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Late 2011 13" MBP performance declining - tips?

My laptop use has increased from moderate to heavy use during quarantine and it has started slowing down, freezing and requiring a reboot much more often in the past month. Interestingly, this happens much more often using Finder, Messages & Google Chrome than theoretically more CPU-intensive programs like Ableton & Adobe Premiere. Startup seems to have gotten notably slower as well. I understand that many MBPs of this vintage still function well so I’m looking for ways to keep this thing running for a while more.


Late 2011 13” Macbook Pro running 10.12 (when I upgraded to 10.13 in 2018 I had major problems so I rolled it back)

Upgraded to a Kingston 120GB SSD in 2015

Upgraded to 8GB RAM in 2018

Replaced the battery last month

Typically maintain at least 10GB free space on the SSD

Disk Utility First Aid returns no issues

Potential fixes:

Should I replace the SSD? I’ve considered upgrading to a larger one because the price has decreased so much.

Should I replace the HD connector cable? I’ve seen people suggest this.

Could declining performance be a result of my OS becoming increasingly outdated? If so, is there a way to upgrade and avoid the problems I had (which I think were related to APFS)?

I run a fair number of extensions, on Chrome and macOS (see screenshot) — could these be the cause of declining performance?

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Выбранное решение

You still have a lean system with only 8 GB of RAM running a vey piggish RAM App Chrome! Every tab locks RAM space so the fewer tabs the better!

Your SSD is also lean! When the system doesn’t have physical RAM it uses the drive for Virtual RAM!

The general rule of thumb is to have 1/3 of the drive free for smaller drives so a 120 GB drive should have 40 GB of free space. You stated you only have 10 GB. So why does this matter? SSD’s need to apply wear leveling so the SSD’s cells are not over worn. So when you have very little space free on a boot drive you get a lot of churn! Which then does a few things it first creates excessive heat! As the CPU and the SSD need to move things about so the less worn areas are made available and as the system is busy doing this you are also trying to get more out of your system so its is slow!

So first thing I would do is boost the RAM up! IF you can get to 16 GB. Next, look at either off loading stuff you don’t need day to day to an external drive and/or look at getting a larger SSD.

We still have the elephant in the room! The HD SATA cable in this series also can be an issue in your performance. This is caused by wear on the cable from rubbing along the rough aluminum uppercase as well as having an old version of the cable which is not rated for the faster SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drive you are likely using. The original HD Apple used in this series was only a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) and the HD SATA cable originally was only rated for that drive.

Here’s a bit more on the subject Your Hard Drive Cable Is A Ticking Time Bomb

So besides putting down a strip of electricians tape on the upper case you want to replace the cable.

Here’s the cable: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable and Yes! this is the 2012 version which is the better one! And this is the guide you’ll need to follow MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Late 2011 Hard Drive Cable Replacement

There’s still one more piece to the puzzle! The cable needs to make some bends and people often crease the cable with a sharp crease which damages it! Instead find an old BIC ball point pen take the ink straw out and use it as a brake form to bend the cable so it has a nice arc around its radius where the cable needs to be bent.

Thats it!

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Изображение


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


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what an incredible & thorough response, thanks so much! i'm so glad there's such clear steps to take.


where do you come down on the question of staying current with OS vs staying put at 10.12?


This gets in to the file system change from HFS+ to APFS. While Apples move makes a lot of sense with APFS it depends on having a wider better I/O than what your system has. With any SATA based system I strongly recommend sticking with Sierra macOS 10.12,

I don't recommend running High Sierra at all, and my PCIe based systems are sticking with Mojave macOS 10.14 as Catalina still is too buggy and can't run 32 bit apps.


thanks again!


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In addition to Dans terrific answer, protect that mew hard drive cable by placing pads ( I use 3M extreme mounting tape) to prevent the bottom case from coming into contact with the cable. It get damaged right where it comes over the last step and onto the optical drive.

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thardee будет вечно благодарен.
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