How to Fix Photoshop Not Responding on Mac: Troubleshooting Guide

Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing software programs, relied upon by professionals and amateurs alike. However, nothing is more frustrating than when the program freezes or shows the dreaded “not responding” message. If you’re a Mac user facing this issue, don’t worry – this troubleshooting guide will provide you with the essential tips and tricks to fix Photoshop not responding on your Mac, allowing you to get back to editing your photos with ease.

1. Common causes of Photoshop not responding on Mac

Photoshop not responding on Mac can be a frustrating issue that hinders your productivity. Before diving into troubleshooting steps, it’s essential to understand the common causes behind this problem. Firstly, outdated software can lead to compatibility issues between Photoshop and your operating system. Additionally, insufficient system resources, such as low RAM or storage space, can cause Photoshop to freeze or become unresponsive.

Another common cause is corrupted preferences or settings. These can occur due to improper shutdowns, power outages, or even software bugs. Furthermore, a cluttered cache or temporary files can slow down Photoshop, making it unresponsive.

Conflicts with third-party plugins and extensions can also be responsible for this issue. If Photoshop freezes or crashes after installing or updating a plugin, it may be incompatible or not properly installed.

Lastly, if the Photoshop application files are damaged or missing, you may experience unresponsiveness. In such cases, repairing or reinstalling Photoshop can often resolve the problem.

Understanding these common causes will help guide you through the troubleshooting process to fix Photoshop not responding on your Mac.

Checking system requirements and updates

Adobe Photoshop is a robust software that requires specific system requirements to function properly on your Mac. Before troubleshooting any issues with Photoshop not responding, it is crucial to ensure that your system meets these requirements and that you have installed the necessary updates.

Firstly, verify that your Mac meets the minimum hardware requirements for running Photoshop. Ensure that your processor, RAM, and available disk space are compatible with the software. Additionally, check if your Mac’s operating system version is compatible with the version of Photoshop you are using.

Next, make sure that you have installed the latest updates for both Photoshop and your Mac’s operating system. Updates often incorporate bug fixes, performance enhancements, and compatibility improvements, all of which can address issues that may be causing Photoshop to freeze or become unresponsive.

To check for updates, launch the Creative Cloud application and navigate to the “Apps” tab. Look for any available updates for Photoshop and install them. Additionally, visit the Mac App Store and install any pending updates for your operating system.

By confirming that your Mac meets the system requirements and ensuring that you have the latest updates installed, you can eliminate potential compatibility issues and improve the overall stability of Photoshop on your Mac.

3. Troubleshooting Photoshop preferences and settings

When Photoshop stops responding on your Mac, it could be due to problematic preferences or settings. To troubleshoot this issue, you need to reset or modify certain Photoshop preferences and settings.

Start by launching Photoshop and immediately pressing and holding the Shift + Option + Command keys until the program finishes loading. This will prompt a dialog box asking if you want to delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings file. Click “Yes” to reset all preferences to their default settings.

If resetting preferences doesn’t resolve the issue, you can try modifying specific settings. Go to the “Preferences” menu under the “Photoshop” tab and navigate through different options to identify potential culprits. For example, disabling certain GPU settings or adjusting scratch disk allocation may help solve the problem.

Additionally, ensure that your Photoshop version is up to date, as Adobe frequently releases updates to address bugs and improve compatibility. Go to the “Help” tab and click on “Updates” to install any available updates for Photoshop.

By troubleshooting Photoshop preferences and settings, you can often resolve the unresponsiveness issue and regain smooth functionality on your Mac.

4. Clearing cache and temporary files

Clearing cache and temporary files can often resolve issues with Photoshop not responding on Mac. When Photoshop runs, it creates temporary files and stores them in cache folders. Over time, these files can accumulate and cause the software to slow down or become unresponsive.

To clear the cache and temporary files in Photoshop on a Mac, follow these steps:
1. Close Photoshop and any other Adobe software.
2. Open Finder and go to the “Go” menu. Select “Go to Folder” and type “~/Library/Caches/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop [version]”.
3. Delete all the files and folders in this directory.
4. Next, go to “~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop [version]” and delete all the contents.
5. Restart your Mac.
6. Relaunch Photoshop to check if the issue has been resolved.

Clearing the cache and temporary files in Photoshop can often free up valuable space and improve performance. It is recommended to regularly clear these files to prevent any potential issues.

5. Optimizing Mac performance for Photoshop usage

When Photoshop stops responding on your Mac, it could be due to the lack of system resources. To optimize your Mac’s performance for Photoshop usage, follow these steps:

a) Close unnecessary applications: Quit any other applications running in the background to free up memory and CPU resources for Photoshop.

b) Update macOS: Make sure your Mac is running the latest version of macOS. System updates often include bug fixes and performance improvements that can enhance Photoshop’s responsiveness.

c) Check storage space: Ensure that your Mac has enough free disk space. Photoshop requires a considerable amount of disk space for temporary files and caching.

d) Adjust scratch disk settings: Photoshop uses a scratch disk to store temporary files. Go to Photoshop Preferences > Scratch Disks and ensure that the scratch disk with the most available space is selected.

e) Increase RAM allocation: If your Mac has sufficient RAM, go to Photoshop Preferences > Performance and increase the Memory Allocation available for Photoshop. This will prevent the software from running out of memory when editing large files.

