Is your Final Cut library running super slow? No worries, it happens to all of us. Whether it be your trash is full, you don’t have enough space on your hard drive and or computer, too many programs are running, etc. There are a ton of reasons as to why Final Cut Pro can be running less than optimal for you and your project. No worries, though. In this article, we will be talking about a few reasons as to why your Final Cut Pro library can be running at a much slower speed than is necessary.

Why Is Final Cut Pro Lagging

Why Is Final Cut Pro Lagging

There are obviously so many reasons as to why Final Cut can be running slowly. I would never never try to say that this article can fix all of your problems. Coming from someone who has tech issues constantly, everything is nuanced. What I can do, though, is at least give some advice for making your Final Cut Pro library run a little bit smoother.

Optimize Your Computer Storage Space

I know, I know. This is a “did you restart your computer” situation. Most of the time, we have all done multiple steps, and things just don’t work. I’ve been there many times, and I feel your pain. But it doesn’t hurt to run through these steps. Check your computer space because, more often than not, we download random things, save big files, don’t empty our trash as much as we should, etc. Worst of all, end up with a huge section in our storage labeled “System Data.” This could be a huge suck on your computer which will cause Final Cut to run slowly.

Why Is Final Cut Pro Lagging

Use Proxy or Optimized Media

Before we get into this, it’s important to talk about the difference between proxy and optimized media. In Final Cut Pro, proxy media and optimized media are two types of media that can be used to improve editing performance and efficiency.

Proxy Media

Proxy media is a lower-resolution version of your original media that is created for faster playback and editing. This is particularly useful for working with high-resolution media such as 4K or 8K footage, which can be demanding on your computer’s processing power. By using proxy media, you can work with your footage more smoothly and quickly and then switch back to the original media for the final output.

Optimized Media

Optimized media is a high-quality version of your original media that has been transcoded to a format optimized for editing in Final Cut Pro. This is useful when working with media formats that are not natively supported by Final Cut Pro or when you want to apply certain effects that require more processing power. Optimized media typically requires more storage space than proxy media, but it provides a higher level of quality and is better suited for final output.

To put it simply, proxy media is a lower-resolution version of your original media used for faster editing, while optimized media is a high-quality version of your original media that is optimized for editing in Final Cut Pro. Both can be used to improve editing performance and efficiency depending on your needs and the demands of your project.

Either way, using optimized or proxy media will give you a lot faster of a render time and is a great way to speed up your computer.

You can create optimized or proxy media by your import settings. As soon as you hit, Command + i or File > Import > Media. You can then select “Create optimized media or Create proxy media.” Final Cut will then create different versions of your footage.

Why Is Final Cut Pro Lagging - Create optimized media

This can also be super helpful if you change your timeline resolution to a lower quality for edit.

Adjust Your Background Rendering

I will disclose this very quickly. This sounds like a nice idea, but the main reason why some of us use Final Cut is to have it auto-render. If you aren’t sure what this feature does, to put it simply, it saves your project and edits as you work. While this might not sound like a huge deal to some, it has been a game changer when we are working on tight turnaround times. Not only that, but we never have to worry about Final Cut crashing, as any software does, because it is constantly rendering in the background.

Meaning that if Final Cut crashes, and you forgot to save your project, not all of your work is lost. A downside of this is that it’s possible to get multiple pinwheels as you edit. That is why I recommend using optimized or proxy media. But you have to weigh the pros and cons. Final Cut doesn’t always pinwheel. This mostly happens when you are working with large footage.

 I often let my project render while I do some other tasks. Whether that be laundry, making food, cleaning anything in this house, or organizing parts of my desktop. Let’s be honest, all of our desktops with screenshots, random downloads, and saving projects can get kind of messy. But you rarely have to wait for Final Cut to do this if you are using proxy or optimized media.

To stop rendering in the background is by going to File > Preferences> Uncheck Background render this will stop your rendering in the background.

Final Cut Pro Lagging - Uncheck Background

Make Sure All of Your Footage is on OneDrive

Please try your best to have all of your assets, footage, audio, sfx, vfx, all on one drive. If you have your computer and or Final Cut, try to pull information from more than one source, you are asking for Final Cut to be a dinosaur. Not the cool one either.

Close Other Programs

Believe me, I would love to have all of my life work running at the same time. ADHD anyone? But the truth is, this could be slowing down your computer. Before you run Final Cut Pro, make sure you only have programs open that will BENEFIT YOU WHILE EDITING. Otherwise, you might as well open Final Cut in the 1950s. It just doesn’t suit our needs right now.

Delete Your Trash

I really didn’t want to make this its own section, but it rings true. Sometimes, deleting your trash, whether Final Cut is pulling that information from your trash or not, will speed up your rendering and your workflow.  

Update Your Computer

Keeping your Mac updated is essential for maintaining optimal computer speeds. Operating system updates often include improvements to the performance and stability of your device, as well as security patches to protect against potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, application updates can also help to optimize performance by fixing bugs and improving compatibility with the latest operating system version. By keeping your Mac up-to-date, you can ensure that it is running smoothly and efficiently, which can save you time and frustration in the long run. Updating your Mac is a simple yet effective way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your computer.

Other Final Cut Pro Resources

If you are knee deep in a Final Cut Pro edit, then these other FCP resources may help you out:


I hope some of these fixes will help your Final Cut to run a little bit smoother. I wish that we could just live our lives and have a tech run the way we want it to. Unfortunately, that will never be the case. Let me know in the comments if any of these steps have worked for you or if you have any other advice! Happy filmmaking!