Lightroom Classic is Slow on Macbook Pro 2019 with i9

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TL;DR: Lightroom Classic is slow on the new Macbook Pro 2019 with i9 and 32Gb of RAM.

Here's the full story. I have been using Adobe Lightroom for around a decade or so. Pretty much, my professional photographic path started at the same time. Recently I finally upgraded my computer to the best I could afford — to Macbook Pro 16" with pretty decent configuration (2.3Ghz 8-core i9/32Gb RAM/2Tb drive, even Escape button is back if you care!). In fact, my main purpose of the upgrade was speeding Lightroom Classic up.

I switched to the new machine from pretty basic 15" MBP 2015 and... I saw zero improvements. Scrolling the gallery remained at 2-3 frames per second, zooming in takes a second. I'm not talking about the editing — I don't do hardcore stuff, but sometimes I cannot tell if my new laptop is frozen or just processing something.

All the necessary tweaks were done — I tried optimizing the catalog, enabling the GPU. reducing the number of images on the catalog itself, generating previews and even closing the histogram.

At the moment of posting it, I made a very simple experiment — reduced the size of the window. LR works much faster when it occupies less of the screen. Oh, and yes, LR CC works perfectly on any resolution or window size.

I have several questions now. Does it mean that Adobe abandoned a product for professionals? Macbooks with Retina screens were released in 2013. Does it mean Adobe didn't adopt the new resolution for 7 years?

Please tell me it's not true. Otherwise, I'll have to look for alternatives.

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Anton Bulyonov

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Posted 1 month ago

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Constantin Ridder

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In the folder 
User/library/preferences
there is a file:
com.adobe.LightroomClassicCC7.plist

Yesterday the adobe helpdesk renamed that file (renamed to com.adobe.LightroomClassicCC7.old.plist) and LR classic worked wonderfully afterwards. LR creates a new file with that name.

Additionally run the first aid in Disk Utility (best before the other action) and repair the permissions.

Done both and now running smooth.

If not contact the chat in the online help. They were chatting and phoning with me until the problem was solved :-) great service!

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Brian Satoer

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I do have a general tip regarding speed. Maybe you already know it ....
I break the proces down in 2 steps. Step one is the culling part. Before I begin culling I generated standard sized previews for all photos. Make sure the you have that size set to the minimum size of your window. I still have to make the switch to the 16inch MacBook so I don't know if there is a big size difference but I can imagine you have to increase the preview rendering size a bit. 

Then when I start culling Lightroom doesn't have to render a preview which speeds it up significantly. Be sure to do this in the Library module and not the Develop module. When you are in the Develop module it still uses the original photo. So you will notice a enormous change in culling speed when you are in the Library module. I always work from a network drive so after the previews are rendered I disconnect the drive.
Then when the culling is done I reconnect the network drive and delete the junk and generate smart previews for all the photos. After that I disconnect the drive again and work on all images. 
You can set Lightroom to always is disregard the originals when smart previews are created for those files but I disconnect the drive just to be sure :) 

This way is so much faster then when I don't generate the previews.
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Anton Bulyonov

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Guys, thank you for the detailed answers. I didn’t expect so much attention to my concern.

I tried removing that file. I also have a small test catalog with roughly 1000 images hosted locally with all the previews generated. MacBook Pro should be able to handle such operations as scrolling through the gallery, zooming in the gallery or doing relatively basic edits without much effort. Lightroom CC is a great example, finder on Mac OS is another — both of them just work.
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Anton Bulyonov

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Adobe people, can you chime in? Thanks
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Are you also running "Acronis Active Protection" on your Mac?
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Anton Bulyonov

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No, I'm not running this at all.
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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The performance issue seems to be very specific to your system or workflow. It is probably helpful to do some tests on your system to isolate the problem.
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Sven X

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I experienced similar frustrations after upgrading from late iMac2013 (non-Retina) to same new MBP16. I am aware of the much more pixels to be rendered Retina vs. Non Retina. Finally I am about having same performance (roughly same numbers as reported by Anton) in Library/Develop modules for switching images and zooming in/out. I have the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB, so OK - at least same speed for displaying more pixels. But for editing in Develop module it is much slower than my old 2013 iMac (I was hoping the GPU was not used, but unfortunately it is). I am using Loupedeck and adjusting exposure/contrast etc. with dials is a nice think - if speed allows. Strangely, the GPU usage in the activity monitor does show only minor if at all activity of the GPU, but disabling GPU in Lightroom makes usage of these sliders/dials completely impossible. 
I assume all the efforts for performance optimizations were spent for the export pipeline which is nice, but I personally don't care if these completely automated processes take a few minutes more. What is frustrating is bad interactive performance. And I agree, other - even Adobe product - show much better performance here. 
So, expensive hardware for not-any-more-state-of-the-art SW. I am using LR since V2 and if I remember right, the early versions were even faster than todays versions. But I might be wrong with this. 
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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A lot of dev work went into improving the interactive edit performance by leveraging GPU. Check to make sure that you have enabled GPU acceleration for image processing in the Lightroom preference dialog https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/lightroom-gpu-faq.html
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Sven X

