One area where the new ARM Macs are SLOWER than their intel predecessors

I was working with a customer Friday that has a decent amount of both the old intel and new M1 Macbooks.

We needed to update them to 12.2.1 to address a recently discovered and exploited security vulnerability in Webkit.

So first of all, Macs are just plain slow in updates generally compared to Windows IMHO.

However since we needed to update these systems anyway, we had the opportunity to time how long it takes on roughly comparable systems eg.

The final gen of Intel i5 Macbook Pros with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSDs versus the M1 MacBook Pro also with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

So, the first thing we noted is the reported size of the updates which was approximately 500 MB larger for the M1 Macs versus the intel.

And after each was downloaded, we then timed the install. Adn factoring out the slight variances from individual machines, in aggregate the M1 Macs took just over 30% longer to update than the intel systems.

We saw similar things with both versions of the Air, but the sample size was too small (2 of each) to rule out other factors.

So being “that guy” I have sent off a question to Apple dev support asking why that might be. So far all I have gotten was an initial canned response which even our support rep agreed didn’t really address the question.

I’ll post back if/when Apple gives us a real answer, but I’m at a loss to think of an obvious reason(s) why this is the case. Especially when you consider that running Apple’s own software the new M1s are noticebly faster in almost everything including just booting from a cold start.

Could part of the reason for this that the M1 hardware is much newer, meaning there’s a lot more tinkering going on between updates? I wonder if you can see how many files were touched during the update on each system. If it’s way more on the M1, there’s (part of) your answer.

Maybe there’s patching and recompiling of Rosetta 2 and such going on? That’s one major difference, Intel vs M1 Macs.

@JoeS That was the first thing I thought of. So the answer is that yes the M1 Macs have more total files than comparable intel models but only about 2-3% more (EDIT: Which is likely Rosetta), so obviously that’s not enough to explain a 30% difference.

Even running a custom monitoring tool we’ve noticed the M1 units seem to “pause to think more” for lack of a better term when processing and applying the updates

1 Like

@Dellaster Yup, thought of that too, but this latest update doesn’t really even touch rosetta…