How to Speed Up Eclipse on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

If you've been experiencing horrendous performance of Eclipse on OS X, or maybe you even did not know that Eclipse actually can run very fast, you'd be surprised to learn that apparently it is very easy to make Eclipse run 4-5 times faster  on OS X with proper settings to your eclipse.ini file.

First I will give you a bit of  background. If you want the gist of it or how to make it fly - just go the end of the post.  So a few days ago, PSU fried on my main desktop development machine. It is a newer Quad Core i5 2.6 machine with 4GB 1066Mhz memory and a standard 7200 RPM drive. Since the machine is dead and I am waiting for a replacement power supply, I had to move to my new and shiny MacBook Pro, which I have recently purchased and which is from the latest batch of the updated MacBooks and is quite powerful. It is also i5 (only dual core though) with the same 4GB of 1066Mhz memory and 5400 HD.

So, yeah, I would say that the systems are pretty close right. Nevertheless, working with Eclipse on OS X felt horrendously slow! I had already noticed this nuance in the past and I thought that the Eclipse is just not meant to fly on Mac-s (oh well...), especially when there are so many different distributions for OS X, it signals that the project is in a shifting phase basically (it is shifting from Carbon to Cocoa) and that you should expect all kinds of problems.

I bet many people not having experience with Eclipse on other platforms would think this is normal. It's Java, so it is supposed to be slow and they just go and hate it and sing how X-Code is great. The thing is, they probably never experienced the full potential of Eclipse - a pity. Hopefully this post can change your mind and help you experience the wonderful world of Eclipse (ok, I am being a little dramatic here). Ok, let's dive into that.


Since I am pretty heavy user of Eclipse [intlink id="75" type="post"]developing both for Android and BlackBerry[/intlink] the slowness of Eclipse quickly grew on me and I started looking for ways to try and do something about it.


In the past while experiencing slowness with Eclipse on Windows, I played with the memory allocation within it to increase the memory cap and this usually helped a bit. Being desperate, I decided to try that and off I went to try that. But, that was not so easy. I wandered a bit around the eclipse folder looking for the location of the eclipse.ini but it was nowhere to be found. So I tried searching for it - nop, no luck there as well.

Apparently eclipse.ini is packaged inside the eclipse app so what you need to do is to get inside the package

after that edit eclipse.ini which you will find in Contents->MacOS folder and increase the memory limits for the following directives:


replace the *** with whatever memory you think should work for you as a rule of the thumb, just try to double it at first.

While this is good, this is NOT what will actually make your Eclipse fly. The most important part here is the:


now, you have to switch that to 1.6 and make it


Now THAT will make your Eclipse really shine! Just make sure you actually HAVE the JDK 1.6 installed. You can validate this by running "java -version" in the terminal. If you got 10.6 - Snow Leopard though, you are most likely covered.

If you already had that in the eclipse.ini file - well, unfortunately this already has been optimized for you and the only thing you can try from there that we know of is to play with the memmory limits.

If you know any other tips and tricks, please let me know in the comments!