Apple Time Machine sitting next to some Playstation 5 controllers on a wooden bookshelf.

I've recently been scratching my head trying to figure out why my MacBook Pro has been chugging. It's a 2021 M1 Max with 32 GB of RAM, so it makes little sense that writing code would be bogging it down. Electron apps (websites disguised as native apps) were terrible. Notion and Figma would stop working entirely. I must stress this was totally out of the ordinary.

I started paying closer attention to system vitals. CPU usage was always low. My memory usage was high (many open apps), but the problem persisted even when I closed most apps and reduced it. I pride myself on being efficient on the computer, so this was killing me. WTF?

What had I recently changed that could be slowing things down? I've been getting up to speed on Swift and SwiftUI for a few months. I'm working through 100 Days of SwiftUI and going off on little tangents to explore topics that will be useful. I didn't put two and two together until I bothered to check my storage usage.

Screenshot of MacOS system settings. It shows a large amount of storage space being used by iOS development.

Oof. That's a lot of data! And guess what's happening to that data? It's getting backed up wirelessly via TimeMachine. That'll do it. My transition to iOS development introduced a lot of data to my machine. Simulators, caches, project builds, etc., were new byproducts that didn't exist in web development. I was sending gigabytes of data across the house and choking any application trying to interact with the internet. That's why all the Electron apps were especially bad.

I'll need a new drive to hook directly up to my machine to avoid this problem, but I'm happy I figured it out because I was starting to get really mad at Apple. I assumed it was a resource issue and that I was possibly dipping into swap space. I would typically drop in some new RAM sticks, but we can't do that anymore because it is permanently integrated.

Oh well, the mystery is solved. Now, I hope to find a quiet HDD because I don't want to listen to it back up every hour.

Written by Matt Haliski

The First of His Name, Consumer of Tacos, Operator of Computers, Mower of Grass, Father of the Unsleeper, King of Bad Function Names, Feeder of AI Overlords.