I installed LR 5 and have been using it as a trial for a couple weeks now and it's been performing phenomenally slow since the beginning. Even something as simple as switching from Develop to the Library feels like it can take nearly a full second at times.

I still have LR 3 installed.

My system:

Macbook Air 11"
2 GHz Intel Core i7
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

Anything I should be aware of?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Best thing I can recommend is a reinstall, I'm on Mavericks too and never encountered any exceptionally slow issues with LR. \$\endgroup\$
    – Linuxmint
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hope you get an answer before I upgrade :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 3:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Probably a better question for the Adobe LR forums. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 4:06
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Was it always slow or did it become slow? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 4:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ what about the HDD of ur system? \$\endgroup\$
    – kmonsoor
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 7:52

3 Answers 3


LR 5 does take more horsepower to drive its UI than LR3. The Macbook air is set up more for battery life than raw performance, so it's not as powerful as a macbook pro. Still, it shouldn't be that bad.

A few things to try:

optimize the catalog.

if you're running with a second screen enabled, turn it off. I found that really slowed Lightroom down on my older laptop.

select all your images, the choose Library-Previews->discard 1:1 previews, then choose Library->Previews->Build 1:1 previews (then go get some coffee).

It's possible your previews are poor, and it's regenerating them every time you switch images. Building up a set of previews will take time, but speed it up.

Note that if you convert things to DNG the conversion process can be quite slow.

Also consider building a full set of Smart Previews.

In Preferences->File Handling check the size of the "Raw Cache" setting. If it's too small, you'll be throwing out and rebuilding your image caches too often. I set mine to 20Gb. Also I'd suggest purging it in case something's messed up in the cache. Ditto the video cache below it.

In "Catalog Settings->file handling" you probably want to adjsut your preview numbers. Mine are set to 2880 and "high" and discard 1:1 previews to never. For that computer, I'd go with 1440 and medium. Discard 1:1 previews probably should be at least 1 week, or you'll be throwing out and regenerating previews a lot.

See if any of these help.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I ended up going back to LR3 for a few months and then came back to LR5 with the same woes. I tried optimizing the catalog. No dice. I haven't tried force-generating 1:1 previews, but I suspect that this won't improve things because it's even slow when switching back and forth between images that were just open. That leaves the smart-previews and file-handling settings to try which I'll have to give a shot next time I find enough patience. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 18:37

from everything I have ever read on adobe software, they code everything for windows then port it over to MAC OS. the other thing that it could be is the Intel graphics card might not have the required processing power or a driver conflict issue.

maybe check Intel's site for an updated drive for that graphics card. Maybe check that the drirvers for your other devices are up to date [the HDD driver, processor driver from Intel, etc].

try loading a the program onto a windows box if you have one, see how it runs there; or another MAC you might have.

just to give you an idea, my machine is

windows 8
Intel i7 3.5GHz
16GB Ram CL1 DDR 3
NVidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti

one more thought I would like to add. my old laptop that I used to use met the minimum requirements for Photoshop and it was slow on a regular bases. So when I built the machine above, I took 4 times the minimum requirements.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the suggestion. I've never manually updated a driver on OSX so I'm a bit wary, but I'll take a look. I'm almost positive that my machine isn't the bottleneck since LR3 runs perfectly well on it and it's a pretty new system. I also figure disk reads are going to be the biggest bottleneck, and you can't do much better than an SSD in that regard. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ For doing updates on a MAC, its like working in linux or unix. the os is based on BSD which is UNIX. if you did some google searching, there is most likely a "how to" somewhere that could help get do that. an SSD will help speed up but most of the stuff Lightroom does is in RAM and Processing power. \$\endgroup\$
    – thebtm
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 22:36

I think the biggest difference you're noticing has to do with Adobe's Camera RAW features (ie, the Develop Module) introduced in LR4.

Up to LR3 you can recover shadows and whatnot, but in LR4 and 5 you can do a whole lot more with Blacks, Shadows, Highlights and Whites, as well as other development features that are way better (Clarity, for example). However, they come at a cost: processing time.

I've seen many reports that mention this same behaviour and I noticed it myself when upgrading. When switching to the Develop module, especially the first time after the LR is loaded, it takes quite a bit of time in LR4 and 5. Retouching the image also takes longer, although you do have a lot more features.

All in all, I think the features are well worth the time waiting. Also, 1 sec to move between modules is not, IMHO, that much time... takes a lot longer for me (Win 7, Intel i5, 8GB Ram) and I'm now working with a library of over 50k images.


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