10 steps to make Lightroom more responsive on a mac


Free script for relaunching Lightroom <— DOWNLOAD LINK*
I've been using this script from LR2 to 4 (inclusive) – tested and WORKING in LR 5.2 and Mavericks – and it works flawlessly. All credit goes to Matt Dawson and Photo Geek 🙂


    0 – Put the cat down, please
    1 – Download the script (link above)*
    2 – Open Lightroom.
    3 – Select Lightroom > Preferences > Presets.
    4 – Select Show Lightroom Presets Folder.
    5 – Open the Lightroom folder. If it doesn’t already exist, create a new folder named Scripts inside the Lightroom folder.
    6 – Unzip LRRelaunch-20090324_001.zip and drag or copy the LRRelaunch.lua file into the Scripts folder.
    7 – Close Finder window, to return to Lightroom.
    7+1 – Exit then reopen Lightroom.
    8 – Now you can pick up the cat again


For Lightroom 4.4

    A nice tune 4 company?



I am a conscious Lightroom (ab)user, with much publicizing, since version 1.
I do think LR 4 is the more complete software – here read do-it-all – out there for working with stacks of photos.
BUT since Lightroom 4 was released I’ve been very disappointing with its ridiculously sluggish performance. As with a lot of people, my workflow got sooo slow that reviewing, cataloging and editing photos became a very frustrating task.
Adobe seemed to have forgotten (and cynically diminish “the issue”) about people with these problems as Version 4.2 RC didn’t solve things… at least for me and a bunch of fellow users.
I forgot to say mostly mac users… in Lightroom 4 RC 3 things seem to have improve a little bit… I don’t know which part to emphasize, if the “little” or the “bit”… 😈

So I decided to go deeper in the search for solutions. I read endless threads, surf through the waves of many forums and came across some useful tips. Shorten up… do they work? YES!!! Now I am sharing these… patches with you; who knows… maybe it could even be helpful.


I have an ancient (by hardware standards) macbook pro 4,1 from 2008. Please don’t laugh. We have two 27″ imacs at work and I can’t really handle (read enjoy) photography on the LED displays. When this one dies, I’ll probably rob a bank and then go with a mac pro and an eizo monitor or go back to paint on the caves with an ipad and a laser.
My OS is snow leopard (mostly a carnivore creature) mavericks and lives in a 250 Gb 5400 rpm hard samsung evo drive. Though apple says this particular laptop model supports only up to 4Gb of RAM, mine is silkily stable with 6Gb… BEWARE that would be tops, I couldn’t make 8Gb work smoothly!!!



I recommend you read all thoroughly. I made a beautiful color separation to help and though this tweaks – if carefully followed – are harmless, this is based on my personal experience and obviously doesn’t guarantee your computer handeling Lightroom any better/faster/safer. Do things at your own risk 😈

from my always subjective optimized point of view.

