I don't know what Adobe has done to my precious Illustrator over the past couple years, but it's virtually unusable at this point. File sizes are insanely large even if the artboards are empty, and even the smallest of tweaks results in a beachball and force quit. My workflow at this point is virtually nonexistent. After 25 loyal years I think it's finally time for me to move on to Affinity.
I'm not sure whether you're making an observation or looking for help, but if the latter you haven't given anyone much to go on. What is your system setup? Have you tested to see if any other apps that may be running might be affecting performance? Do you have plugins installed? Questionable fonts? What does "insanely large" mean in concrete terms? Besides empty artboards, what do your files contain - lots of pattern swatches, symbols, complex brushes? At what point did Illustrator become unusable for you? What else had changed besides your updates to Illustrator? What "smallest of tweaks" are you making to what sorts of objects that are causing problems?
Since not everyone is experiencing this kind of difficulty at least parts of the problem may be stuff you can fix, but no one can help you resolve the issues without some specific information.
I was making an observation out of frustration. I spent an hour with Adobe customer support today who was a combination of incredibly condescending and completely unhelpful, and I needed to vent. If you're able to provide some much-needed insight, here are the details:
I'm on a 2017 MacBook Pro, 2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 running Big Sur 11.3. I was using Illustrator 25.2.1 and getting a beachball whenever I did anything, from moving one word of type on a blank canvas to attempting to copy/paste a small vector icon from another artboard. This has been happening progressively more and more over the past year or so, and today I had to force quit Illustrator a dozen times. At one point I created a new file with 20 empty artboards, and my fan started blowing. I saved it, and the completely empty file was over a gig in size. Safe to say this shouldn't be happening.
I uninstalled open fonts and removed third party plugins (from Astute Graphics)... didn't help. I don't have any specialized brushes or symbols, so that wasn't the issue either. Adobe support claimed it was a MacOS issue, even though every other application I use runs just fine and dandy other than Illustrator, so I'm reluctant to believe that diagnosis. I went back down to an older 2020 version of Illustrator, and most (not all) of the issues went away. But the sluggishness is still completely unacceptable.
Last thing to note: I've been using Illustrator professionally on a daily basis for the past 25 years. Just throwing this out there so you know I'm not a novice. I can easily detect even the smallest of hiccups with the application.
Thank you for any help you're willing to offer... I sincerely appreciate it!
That empty file with a filesize of more than 1 GB is really suspicious. You are sure that there are no graphic styles or symbols? The harddisk is OK - a corrupt file system might also create this kind of thing.
Stuff that generally irritates Illustrator:
- automatic graphic card detection (if you have multiple, an eGPU or the like)
- the browser Chrome running (it eats memory)
- the dictation feature
I suppose you did the obvious already: resetting the preferences? creating a new user account on the Mac and launching into it? Just recently this solved issues for another person. It's rare, but user accounts can go corrupt.
And as always, apart from Peter's questions, it may be useful if you were telling which version of Illustrator you are using.