Optimizing OS X Yosemite

Turning Off Wireless Control Interfaces:

Turning off unused wireless control interfaces, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and Infrared, improves performance by freeing up system resources and reducing data corruption caused by EMI “noise” on sensitive internal circuitry.

Systems Mojo Audio sells with our optimized Yosemite have Infrared turned off because its rarely used and Bluetooth and WiFi turned on since they are often required to setup new system. I recommend turning off as many wireless control interfaces as possible.

Warning! Turning off wireless control interfaces can disable control devices, such as your Apple Bluetooth keyboard/mouse/pad. I recommend a USB keyboard and mouse for setup and troubleshooting.

For highest performance use no wireless control interfaces:

  • Connect to the internet via Ethernet cable on a LAN.
  • Control your desktop computer with USB control devices.
  • Use your laptop’s integrated monitor/keyboard/pad.
  • Use cables to transfer data between computers and devices.

The second-best option is to use only one wireless control interface.

Let’s start by looking at what works with what so you’ll have a better idea of which wireless control interfaces you’ll want to turn off.

Control devices associated with wireless interfaces:

  • Most keyboards and mice = USB (wired or wireless)
  • Apple keyboard and mouse = Bluetooth
  • Apple and aftermarket remote controls = Infrared
  • iOS and mobile device remote control = Bluetooth
  • iOS and mobile devices remote desktop App = WiFi

The above list may differ from brand to brand or App to App and may even change over time. I recommend connecting a simple USB keyboard/mouse/pad and turning on/off wireless control interfaces one at a time and testing each of your control devices to confirm which works with which.

Note: Wireless devices that plug into USB have relatively low noise compared to WiFi or Bluetooth because they have external receivers, cause less EMI noise, and are better shielded from internal circuitry.

Turning on/off the infrared:

Go into the  Apple Menu, select System Preferences, and click on Security & Privacy.

System Preferences

Click on the Advanced button.

Security & Privacy

Off: Check the box next to Disable remote control infrared receiver.
On: Uncheck this same box to activate the infrared receiver.

If a windows Lock icon is in the locked position, you must unlock it before making any changes. To unlock any window, click on the Lock icon; you’ll be prompted to enter your administrative password.

Note: the password for any Mojo Audio optimized system is “Mojo.”

Turning on/off the WiFi control interface:

Go into the  Apple Menu, select System Preferences, and click on Network.

WiFi Networking 2

Click on and highlight WiFi in the left column:

Off: Click on the Turn WiFi Off button.
On: Click on the Turn WiFi On button.

Note: the color of the dot on the left of the networking interface goes from green to red when an interface is turned off and returns to green when turned back on.

Turning on/off the Bluetooth:

Go into the  Apple Menu, select System Preferences, and click on Bluetooth. Click on the Bluetooth status button. Note the status changes.

Bluetooth 2

Click on the Advanced button and additional Bluetooth options appear. Check or uncheck the options you want. Personally I uncheck them all.

Bluetooth

Note: so that Apple keyboards/mice/pads work with our new systems we leave the Bluetooth on. I would recommend switching to a simple USB keyboard/mouse/pad and turning all the Bluetooth off.

6 thoughts on “Optimizing OS X Yosemite

  1. Hey Ben,

    This is a pretty radical set of recommendations. I’m a Mac computer consultant for a living, so am familiar with most everything you describe here, but I think you could do a better job of explaining why users should do the individual steps. In particular, the suggestion to turn off system sleep should be accompanied by a description of how a user should do to avoid screen burn-in. I know it’s much less likely than it used to be, but it can still happen, depending on the display setup they are using. I’m also very curious as to what the benefit is of turning off journalling on all hard drives.

    I would imagine you often get questions as to the ‘why’ of many of your suggestions, so it would be great if those answers were included in your post as well.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sincerely,
    John

    • Hi John,

      Thank you for your supportive comments.

      Please keep in mind that most of our customer are operating a music/media servers. For those listening to music only they mostly operate their system “headless” without monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and view/control using an App on a pad or phone. Those that are using their HDTV as the monitor simply turn off their TV when it is not in use.

      In any event, your recommendation to add a paragraph on managing screen burn in is a good one. I’ll make a note of that and try to add some info on that with the next set of edits to the blog. BTW, what would you recommend as a good strategy to manage screen burn in?

      As for the “Journalling,” that too is more targeted to the AV user as opposed to the office user. It does save a bit of system resources and speeds things up slightly, but it is more significant in AV server applications.

      All the best,

      Benjamin

  2. Can’t thank you enough for this optimization guide. I am new to the Mac world, but following your very detailed and easy to follow instructions, I created a bootable SD Card, installed a fresh copy of Yosemite and optimized my late 2012 Mac Mini to use as a music server.
    Since I boot from the SD Card, one other thing I do is after every reboot I go to Disk Utilities, right click on my internal HDD and click unmount. No need for the disk to spin and possibly add noise.
    Excellent post!

    • I personally don’t like either one: too bloated with all sorts of unnecessary features. I prefer simpler versions of OS X like Snow Leopard.

      In their infinite marketing wisdom Apple makes their computers only forward compatible. This means you can’t load a version of OS X that is older than the one your Mac came with.

      My favorite Mac Mini for Audio is the best of 2012 with the i7 dual-core CPU and video co-possessor. Even though Apple claimed it could only recognize 8GB of RAM the i7 version can use 16GB of RAM. This 2012 Mac Mini runs on Snow Leopard through Yosemite.

      The question becomes more of what age Mac Mini you may have and then which version of OS X that your specific Mac Mini runs on. Then it becomes a question of which OS X you can run performs best with your favorite player software and/or DAC drivers. With some combos Yosemite will perform better and with some Mavericks will perform better. Some combos won’t work at all.

      Since player software companies and DAC manufacturers usually optimize for the newer versions of OS X there is always a zone of years of OS X that work with most players and DACs. Eventually older versions of OS X become no longer compatible with new players and USB drivers.

      Of course that’s why my company will soon be offering an optimized/minimized Linux option with JRiver that will be more stable and perform better than any OS X or Windows.

      I’m tired of all the buggy operating systems from Apple and Microsoft. I swear Apple must have hired the same clowns that engineered Windows Vista to create Yosemite : P

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