Speeding up Mac OS X 10.x

The older I get, the more OS-agnostic I get – as my good friend Jorge Abellas-Martin is fond of saying: “Dogs with different fleas.” Having said that, the design snob in me has always preferred Macs (it probably doesn’t help that I was indoctrinated with the Apple ][ Plus as a wee lad).

At this point, I’d consider myself a power user and, despite my predilection for design, find the cutesy elements of Mac OS X annoying, particularly the eye candy that slow things down. So I went on a Google hunt and found a treasure trove of suggestions on how to disable various visual niceties that serve no useful purpose – turning these off makes your system feel like it’s brand-new!

TinkerTool3Now, a word of warning: what I’m documenting here involves issuing commands to the operating system using the Terminal application – it’s really not difficult but if it scares you, consider using the excellent, free TinkerTool app – it provides a nice GUI to access most of these options without having to mess with the command line.

Fire up the Terminal app and paste this entire block of commands into it:
defaults write -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false
defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool false
defaults write -g NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001
defaults write -g QLPanelAnimationDuration -float 0
defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -bool false
defaults write -g NSDocumentRevisionsWindowTransformAnimation -bool false
defaults write -g NSToolbarFullScreenAnimationDuration -float 0
defaults write -g NSBrowserColumnAnimationSpeedMultiplier -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-show-duration -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-hide-duration -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-page-duration -float 0
defaults write com.apple.finder DisableAllAnimations -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool true

The easiest way to ensure that all of these changes take effect is to simply reboot your system.

To undo these changes, paste the following in to the Terminal:
defaults delete -g NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled
defaults delete -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled
defaults delete -g NSWindowResizeTime
defaults delete -g QLPanelAnimationDuration
defaults delete -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding
defaults delete -g NSDocumentRevisionsWindowTransformAnimation
defaults delete -g NSToolbarFullScreenAnimationDuration
defaults delete -g NSBrowserColumnAnimationSpeedMultiplier
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-delay
defaults delete com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-show-duration
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-hide-duration
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-page-duration
defaults delete com.apple.finder DisableAllAnimations
defaults delete com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations
defaults delete com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations

Disclaimer: My Google searching turned up a variety of individual references, then I stumbled on to this discussion thread reply that basically concatenated everything I could find into what I’ve posted above – thanks to David Lopez for this!

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