When Photoshop throws you the Spinning Beachball of Death ...

Delete Photoshop Preferences

I've seen the beach ball less and less in the last two or three macOS versions. Nevertheless, there are some cases in which programs hang up in such a way that nothing can be done and the user only sees the “beach ball of death”. Adobe Photoshop and macOS Catalina seem to be a pretty winning combo here if you're into beach balls.

Waiting times of several seconds

At the nuclear Photoshop version 21.01.1 (2020) the hangers seem to be so bad that Photoshop becomes unusable for many users. But apparently there are no improvements even under the update to 21.1.2. Among the voices in the Adobe support forum you can also read calls to stop the subscription fee until you have the software under control again:

Adobe dropped the ball prepping for Mac going 64bit. A lot is either slower or does not work at all. I think they should drop the monthly fee until they get it fixed.

Actions that are extremely slow in Photoshop 2020

The following problems are mentioned in detail:

  • Files (all formats) take a long time to open
  • Switching between levels throws the “spinning beachball”
  • Copying Smart Objects from Illustrator into Photoshop brings the spinning beach ball
  • Editing Smart Objects with a double click leads to delays lasting several seconds
  • the "Create new" dialog brings waiting times of up to 4 seconds, which previously ran without any delay in Photoshop 2019
  • Auto-select and move layers is delayed and choppy
  • Saving documents takes twice as long as usual
In the "Performance" menu of the Photoshop preferences, you can change a few things that otherwise have an impact on performance. In the current case, however, nothing that is tried out here helps.
In the "Performance" menu of the Photoshop preferences, you can change a few things that otherwise affect performance. In the current case, however, nothing that you have tried here helps.

Which brings no help

One user has already tried a lot, but none of it has brought any improvement:

  • Change cache size
  • Shorten the log length
  • “Legacy Compositing”
  • “Basic Drawing Mode” under the advanced GPU settings in the “Performance” tab
This option can be used to delete the same in the Photoshop settings.
This option can be used to delete the same in the Photoshop settings.

Solution: reset the preferences

The main remedy for Photoshop's performance problems seems to be to delete or reset the default settings. Unfortunately, this is exactly a step for many graphic designers that is almost unreasonable, because people usually have individualized a few things in the default settings, which of course can be lost with resetting. The good news: Brushes, gradients, your own shapes, keyboard shortcuts and the like are saved in separate files.

The actual reset of the preferences can be deleted in Photoshop via the menu “Photoshop” > “Preferences” > “General” and then the item “Reset preferences on exit”.

Tip: Back up the presets and restore them later

If you do need to clear the preferences to get Photoshop running again, my tip would be to back up the folder that contains the preferences and other data. So you can later - if Adobe has brought a working update - "import" it again by moving it in the Finder and have your old default settings again.

Here you can see the selected file (top right) in which Photoshop saves the default settings.
Here you can see the selected file (top right) in which Photoshop saves the default settings.

To find the settings, follow this path in the user's library:

/ Users / USERNAME / Library / Preferences / Adobe Photoshop 2020 Settings

If you don't know how to open the library because the folder is made invisible by macOS by default, you can read how to open it in this article. When you get to the “Adobe Photoshop 2020 Settings” folder (or the folder of your Photoshop version), you can drag the entire folder onto the desktop while holding down the ALT key. Then the Mac creates a copy of the folder there.

The folder contains the file "Adobe Photoshop 2020 Prefs.psp", which contains the presets.

Deleting the Photoshop preferences can also be started with a keyboard shortcut.
Deleting the Photoshop preferences can also be started with a keyboard shortcut.

Delete Photoshop presets using keyboard shortcuts

There is a second way to reset Photoshop preferences. You can do this by starting Photoshop and then holding down the CMD + ALT + SHIFT keys immediately after clicking on the Photoshop icon. A window will appear asking “Do you want to delete the Adobe Photoshop settings file?”. If you answer "Yes", the file is removed and Photoshop creates it again. But beware: This way NO backup of the file is created.

More tips from you guys for better Photoshop performance?

I only use Photoshop for simple work and photo enhancements via some plugins that I've bought over time. If you work with Photoshop every day and have tips on how to improve the performance, then I would be happy if you could add them here as a comment.

 

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1 comment on “When Photoshop throws you the Spinning Beachball of Death…”

  1. Dear Sir Apfelot,
    Since you write "I only use Photoshop for simple work and photo enhancements", which is sure to be the case with many others:

    my best "solution":
    The ingenious Affinity Photo program

    Advantage: (unbelievably cheap) one-time payment,
    NO subscription and even professionals already use it. Runs very elegantly and without hiccups even on old Macs (was originally only for Mac)

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