Boosting Mac performance: tips creative software users


Date: 28 June 2024

Young female designer using graphics tablet while working with computer

Designers, creatives and architects often use software like CAD, Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch and Figma. Such software can help you realise your creative vision. However, these are resource intensive and can place big demands on your IT systems, impacting performance resulting in system slowdowns, crashes and frustration.

Key parameters to check for designers using creative software

  1. Optimising the system settings

Optimising your system settings can significantly enhance your Mac's performance.

Energy saving settings

  • Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver
  • Disable "Put hard disk to sleep when possible"
  • Adjust "Turn display off after" to a reasonable time

System preferences

  • Minimise visual effects: Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display & check "Reduce Motion"
  • Manage start up items: Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login items and remove unnecessary items
  1. Optimising the usage of the storage space

Always keep enough storage available for your system, low storage can impact the performance of your system. Here are a few tips to free up storage space on your Mac.

Clean up your disk

  • Use the built-in Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility) to verify and repair your disk.
  • Employ third-party apps like CleanMyMac to remove junk files.

External storage

  • Store large design files on external drives and clouds like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Optimising storage

  • Go to Apple Menu > About this Mac > Storage > Manage
  • Enable recommendations such as "Store in iCloud > Optimise Storage > Reduce Clutter
  1. Upgrading the hardware

Upgrading your Mac's hardware can provide you a significant performance boost

Increase RAM

More RAM allows for smoother multi-tasking and handling of large files. You may consider upgrading to at least 16GB if you use resource heavy design software frequently.

SSD upgrade

If your Mac uses an older HDD, upgrading to an SSD can drastically improve the boot time and the overall performance.

  1. Checking system requirements and compatibility

Before optimising the design software on our Mac, it's important to check whether the Mac meets the system requirements for the design software and that is compatible with the software.

  1. Software-specific optimisation tips

Adobe Creative Suite

  • Adjust performance preference: Go to Preferences > Performance and allocate more memory to Adobe applications.
  • Manage scratch disks: Assign a fast external drive as your scratch disk to avoid filling up your primary device.


  • Organise symbols and styles: Regularly clean up unused symbols and styles to keep your files lean.
  • Optimise file structure: Use shared libraries to avoid duplicating assets across projects.


  • Use components wisely: Reuse components to keep your file sizes manageable.
  • Manage version history: Regularly clean up version history to reduce file size.
  1. Regular maintenance

Keeping your device and software up to date helps increase the performance of the device and ensures you benefit from the security patches.

Software updates

  • Regularly check for updates on macOS and your design software.
  • Always enable automatic updates where applicable.

Maintenance scripts

  • Always run the built-in maintenance scripts using the terminal or third-party tools to clean up the system logs and temporary files
  1. Optimising utility of the performance monitoring tools

Always monitor your devices so that the performance is not impacted, and the issues are addressed before they escalate.

Activity monitor

  • Open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities) to track CPU, Memory and disk usage.
  • Identify resource-heavy applications and close them, if necessary.

Third-party tools

  • Tools like iStat Menus provide detailed insights into system performance, including CPU, GPU and network usage.
  1. Efficient file management

Organising files systematically in a drive or folder can help enhance your system's performance and save you time.

Organising files

  • Create logical folder structure for projects and assignments.
  • Always use descriptive file names to make your later search easier.

Cloud storage and version control

  • For easy access and backups, use services like Dropbox and Google Drive cloud storage which is easy to access anywhere and anytime.
  • Use version control tools like Git for design files to track changes and collaborate efficiently.
  1. Monitoring and maintaining Mac temperature

Overheating is harmful to any device and can heavily impact the performance and the longevity of the device. The same is true for Mac devices. Managing and monitoring the temperature of your Mac device is crucial – especially when using resource-intensive design software. Look out for the best mac temperature monitor or applications online.

Using the assistance of Mac temperature monitors

  • Use software like iStat Menus or Temperature Gauge Pro to monitor your Mac's temperature in real-time.
  • Some tools like display CPU, GPU, and internal temperature allow you to take immediate action on a rising temperature.

Tips for temperature management

  • Always check the placement of your system, ensure it is kept on a hard surface which allows proper air circulation.
  • Ensure that nothing is blocking the vents.
  • Try using cool pads for MacBooks as they help in dissipating heat.

Responding to high temperature

  • If your Mac gets too hot, close all the unnecessary applications and shut it down. Give it time to cool down and then restart.
  • Keep a constant check on the activity monitor to analyse if any process is consuming excessive CPU storage.
  1. Backup strategies

It's essential to create backups for all the work performed on your system to ensure there is no data loss and maintain productivity.

Use of time machine - This helps to optimise and prepare your set up for automatic backups. Go to system preferences > Time Machine and select a backup disk.

Alternate backup solutions - Consider using alternate backup such as cloud storage space or buying external hard drives for redundancy.


It is very important to optimise your Mac system when using it for design tasks to ensure a smooth and efficient workflow. A thorough check on system requirements, managing storage, upgrading hardware and monitoring temperature is important to ensure that your Mac device remains a powerful tool for your creative tasks.

If you have been ignoring these risks, these quick tips will help you optimise the design software on your Mac allowing you to perform at your best.

Copyright 2024. Article written by Abelia, a full-time professional blogger. He loves to write on trending topics that prove useful to your personal and business life.

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