Tips and Tricks

How to Fix Photoshop “Scratch Disks Are Full” Error on Mac

Wondering what you can do when you encounter Photoshop “Scratch disk full” error on your Mac? If you visit any forum of the Photoshop community, you may notice that this annoying issue is very common for both Mac and PC users who often complain that it interrupts their workflow. So how do you fix it?

In this article, you’ll find easy tips on how to quickly resolve this problem using proven techniques and keep your Mac clean.

Why Does Photoshop Show Scratch Disk Full Error on Mac ?

Photoshop Show Scratch Disk Full Error

Before we start explaining the solutions, it would be useful to have at least a general idea of what a scratch disk is and why scratch disk full errors happen.

By default, apps use your Mac’s RAM to store their temporary files. But large intensive apps like Photoshop use space on a hard drive as virtual memory to store extra data when there is not enough RAM to complete a certain task. This available space on HDD or SSD is called scratch disk.

When you see a “Scratch disk full” error, it may mean that your HDD or SSD used as the scratch disk has not enough storage space, which is necessary to complete a particular process. That may happen when you are working on heaving projects likelarge-sized images and multiple layers when Photoshop creates a lot of temp files and eats ups storage space within your system. And if you often force-quit the program, you may have tons of temp system files that Photoshop stores for you because it can’t close projects so quickly.

Keep in mind that you can choose a drive to assign scratch disks, and it is generally recommended not to use your system drive for that purpose. You should have at least 25 GB of free storage space on the Mac system drive when you work with Photoshop.

What Can You Do to Fix This Error?

There are different effective and simple methods to fix scratch disk-related errors on Mac. Let’s discuss each solution in detail.

Clear Photoshop Cache

Clear Photoshop Cache

You can use a built-in Photoshop solution to remove cache files that may occupy a significant amount of space on your Mac if left unattended and cause numerous issues. Follow these steps to remove cache files.

  • Open Photoshop and press the Edit menu button.
  • When you hover your mouse over Purge, you’ll several different options: Clipboard, All, Undo, Histories. If any of these caches is greyed out, that means that it was deleted earlier.
  • Select a specific item you would like to remove or select All to get rid of all caches.
  • You will see a warning that the purge can’t be undone. If you are sure want to clear all caches, press the OK button.

Get Rid of Temporary Files

If temporary files are not deleted, they can occupy huge space on your Mac and be the reason why you see the scratch disk full error. So you can search for them manually and delete them, although it may take some time.

You should open the Finder window and look for files that have the extension “.tmp.” Photoshop files always begin with “pst”, so you need to find everything that meets these parameters. And you can seek temp files on a scratch disk, but to ensure that you delete everything. It’s better to search them on your entire computer. You should delete as many temporary files as you can find.

Read More: How do you forget a network on a mac

Clear and Optimize Your Disk Space

choose the Storage tab in photoshop

Storage space is the major cause of scratch disk errors. So a good idea is to free up some space by deleting old and unnecessary files.

  • Open the Apple menu and select About This Mac.
  • Then choose the Storage tab.
  • Press Manage to clear and optimize the disk space.

You can transfer some of your files to your cloud storage account or an external drive. Besides, you can remove large files that you don’t need, tidy your desktop, and empty the Trash bin.

Change Your Scratch Disk

You can also solve the problem by changing your scratch disk to another hard drive or SSD drive in your system. You should choose preferences in the Photoshop menu and then select Scratch Disks. Tick the checkbox to pick the external drive you want to use and press OK to save the changes. Finally, restart Photoshop.

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