M1 MacBook Air and Pro get fully optimized Adobe Photoshop app — but there's a catch

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The M1 MacBook Air and Pro blew us away with their industry-leading performance, proving that Apple no longer needed to rely on Intel chips to make zippy laptops. However, Apple's new ARM-based M1 chip brought some challenges in terms of app compatibility.

When Apple first announced its novel processors, professional-grade apps like Adobe Photoshop weren't yet fully optimized for the M1-equipped MacBooks. As such, professional editors may have been hesitant about purchasing one. Fortunately, Adobe announced that Photoshop will now run as smooth as Sunday morning on M1 devices.

Adobe Photoshop gets fully optimized for M1 MacBooks

After months of beta testing, Adobe's ultra-popular Photoshop app can now run natively on Apple devices with the M1 chip. According to Adobe's internal benchmarks, Photoshop is 1.5X faster on M1-equipped devices compared to similarly configured, previous-generation systems.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop on M1 MacBook (Image credit: Adobe)

"Our tests covered a broad scope of activities, including opening and saving files, running filters, and compute-heavy operations like Content-Aware Fill and Select Subject, which all feel noticeably faster. Our early benchmarking also shows that some operations are substantially faster with the new chip," Adobe's VP of Photoshop Product Management Pam Clark said in a recent blog.

Clark boasted that the newly optimized Photoshop app running on M1 chips is so fast, you'll miss the splash screen if you blink.

However, there is room for improvement — Adobe Photoshop has some features that are still not supported on M1-equipped devices, including Invite to Edit, Cloud Documents, Preset Syncing and more. Adobe suggested that editors who depend on these features should continue using the Rosetta 2 version of Photoshop.

You may be wondering why Adobe didn't just wait until all of its features were optimized for Apple's custom-designed chip, but the company was too impatient. Adobe wanted to show off Photoshop's new, M1-optimized app as soon as possible.

"The performance gains across the rest of the application were so great, we didn’t want to hold back the release for everyone while the team wraps up work on these last few features," Clark said.

Adobe also announced two new features for Photoshop on the iPad: Cloud Documents Version History and the ability to work on Cloud Documents while offline. Adobe Photoshop isn't the only big-name app that's been fully optimized for M1 laptops: DaVinci Resolve can also run natively on M1-equipped devices.

DaVinci Resolve now supports M1 MacBooks

Blackmagic Design followed right behind Adobe's footsteps, officially exiting its beta testing stage that launched last November. Its popular video-editing app — DaVinci Resolve — can now run natively on M1-equipped laptops. 

DaVinci Resolve M1

DaVinci Resolve 17.1 (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

Like Adobe Photoshop, M1 MacBook owners had to use Rosetta 2 to run DaVinci Resolve. Now, the new DaVinci Resolve update takes full advantage of the M1 chip's blazing-fast performance.

"The combination of M1, Metal processing and DaVinci Resolve 17.1 offers up to 5 times better performance when compared to previous generation Macs. For DaVinci Resolve Studio, this update also improves performance by adding support for hardware accelerated encoding and decoding of H.265 10-bit 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 formats on supported Intel platforms," Blackmagic Design said in a recent LinkedIn post.

Adobe and Blackmagic Design's newly optimized apps are now available. You can download the Photoshop update here while you can get DaVinci Resolve 17.1 here.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!