Today’s Question: Do you think it is safe to upgrade to a new Apple computer with the M1 chip in terms of being able to run the Adobe applications?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, I would say that it is safe to upgrade to a new Apple computer with an M1 processor, though there may be some performance issues as well as some software compatibility issues.
More Detail: I’ve done quite a bit of testing with the new Apple M1 chip, which replaces the Intel processor for the newest models of computers from Apple. Overall that testing has shown that nearly all software I’ve tested runs without issues. And performance is significantly improved, especially for applications that have been updated for the new M1 chip.
For applications that have not been updated for the M1 chip, they can still generally run well in the “Rosetta” emulation mode. In my experience this has worked perfectly for all applications I’ve tested (including most of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications). However, when running in Rosetta mode there is a noticeable degradation in performance.
I’ve not found applications that would not run at all with the new M1-based computers. However, I have found that plug-ins can be an issue.
For example, the latest version of Photoshop is version 22.3 as of this writing, and this version supports the M1 chip natively. However, all third-party plug-ins I have tested so far do not work with this version of Photoshop.
Therefore, if you are upgrading to a computer with an M1 chip and make use of plug-ins for Photoshop, you’ll want to be sure not to upgrade beyond version 22.2 of Photoshop.
I’m sure there are other relatively minor compatibility issues that I haven’t discovered. But overall my experience with the new M1 chip has been excellent. Overall performance is significantly improved for applications that support the M1 chip, and overall compatibility is very good. While performance does suffer for applications that have to run in compatibility mode, I have not found that to be a significant source of frustration.
So, all things considered I think upgrading to a new computer with the M1 chip is a good option for Macintosh users.