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Slow startup (all Affinity apps)


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Since at least a couple of weeks, I've noticed the Affinity apps start really slowly. I've attached a video that shows what happens after I click the Affinity Designer icon in the dock.

Timeline:

  • Click app at ~3s in, icon starts bouncing
  • Splash screen shows at ~31s
  • Full UI is available at ~33s

A loading time of ~28s seems excessive. And I remember how fast it used to start, so this feels really painful. Does anybody know what is going?

Some context:

  • I rebooted just before I recoded this. Only a few basic apps were open, mostly without windows or files.
  • My machine: 16" MBP, 2.3GHz Core i9, 32GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB, 1TB SSD (of which >70% free).
  • I've randomly chosen Designer for this video. Photo and Publisher react similarly.

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Hi Andrew

Welcome to the forums.

Is the slow launch time only on first open or is it each open? Please could you tell me which version of Mac OS you are using?

Thanks

C

Please tag me using @ in your reply so I can be sure to respond ASAP.

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I have a same issue with MacOS Big Sur 11.0.1 

Nom du modèle : MacBook Pro

Identifiant du modèle : MacBookPro16,1

Nom du processeur : Intel Core i9 8 cœurs

Vitesse du processeur : 2,3 GHz

Nombre de processeurs : 1

Nombre total de cœurs : 8

Cache de niveau 2 (par cœur) : 256 Ko

Cache de niveau 3 : 16 Mo

Technologie Hyper-Threading : Activé

Mémoire : 16 Go

Thierry N

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@Scubapro

Welcome to the Serif affinity forums :) 

28 minutes ago, Scubapro said:

I installed the Beta 1.9 versions and I have no problem with slow startup.

This shows us that this has been directly caused by a (security?) check that Apple have put onto the Mac App Store at least as often as each run after a computer restart. Serif are still looking into what we can do about this, but this seems to be a direct consequence of a change Apple have made for Big Sur and the mac app store specifically, as otherwise identical builds from the Serif Store do not have this pause when you start them. Other universal applications are apparently affected less than ours (I am told), but if we released the 1.9.0 beta tomorrow to the Mac App Store, then that same binary would do this slow start also, so the speed of the beta is only useful to understand that the problem lies with new Apple processes. It may go away in a Big Sur update.

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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A couple of follow-up questions:

  • When new info becomes available, will it be shared in this thread? Or how can I best stay in the loop?
  • Your explanation would mean every single Big Sur user has this issue with universal App Store binaries to some degree, which seems impossible. I just started a few of such apps and their launch is instantaneous. I would think it has something to do with the way Serif apps do things. Of course I have no idea what's happening behind the scenes, so if there's anything you can tell me to help me understand what's going on, I'm listening.
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On 12/16/2020 at 3:42 PM, Patrick Connor said:

Other universal applications are apparently affected less than ours (I am told) ...

Well it might also depend on changes for the usage/notarization of third party libs here, or code signatures. - However, usually I would expect that Apple can monitor and profile too on it's side of transfer (for App Store apps) where possible delays might occur from. So some Apple dev might be able to collaborate and give here some insights from their monitored side.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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1 hour ago, Andrew Berth said:

Your explanation would mean every single Big Sur user has this issue with universal App Store binaries to some degree, which seems impossible. I just started a few of such apps and their launch is instantaneous. I would think it has something to do with the way Serif apps do things.

I have explained as best I know, and I agree there is some inconsistency in what I said re some other apps and yet we do know that our non-app-store version is identical and yet starts quickly.

1 hour ago, Andrew Berth said:

When new info becomes available, will it be shared in this thread? Or how can I best stay in the loop?

I am awaiting more feedback from the developers and will come back and report progress again here (unless it just clears itself up in an OS update)

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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I have just done a kind of comparative benchmark with different photo editing programs I a have (though I don’t necessarily use them all). It was not very scientifically done as it was me with a chronometer, starting to count when double-clicking the icon to trigger the program and stopping when the program was fully opened (which can’t be considered as a very exact parameter, so give or take to the measurements a few seconds). My laptop computer is a bit outdated I guess, but maybe valid (or maybe not) anyway for doing some kind of comparison.

Not that I care much if a program takes some time to initiate, I do mind how it performs after that. If a program takes more than a minute to start, I might go and use the time to make myself a coffee.

Affinity Photo:                                     54 seconds (12 seconds if closed and opened again)
PhotoPLus x8:                                    25 seconds
DxO PhotoLab 3:                                55 seconds
Capture One Express for Sony:           1 minute and 14 seconds
Corel PaintShop Pro:                           53 seconds
ACDSee Ultimate (for the browser): 18 seconds
Sony’s Imaging Edge Edit:                    5 seconds
Topaz Labs Studio 2:                          59 seconds
RawTherapee:                                      22 seconds

I don’t really mind if a program takes a few more seconds to start (specially if being for the first time after rebooting). But I know that lots of people do. Is it that important? RawTherapee (which I downloaded and installed to see how it was) starts for me in only 22 seconds whilst DxO PhotoLab takes more than the double time, but I wouldn’t stop using DxO’s in behalf of RawTherapee just for that (no way), I don’t even consider how long a program takes to open to judge it (but that is me of course).

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is also an issue on Windows 10. I only have 1 plugin (FilterForge10) and AF was also slow starting without the plugin.

Is this an issue with loading the fonts/macros/brushes? After starting Affinity Photo I see100% load on one core and the load is jumping around from one core to another random core, every half or full second (I have 16 on my AMD CPU). This slowness is a problem during every fresh AP start.