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Thanks for commenting- yes I have checked all options and stayed with manual selection of full GPU. Graphics Processor Info: 
Metal: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M

...nstalled Plugins: 1) AdobeStock
2) Aperture/iPhoto Importer Plug-in
3) ColorChecker Camera Calibration
4) Facebook
5) Flickr
6) Loupedeck2
7) LR/Mogrify 2
8) Nikon Tether Plugin

Config.lua flags: None

AudioDeviceIOBlockSize: 512
AudioDeviceName: MacBook Pro Speakers
AudioDeviceNumberOfChannels: 2
AudioDeviceSampleRate: 48000
Build: 12.1x4
CoreImage: true
GL_ACCUM_ALPHA_BITS: 0
GL_ACCUM_BLUE_BITS: 0
GL_ACCUM_GREEN_BITS: 0
GL_ACCUM_RED_BITS: 0
GL_ALPHA_BITS: 8
GL_BLUE_BITS: 8
GL_DEPTH_BITS: 24
GL_GREEN_BITS: 8
GL_MAX_3D_TEXTURE_SIZE: 16384
GL_MAX_TEXTURE_SIZE: 16384
GL_MAX_TEXTURE_UNITS: 8
GL_MAX_VIEWPORT_DIMS: 16384,16384
GL_RED_BITS: 8
GL_RENDERER: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M OpenGL Engine
GL_SHADING_LANGUAGE_VERSION: 1.20
GL_STENCIL_BITS: 8
GL_VENDOR: ATI Technologies Inc.
GL_VERSION: 2.1 ATI-3.5.5
OGLEnabled: true
GL_EXTENSIONS: GL_ARB_color_buffer_float GL_ARB_depth_buffer_float GL_ARB_depth_clamp GL_ARB_depth_texture GL_ARB_draw_buffers GL_ARB_draw_elements_base_vertex GL_ARB_draw_instanced GL_ARB_fragment_program GL_ARB_fragment_program_shadow GL_ARB_fragment_shader GL_ARB_framebuffer_object GL_ARB_framebuffer_sRGB GL_ARB_half_float_pixel GL_ARB_half_float_vertex GL_ARB_imaging GL_ARB_instanced_arrays GL_ARB_multisample GL_ARB_multitexture GL_ARB_occlusion_query GL_ARB_pixel_buffer_object GL_ARB_point_parameters GL_ARB_point_sprite GL_ARB_provoking_vertex GL_ARB_seamless_cube_map GL_ARB_shader_objects GL_ARB_shader_texture_lod GL_ARB_shading_language_100 GL_ARB_shadow GL_ARB_shadow_ambient GL_ARB_sync GL_ARB_texture_border_clamp GL_ARB_texture_compression GL_ARB_texture_compression_rgtc GL_ARB_texture_cube_map GL_ARB_texture_env_add GL_ARB_texture_env_combine GL_ARB_texture_env_crossbar GL_ARB_texture_env_dot3 GL_ARB_texture_float GL_ARB_texture_mirrored_repeat GL_ARB_texture_non_power_of_two GL_ARB_texture_rectangle GL_ARB_texture_rg GL_ARB_transpose_matrix GL_ARB_vertex_array_bgra GL_ARB_vertex_blend GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object GL_ARB_vertex_program GL_ARB_vertex_shader GL_ARB_window_pos GL_EXT_abgr GL_EXT_bgra GL_EXT_bindable_uniform GL_EXT_blend_color GL_EXT_blend_equation_separate GL_EXT_blend_func_separate GL_EXT_blend_minmax GL_EXT_blend_subtract GL_EXT_clip_volume_hint GL_EXT_debug_label GL_EXT_debug_marker GL_EXT_depth_bounds_test GL_EXT_draw_buffers2 GL_EXT_draw_range_elements GL_EXT_fog_coord GL_EXT_framebuffer_blit GL_EXT_framebuffer_multisample GL_EXT_framebuffer_object GL_EXT_framebuffer_sRGB GL_EXT_geometry_shader4 GL_EXT_gpu_program_parameters GL_EXT_gpu_shader4 GL_EXT_multi_draw_arrays GL_EXT_packed_depth_stencil GL_EXT_packed_float GL_EXT_provoking_vertex GL_EXT_rescale_normal GL_EXT_secondary_color GL_EXT_separate_specular_color GL_EXT_shadow_funcs GL_EXT_stencil_two_side GL_EXT_stencil_wrap GL_EXT_texture_array GL_EXT_texture_compression_dxt1 GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc GL_EXT_texture_env_add GL_EXT_texture_filter_anisotropic GL_EXT_texture_integer GL_EXT_texture_lod_bias GL_EXT_texture_mirror_clamp GL_EXT_texture_rectangle GL_EXT_texture_shared_exponent GL_EXT_texture_sRGB GL_EXT_texture_sRGB_decode GL_EXT_timer_query GL_EXT_transform_feedback GL_EXT_vertex_array_bgra GL_APPLE_aux_depth_stencil GL_APPLE_client_storage GL_APPLE_element_array GL_APPLE_fence GL_APPLE_float_pixels GL_APPLE_flush_buffer_range GL_APPLE_flush_render GL_APPLE_object_purgeable GL_APPLE_packed_pixels GL_APPLE_pixel_buffer GL_APPLE_rgb_422 GL_APPLE_row_bytes GL_APPLE_specular_vector GL_APPLE_texture_range GL_APPLE_transform_hint GL_APPLE_vertex_array_object GL_APPLE_vertex_array_range GL_APPLE_vertex_point_size GL_APPLE_vertex_program_evaluators GL_APPLE_ycbcr_422 GL_ATI_blend_equation_separate GL_ATI_blend_weighted_minmax GL_ATI_separate_stencil GL_ATI_texture_compression_3dc GL_ATI_texture_env_combine3 GL_ATI_texture_float GL_ATI_texture_mirror_once GL_IBM_rasterpos_clip GL_NV_blend_square GL_NV_conditional_render GL_NV_depth_clamp GL_NV_fog_distance GL_NV_light_max_exponent GL_NV_texgen_reflection GL_NV_texture_barrier GL_SGI_color_matrix GL_SGIS_generate_mipmap GL_
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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Are there specific set of develop presets/adjustments that you often use in your work?
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Sven X

