Before you get started with one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plans, it’s important to note Photoshops system requirements. That way, you can rest easy knowing that your computer can handle the program and won’t slow you down.

While it’s good to know the requirements for specific software, like Photoshop or Illustrator, it’s great to know what those specifications actually mean. CPU, GPU, and RAM don’t have to be letters with no meaning anymore. Below I’ll break down not only the system requirements but break down what these requirements mean in plain English.

Adobe Photoshop System Requirements For Mac

 MinimumRecommended
ProcessorIntel processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or laterIntel processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
Operating System (OS)macOS Catalina (10.15) or later.macOS Big Sur (11)macOS Catalina (10.15)
RAM8 GB16 GB or more
Graphics CardGPU with Metal support 1.5 GB of GPU memoryGPU with Metal support 4 GB of GPU memory for 4k displays and above
Monitor Resolution1280 x 800 display at 100% UI scaling1920 x 1080 display or greater at 100% UI scaling
Hard Disk Space4 GB of available hard disk space. More space is needed for the initial installation16 GB of available hard disk space. More space is needed for the initial installation. Fast internal SSD for installation. Additional high-speed drive or SSD to set up scratch disks
InternetInternet connection and Adobe registration are needed for software activation and installation. Photoshop can run without access to the internet once installedInternet connection and Adobe registration are needed for software activation and installation. Photoshop can run without access to the internet once installed
 MinimumRecommended
ProcessorARM-based Apple Silicon processorARM-based Apple Silicon processor
Operating System (OS)macOS Big Sur (11.2.2) or latermacOS Big Sur (11.2.2) or later
RAM8 GB16 GB or more
Other Apple Silicon specifications are the same as those listed for Intel

Adobe Photoshop System Requirements For PC

 MinimumRecommended
ProcessorIntel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or laterIntel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
Operating SystemWindows 10 64-bit (1909) or later. LTSC versions are unsupported.Windows 10 64-bit (1909) or later. LTSC versions are unsupported.
RAM8 GB16 GB or more
Graphics CardGPU with DirectX 12 support 1.5 GB of GPU memoryGPU with DirectX 12 support 4 GB of GPU memory for 4k displays and above
Monitor Resolution1280 x 800 display at 100% UI scaling1920 x 1080 display or greater at 100% UI scaling
Hard Disk Space4 GB of available hard disk space. More space is needed for the initial installation16 GB of available hard disk space. More space is needed for the initial installation. Fast internal SSD for installation. Separate internal drive to set up scratch disks
InternetInternet connection and Adobe registration are needed for software activation and installation. Photoshop can run without access to the internet once installedInternet connection and Adobe registration are needed for software activation and installation. Photoshop can run without access to the internet once installed

How To Check Your Computer’s System Specs 

It’s easy to find out if your computer is compatible with Photoshop by checking your system’s specs. Even if you don’t know them off the top of your head, they’re easy to find.

Finding Mac Computer Specs 

On a Mac, click the Apple button found in the top left and click About This Mac

This opens a dialog box with five tabs: Overview, Displays, Storage, Support, and Service.

The Overview tab shows your Mac’s specifications. Here you’ll see what iOS and version your Mac is running, as well as the type of Mac computer you have. Other specifications here are important to note for Photoshop usage, such as processor, graphics card, and memory (RAM).

Next to Overview is the Display tab. This tells you what monitor size and display your Mac is running from. Photoshop requires a minimum of 1280 x 800 with a recommendation of 1920 x 1080.

The Storage tab shows how much storage you’ve used on your Mac and categorizes it into color-coded sections: Apps, Photos, Files, and Other. You can manage your storage by clicking Manage.

This is also where you’ll find how much storage space you have available. Photoshop needs a minimum of 4 GB of free space in order to run efficiently. More free space will ensure it runs without any issues. An external drive can help solve any internal storage issues you face.

Finding PC Computer Specs 

From your Windows PC, click the Windows start button in the Taskbar.

Then in the search bar, type in Settings and select the Settings App to open the settings menu. 

From the settings menu on the left, click System. Then scroll down to the bottom and click on About.

This gives you your system specifications, such as processor, memory (RAM), system type, Windows specifications, and support details.

Important System Specs To Consider For Photoshop

If you’re looking to get a new computer system specifically for using Photoshop, there are some important aspects to consider. While Adobe offers the recommended specs for running Photoshop smoothly, it’s a good idea for you to know what those specs are for and whether you want to go above and beyond with your system. 

1. RAM

RAM memory is different than storage; however, sometimes, it is only listed as Memory and not RAM. It’s easy to get confused with storage. 

RAM stands for Random-Access Memory. This is the memory being used while you are running or using computer software. Photoshop is heavy-duty software that does a lot while it’s in use. This is why it needs at least 8 GB of RAM to function smoothly. The more RAM available, the more apps can run simultaneously.

2. CPU

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, processes instructions. It interprets instructions and executes them to complete your tasks. Without the CPU, you wouldn’t be able to do anything on your computer. The CPU takes your clicks and turns them into actions and results.

3. GPU

The GPU is similar to the CPU, but whereas the CPU is a central unit, the GPU is just for graphics. GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit but is also commonly known as the Graphics Card in computer specs. 

Without the GPU, you would struggle to create anything in Photoshop, Lightroom, or other graphics software. GPU is responsible for rendering graphics and imagery.

4. Disk Space

Having enough disk space on your system will benefit your workflow. Not only does it mean you’ll have places to save your Photoshop projects, but also plenty of disk space helps your system run at optimal speed. 

Even with enough disk space for Photoshop’s minimum requirements — 4 GB — your system will lag, freeze, or sometimes have issues with the scratch disk in Photoshop. So while Photoshop can and will run with only 4 GB of free space, it’s much better to have as much space as possible. 

Utilizing external drives or cloud storage are great ways to help with freeing space on your system.  

Do Photoshop And Illustrator Have The Same System Requirements?

Most of the system requirements to run Photoshop for both macOS and Windows are the same, but there are some small differences. Using Illustrator on Mac requires the same minimum operating system as Photoshop, although it is recommended to use Monterey macOS for Illustrator. For Windows, the requirements are the same: Windows 10, no later than version 1909.

RAM requirements are the same for Photoshop and Illustrator, whether you’re running a Mac or a PC. The GPU — graphics card — also has the same minimum requirements. However, it is recommended to have 4 GB GPU for Windows, whereas Mac is only recommended for 2 GB — lower than the recommendation for Photoshop. 

To use Illustrator, you don’t need as much free space needed for running Photoshop. For Mac, you’ll need 3 GB free disk space, but for PC, it’s only required to have 2 GB free disk space. Although to take my earlier recommendation, it is best to have more than the minimum required if you want a stress-free work process. 

While some of the requirements for Illustrator differ from those for Photoshop, if your system meets the requirements for Photoshop, it has already exceeded the requirements to install and run Illustrator.

Once you’ve checked that your computer can handle running Photoshop, it’s time to get started with one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plans. I share the best ways to buy Photoshop here to guarantee you save money in the process!