By following these steps, you can optimize your Mac’s performance for Photoshop and minimize the occurrence of the “Photoshop not responding” issue.

6. Resolving conflicts with third-party plugins and extensions

When Photoshop is not responding on your Mac, it could be due to conflicts with third-party plugins and extensions. These additional tools can enhance the functionality of Photoshop, but they can also cause instability issues.

To fix this problem, start by identifying the plugins and extensions you have installed. Disable them one by one and check if Photoshop starts responding. If the issue is resolved after disabling a particular plugin or extension, it is likely causing the conflict.

To disable a plugin or extension, navigate to the “Plug-ins” or “Extensions” folder within the Photoshop installation directory and move the corresponding file(s) to a different folder.

If you cannot determine which plugin or extension is responsible for the problem, you can try a step-by-step reinstallation. Remove all plugins and extensions from the Photoshop folder and add them back one by one, testing Photoshop’s responsiveness after each addition.

Remember to keep your plugins and extensions updated, as outdated versions can also lead to compatibility issues and make Photoshop unresponsive. Always download plugins and extensions from trusted sources to minimize the risk of conflicts.

Repairing or Reinstalling Photoshop on Mac

When all else fails and Photoshop is still not responding on your Mac, repairing or reinstalling the software can often resolve the issue. This subheading focuses on the steps you can take to fix Photoshop by either repairing or reinstalling the application.

Repairing Photoshop involves using the built-in repair feature to fix any corrupt or damaged files that may be causing the application to become unresponsive. This process will examine and repair any errors within Photoshop without resulting in any loss of personal settings or documents.

If repairing Photoshop does not solve the problem, then a complete reinstallation may be necessary. This subheading outlines the steps to fully uninstall Photoshop from your Mac and then reinstall it to ensure a clean installation and eliminate any underlying issues.

Ensuring that you have a backup of any necessary files before proceeding is important, as a reinstallation will remove all custom settings and preferences. However, a fresh installation often resolves any stubborn issues, ultimately leading to a responsive and efficient Photoshop experience on your Mac.

8. Seeking further assistance and advanced troubleshooting options

If you have followed all the previous steps and still can’t get Photoshop to respond on your Mac, it might be time to seek further assistance. There are several options available for advanced troubleshooting that can help resolve the issue.

One option is to visit the Adobe Support website, where you can search for solutions to common Photoshop problems. The website offers a vast database of articles, tutorials, and community forums where you can find help from other users experiencing similar issues.

Another option is to contact Adobe Support directly. You can reach them through phone or live chat, depending on your subscription plan. The support team can guide you through specific troubleshooting steps and provide personalized assistance to get Photoshop up and running again.

If necessary, you can also consider reaching out to Mac technical support for help. Apple offers various support options, including online chat, phone support, or scheduling an appointment at the Apple Store.

Remember, it’s crucial to provide as much detail as possible about the issue you’re facing to ensure a faster and more effective resolution.


1. Why is Photoshop not responding on my Mac?

There can be several reasons for Photoshop not responding on a Mac. It could be due to compatibility issues with the Mac operating system, lack of available system resources, corrupt application files, or conflicts with other software or plug-ins.

2. What can I do if Photoshop is not responding on my Mac?

If you encounter the issue of Photoshop not responding on your Mac, try the following troubleshooting steps:
a) Restart your Mac and relaunch Photoshop.
b) Make sure your Photoshop and Mac operating system are up to date.
c) Check if there are any conflicting software or plug-ins and disable them.
d) Reset Photoshop preferences by holding down Shift+Option+Command while launching Photoshop.
e) Disable the Graphics Processor in Photoshop preferences and check if the issue persists.
f) If nothing works, reinstall Photoshop on your Mac.

3. Can insufficient system resources cause Photoshop to become unresponsive?

Yes, insufficient system resources like RAM or hard drive space can cause Photoshop to become unresponsive on a Mac. When Photoshop doesn’t have enough memory or storage to perform its tasks, it may freeze or crash. It’s recommended to ensure that your Mac has enough available memory and disk space for Photoshop to function smoothly.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, encountering the issue of Photoshop not responding on a Mac can be frustrating, but by following the troubleshooting steps mentioned in this guide, users can easily address and resolve the problem. Starting with basic fixes like checking system requirements and updating software, users can proceed to more advanced solutions such as resetting preferences and using Activity Monitor to force quit unresponsive processes. By employing these techniques, Mac users can ensure a smooth and uninterrupted Photoshop experience.

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