I have a 17-inch MacBook Pro with 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3. I purchased some kids videos from iTunes in 2015/2016 to entertain my kid. Those videos played flawlessly then.

Today, in 2018, I was trying to play exactly the same videos again on the same computer but with latest macOS High Sierra. The videos playback becomes jittery. The sound is still smooth, but the video is like several frames per second, not watchable at all. I've heard Apple deliberately slowed down the iPhones. I'm wondering whether they did the same thing with MacBook Pro.


I installed El Capitan, and played the same video. It was smooth as it should be. Here are the evidence:



  • I ask whether other people have the same. I think it's clear enough. I asked the question here because of the little line of text under the Ask Different log, which is: Answers for your Apple questions. – Qian Chen Jul 23 '18 at 20:40
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    Now look at the update of my post. Same computer, same video file, different versions of OS, jittery on High Sierra, smooth on El Capitan. – Qian Chen Jul 23 '18 at 23:08
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    To complete the test, run top -o cpu while running the video, take a screenshot, install High Sierra again and rerun the video. If it still is jittery, take another top -o cpu screenshot and add both to the question. – nohillside Jul 24 '18 at 7:07
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    You seem to hang on to the word “deliberately”, which you cannot prove, and it is counter-productive in order to get your videos playing correctly. Have you tried using VLC to play videos on High Sierra? - i.e. try to establish if this is an issue with the player software, the GPU kernel extension (driver), your configuration, third party software or something else. – jksoegaard Jul 24 '18 at 7:15
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    8 year old machine can no longer keep up. That's the way of the world. The rest is just a rant. – Tetsujin Jul 24 '18 at 10:15

No, Apple did not deliberately slow down your Mac. (As for deliberately slowing down iPhones see this).

The reality is I see this sort of thing all the time, on both Macs and PCs, as well as other devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc).

As time goes by the minimum requirements for software and hardware change, and the configuration of a particular system will have a big impact on how long it will continue to keep up with software changes etc.

Without knowing the full specs of your MacBook Pro (e.g. type of storage device, software, etc), it's nevertheless 8 years of age and obsolete.

As a result, this model will run Mac OS X El Capitan better than it's going to run macOS High Sierra. And, once you're running a particular version of an operating system, this will have much broader ramifications. It's not just the OS, but bundled software such as browsers that have greater requirements. Additionally, some 3rd party software/hardware will no longer work, or they'll have limitations, hence the need to regularly update/replace them as well.

In general, macOS High Sierra has greater requirements than El Capitan had, and although it still runs on older hardware such as yours, that doesn't mean all features will work on your machine. And while High Sierra can run with 2GB of physical RAM, its requirements are such that it's more RAM hungry than El Capitan was, hence placing a greater burden on your storage device for virtual memory purposes (having a fast SSD is going to handle this better than a traditional hard drive).

In other words, the problem you're experiencing is most likely the result of a scenario something like the following:

  1. macOS High Sierra needs more memory to run (both in terms of RAM and graphics)
  2. It therefore uses more of your physical 8GB RAM, thereby leaving less RAM available for other software etc
  3. In response, macOS High Sierra makes more use of virtual memory to help manage the limited memory resources
  4. This places a much greater burden on your storage drive which is having to deal with a lot more read/write operations
  5. Your video playing software is potentially having to make more use of virtual memory and your storage drive is having to perform even more read/write operations as it has to deliver the video as well as everything else it's doing
  6. End result: A stuttered playback experience.


The overall burden on your system from having High Sierra installed (along with all of its associated software etc) is much greater than having El Capitan installed. And, this overall burden will be more obvious with some functions than it will be with others. Unfortunately, playing video files is one such candidate for this.

If you had a 2011 MBP you might have been able to address this by increasing your RAM to 16GB, but that's not an option here. If you don't have an SSD already, then installing one will definitely help. If playing videos is the main purpose of this machine, then leaving it with El Capitan installed may be an option for you. Otherwise it's time to reconsider your setup as your MBP is no longer able to meet all of your needs.

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    No, I am most certainly not paid by Apple to write long answers here or anywhere else for that matter. LOL My answer, however, is one explanation for what you're experiencing - but of course that was based on the info originally included in your question, so its application in your case is somewhat diminished now. In hindsight, I should have asked you for more details before drafting my answer. – Monomeeth Jul 24 '18 at 9:34
  • That said, I'm a little confused by your statement above that you have no choice to play these videos in iTunes or Real Time Player and that Apple doesn't allow you to play these videos elsewhere? What software are you playing them on? Maybe we can still get to the bottom of this? – Monomeeth Jul 24 '18 at 9:34
  • For the videos, music bought from the Apple Store, you can play them only in Apple's players. They even ask you to login your Apple ID before you can play those paid audios/videos. – Qian Chen Jul 24 '18 at 10:43
  • Yes, that's right. Apologies, I mistook your earlier comment to mean you couldn't play them in iTunes, but I see now that's not what you were saying. I'd be interested to see what would happen if you actually logged in via iTunes in macOS High Sierra and re-downloaded one of the movies you've previously purchased to see how well it plays? That may help diagnose the issue. – Monomeeth Jul 24 '18 at 11:00
  • The story started from what you said. I downloaded the videos in latest OS, latest iTunes, and it sucked. That made me trace back to the old version of OS, videos from USB, and etc. – Qian Chen Jul 24 '18 at 11:03

This problem is now solved when iTunes is upgrade to 12.8.2 in High Sierra.

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