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How to use Photoshop on A Mac? Here is a detailed guide.

Feb 24, 2018 6:03:00 PM / by BaseQi

How to use Photoshop on Mac

Adobe Photoshop is used by millions of creative enthusiasts around the world, so there’s no question that it’s a great app. However, when it’s not fine-tuned, Photoshop can be slow and difficult to use. Don’t let it happen to you. If you’re thinking about downloading Photoshop on your MacBook, here’s your guide to a quick and easy start.

Photoshop system requirements for macOS

Before downloading the latest version of Photoshop, verify whether it’s going to work on your MacBook by checking the software’s system requirements, which are as follows:

  • macOS version 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS version 10.12 (Sierra), or at least mac OS version 10.11 (El Capitan)

  • At least 2GB of RAM

  • At least 4GB of storage space for the software installation

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support

  • 1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 is recommended by Adobe)

  • OpenGL 2.0 - capable system

  • Internet connection is required for registration, software activation, membership validation, and other online services.

Proceed with installation once you’ve made sure that it’s going to work on your MacBook. If you need more storage room, here are some tips on how to clear space on Macbook.

Installing Photoshop on your MacBook

To install Photoshop on your MacBook, follow these instructions:

  1. Visit the Adobe Systems website and click on the Creativity & Design dropdown.

  2. Under Featured products, click on Photoshop.

  3. If you’re new to Photoshop and don’t want to commit to buying it yet, click on Free Trial. Your MacBook will download the installer automatically.

  4. If you do want to buy it, though, click on Buy now.

  5. A new window will appear with four options available: Individuals, Business, Students and Teachers, and Schools and Universities, with Individuals being the default option.

Adobe offers various packages with different pricing schemes, so you’ll have to decide which one you want to download. If you just want Photoshop, choose the Single App package along with your desired payment plan which can be a monthly annual plan of $19.99 per month, a prepaid annual plan with a lump sum payment of $239.88, or a monthly plan of $29.99 per month.

Optimising Photoshop’s performance on your MacBook

Now that you’ve installed Photoshop, here’s how you can make it better.

  • Set the right preferences.

Photoshop allows you to tweak performance-related preferences to help you maximise your MacBook’s memory, cache, graphics, and a lot more. All you need to do is go to Preferences and then click on Performance. From there, fine-tune the settings based on the specifications of your MacBook.

  • Adjust memory allocation.

Boost Photoshop’s performance by increasing the amount of RAM used by your MacBook to run Photoshop. Photoshop’s default memory allocation setting is 70%, but feel free to use up more of your MacBook’s RAM depending on your needs. Adobe Systems recommends increasing the allocation in 5% increments. However, the company advises not to use up more than 85% of your machine’s RAM.

  • Adjust cache levels.

This improves responsiveness as you work on Photoshop, but it’s going to take longer for images to load. The cache tile size determines the amount of data Photoshop uses at a given time. A bigger tile size means more speed on complex photoshop operations.

On Performance, you can choose from these three cache presets:

  1. Default/Photos - Choose this if your main use of Photoshop is editing photos from devices such as a smartphone camera or a digital camera.

  2. Web/UI Design - Choose this if your main use of Photoshop is for design-related purposes such as web or app design.

  3. Huge Pixel Dimensions - Choose this if you work with high-resolution documents and images.

  • Manage your scratch disks.

Scratch disks are drive partitions with free memory. Photoshop uses the hard drive on which the operating system is installed, but here’s how you can change this.

  1. Click on Preferences then click on Scratch Disks.

  2. Enable a scratch disk, select the “Active” check box. To disable, deselect the check box.

  3. To change the order of the scratch disks, click on the arrow buttons.

  4. Click OK.

These changes will take effect when Photoshop is restarted.

Optimising your MacBook’s hardware and OS for Photoshop.

Here are helpful tips to make sure your MacBook’s hardware and OS both run smoothly for Photoshop.

  • Use a fast processor. On a MacBook, Photoshop requires a multicore Intel processor.

  • For maximum performance, your MacBook should have 8GB of RAM.

  • Use a Solid State Drive (SSD), which is significantly faster than a traditional hard drive.

    • When working on Photoshop, close all other unnecessary apps.

    • Disable your MacBook’s App Nap.

    • Turn on automatic OS updates.

    • Defragment your MacBook’s hard drive.

    • Set the right power options by going to System Preferences, clicking on Energy Saver, then deselecting Automatic Graphics Switching.

See how easy that was? Now that you’ve downloaded Photoshop, fine-tuned its performance settings, and optimised your MacBook’s OS and hardware, it’s time to start editing your awesome photos! Get on it right away!


Hi, we are team Baseqi, thank you for reading our blog. We are a technology startup founded by a team of passionate designers and Apple fanatics. Our goal is to design unique and high-quality accessories at cutting edge prices for all Apple lovers.


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Written by BaseQi

Our company officially started in 2013. Since then, we have fans purchasing our products from all over the world. Our mission is to invent stylish accessories and gadgets for fans around the world.

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