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After I reboot my computer, it will take a really long time to start up applications (e.g. chrome, pdfexpert) for the first time, maybe about 15~30 seconds. This delay disappears with subsequent re-opening of these apps, which takes less than 1 second.

I am using macOS Catalina 10.15.1 installed in APFS-encrypted mode, and my device is MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013).

I wonder to know if the problem is that, my device is almost outdated and has no specific hardware like dedicated chips to do decryption, which then leads to an extremely high app loading time for the first time? How to profile and debug it?

More, is there any way to migrate the file system to unencrypted version without pains?

One more thing, in macOS Catalina 10.15.0, the delay of app's first start up time is also perceptible, but not as high as now's. So maybe there are some hardware problems with my device?

Thanks a lot.


I installed macOS Catalina from clean slate, which means I made a bootable u disk to install the system after erasing the full disk on macbook pro. The apps are all up-to-date.

My laptop is the 13-inch one in late 2013, which is upgraded to i7-4558U and 16G RAM. It has a 256G SSD with about 200G unused.

  • Have you updated your Chrome first after upgrading to Catalina? – Udhy Dec 2 at 10:55
  • It might be the age of the system. But you don't specify the amount of RAM you have or what type, size and space remaining on your internal storage. Is it a spinning HD or an SSD? Edit your question and add that information – Steve Chambers Dec 2 at 14:41
  • @Udhy, it's not Chrome-specific. I've experienced it with Safari, TextEdit, Activity Monitor, Disk Utility, Xcode (that one takes almost five minutes, and first startup took almost two hours), System Preferences, etc. – Mark Dec 2 at 21:17
  • Create abrand new user account and test the app launch times there. If they are faster: the problem is something in your original user account, not the system. – benwiggy Dec 2 at 22:02
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Your Late 2013 MacBook Pro does indeed have the integrated decryption functionality in hardware. It is not too old for that. It is integrated in your CPU.

So that solves the riddle of whether or not the slow app loading times are related to not having that - it isn't.

You can disable the encryption of the file system "without pains" by opening up System Preferences => Security & Privacy => FileVault and click "Turn Off FileVault..". I'm pretty sure it won't help your application loading times though.

Note that disabling FileVault takes a long time. It runs in the background so you can continue to use the Mac, but it will be slightly less performant during that time.

  • without sufficient test and verification, the start up delay significantly decreased in my subjective opinion after the file system migrated to the unencrypted version. – Dai Zhang Dec 3 at 8:19
  • I am not sure but maybe it's a software bug of macOS Catalina 10.15.1, cause I didn't have that issue in the last version of 10.15.0 – Dai Zhang Dec 3 at 8:21
  • @DaiZhang So you have already unencrypted the file system? That was fast. Anyways, it's not supposed to decrease the start up delay significantly, so if that is the case, then you have hit a bug or you have some other error on your system that is interacting. – jksoegaard Dec 3 at 9:23

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