October 12, 2015

UI Performance concerns on OS X El Capitan and Yosemite

A few weeks ago, OS X El Capitan (10.11) was released. I took the chance to test it for a few days - just to replace it again with Mavericks (10.9). Let me explain why.

When Apple released Yosemite in 2014, they did a major update to it's design. Not only the system font has changed from Lucida Grande to Helvetica Neue (and to San Francisco in El Capitan to address some readability issues on non-retina displays), but also many things under the hood have been changed. These changes to the UI system made Yosemite and El Capitan responding slower than Mavericks. But that's something that you'll eventually only notice if you're having a dual-boot system with both versions running on the same device. I can definately work faster with 10.9 as with any newer OS X versions, because everything responds faster.

With El Capitan, Apple simply continued where they left off with Yosemite. Especially in bringing their Apps up-to-date with the new UI design introduced with Mavericks and improvements regarding security mechanisms with the system itself. They also have improved the performance. Unfortunately, the performance is still not the same as with Mavericks.

Some further issues discovered with El Capitan were:

  • Finder canceled renaming files when the list of file reached the bottom. This was freaking me out when renaming files in directories with hundrets of items.
  • PDF documents look somehow blurry. This wasn't the case with Yosemite and Mavericks.
  • They have a new beach ball. But I see it even more often than in previous OS X versions. Not good.
  • Disk Utility was redesigned. While it perfectly fits into the rest of the system design, some things have been changed (especially the partition stuff works a bit different). Humans don't like changes, you know... :-)

So at the end of the day I ended up restoring my Time Machine backup to have Mavericks back on my device. For users of retina-based devices, Yosemite or newer is a must, as only those versions have full retina support.

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