Quick Tip: Macbook photoshop running slow? Check your downloads folder

Mar 3, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Quick Tip: Macbook photoshop running slow? Check your downloads folder

Mar 3, 2017

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Here is a quick tip we got from photographer and soundman extraordinaire Matthew Monroe. If Photoshop on your Mac is running slow, or worse, giving you the “scratch disks are full” message, there are things you can do.

Let’s talk about scratch disks for a second: scratch disk is where Photoshop stores information which is too big to store in RAM. This can happen when working with big files, applying complex filters and other instances where your RAM is just not big enough. If you have not made any changes to your default Photoshop installation, there is a good chance that your scratch disk is also your system disc (which is also your documents disc).

The smaller the scratch disk is, the slower Photoshop will run. And if it’s small enough, you will get the infamous “scratch disks are full” error.

Luckily the solution is easy, or at least the immediate front line support. Just free some space on your disk. For Matt, it was the downloads folder which was hogging over 12 GB of disc space.

Here is the incident as Matt describes it:

Quick tech tip if your computer seems to be running a bit low on memory: check your downloads folder.
My MacBook Air had been giving me “low scratch disk” warnings for the past week, and I just couldn’t figure out what was sucking up memory.
And then I decided to open up my downloads folder.
And –– oh my!–– it was a complete and total horror show of base .dmg files (i.e.: compressed installer programs and applications).
Soooooooo… I spent a good fifteen minutes going through and deleting all .dmg files and –– next thing you know –– I opened up 12 GB of memory.
I’m happy. My computer’s happy. Most importantly, Photoshop (which is a huge memory hog) is super happy.
And if you start clearing out that downloads folder, the chances are good you’ll be happy, too.

There are more ways to clear disc memory, like removing temp files, deleting caches and more, you can look here for some ideas.

A long-term solution would be to get a dedicated scratch disc or to use a fast external disc for working on your documents while freeing some space on the main drive.

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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3 responses to “Quick Tip: Macbook photoshop running slow? Check your downloads folder”

  1. Jason Avatar
    Jason

    …seriously, I know were photographers not computer programmers but NOT running a lean, clean computer sounds rather amateurish to me ( kind of like having a terabyte sitting in the trash and wondering why you haven’t any storage space ). Another one is having a million and one icons, folders or documents all sitting on the desktop – this WILL also slow down any computer.

    1. Bronson Graff Avatar
      Bronson Graff

      Curiously, I didn’t realize that having a litany of icons on your desktop would cause trouble. Folders and documents are obviously different, but icons?

  2. ext237 Avatar
    ext237

    I use Hazel. If anything is in my downloads folder or trash for more than a few days, it automatically gets deleted.