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Why is the Mac app slow?

Last updated on 30 Aug 2022
2 min read

Sketch is great at dealing with complex designs, but if you are experiencing performance issues in the Mac app, the following information may help improve performance.

However, if you’re experiencing a frozen app or crashes, please read more about How can I stop the Mac app from crashing?

Incompatible Plugins

Incompatible plugins may cause Sketch to behave unexpectedly and can cause performance issues. Safe Mode will temporarily disable them; please try using Sketch in Safe Mode to find out if a plugin is causing the slowness.

Complex files

While Sketch does not impose any limits on the size or complexity of your files, some older Macs may struggle with large and complex ones. We recommend using Symbols to group repeatedly used complex shapes, such as dot patterns (halftones) simulating print. These dot patterns sometimes use hundreds of thousands of individual vector layers, impacting performance. Another example is highly detailed maps, which sometimes consist of millions of vertices.

If Sketch lags when opening the Insert Menu or the Insert Window, try reducing the number of enabled Libraries. Some Library files contain a very large number of Symbols. Older Macs may experience slower performance when handling these more extensive libraries. Visit our docs to learn how to disable Libraries.

Large Bitmaps (photos, screenshots)

Very large images, especially when there are also a lot of them in your file, can impact the performance of Sketch. We recommend reducing the resolution of images used inside your design. You can do this using File > Reduce File Size… This will reduce the size and quality of your images and cannot be undone! If you need the images at their original size, we recommend you export them before reducing their size.

To reduce the number of images in your file, try placing them inside a Symbol and using the Symbol in your designs, instead of the image.

Layering multiple blurs and shadows

Watch out for multiple blurs and shadows, as they require more processing power than regular layers to render them.

Too many Artboards per page

Many Artboards, all on the same page, might not be the best structure in terms of performance. A good practice is to take advantage of Pages and move some Artboards to different pages.

Get in touch

If none of the suggestions above help with the issues you’re having, please get in touch with us.

To help us help you, please answer these questions in your email:

  • What version of the Mac app are you using? You can find this in the menu by clicking Sketch > About Sketch.
  • What macOS version are you currently running? You can find this information by clicking on the menu bar  > About this Mac.
  • Do you experience the issue with all files or only when working with specific files?
  • Do you experience lag while collaborating in real-time with someone else?
  • How many people have the document open at one time?
  • Has this file always been slow or just recently?

Note: If a specific file is causing a problem, sending us a link or attaching a copy helps us to identify the problem more quickly.