How to Clear Scratch Disk in Photoshop: Tips for Mac Users

Issac Glantz
By Issac Glantz 6 Min Read
how to clear scratch disk in photoshop

There is no need to panic when your Photoshop doesn’t work and you see the scratch disk full error on your Mac. Although it can be a rude interruption to your workflow, there are several effective solutions you can try to clear the Photoshop scratch disk on a Mac so that you can continue with your photography workflow and edit your images.

Keep reading to learn more on scratch disks full errors and how to fix them.

What Is Scratch Disk?

Intense applications like Photoshop require memory to store temporary project files when they are running on your Mac. If there is not enough RAM to store something temporarily, such powerful apps use the hard disk space as a temporary virtual memory holder.

Scratch disk is basically a virtual drive where Photoshop saves some temporary files when you are working on large projects. Usually, a scratch disk is automatically set up on your main hard drive or SSD, and if you only have one drive, it may get crowded in there. When you work on complex projects, Photoshop creates a lot of temporary files for each project that occupy a large part of your disk space.

How to Clear Scratch Disk in Photoshop on Mac

In general, the scratch disk’s full error occurs when the space on your Mac drive is limited, so if you want to fix it, you may need to remove some of the files. Let’s find out what you can do to solve the problem.

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Clear Cache in Photoshop

Photoshop cache is a good place to start if you want to resolve the issue. Although Photoshop automatically deletes the cache when you close it, some items may be missed. If left unattended cache files can build up over time and occupy a significant amount of space on the scratch disk.

Here is what you should do to get rid of the Photoshop cache:

  • Open the program and press Edit .
  • If you place your mouse cursor over the Purge menu, you’ll see four options: Clipboard, Video cache, Histories, All.
  • Choose the item you want to get rid of. If any option appears in a dull color, it means it was already cleared out. Select All if you prefer to delete all types of cache files.
  • You will see a warning message that you won’t be able to undo the purge. Click the OK button if you are sure.

We recommend you do regular disk cleanups to prevent Photoshop caches from building up.

Get Rid of Temporary Files

Photoshop temp files can eat up a lot of space if they are not deleted automatically, so it’s better to remove them manually. You should open Finder and look for files that begin with “ pst” and have the extension “.tmp.” in the end. You can delete anything that matches those parameters.

Clear Disk Space

Shortage of storage space is the major issue that causes scratch disk errors. You can try to clear up your HDD or SSD if you don’t like the idea of purchasing another one. You should examine the contents of the drive to find out whether it’s possible to delete some files or documents that you don’t need. You can do it if you choose the Apple menu and then go to About This Mac and click on Storage. You can transfer unnecessary files to an external SSD or HDD or store them in cloud solutions. And you can just remove old and large files and empty the Trash bin.

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Free Up RAM

Limited RAM available for Photoshop may cause the scratch disk full error. You can use Activity Monitor to find out what program is using most of the resources on your Mac. You need to launch Activity Monitor and look for the most intensive processes that are running on your Mac. If you notice any app or process that you don’t want running, you need to choose it and press the “X’ button to quit it.

Change Scratch Disk Location

If you have several drives on your Mac, you can change your scratch disk to another HDD or SSD in your system to ensure you have enough space. You should open the Photoshop menu and go to Preferences. Then you should click on Scratch Disks. Select the drive you want to use as a scratch disk and uncheck the drive with low storage space. Finally, you need to press the OK button and restart the program.

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I'm Stuart, a tech enthusiast and experienced writer. I've worked with multiple tech blogs over the years, leveraging my 8 years of digital marketing expertise. My journey began when I was searching for ways to make money online and stumbled upon blogging. Back then, starting a blog on Blogspot was the norm. Aspire to be one of the best bloggers in the world, I've witnessed how the age of the internet has revolutionized technology journalism. In this era of social media and video marketing, it's essential to recognize the importance of reading articles to gain in-depth knowledge and insights. Let's explore the fascinating world of tech together!
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