Long day, many frustrations. The big problem right now is that my go-to home computer, an M1 Mac Mini, is being a pain in the butt and straining to make any kind of network connection. It’s been progressively degenerating for the past month, but now it’s to the point where Chrome will try to connect to a URL and just sit there for minutes before maybe loading something very very slowly.
The other night I tried to upload my class video…it took 11 hours! Where it is usually significantly under an hour. I’ve got another one I’ve got to upload now, and it simply can’t connect to YouTube.
It’s not the network, it’s not my router, it’s specific to this one computer. I’ve got a Linux machine right next to it (that’s what I’m typing on right now), and that’s working slick and smooth. I guess I’m going to transfer my file to an external storage device, put it on here, and upload it. BUT I WANT MY COMFY MAC TO WORK! Anyone have any suggestions about what could be going on?
Also, it’s all got a low priority for now. Tonight is Mary’s colonoscopy prep night, and I have to go in with her to the hospital tomorrow. Yeah. I’m not having any fun, but she is really not having fun.
Reginald Selkirk says
First question: hardware or software? Malware can clog up a machine like that. Try screening for bad stuff.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
The m1 mini should still be under warranty. They haven’t been out long.
I would contact Apple pronto, because that’s messed up. Take it to them and let them deal with it.
Colonoscopy prep night is much worse than colonoscopy. My sympathy to Mary.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
I have an M1 iMac. After the last OS upgrade to 12.2, I noticed caution messages when checking my WiFi signal on the 2021 M1 iMac and the older 2019 intel iMac. Evidently, the older WP2 security for WiFi has been replaced by WP3. I bought a state of the art Wifi router with WP3, and the warnings disappeared. My M1 iMac has an ether cable to the router for its main internet connection, and I noticed no difference. The intel iMac internet speed appears to have improved with the new router, but no real testing has has been done to verify that impression.
John Morales says
I know fuck-all about Macs, but surely there are logfiles one could look at.
If your computer was running Windows, I would have immediately agreed that it has a virus or malware. It certainly “feels” like something is eating up all your Mac’s resources rather than an actual problem with the hardware. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to track down the rare buggy program on an Apple. Please note that I am speaking respectfully about Apple’s security, even if my tongue keeps inching toward my cheek.
And, yes, my sympathies to Mary. Be sure to stand guard by the bathroom door to catch any cries for help. When I was the night ECG tech a significant number of the tests I administered was on patients who passed out in the bathroom due to their GI prep.
Some Old Programmer says
Uploading from the Linux box is likely the fastest way to get the immediate task done. Once you have time to troubleshoot, the first thing I’d try is using wired ethernet which eliminates a whole lot of hardware, protocol stack, and processing. If it’s still slow on a wired connection, I’d fear generalized resource hogging; then you need a Mac specialist.
Cabled, wireless, psychic linked?
The console app displays the logs, which should give you all manner of red herrings to follow and potentially, a few actually valid clues.
Do ALL browsers have problems or is it just Chrome? Cleared history? ALL history?
Do all users have the same problems or is it just you? (create a new test account and log in to see)
These are crucial first steps to identifying such an issue on any computer Mac, Windows OR Linux.
Do the safe boot thing to clear a bunch of caches that might be causing this: https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/start-up-safe-mode-apple-silicon-mac/ (Apple’s changed the process.)
Menu Meters is an awesome tool for keeping an eye on what’s going on with your Mac…really Apple should just iTunes it, buy it from the author and build it in….https://github.com/yujitach/MenuMeters/releases
This kind of thing can be truly annoying to troubleshoot, but honestly, juming to conclusions about the hardware is kind of the last step to take not the first.
(source of assertions: 35 year Mac user, 27 years systems admin/helpdesk/IT monkey )
Yeah, eliminating wifi from the equation should narrow down where the problem is.
PZ Myers says
1. I’ve ordered a cat8 ethernet cable, so I’ll be replacing my wifi connection.
2. The cable company is going to install a new router.
We’ll see if that fixes things.
Reginald Selkirk says
Short term, you could try swapping cables with the Linux box.
Spare cables are a godsend!
I lost three USB-C cables in as many days, the final one failing due to the previous cable failing and overheating it. Now, to get four spares to replace the three, as I’m on my last spare.
Network cable, well, got a box of cat 6E, connectors and a good ratcheting crimper. USB power supplies, around a dozen spares.
Oh and I’ll need to also order one micro-USB cable, as one connector failed yesterday and I’m down to a half dozen spares.
Yeah, a full spares box, which sits next to the box of various cables, including various SCSI cables…
Two classic things to try if you haven’t.
(1) Power everything off for one minute. Then power on just the modem. Wait a minute, then power on also the router and wait another minute. Then power on the Mac. While this should not be needed, it might reestablish proper device handshaking.
(2) Create a new user account on your Mac, then log out of your regular one and into that one. Try an upload. If the upload is a lot faster there, that indicates something like preferences corruption in your regular Mac user account. Ideally, you could then guess how to delete or repair bad pref files. If you migrate everything over to the new account, read up FIRST on file ownerships or you will give yourself a big problem.
Both these ideas are free to do, harmless, and entirely local to your house. And ideally 5 minutes each.
Also, even our fancy new M1 Macs still need some drive space free for swap files. If you are low on free space, that could slow down your Mac. Because their drives are SSD and not spinners, they come with a lot less space than one might expect, unless you paid extra. And video files for lectures take up a lot of space. A free utility such as Grand Perspective might be useful in seeing which files use the most. Obviously, don’t delete a file if you’re not sure if it belongs to you or your system.
Have you noticed anything else going unexpectedly-wrong or acting unexpectedly-differently besides “straining to make any kind of network connection […] for the past month”?
Assuming “no” then that’s a clew: Networking(-related). Had you been using a wired connection, I’d suggest checking both the cable and the ports (probably hard-to-do on the computer, which I am guessing has only one cable port), but worth a try on the router / modem, and on the switch (if you’re using one). I’ve had ports go bad on switches multiple times (my current switch has been working very well, however, for yonks now), and cable failures are not unknown. As previously said, always have spare cables on-hand!
That the Linux machine is working fine suggests it’s not a general fault with the router / modem — IF that’s where “the” (presuming there’s only one) fault is — which, given you’re apparently using WiFi (so no cables, etc., to suspect), does suggest the problem is with the “progressively degenerating” machine: Hardware or software? As others have said, being able to rule out “the WiFi” would be a big help, but beyond that and other general suggestions — e.g., what do the logs say, what has changed recently (always a suspect), and so on… — asking someone who is more familiar with those systems is perhaps appropriate.
Why are you using Chrome? Has it ever performed well on the M1?
I’ve always found Safari to be sufficient for my needs.
Presuming the machine is reasonably new, perhaps Apple Support. I have had really good results diagnosing networking issues, with them asking me to run various diagnostic tools. In my case, the fix with was the placement of the router, but I suspect they would be able to figure out issues with the computer itself, perhaps even expediting a service call to get it repaired, if needed.
Dear Prof Myers,
I share your frustration. the world of computing is a massive, needlessly complex rats-nest. Your situation is much too complex to accurately diagnose over comments. But:
Having helped people with computers since 1977, our org. (RSPRAPT – Royal Society for the Preservation and Rejuvenation of Antiquated Practical Technology) techs suggest:
SOME SIMPLE LOGIC MIGHT HELP: all the new cables and routers won’t fix that if LINUX worked so smoothly with the existing hardware. LINUX is usually the answer to many problems (except highly proprietary software and even then WINE often will work).
The CHR0ME browser is spyware. Firefox is not perfect but still better. And, yes ethernet is always more reliable and usually faster than wifi.
If Linux worked, just use it instead of all the expensive crap. You can quckly and easily put the files on an external usb HDD, unplug it from the ‘rotten fruit’ computer, plug it into a usb port and load it onto the Linux HDD.
One a side note: Uploading files using a browser in HTTP mode is not ideal. We still use FTP (File Transffer Protocol) which is designed for that task. But, most browsers have dropped it, even though it is faster and more reliable. Later, >when Mary is OK< and you have some “free time” LOL, you might get an experienced knowledgeable IT tech from the Univ. to help you setup an FTP program and link in the Linux machine that will bypass any bottlenecks. But, then again, from earlier posts, it sounds like the IT dept. at the Univ. is happy with creating/using Rube Goldberg systems.
Yes, today’s rats-nest tech is all to complex and confusing to easily troubleshoot and fix.
Just an Organic Regular Expression says
To add one more bleep to the noise, a standard Mac utility is Activity Monitor. It lives in /Applications/Utilities. It will tell you if there is some process hogging the CPU (e.g. malware doing bitcoin mining), or show you the network traffic density and which processes are sending and receiving more packets.
Deep Myth says
I think you’ll have to take you Mac to the shop. Something similar happened to my 2017 iMac. Some critical connection within the computer made it ridiculously slow. If it was a router or cable connection, then the Linux machine would suffer too.
One simple trick that sometimes work for me:
System Preferences -> Network -> Advanced -> Renew DHCP Lease
I’ve had it decide out of the blue to get confused about the network. This is harmless (it just asks for a different connection from your router) if it isn’t the problem, but has fixed my m1 mac at least once.