1. kevdawg86's Avatar
    I have a mid 2011 27" imac. Intel i5 20GB of RAM 1TB SATA Hard Drive OSX El Capitan. It is running very slowly. When shut down it takes a while to startup. Usually I can press the power button go get a drink and come back and it's still loading. Also once it's started up and logged in it takes a little while to first open programs. The rainbow spinner appears pretty much every time a program is opened. Usually once a program is opened for a minute or so it will run fine. I have clear out a bunch of files leaving the hard drive only about 25-30% full. I have cleared the caches. I have tried an SMC and PRAM reset. It also takes a little bit of time to shut down. It will go to a black screen and just show a spinner a little bit before shutting down. Is there anything else I should try? I have plan to take it into Apple if it doesn't improve but the closest Apple store is 3 hours away so I only go there once a month. I'm wanting to try anything that might help before taking it down to them. Thank you for any and all help.
    04-07-2016 02:59 AM
  2. MaxSmarties's Avatar
    Do you have a SMART monitoring app installed ?
    Maybe your mechanical hard drive is starting to fail...

    Last versions of OS X run much better on SSD than HDDs, and if your OS X installation is "old" (did you upgraded from previous versions or made a clean install ?) that could explain this behavior.
    I would suggest you to install an SSD in you iMac, if you are planning to keep it for a while, and perform a clean installation of OS X.
    04-07-2016 03:28 AM
  3. firedept10's Avatar
    Welcome to iMore!

    You have done just about all you can do. You have more than enough RAM. The biggest slow down with the 2011 iMac will be your hard drive. Honestly the best thing you could do for your machine is put in an SSD. It will greatly improve the performance of your iMac. I owned the i7 version of that iMac and it was never a really fast machine to begin with compared to today's iMac's. I currently have a late 2012 i7 27" 24GB RAM and Fusion Drive. It is light years ahead of the 2011 in speed. Your machine is 5 years old now and only has a 7200 drive in it.

    I also have a 20" iMac that a couple years ago started getting slow. Had virtually nothing stored on it, but none the less still slow. Maxed the RAM and changed the HDD for an SSD. It was night and day the difference in speed. Even being almost 9 years old now, it still preforms well.

    So my best suggestion would be to change the hard drive to an SSD. This will extend the life of your machine another couple of years and greatly improve its performance.
    04-07-2016 03:32 AM
  4. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Do you have a SMART monitoring app installed ?
    Maybe your mechanical hard drive is starting to fail...

    Last versions of OS X run much better on SSD than HDDs, and if your OS X installation is "old" (did you upgraded from previous versions or made a clean install ?) that could explain this behavior.
    I would suggest you to install an SSD in you iMac, if you are planning to keep it for a while, and perform a clean installation of OS X.
    I don't believe that I do have one installed. I'm not sure though. I did upgrade from previous versions. Would you recommend getting an SSD before trying a clean install?
    04-07-2016 07:18 PM
  5. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Welcome to iMore!

    You have done just about all you can do. You have more than enough RAM. The biggest slow down with the 2011 iMac will be your hard drive. Honestly the best thing you could do for your machine is put in an SSD. It will greatly improve the performance of your iMac. I owned the i7 version of that iMac and it was never a really fast machine to begin with compared to today's iMac's. I currently have a late 2012 i7 27" 24GB RAM and Fusion Drive. It is light years ahead of the 2011 in speed. Your machine is 5 years old now and only has a 7200 drive in it.

    I also have a 20" iMac that a couple years ago started getting slow. Had virtually nothing stored on it, but none the less still slow. Maxed the RAM and changed the HDD for an SSD. It was night and day the difference in speed. Even being almost 9 years old now, it still preforms well.

