This week, Adobe updated Photoshop with official support for Apple silicon, offering customers native support on Apple’s latest M1-powered Mac computers. In an interview with Computerworld, Photoshop Product Manager Mark Dahm promoted official Apple silicon support, saying that Photoshop runs 50% faster on an M1 MacBook compared to last year’s Intel-based MacBook.
Speaking to the team’s challenges during the transition to Apple silicon, Dahm said that performance was of utmost priority. Adobe wanted to ensure that it matched Photoshop’s performance on older architectures for customers running Apple silicon.
Photoshop has been fortunate enough to have been serving Mac customers for over 30 years and having lived through the transition from Power PC to Intel chips in the 2005/2006 timeframe, a few familiar considerations came to mind as the Apple silicon announcement was made.
For one, performance is top-of-mind for our creative professional customers, so we wondered how long it might take for us to match the years of performance-tuning that ensured smooth operation for Photoshop’s sophisticated blending and rendering capabilities.
Apple is encouraging all developers to build and recompile their apps with official support for Apple silicon. Until apps get updated, they run on Apple silicon using Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology, which enables apps built for Intel processors to run on the newer architecture. Dahm said that Photoshop ran sufficiently with Rosetta, in some cases even faster than it did natively on Intel Mac computers.
Fortunately, Apple’s Rosetta mode allowed Photoshop to run reliably and fast on M1 devices on day one, without requiring significant changes to the code base. And many features were running as fast, or even faster than on the previous systems, so those earlier questions about performance were being resolved quite satisfactorily.
In its testing, Adobe found that Photoshop on an M1 MacBook runs 50% faster compared to Photoshop on a 2019 Intel-based MacBook with similar configurations. Even with the significant jump in performance, Dahm claimed it’s just the beginning.
We compared an M1 MacBook to a previous-generation MacBook similarly configured, and found that under native mode, Photoshop was running 50% faster than the older hardware. These great performance improvements are just the beginning, and we will continue to work together with Apple to further optimize performance over time.
The power of the new M1 chip motivated the team to push features that have become a staple of Photoshop even further, said Dahm. Features such as Content Aware Fill, Auto Select Subject, Sky Replacement tools, and others were re-energized thanks to M1.
We were eager to tap into the more specialized aspects of the M1 chip to see how they could re-energize some of the seemingly magical features that have since become staples of the Photoshop experience over the years; features like Content Aware Fill, the healing brush, specialized filters and even relative newcomers, like the machine-learning-based Auto Select Subject and Sky Replacement tools.
Moving forward, Dahm said Adobe is looking forward to “bringing even more performance gains and Photoshop magic to life” on future Apple silicon chips. Dahm also said that the continued evolution of the Apple silicon platform will enable Adobe to constantly tune and optimize Photoshop to run at peak performance without the need to rely on Rosetta.