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usually just the standard full image exposure/contrast/WB/profile... stuff + often:noise reduction and lens correction. Sometimes graduated filter + vignetting, rarely brushing. But even with all this changing the sliders with activated GPU does not show any reasonable activity of the GPU in OsX activity monitor. Dreaming of the speed of full GPU power :)
(Edited)
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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For a test, try change the display color profile of your monitor to something simple like sRGB to see if it makes a difference. Just want to make sure there was no color profile corruption involved.
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Anton Bulyonov

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I have a bit more to say now. As I mentioned above, I have brand new Macbook Pro 2019 with i9 and with pretty much zero applications installed (I don't believe if Chrome counts here). I tried all possible options and tricks to improve the performance (again, please see my original post) and even had a call with Adobe recently — they logged in onto my computer remotely and tried to solve the problem (created new catalog, did everything else I did already). No results. 

Currently, the performance is really low on the gallery view with a bunch of images being shown. Once I resize the LR window to something smaller, it works much faster :). I believe, it should not be a problem on such a powerful machine.

So far, Ligthroom CC works much faster, but unfortunately doesn't satisfy all my needs as Ligthroom Classic. I attached the video to show how bad it is. And yes, editing *occasionally* worse.


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Dean Arnold

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I have the same issue with a 2019 Mac Pro. Image grid view and folder view scroll very very slowly. Lightroom CC doesn't have this issue, but I cannot move my catalog into Lightroom CC.

I believe this is a Lightroom Classic UI issue that Adobe need to fix. It has occurred with every retina/4k+ machine I have used and there are threads all over these forums relating to this issue; see example https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-classic-cc-interface-is-very-very-slow-on-imac-pro
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Anton Bulyonov

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Thank you Dean. At least, I don't feel myself crazy now. This is insane though
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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We've asked the LrClassic Team to review and see if they can duplicate the results you are experiencing.  The video helps in determining the App's screen mode. Thanks for posting it. 
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Dean Arnold

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Here's another video showing Classic vs CC, Mac Pro 2019 32" 4k 12core 64GB. Classic UI is slow & jumpy while CC is smooth.

https://youtu.be/jMvjvxOKVFc