    So my best suggestion would be to change the hard drive to an SSD. This will extend the life of your machine another couple of years and greatly improve its performance.
    Yeah everything is pointing towards a SSD. That's what I had a feeling the issue was.
    04-07-2016 08:03 PM
  6. firedept10's Avatar
    Yeah everything is pointing towards a SSD. That's what I had a feeling the issue was.
    It most likely is. It will be like having a new machine. It is a powerful iMac, but slow. Plus you will get your money's worth out of it by having a decent machine for a few more years.
    04-07-2016 09:52 PM
  7. MaxSmarties's Avatar
    I don't believe that I do have one installed. I'm not sure though. I did upgrade from previous versions. Would you recommend getting an SSD before trying a clean install?
    A clean install could help for sure, but can't do miracles. An SSD would change things in a much better way. I don't know how difficult is to replace the hard drive on your model (today is a nightmare, but a while ago was easier).
    04-08-2016 01:08 AM
  8. firedept10's Avatar
    A clean install could help for sure, but can't do miracles. An SSD would change things in a much better way. I don't know how difficult is to replace the hard drive on your model (today is a nightmare, but a while ago was easier).
    Extremely easy on the 2011 or before. It changed in late 2012 model to being difficult to near impossible. That was when they went thin and decided to glue the screen and frame together. A clean install on that machine may do a little, but from my experience of owning that machine, it was not fast to start with. For 2011 it was quick, but then came the Fusion and SSD.
    04-08-2016 02:25 AM
  9. robertk328's Avatar
    Yeah everything is pointing towards a SSD. That's what I had a feeling the issue was.
    I put an SSD in my 2011 Mini and it's been great. Not exactly like a new machine, but much cheaper I expect a few more years of life out of it now, vs replacing it.
    04-08-2016 07:38 AM
  10. MaxSmarties's Avatar
    I put an SSD in my 2011 Mini and it's been great. Not exactly like a new machine, but much cheaper I expect a few more years of life out of it now, vs replacing it.
    I'm still using a late 2009 Mini, with 4 Gb of RAM and an OCZ SSD it runs great.
    04-08-2016 11:11 AM
  11. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Extremely easy on the 2011 or before. It changed in late 2012 model to being difficult to near impossible. That was when they went thin and decided to glue the screen and frame together. A clean install on that machine may do a little, but from my experience of owning that machine, it was not fast to start with. For 2011 it was quick, but then came the Fusion and SSD.
    I'll have to check out some videos. I do agree about the speed though. In 2011 it seemed very fast. I have a MacBook Pro that I bought last year. Now that's the definition of a lighting fast startup. That's what originally made me wonder if updating the iMac to a SSD was the best move.
    robertk328 likes this.
    04-08-2016 12:10 PM
  12. firedept10's Avatar
    I'll have to check out some videos. I do agree about the speed though. In 2011 it seemed very fast. I have a MacBook Pro that I bought last year. Now that's the definition of a lighting fast startup. That's what originally made me wonder if updating the iMac to a SSD was the best move.
    I have no doubt it will be good. Just depends on if you plan on keeping it. If you are not planning on keeping it long, then not worth the upgrade. If you are in for the long haul, then it will certainly be worth it. Let us know which way you go in the end. Still a darn good machine.
    04-08-2016 01:55 PM
  13. kevdawg86's Avatar
    I have no doubt it will be good. Just depends on if you plan on keeping it. If you are not planning on keeping it long, then not worth the upgrade. If you are in for the long haul, then it will certainly be worth it. Let us know which way you go in the end. Still a darn good machine.
    I definitely plan on keeping it. It actually belongs to a church and is used at the church for worship music and presentations. I just do all the tech stuff for them. They really would rather upgrade it than invest in a new one.
    04-08-2016 06:58 PM
  14. robertk328's Avatar
    I definitely plan on keeping it. It actually belongs to a church and is used at the church for worship music and presentations. I just do all the tech stuff for them. They really would rather upgrade it than invest in a new one.
    Wise to do it while you can. The newer models are essentially locked down for the most part.
    04-08-2016 07:24 PM
  15. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Would you guys recommend changing this on my own or taking it to a certified Apple service center?
    04-08-2016 07:25 PM
  16. robertk328's Avatar
    Would you guys recommend changing this on my own or taking it to a certified Apple service center?
    I did it no problem in my 2011 Mini after watching a video a few times. It was easier than I thought.
    04-08-2016 07:26 PM
  17. firedept10's Avatar
    Would you guys recommend changing this on my own or taking it to a certified Apple service center?
    If you are confident in you skills to take it apart, then yeah. Otherwise take it in and have it done. iFixit has great guides on how to do it and the tools you will need.
    04-08-2016 08:21 PM
  18. kevdawg86's Avatar
    If you are confident in you skills to take it apart, then yeah. Otherwise take it in and have it done. iFixit has great guides on how to do it and the tools you will need.
    It looked fairly easy when I watched a video on OWC. Do you recommend their SSD from their site?
    04-08-2016 09:53 PM
  19. firedept10's Avatar
    It looked fairly easy when I watched a video on OWC. Do you recommend their SSD from their site?
    Yes I do. Reputable company. Have purchased from them myself.
    mayconvert likes this.
    04-08-2016 10:30 PM
  20. mayconvert's Avatar
    I agree with everyone else. Drop an SSD in it.
    The internal HD that comes with it is 5400 rpm. Very slow and just get worse over time.
    Be careful if you plan to do it yourself. Go slow, use a ground strap.
    A static free mat wouldn't be a bad idea.
    OWC is awesome. I have bought from them many times. Great customer support too.
    04-09-2016 12:21 AM
  21. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Ok. Sounds like a plan. Thank you all for the help.
    firedept10 likes this.
    04-09-2016 12:33 AM
  22. robertk328's Avatar
    Ok. Sounds like a plan. Thank you all for the help.
    Good luck! If the videos looked easy, you should have no trouble. I just watched one on YouTube and a few things I'd suggest:

