PDFs on Macbook ... very slow scrolling

benesch2016

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 12, 2016
5
0
After waiting for a long time to replace my 2012 Macbook Air (i7), I got the new Retina Macbook (m7). And for the first time I am thinking of returning an Apple product.

The screen is great and I think I can get used to the keyboard (not a big fan, though). But my main usage is to read medium sized PDFs (around 30 pages), and the scrolling performance is just horrible. I tried reducing the screen resolution and a variety of pdf readers (Preview, Acrobat, Skim), all with the same result: when scrolling, the pdf jumps. Never had this problem with the 2012 Macbook Air.

Any thoughts?
 

where is it

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2012
425
283
England
I'm just reading through a 42 page advertising PDF in preview (while also running Chrome, Affinity Designer, Unity, iA Writer and Hexagon) and the performance is fine.

Maybe an ever so slight blip in smoothness when crossing pages but nothing I've seen ten times worse on Windows while scrolling.

Is there something special about your particular PDF's?
 

benesch2016

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 12, 2016
5
0
I'm just reading through a 42 page advertising PDF in preview (while also running Chrome, Affinity Designer, Unity, iA Writer and Hexagon) and the performance is fine.

Maybe an ever so slight blip in smoothness when crossing pages but nothing I've seen ten times worse on Windows while scrolling.

Is there something special about your particular PDF's?
Nothing in particular, sometimes heavy on math, but not many pictures. It's just that I have no problems like this on my old Macbook Air. And I also notice the lagginess in my Bibliography manager (Bibdesk)
 

where is it

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2012
425
283
England
Maybe worth taking a video of your experience and sharing on Youtube so we can compare.

The only thing I can think is the difference in the Retina and a standard screen(your Macbook Air) is slightly different and you are picking up on the subtle change in scrolling. Or you have a defective MB.

Clutching at straws here as scrolling for me on my M5/512 is more or less exactly the same as my RMP 2.6i7 16gb 512.
 

PeterSmith

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2006
46
2
Cambridge, UK
No problem at all scrolling through e.g. the 200pp. maths-heavy PDF which I happen to reading right now (using Adobe reader on an m7). And that prompts me to try a PDF of Jech's set theory book (nearly 800 pages): same again -- zips through as I drag the scroll bar fast from one end of the document to the other with zero lag. Impressive in fact.
 
Last edited:

jgbr

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2007
639
454
Sounds software related not hardware related. Have you looked at activity monitor when doing this [scrolling]
 

benesch2016

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 12, 2016
5
0
Sounds software related not hardware related. Have you looked at activity monitor when doing this [scrolling]
When I save the document I linked above (the CBO report) and open it in Preview and then scroll through it fast using the trackpad, CPU usage from Preview goes to around 70-100% in the Activity Monitor (about 25% of the CPU, since there are 4 threads I guess).
 

where is it

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2012
425
283
England
When I save the document I linked above (the CBO report) and open it in Preview and then scroll through it fast using the trackpad, CPU usage from Preview goes to around 70-100% in the Activity Monitor (about 25% of the CPU, since there are 4 threads I guess).

It's because the mac is trying to process all those viruses.
 
  • Like
Reactions: benesch2016

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,395
2,283
London
I think that PDFs just usually runs crap on macbooks - I had the same issue on a RMBP 15''. I am surprised your MBA didn't suffer from it.
 

coldjeanzzz

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
655
17

Queen6

macrumors G3
PDF rendering engine has been broken for years now in OS X, just open the same PDF with quick view and you will see a world of difference. Preview`s performance is just degrading. I mostly open and plough through heavy engineering documents and the stutter on most Mac`s.

Previews poor performance is also a factor why I still have all my systems on 10.10.5, last I looked at 10.11 Preview would literally going the system to a halt with just few PDF documents open after scrolling through them, just one of them things that Apple has no interest in fixing.

I believe that PDFexpert can render PDF`s smoothly on OS X, equally I have yet to try it, like many I would prefer Apple got their act together and not need to resort to third party solutions.

Q-6
 
  • Like
Reactions: Significant1

SSD-GUY

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2012
1,052
1,818
Interstellar
PDF rendering engine has been broken for years now in OS X, just open the same PDF with quick view and you will see a world of difference. Preview`s performance is just degrading. I mostly open and plough through heavy engineering documents and the stutter on most Mac`s.

Previews poor performance is also a factor why I still have all my systems on 10.10.5, last I looked at 10.11 Preview would literally going the system to a halt with just few PDF documents open after scrolling through them, just one of them things that Apple has no interest in fixing.

I believe that PDFexpert can render PDF`s smoothly on OS X, equally I have yet to try it, like many I would prefer Apple got their act together and not need to resort to third party solutions.

Q-6
Do you think PDFexpert is better than Skim, Queen?
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
Do you think PDFexpert is better than Skim, Queen?
Have not tried as yet, rather think Skim is the better solution, however I also think Skim is relying on Apple`s PDF rendering engine so same jitter applies. If I remember correctly PDFexpert renders the documents differently, possibly at a lower resolution. I may well be wrong as I am just relying on memory.

You can DL a free demo of PDFexpert or $60 USD for the full version.

Q-6
 
Last edited:

Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
787
249
as Queen6 writes, preview pdf engine has been broken for years and quick-view (select file in finder and press space) is not. Try if quick view works better for you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Queen6

benesch2016

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 12, 2016
5
0
Thanks for the help! I guess I will keep my rMB, use an alternative pdf viewer and hope for Apple to get its act together.

As a side note, my scripts in the statistical software R run at about the same speed as on the old 2012 MBA, at least I am not losing out here.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
384
.nl
Do you think PDFexpert is better than Skim, Queen?
When compared to Skim I find PDF Expert to be a bit more pleasing on the eyes but when it comes to PDF features then PDF Expert, Skim and Preview are on the same level. That means that if you really need to edit the PDF (create ToC, add links, etc.) you're still better off with Adobe Acrobat or something like PDFpen because PDF Expert can't do that (yet).

I only find that PDF Expert seems to be more performant when scrolling through some of the more complexer and graphics heavy PDF files.
 

SPCW!

macrumors newbie
May 23, 2014
13
1
I've suffered this issue for 6 years since switching to Mac in my office. Resolved it today by installing Adobe Reader AND going to Safari Preferences and turning on the Reader Plug-In for All websites.

Prior to this, I had installed Acrobat DC, the browser Plug-In for which performed worse than that for Preview. Just a matter of finding what works for a given situation. Hopefully at least one available option will work.
 

svendobbelaere

macrumors member
Jul 27, 2012
97
40
Belgium
Are you scrolling with the arrow keys or the touchpad? Scrolling with the touch pad is smooth for me (I have an external bluetooth magic touchpad), but using the arrow keys is slow. As far as I remember, this has always been this way on any mac I've used.
 

SPCW!

macrumors newbie
May 23, 2014
13
1
Are you scrolling with the arrow keys or the touchpad? Scrolling with the touch pad is smooth for me (I have an external bluetooth magic touchpad), but using the arrow keys is slow. As far as I remember, this has always been this way on any mac I've used.
Same touchpad you're using.
 

Similar threads

  • wayne_rowley
1
Replies
1
Views
129
  • MaybeThisIsMoreHelpful
2
Replies
2
Views
188
  • darkweather
2
Replies
2
Views
110
  • zoran
4
Replies
4
Views
380
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.