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One of the claims for El Capitan is that it improves load times for applications up to 40%, but has anyone identified what this actually means?

Are only specific applications affected? For example, have Apple only reduced the load times of their own apps by up to 40%? Or is there some new feature at work that allows applications to get into memory faster, or load shared libraries faster or what?

So, does anyone know how the claimed improvement is achieved? Should all apps be expected to load a bit faster (even if it's not the full 40%)?

I've been unable to find any technical details about what has been done in terms of performance, except that Metal now exists, but that shouldn't impact load times really.

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Barring magic the only solution of load time should be to load an app in the background (completely or in part), so that it can load faster when called up by the user. Obviously application developers can work on their app to make it load faster (like Libreoffice did) but this seems to be a completely different story. Preloading apps obviously has the disadvantage of taking up resources and it might only work with the apps bundled with the OS because these are the only apps that the OS developers can actually directly control. In any case, an excellent question, and I am sorry I cannot provide more info.

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    That's not really the case. You can do a lot of things with the operating system and runtime environment to increase load times. Many of those will help in other areas as well, but will definitely help on load times. For example improving the drivers for communicating with the SSD, improving the file system code, improving dynamic linking, improving interrupt handling, improving scheduling, getting rid of latency spikes, etc. I do not think that Apple has made explicit what causes the 40% improvement, so it is probably a mix of many things. They just say it is a measurement in practice.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 16:14
  • I think OS X has been preloading apps into ram for a while already, pretty sure it was in Mountain Lion, possibly earlier, though I suppose it's possible El Capitan could have made further improvements. It's just kind of weird that there seems to be no specific detail anywhere; subjectively quite a few of Apple's own apps do seem to load up a bit faster on El Capitan, though weirdly System Preferences seems much slower than before. Strange there's no detail as to why anything should be faster though, they used to talk about it.
    – Haravikk
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 21:09
  • Unless Apple is releasing the technical details I put it down as spin, not fact -- facts can be (and are) documented. The only app that loads faster in a way I do notice is Libreoffice, and this has nothing to do with Apple. I am old enough to remember when Apple provided tests showing how Photoshop was faster on PPC compared to Intel. Then Apple moved to Intel... Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 8:27

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