    1. Keep track of screws in order of how you take them out. Reverse the order to put them in.
    2. Wear cotton gloves to keep from touching the screen once you've removed the glass.


    I think the screen is going to be your most hair-raising part. Looks easier than the new ones (that are glued down vs. held in with magnets). If you don't have any of the tools (torx drivers), I'd at least get the tools from OWC and either one of their drives or a Samsung EVO which is what I got. Whatever you think is the best, but you're not limited to the OWC drives.

    Also, having a way to watch the video while you go along (iPad, iPhone, etc.) will help.

    Good luck, and let us know how it went when you're done!
    firedept10 likes this.
    04-09-2016 07:57 AM
  23. robertk328's Avatar
    One other thing! Not sure if it's an issue on the iMac or not, but in putting my Mini back together I evidently didn't connect the fan well enough and I got close to overheating. The computer started acting weird after a bit, and the case felt hot. Shut it down to cool and took it apart again to check the fan, which wasn't connected.

    I installed smcFanControl to keep an eye on it, and when installed it showed the fan was operating just fine.

    You can download at: https://www.eidac.de/
    firedept10 likes this.
    04-09-2016 08:09 AM
  24. kevdawg86's Avatar
    Good luck! If the videos looked easy, you should have no trouble. I just watched one on YouTube and a few things I'd suggest:

    1. Keep track of screws in order of how you take them out. Reverse the order to put them in.
    2. Wear cotton gloves to keep from touching the screen once you've removed the glass.


    I think the screen is going to be your most hair-raising part. Looks easier than the new ones (that are glued down vs. held in with magnets). If you don't have any of the tools (torx drivers), I'd at least get the tools from OWC and either one of their drives or a Samsung EVO which is what I got. Whatever you think is the best, but you're not limited to the OWC drives.

    Also, having a way to watch the video while you go along (iPad, iPhone, etc.) will help.

    Good luck, and let us know how it went when you're done!
    So do you recommend cotton gloves over rubber gloves?
    04-09-2016 10:05 AM
  25. firedept10's Avatar
    I agree with everyone else. Drop an SSD in it.
    The internal HD that comes with it is 5400 rpm. Very slow and just get worse over time.
    Be careful if you plan to do it yourself. Go slow, use a ground strap.
    A static free mat wouldn't be a bad idea.
    OWC is awesome. I have bought from them many times. Great customer support too.
    They are 7200 platters in the 2011. They went to the 5400 with the fusion drive in late 2012.
    04-09-2016 11:30 AM
65 123

Similar Threads

  1. Homepage very slow when scrolling
    By Jeroen7 in forum Site Feedback & Help
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 08-22-2016, 11:41 AM
  2. I'm ready to upgrade my iMac but....
    By iMore Question in forum Ask a Question
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-07-2016, 03:45 AM
  3. Buying a 2010 iMac pc graphics card, which should I get?
    By iMore Question in forum General Apple News & Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-06-2016, 07:44 PM
  4. Why is my Macbook Pro so slow?
    By iMore Question in forum MacBook Pro
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-03-2016, 07:25 AM
  5. iMac Screen Colour Issue (on Startup)
    By gdk101 in forum iMac
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-31-2016, 02:11 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD