Why can't Macs cope with PDFs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mildredop, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    I've recently replaced my 2011 MacBook Air with a brand new MacBook Pro. That makes me a professional.

    I was looking forward to less of the spinning wheel but, in fact, am getting it just as much. Especially when working with PDFs in Preview.

    Zooming in and out of them, panning around them etc. makes the computer freeze for several seconds, lag, go choppy and then start spinning its little wheel.

    Why? What's so tricky about a black and white, line-drawn PDF?
     
  2. emporiky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #2
    I've been asking the same question for so long. I thought its from my MacBook at the beginning, but just bought the new refreshed model and it is absolutely the same :/ I just dont get it such an expensive peace of hardware cant handle simple pdfs.
    Or is there probably any other software that is better than preview?
     
  3. Sym0 macrumors 6502

    Sym0

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2013
    #3
    Agreed, it's crap, another reason my professional life lives in windows. My personal one can put up with weird stuff, so long as it looks beautiful doing it.
     
  4. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #4
    So at least it's not just me then.

    Maybe a 2.6GHz i5 and 8GB RAM simply isn't enough to work with a 229KB file.

    What's really sad is that my Moto X copes with it better than my Mac.
     
  5. emporiky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    #5
    Even on the 15'' rMBP :eek: ? I thought its just the 13'' with HD 4000/ Iris :confused:

    My iPhone and my girlfriend's iPad both cope better than my rMBP.
     
  6. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    #6
    You know, I have to agree. I've had issues with PDFs for years, no matter the model.

    I used to use my rMBP to take notes on PDF lecture slides on a daily basis and, without fail, it would struggle with at least one. Sometimes it started slowing down from the moment I opened the file, and other times by the end of the lecture (when I've added a bunch of notes and arrows).

    I could then close Preview, open up a more intensive program and it would run perfectly fine. This also happened wether I used the integrated or discrete graphic card.
     
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    It may be an intel/new OS issue. Just tested PDFs on my PowerBook G4 running Tiger and preview displays them real smooth. MBA under Mavericks however is a complete different story.
     
  8. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #8
    I've used Macs for about 10yrs and have always had problems with PDFs. But I always put it down to the fact I was using a low-end machine (iBook, MacBook Air etc). It's only now I've got a "Pro" that I'm realising no amount of RAM or horsepower seems to make the slightest bit of difference.

    Odd no-one so far knows the reason.
     
  9. Nr123*123 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #9
    Have to agree. My high end 15" rMBP can't handle PDFs. I showed this to an Apple Store manager who agreed it was odd.

    Try resizing a Microsoft Word window and marvel in the lag.
     
  10. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #10
    Not all software makes best use of the hardware it runs on, sounds like Preview might be in that category now and not taking advantage of multi-core and any graphics cards maybe??? It does what I need it to do so I have not noticed an issue but I don't zoom and spin much :)
     
  11. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #11
    Just downloaded Adobe Reader. It's better, but still very sluggish and choppy.

    So weird for such a small file (229KB!).
     
  12. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #12
    Yes but PDFs can include vector content so the information is always being redrawn from the vector info, which takes more effort than a bitmap, and works at the screen resolution not the file resolution so the size of the file belies the amount of cpu effort to display it IIRC...
     
  13. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #13
    I practically never have PDF issues, and I get them from several sources and open them in Preview multiple times each day. Something specific to your PDF's much be an issue.
     
  14. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #14
    Ok, thanks for that explanation. I didn't know that.

    My Moto X is obviously very good at redrawing vectors, then.
     
  15. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Perhaps you could upload the file for us all to test out? This could be a file specific issue. The PDF I tested on my PBG4 and MBA is about 1.1MB, about 305 of text but no images.
     
  16. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Sarcasmville.
    #16
    Not denying your experiences, but I've always had the complete opposite experience. I've always marvelled at how smooth PDFs were handled in OS X since days of 10.0 (or so). I can scroll, zoom through simple PDFs like butter (phone bills, etc).

    I looked up the most intense PDF I could find. In this case it's a PDF of a front page of my city paper: http://www.smh.com.au/frontpage/2007/04/13/frontpage.pdf.

    And, yes, that certainly chugs on my rMBP when zooming in and out (1920 scaled mode).
     
  17. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    Interesting. My PBG4 had no issues loading it but my MBA gave me an extensive beachball as parts slowly loaded bit by bit.
     
  18. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #18
    I'm currently browsing through a 300MB PDF in Preview and I'm not having any issues doing so...
     
  19. bushido Suspended

    bushido

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #19
    Never had an issue with the preview app on my late 2012 rMBP 13 inch and I use it a lot for uni

    It used to lag a bit scrolling on acrobat pro but that has also been fixed with an update
     
  20. someoneoutthere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Location:
    Land of... 12,000 Lakes.
    #20
    I don't have any issues at all browsing PDFs on AC power but when I try to get some work done on battery power, "Preview" app drains my battery quite fast.
    I haven't tried any other apps to view/edit PDFs, but as far as Preview goes, I'm quite unhappy about its impact on my battery.
     
  21. chaofahn macrumors member

    chaofahn

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
    Not sure how y'all are getting slow speeds. I work with 200mb+ PDFs here and it runs smooth as butter.

    Although that said, I'm running it on the high-end 2014 Retina Macbook Pro.

    To the OP, have you cleaned out your system with a sweeping program (like Onyx)?
     
  22. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a

    JHUFrank

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #22
    Just downloaded the pdf and it looks great and is very fast on my rMBP late 13 model. I also produce and use a lot of pdfs, and my macbook has no issues at all with them. I use Acrobat mainly, but preview for quick looks.
     
  23. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #23
    PDFs are fine for me in Preview. I uninstalled Adobe Reader because it looked terrible on my
    Retina display. They're pretty choppy in Chrome so I download them to look at in Preview.
     
  24. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #24
    Exactly. Reader does not render well. I use Preview and Papers and have had zero performance/lag issues reading pdf's daily for research. Occasionally I come across a poorly coded(?) pdf and exporting it as a pdf generally fixes the problem (something to do with compression etc.). Perhaps the op and others are actually reading scanned images of papers from non-digital journals. These files can be quite large and lag somewhat when zooming and fast-scrolling.
     
  25. mentaluproar macrumors 68000

    mentaluproar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    #25
    You're scrolling it wrong.

    Kidding aside, I've never had an issue with PDFs on my macs. The built-in PDF software is actually very good.
     

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