1 – First of all BACK-UP everything!!!
I have screwed computers too many times so I can tell you this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to do. Haven’t you heard, Hell’s made of zeros and ones.
This part is not necessary but I did reformat my HD and reinstall snow leopard. After the cage was clean I only installed the applications I actually used. That was a big relief on the system cataloging, hard drive use, ghost and orphan files and folders, etc. Since then the system has been running snapy as a happy snail, ghhjjghjjgrrumphf
2 – Verify and repair your disk. Repair permissions. Onyx is a free tool you can use. The geeky way if you don’ have an external startup disk:
• restart in single user mode = pressing “comand” + “s” (without the quotes) – black screenn with a bunch of lines and
• then type “fsck -fy”.
• If, after the checking “system appears to be ok” then type
        • “reboot” + ENTER (return)
• if “system was modified,
• run the “fsck -fy” command again till “system appears to be ok” appears and
        • then type “reboot” + ENTER (return)
3 – The more FREE SPACE in your internal hard drive, the faster. Defragment your HD. That it’s NOT APPLICABLE TO the newer SSD DRIVES ’cause their access, to read or write, causes no fragmentation. Getting a fast drive (7200 rpm), ideally a SSD one – I got a samsung evo and a general performance boost – where to nest your OS and programs will also improve speed.
4 – Fragmenting catalogs or divide to win. I have aprox 33k photos –> around 277Gb. In an external (very fast) drive I keep 1 catalog with all of them so I can have an overall look but, normally, I export “the current year” catalog to my computer’s drive – that would be 2012 – because it is what I am using most of the time. Once in a while I synchronize it with the external HD. You should have (or develop) an organized back-up system so you don’t keep 7 copies of each photo and synchronizing catalogs and/in/through hard drives becomes a simple enough task. Maybe about this universe I write another day. You may want to have a look on Carbon Copy Cloner << I leave here a copy of the older version which was free donation ware. /// I also recommend free synctwofolders for a folder based sync/backup, direct download link (updated 24-10-2014)
 From a February 26, 2014 Mosaic article gathered from a random sample of 3,000 Lightroom catalogs by
5 – Stop from loading modules you don’t use. These video explains it very well.

The difference is that in a mac you go to Aplications/Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.4 RC/(here you ctrl+click and select Show Package Contents)Contents/Plugins
Here are the ones I put aside as I only use Library, Develop and Slideshow modules. I changed, being anytime-reversible (ja ja ja) ahhh my mind, only using Library and Develop modules. The screen capture was updated for your morbid delight 😉

6 – DELETE Lightroom preferences file. Some users had stated it may be corrupted, specially f you have been updating from older versions like me. First make a copy of the file to the desktop, it lives in Users / your name / Library / Preferences / com.adobe.Lightroom4.plist then delete the one in the Library. When installed the 4.4 LR update I deleted the preferences again and the improvement was really noticeable.
7 – After making a copy to the desktop I RENAMED (and after the sixth step and this one I noticed major improvements) Users / your name / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Lightroom <— this folder as “OLD_Lightroom” i.e.
8 – I also RENAMED Lightroom Settings to “OLD_Lightroom_Settings” ( i.e.) as in there I had definitions since LR2. Where does it live? This depends at where you keep your catalog file, check it in Lightroom menu Preferences –> Catalog Settings, General Location <— there’s a SHOW button. A lot of definitions you may have been using are here… but you don’t freak out coussin Alfredo, they’re not forever gone, they will stay where they are, just unused. I took some of them (the ones I really needed) from the renamed folder and put it (back to use) in the new one, always checking that those ones didn’t make the program run slower.
9 – In Lightroom menu Preferences, under File Handling divider button, at the bottom where the camera raw settings are I have increased to 25Gb the cache Maximum Size. I come across plenty unclear explanations on the size the cache should have. In my case I just have lots of free space so… I doubt I’ll ever use even half of it. In any case you can also purge the cache. Plus in Preferences –> Metadata divider I disabled the Automatically write changes to XMP (command+S) and this saves some more precious milliseconds, yihaaa!!! Some people insist you render previews according to your monitor size and in medium quality, I do this. Some other people say you should try to write metadata/info/tags on import, I do this too. Finally there are still people (so many people, and so little Gods or Devils left to attend us!!) who recommend to render 1:1 previews right at import. This I don’t normally do ’cause I don’t go 1:1 magnification in most of the photos and I don’t want to use all my disk space… but maybe is not such a bad idea. After rearranging my import habits I came to understand that rendering 1:1 previews it is only performance-helpful if you don’t further develop your raws or jpegs, OR if you need to do immediate comparisons i.e. choosing between very detailed macro stills … which very rarely is my case.
10 – Finally, after starting the program and checking everything was OK I optimized the catalog: in Lightroom menu –> File –> Optimize Catalog…
How did it work for ya?

