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Slow iMac and glitchy brush in PS


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Hi Brian - My iMac is running slowly, after reading through some of the threads on here it has occurred that i may need to do a cleanup? I've never done one! What software would you recommend? Would that be causing PS to be glitchy as well? 




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Here is what makes a Mac Sluggish:

  • Not enough RAM. You want at least 32GB in 2023. Hell, 64GB is nice to have. 16GB no longer cuts it, and 8GB...forget it.
  • Full Hard Drives, internal or external, does not matter. You never want to go above 75% - 80% full on ANY HD. Once you go over 80%, performance takes a hit. If you are 95% or more full on ANY HD, you are in danger of data-corruption.
  • Crap on your Desktop. I know it's convenient to store everything on your Mac Desktop, but the truth is, the more crap you have on your Desktop, the slower the damn thing runs. The reason is the macOS treats ANY file / folder that is stored on the Mac Desktop as an "Open Window," for lack of a better term. Got 1000 Photos from the Smith-Jones Wedding or the Sullivan Family Session of the park that is a few hundred shots? Well, the Mac considers all of those 1000+  images to be open Windows, whether you are doing anything with them or not.
  • PS can also be glitchy by not having an updated macOS, I've seen outdated copies of Catalina causing issues with the modern versions of Photoshop. In fact, I had to update to Big Sur in order to stop Photoshop from Crashing.
  • Lack of Video Card Power. Most folks are concerned about the CPU Speed, HD Storage and RAM when it comes to buying a computer. Well, now there is a 4th thing you need to be worried about: Purchasing a computer that has a Beefy Video Card with lots of Cores and dedicated Video Memory. In fact, I wrote a whole article based on this very subject, give it a read.

    Could you fill this out for me and post the results here in this thread?

    Details about your computer's health

As far as a Clean-Up Program for your Mac, I highly recommend CleanMyMac X from Macpaw.com. You can download and scan your computer for free, just to see how much space it will free up for you, but if you want it to do anything, you'll need to pony up the $40 or so and purchase the program. (There are coupon codes to be found on a normal basis, be on the look-out for them.)

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Thanks Brian - I was guilty about crap on my desktop, not 100s but a few random bits. I have cleared them up. 


I have a Mac desktop running catalina 10.15.7  and Photoshop cc. It is over 6 years old, and has 40GB of RAM. Its hard drive has 1.46 TB  free out of 2.12 TB. The last time I shut down was just before posting this thread. I have never run a cleanup program.


I was concerned about doing an update as I've read that things go wrong with the older Macs afterwards. 





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4 hours ago, Jodie99 said:

It is over 6 years old

Most likely, this is your issue. My 2017 iMac, with 64GB RAM and other upgraded components is starting to lag with the newest versions of Photoshop. So much that the Cooling Fan is kicking on high way more than before. If you didn't get the upgraded Video Card at the time of purchase, that will also cause you issues. Post a Screenshot of your "About This Mac," but without the Serial Number. Here is mine:


What does your say next to Graphics?

Now Catalina is also another big issue. The good news is, you can upgrade to Big Sur without issues. Big Sur is a Mature OS at this point and is A LOT better at dealing with the latest versions of Photoshop CC. In order to upgrade, you need to use Safari, AND ONLY SAFARI, to open this link. Do not use Firefox, Chrome, Edge or other browser. Only Safari.

macOS Big Sur

When you click that link in Safari, it will take you to this Web Page:


Then click the link "View in the Mac App Store" and it will open the App Store. Click "Get" download and run the installer.



Now, I'm not saying Big Sur will fix all of your issues, but my Photoshop CC was crashing every time I opened it and only when I upgraded from Catalina to Big Sur did it finally stabilize. Big Sur is fine for your Mac, the 2017 and 2020 models have no issues with it. I would not go past Big Sur at this point. The new macOS is really meant for the M1 & M2 chips, not the Intel ones we have.



Screen Shot 2023-08-02 at 8.24.42 PM.png

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Hi Brian Thank-You. I will follow your instructions and give it a go. My problem isn't so much crashing but tools glitching or the rainbow circle appearing in photoshop. 

I am running versions Photoshop 21.1.2 and Bridge 


Screen Shot 2023-08-06 at 18.10.36.png

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This is one of your problems:


A Intel i5 CPU is really pushing things with the modern version of Photoshop CC in 2023. 40GB isn't that much more than 32GB, and you'd be better off with 64GB. The other thing that comes to mind is...

...are you running Chrome or another Web Browser with a bunch of tabs open? If so, that isn't helping things. Chrome eats RAM and EVERY Open Browser Tab is a serious drain on resources. My wife is famous for this very thing. In fact, her next computer will have at least 64GB due to the 100's of Tabs she has open in Chrome. OK, I'm exaggerating, she has about 50-60 Tabs open. :)



Source: Hedger Humor. (Totally worth checking her Comics out. She's really funny.) 

If this sounds like you, close out Chrome and try to not load as many images as you once did. It's really time for you to seriously start saving for a new Mac. In fact, I would NOT upgrade to PS CC 2024 or whatever Adobe will call it. You are at your limit version-wise and be sure to turn off Auto Updates within the Adobe Mothership App.

You could upgrade to 64GB, but honestly at this point? It's just a band-aid. You still are going to have the sluggishness due to the i5. I have a upgraded i7 of your computer, the best one that Apple offered at the time and even MY computer is a bit sluggish now.

Bottom Line: Start Saving. Budget for new Mac: $4600.

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Thanks Brian, I use safari and no I don't have lots of tabs open........although on my iPhone it's a different story......Tabs Galore!

So I am pretty sure I have the automatic updates switched off. It is saying that PS 2024 and Bridge are not compatible in the update options. 

Guess I'll be working weekends!  😞

Thanks for all your help. 


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