that cost around $100 as I recall.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
19,870
Thank you for all the tips, everyone.

The first thing I would do is take off the bottom plate of the laptop and clean the hell out of it. These things get dusty and that dust causes airflow problems, which causes the processor to throttle down. This isn't just a "blow some canned air into it" type of thing, though that'll help--your fans' bearings are probably also a shitshow too, and cleaning them as deeply as you can is important.
I'm not trying to be dense, but I've never even considered taking the cover off. When you say "clean the hell out of it", what do you mean, exactly? Obviously, I'm not going to have water anywhere near this thing, but do you mean get a clean paper towel and just get all the dust out of it?

What OS are you on?
I'm on macOS Mojave 10.14.4

is it a retina MBP? If not, you also really need to do this.
It is not a retina MBP. I'll start researching SSDs and how to install them. Thank you.
 

czar

fanboy
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
4,148
Ann Arbor
Thank you for all the tips, everyone.

I'm not trying to be dense, but I've never even considered taking the cover off. When you say "clean the hell out of it", what do you mean, exactly? Obviously, I'm not going to have water anywhere near this thing, but do you mean get a clean paper towel and just get all the dust out of it?

It is not a retina MBP. I'll start researching SSDs and how to install them. Thank you.
Compressed air.

If it's a non-retina MBP of that vintage, I believe you can upgrade both the SSD and RAM. I am running a mid-2012 13" Pro unibody that still screams with 16 GB RAM and an SSD. IIRC, the boards can support 2x the amount of RAM Apple claims (so if Apple says 8 GB is the max, they can take 16 GB).

My guess is there are a host of YouTube videos on this. Example.