It seems to be some kind of background task, as the UI shows up and I can do a few clicks or open the file dialog, and then right inbetween stuff AP gets reaaally slow and laggy, also the whole PC stalls somehow. Even opening Task Manager is greatly delayed.

I can see no intense usage of GPU/CPU/Network/Memory or drives (all pretty new SSDs) except the 1 core being at 100% for like 30-45 seconds. Are the Affinity apps maybe probing network drives or something?

 

And it's not my PC: Win10 Pro/64bit (latest patchlevel), AMD Ryzen 3800X, 64GB RAM, nVidia RTX 3080, Force MP600 NVMe SSD, 2x Samsung 870 QVO 4TB SSD.

The Affinity apps are all installed on the fastest NVMe SSD.

 

Sure there is a workaround... open it only once in the morning and then only minimize it. But still there must be a cause for that. And it is rather annoying of you want to "just quickly edit a small photo" ...

Edited by Tillerz
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  • 1 month later...

I'm still seeing very slow Affinity Photo (latest app store version) initial launch times on Big Sur 11.2.1. Here are my timings on a 27" Retina 5k iMac (Late 2015) with 4GHz i7 processor, 32GB RAM and 512GB SSD:

Affinity Photo: 22 seconds 
Adobe Photoshop: 10 seconds

Second launch is definitely faster: 

Affinity Photo: 3.0 seconds 
Adobe Photoshop: 2.5 seconds

But since I don't use either app frequently, the initial load time is what's most noticable.  So when I need to open one for quick bitmap editing, I choose Photoshop since it loads so much faster. Twenty-two seconds feels like an eternity with Affinity Photo. Yeah, I know, first-world problems! 😜

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Hi @Bikr,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Thanks for your feedback. We are investigating these issues. Meanwhile, duplicate the Affinity Photo.app file, delete or the original app file to something else, then rename the duplicated app file (remove "copy" from its name) and launch the app. This seems to fix the slow start/bouncing until we find out what's causing the issue.

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Well, on PC it seems to load stuff on startup, one big chunk are the fonts apparently. 99% of the time I do not use any fonts at all. And then WHEN I do, it's usually one of my 'favourite' fonts... maybe Photo can only load THESE by default and load the other fonts only on demand? Slowing down the startup of the app for 40 seconds or something for a nice font preview in the fonts dropdown is not reasonable.

Also maybe this is something that could use parallel processing. As already written I see the usage of 1 full core which is jumping around from one core on the CPU to the next until the app responds again. There is a minimum of SSD access visible.

But I wonder what makes the whole PC VERY slow in response during that time. It's only one core. There's lots of memory, there is zero traffic on network and like almost no access to the SSD (which is a super fast one, btw.) Somehow that loading process for fonts and whatever it is loading (brushes?) must hit a bottleneck somewhere

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Hi @PeterSvancar,
Welcome to Affinity Forums :)
Please follow the steps described in my post above here. Or basically create a duplicate of the Affinity Photo.app file located in the Applications folder somewhere else (for example in the desktop Desktop) then drag the duplicate back to the Applications folder to overwrite the original app file. The duplicate should start as fast as it used to be.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FYI: I have all three Affinity apps, all of which were purchased directly from Affinity, and not through the App Store. Yet, I too have been having enormous wait times when launching Photo. I have begun also to suspect Big Sur may be at least partially responsible, as I feel some slowness in other activities on the iMac since upgrading. I will try the method mentioned above (duping the app) to see how it affects the launch time. In the meantime, thanks all for this discussion. 

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@MEB

From a number of reports it seems this work around may have been "blocked" by a recent macOS update, so it's no longer a suitable work-around. It was surprising that making a copy worked anyway, and if Apple have spotted the mistake and blocked it then that would seem logical, as all applications should be security checked.

Readers,

We are working with Apple on this and having another look at why they are treating our application in a way as to not trust it each time the application is started after the machine restarts. We hope we have a possible solution and will try it internally. Rest assured we are working hard on solving this problem. 

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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2 hours ago, StuartM said:

This delete and copy trick did not work for me, I'm on a 2019 iMac running catalina, opened just as slowly when i overrode the original  This is so so bad I would currently not recommend anyone to get Affinity Photo 

Not quite fair, @StuartM.  You might instead recommend that people buy Affinity Photo directly from Serif, rather than the Mac App Store.  My versions of Photo, Designer, and Publisher always open within 2-3 seconds each and every time with Big Sur on my MacBook Pro with the M1 chip.   They take a little bit longer with my iMac and High Sierra, but nothing to complain about.  Just enough time to have a quick sip of tea.  The problem lies with Apple, not with Serif.    


24" iMAC Apple M1 chip, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16 GB unified memory, 1 TB SSD storage, Big Sur v. 11.6.5.  Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Publisher 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5
MacBook Pro 13" 2020, Apple M1 chip, 16GB unified memory, 256GB  SSD storage
,  Big Sur v. 11.6.5.   Affinity Publisher 1.10.5, Affinity Photo 1.10.5, Affinity Designer 1.10.5
21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display MacOS High Sierra v. 10.13.6.  Memory 8 GB, 1TB Fusion Drive: Affinity Publisher 1.8.4, Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4
 iPad Pro 12.9 2020 (4th Gen. IOS 15.6); Apple pencil.  Wired and bluetooth mice and keyboards.9_9

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was excited to see the 1.9.2 updates show up in the App Store, but unfortunately, they don't fix the problem. 😔 

But at least the workaround (copying application file and deleting original) still worked for me.

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