In case you’re wondering, I would not allow comments in this post because of a simple reason: I don’t want to spend my near future answering questions and reading endless variations on the subject. I know my explaining is not the clearest and I’m aware it exists 1 billion other tweaks.
Anyway if you have a solid suggestion or improvement for the subject of this post, please feel free AND THEN CONTACT ME 😛

Lightroom 4 shortcuts PDF


Lightroom 5 shortcuts PDF


 by Lightroom Queen… wonder who the king is? 😛


PS    –     October the 28th, 2013

I Test drived LR 5.2 with new Mavericks OS in an Imac 9,1 with 3.06Ghz processor, 8Gb ram, 512Mb Nvidia card and, though I’m not switching right now, performance seems to have being improved. I was very surprised to see how Mavericks improved itself with use (must have something to do with compressed memory), never before I had seen such an “organic” performance curve. In LR 5.2 I finally got into the workflow speed I remember from versions 2 and 3; the “accumulative” effect seemed to be gone and the platform safe enough…
That said Adobe and Apple have too many issues and lacks of support to solve; right now it is not even close to be reliable, which means not worth the extra sweat. I totally get why Apple released it for free and that people with a more office/network oriented work could enjoy it right-away. In my case, I’ll wait and keep enjoying leopards in the snow, as I am seeing a exponential growing pattern of unfinished products being released that come with a great deal of user tweaking and problem solving. Some months from now I’ll check on the mavs again, je je je

Related to a problem I'm having with wifi theter, I wrote:

It really disgusts me, not even because of the greediness, but the attitude of careless releasing half baked “pro”ducts and not fixing them via firmware updates (see fuji incredible commitment) that in the end it’s no other that a lack of respect for our work, for the extra sweat people has to put into solving problems should had never existed

PS 2    –     May the 19th, 2014


Some LR 5 users, myself included, have reported a huge slowdown while just going through a preview of the photos in the library module; still present in version 5.4 | Mavericks 10.9.3
It seems it’s a bug related with big amounts of develop presets. So, till almighty sloppy dog adobeeee decides to fix this bug, a workaround is to (please archive them first) delete as many as possible. I confirm this is the case. Don’t expect miracles, but performance wise you’ll notice an increase right away.
Some Windows users had same bug showing differently, when trying to undo, LR applied a preset instead. SAME WORKAROUND in those cases too =)
Here comes another little rant, sorry if you’re dating an adobe employee 😛
Now relating LR, probably swapping internal HD to SSDs – which anyway is something planned to happen in the near future – would accelerate the whole experience but honestly I’ve been a LR user since version 1 and I don’t really know what’s going on with the preset indexing or the previewing of images, but since LR 4 it’s an awful mess with making zero difference being the catalog big or small. That said I’m tired to be continously forced to do things out of my pace and to upgrade / update and find fixings for what seems the pandora box of bugs. For me Lightroom has become very very inefficient, as much as I like grampas, you’ll raise hell on earth if you put a 95 year old pot lover directing air traffic at the control tower of a major airport. This is how I feel these days working with LR.
Mavericks doesn’t help and neither disabling compressed memory (#sudo nvram boot-args=”vm_compressor=1″#) – actually worsen results – neither purging the memory (#sudo purge#) have had any palpable improvements.So as much I dislike the idea of having yet another step in the process, I started to seriously test Photo Mechanic (which is like the Millenium Falcon to public transportation =)) and Darktable 1.4.2 (free) as folder based raw image viewers. It has come to a point where I admit that if I hadn’t +35K photos catalogued with LR I’ll switch to other platform… there are certainly better colour engines out there, specially for µFT raws ,-)


You managed to get here, CONGRATS!!! je je je
Some other articles related to DAM, photography and LR which may also interest you =)


28 and the process of developing a photo which you feel good about


Configuring Firefox’s colour management + DAM Darktable




self by friend, twitter and perfect photo suite 7


About m)◘(x

ni! for now
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