Photoshop Elements on M1 Macs: A Compatibility Guide

The arrival of Apple's M1 chip revolutionized Mac performance, leaving many wondering: Will Photoshop Elements run on these new machines? The answer, like many things in technology, is a bit nuanced and depends on various factors. Let's delve into the compatibility question and explore your options when using Photoshop Elements on M1 Macs.

Officially Supported Versions:

  • Yes, Adobe officially supports Photoshop Elements 2023 on M1 Macs. This means the software is natively optimized for the M1 chip, taking advantage of its superior performance and efficiency. You can expect smooth operation, faster processing, and better battery life compared to running Elements on Intel-based Macs.

Unofficially Supported Versions:

  • Photoshop Elements 2022 technically runs on M1 Macs through Rosetta 2, a translation layer that allows Intel apps to run on Apple silicon. However, this isn't a seamless experience. You might encounter reduced performance, unexpected behaviors, or limitations compared to the native version.

Important Caveats:

  • Specific macOS version matters: While Elements 2023 is M1-native, ensure you're running a compatible macOS version (currently macOS 12 Monterey or later).
  • Check system requirements: Always compare your Mac's specifications and operating system with the official system requirements for the desired Elements version before purchase.

Making an Informed Decision:

So, which version should you choose for your M1 Mac? Here's a breakdown:

  • For optimal performance and future-proofing: Go for Photoshop Elements 2023. Enjoy the benefits of native M1 compatibility and avoid potential issues with Rosetta 2.
  • For budget-conscious users: If Elements 2022 suits your needs and you're comfortable with potentially slight performance dips, running it through Rosetta 2 might be an option. However, be prepared for limitations and potential updates that might drop Rosetta 2 support.

Beyond Compatibility:

Remember, compatibility is just one aspect. Consider these factors too:

  • Your editing needs: Does Elements 2023 offer the features you require?
  • Existing library compatibility: Can you easily migrate your Elements library between versions?
  • Budget and upgrade plans: Is upgrading to the latest version financially viable?

Alternatives to Consider:

While Photoshop Elements remains a popular choice, explore these alternatives, some with native M1 support:

  • Pixelmator Pro: A powerful, M1-native photo editor with similar features to Elements.
  • Affinity Photo: Offers advanced editing tools and native M1 compatibility.
  • GIMP: Open-source free software with extensive editing capabilities, but might require a steeper learning curve.

Staying Informed:

As technology evolves, compatibility details can change. Stay updated by checking:

Ultimately, the decision of whether Photoshop Elements runs on your M1 Mac depends on your specific needs and preferences. Weigh the options, consider alternatives, and choose the solution that best aligns with your editing journey. Happy creating!