Photoshop Crashes Unexpectedly on Mac

Large file? Can’t save it? Not sure which button you just hit and Photoshop just crashes? What went wrong? It all depends. This is a typical message that you see when Photoshop crashes. 

Note: the crashes happened in Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 Mac version. Windows or other versions might work differently.

I ran into the same problem a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t seem to find the reason. After researching and trying out new ways, I found the solution. 

In this article, I’m going to show you why Photoshop crashes, some common solutions that you could try, and how I solved my Photoshop crash problem.

Why Does Photoshop Keep Crashing?

Many things can cause a crash, the common causes are incompatible files, loading a large file, too many documents opened at the same time, etc. 

For example, the reason can be as simple as software updates. You know, each update has new bug fixes, maybe the problem you had before wouldn’t happen in the latest version. 

Some of these crashes can be fixed by restarting the program, or simply wait for it to load. Well, there are problems that a simple restart couldn’t solve. 

Adobe has generated a list of commonly known issues that you can check if it’s your case and find a solution accordingly. Unfortunately, the problem that I ran into didn’t show on the list. 

So What Happened?

I ran into this problem when I was creating a logo. I tried to copy and paste a circle that I used the Direct Selection Tool to select. I wasn’t sure if it were the copy and paste error or the Direct Selection Tool. Maybe the combination just doesn’t work. 

The moment I hit Command + V, Photoshop quit. In the beginning, I thought it was just a sudden crash, but after trying multiple times, the same problem occurred again. I tried using the same tool to copy and paste other shapes like polygon and rectangle, it seemed to be fine. 

So I figured the problem was using the Direct Selection Tool to select a circle and Copy & Paste. Why is that? Honestly, I have no idea. I submitted a report waiting for Adobe to respond and in the meanwhile, I was trying some suggested solutions that I found online.

The Solutions I Tried But Didn’t Work

The first thought I had was maybe the shortcut doesn’t work, so instead of using the shortcut Command + C to copy, Command + V to paste, I went to the overhead menu and select Edit > Copy then Edit > Paste. Apparently, that wasn’t the solution. Photoshop kept crashing. 

When Photoshop quit unexpectedly, this message showed up along with the Error Report form. The message says Adobe found a solution or workaround for this error, so I clicked on the link to see if I could find the reason and solution. 

If you’re lucky, you could fix the crash following these 6 steps, but that wasn’t my case. 

I tried the typical solutions like restarting Photoshop, restarting my laptop, update the systems, and changed the settings in the Preferences menu. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, so I had to get creative and find other solutions. 

And I did! 

The Real Solution That Works (Though Imperfect)

Use another tool and give it a try. I know it isn’t the perfect solution and I still haven’t figured out why it happened, but this imperfect solution works just fine. At least, it’ll get you the same effect and wouldn’t affect the process later on. 

Instead of using the Direct Selection Tool, I used the Path Selection Tool to select the circle. 

Then I use Command + C to copy and Command + V to paste. It worked. So the solution is to switch the Direct Selection Tool to Path Selection Tool. As simple as that. 


You might also be interested to know the answers to these questions related to Photoshop crashing. 

What to do if Photoshop isn’t responding? 

When you’re rendering a document, making animation, or 3D in Photoshop, it can take a while to finish the request and you might see the spinning pinwheel. It doesn’t always mean Photoshop isn’t responding, if the process bar is still going, the best thing you can do is wait for it to finish to avoid losing any part of the file. 

If Photoshop freezes and you can’t restart or close Photoshop, you can try to Force Quit. Go to the top menu, select Apple > Force Quit, choose Photoshop and click Force Quit

Can I find the unsaved file before Photoshop crashed? 

When Photoshop quit unexpectedly, the next time you open Photoshop, the document that you were working on before crashing will show up as a recovered file. 

You can also find your file from the top menu Open Recent and find your file. Unfortunately, if you didn’t save this file previously, you will not be able to find it. That’s why it’s important to hit the save button every step you make in Photoshop because crashes happen. 

How do I reset Photoshop settings? 

You change the Photoshop settings from the top menu Photoshop > Preferences > General and under general you’ll find different settings. 

If you want to reset Photoshop, click on the Reset Preferences On Quit option and restart Photoshop. 

Final Words

Photoshop can crash for many reasons, in most cases if it’s due to the file size, a simple restart should fix the problem. If you run into the same issue as I did with the tools, try to use another similar tool. I know it’s a bit tricky.  Hope my imperfect solution helps you solve your problem perfectly. 

About June
June is an experienced graphic designer specializing in brand design. Photoshop is the essential tool that she uses every day along with other Adobe programs for her creative work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *