I installed MacOS Catalina last week. I restart my MBP and everything's great, then at some point I either close the lid or just lock the screen for a few hours (sometimes not even a full hour) and after that, graphics performance seems to have dropped.

Symptoms include slow vim (e.g., moving the cursor around), sluggish animations in Safari (e.g., opening and closing tabs), slow transitioning between workspaces, choppy animations when minimising applications.

I've seen some people suggest to reset the NVRAM, but I'd rather not do it until someone confirms that to be the solution.

I had first described this issue in this post in the Apple Support Communities: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8614302. Sometimes a minor MacOS update would seem to fix it, and then another update would seem to reignite the issue.

Here are the specs:

  Model Name:   MacBook Pro
  Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,4
  Processor Name:   Quad-Core Intel Core i7
  Processor Speed:  2,2 GHz
  Number of Processors: 1
  Total Number of Cores:    4
  L2 Cache (per Core):  256 KB
  L3 Cache: 6 MB
  Hyper-Threading Technology:   Enabled
  Memory:   16 GB
  Boot ROM Version:
  SMC Version (system): 2.29f23

Mac OS:

EDIT: after searching around some more I found this Reddit post and as the user here shows his GPU performance drops to 0.2 GHz. I installed Intel Power Gadget and behold I'm also at 0.2 GHz after having the "bad wake from sleep" problem. Maybe this can be fixed by somehow bumping performance back to the regular value?

EDIT2: my problem is different from Serious Performance Problems using Expose in Catalina because the issues in the other question seem much more severe and include symptoms like extreme temperatures and unusable UI. The other question's issue seemed to be centered around overheating due to dust and bad thermal paste.

  • @ankii I edited explaining why my problem is different Dec 5, 2019 at 15:56
  • What is your mac's battery condition ? On a side note, support.apple.com/en-in/HT209149#macos10146 reports fixing a "a graphics issue that may occur when waking from sleep." Who knows, you can see another fix in an update of Catalina.
    – anki
    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:55
  • @ankii my mac's battery condition is pretty good 90% of the original charge Dec 8, 2019 at 15:24
  • @SashaFonseca I have exactly the same issue with my Macbook Pro (Mid 2015). The specs of my Macbook are identical to yours (except for a newer Boot ROM Version). But also Catalina and so on. Were you able to resolve the issue?
    – miu
    Sep 29, 2020 at 3:45

2 Answers 2


Start with:

  1. Reset NVRAM / PRAM
  2. Reset the SMC

If your Mac has a double GPU:

  1. Disable the Automatic graphics switching located under System Preferences -> Energy Saver.

If this does not solve the issue:

  1. Boot in safe mode

    • If the problem persists also there it could be caused by an installed software. At that point you can proceed by exclusion.
  • Rebooting in safe mode makes no sense. Since safe mode disables graphics acceleration, how would you be able to tell if the graphics chip is running slowly?
    – Ryan
    Jun 22, 2021 at 18:36

It doesn't hamper to do this, but it is the first major step that you take before confirming anything.

As per your question, it seems to be a kernel panic. So, shoot the following solution.

Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac

Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. You can release the keys after about 20 seconds, during which your Mac might appear to restart.

Test after this.

If this doesn't help then at last try to:

Reset the SMC on Mac

First, shut down your Mac and Press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds. Release all keys. And, Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

Start up in safe mode

Start or restart your Mac, then immediately press and hold the Shift key. The Apple logo appears on your display.

Release the Shift key when you see the login window. If your startup disk is encrypted with FileVault, you might be asked to log in twice: once to unlock the startup disk, and again to log in to the Finder.

To leave safe mode, restart your Mac without pressing any keys during startup.

This will release some kernel panic that might help to fix your issue too.

  • Thanks @Udhy I'll experiment those steps later today. Just as you were writing your reply I updated my post with some further details which may help with the issue. Dec 5, 2019 at 14:39
  • 3
    Also would you mind explaining why do you say it's a kernel panic? What leads you to that conclusion? Wouldn't a kernel panic prevent the MBP from continue running? Dec 5, 2019 at 14:42
  • @SashaFonseca: Kernel panic is a temporary issue in most of the case. It is like removing cache in UNIX. It will not affect your MBP on trying this as this is the basic first step that you should try while troubleshooting your Mac.
    – Udhy
    Dec 5, 2019 at 14:55
  • 2
    "release some kernel panic" Are "release" and "some" the appropriate words for verb and quantity respectively of a kernel panic ? Also, @SashaFonseca good luck reading the lengthy "Expose" post I linked above.
    – anki
    Dec 5, 2019 at 14:58
  • 4
    A kernel panic leads to a reboot of the system. Based on the description in the question this doesn't seem to be the case here.
    – nohillside
    Dec 5, 2019 at 16:15

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