BirchTree

Talking tech since 2010
| 3 min read

The “Force Closing Apps Makes Your iPhone Faster” of Macs Share

Is Google Chrome slowing down your Mac performance? - 9to5Mac

What piqued my interest was the technical side of this story, and some questions that I thought of while I was reading Loren’s report. Those questions were: Is it possible for a process to hide itself from Activity Monitor while it is running? When does the updater process run and what does it do? Is the Google Chrome updater actually the cause of this WindowServer CPU usage that people are seeing?

And:

If you still feel like Google Chrome is slowing down your Mac performance, by all means, go ahead and remove it, I recommend Safari instead.

This whole “Deleting Chrome and Keystone makes your computer way, way faster, all the time.” thing has really been something to see unfold over the last few days. It immediately got traction in the Apple Twitterverse, as everyone with an axe to grind against Chrome was more than happy to say “I told you so,” about this suggestion.

I sat on it for a day, looked at what was being reported by numerous people, and wrote my own article about how I felt this was sewing F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) without backing up the conclusion. My conclusion was pretty reasonable, in my opinion:

I’m not saying that this is not an issue for anyone, but I suspect this is a bug that impacts a sliver of users. Additionally, I would bet that if the author of this piece re-installed Chrome after this incident he would not have issues again. Can I prove this? Nope, but neither can he.

For my first 24 hours with this (when I wrote the F.U.D. article) I was mostly annoyed by this post/website making dramatic claims with no evidence, and doing it in a way that lets people who want to believe this buy in without a second through.

Another day on and I’m a little more sympathetic (to the readers, specifically) about this. People are latching onto this because they want it to be true. They love Safari and hate Chrome, and this is exactly the sort of thing they want to be true so more people will see the light. They have been beaten over the head for years how Chrome is bad for battery life and CPU performance in general, so being told that it also tanks everything when it’s totally off just sounds like it could be true, why not?

Were Mac users complaining about cripplingly slow Macs for the decade since this was introduced? In some rare cases, sure, but most Macs have Chrome installed and they also have the top customer sat scores in the biz. Some people clearly followed the steps laid out in the post, but it’s worth noting, as Gui does for 9to5Mac, the final instruction is:

6. Empty the Trash, and restart your computer.

Here’s my suggestion: the next time your Mac feels slow for some reason, empty the trash and restart it. I would bet you your machine will feel faster immediately.

Which gets us to the title of this post.

I think this post is bunk, even if it does legitimately help a few people. I think it’s bunk because it’s really just another version of someone who says, “my iPhone was super slow until I started closing my apps after using them.” There are a million reasons you may experience slowness on an iPhone, but closing all apps forevermore is not the ideal solution. Maybe it makes you feel better, and you’ll do it forever, but also maybe you had something in iOS get stuck in a loop once, you closed your apps, and by the time you were done it resolved itself…now you close apps for minutes every day because of a false correlation years ago.

And why do you think it works? Well, there’s a few anecdotal articles out there that said it works, so you believe it. The hundreds of articles showing actual evidence that this practice does not do what you think it does be damned, you know it works, and that shady blog post from 10 years ago said it works.

This is what I think is happening here:

  1. We heard someone say something scandelous (on the internet so you know it’s gotta be true)
  2. We want it to be true because it confirms our beliefs
  3. It presents anecdotal evidence with no way to disprove it (my god, it literally says it’s a hidden process)
  4. It comes from and is shared by sources who are usually reliable

That’s a solid combination, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m open to seeing this backed up by any sort of data, but the attempts to do so I’ve seen have concluded the same thing: this is bunk.

If your computer feels slow, maybe just reboot it and see what happens.

Show Comments