Steps to Clearing Scratch Disk and Photoshop Cache on a MacBook

Adobe suite

You may find yourself in a situation when the overall performance of your Macbook had a sudden decrease in its quality. This happens for a number of different reasons, but it is possible that you are having problems with caches and other files.

This article will take the example of a scratch disk and Photoshop cache as its examples. After reading it you will become that much better at understanding what the causes are and be able to solve most of the problems on your own.

Scratch Disk Definition

Keep in mind that this problem is not something that a lot of people experience, but in case you do happen to have problems in the future, reading this article will not be a waste no matter how you look at it.

Let us start with the definition. Whenever you are using software, such as Photoshop, there is a need to create a directory for temporary files. A scratch disk appears whenever there is not enough RAM for the computer to complete a task. It is only natural that this happens when you need to edit large images, a number of layers, and so on.

The Reasons


So when do we get to see the “scratch disks full” error? There are a few reasons why that happens:

  • Limit to how much RAM can be allocated for the Photoshop
  • A disk partition is full
  • Not enough space in the hard drive disk where the scratch disk is created.

The Solutions

The moment you run out of space, you will be bombarded by the errors and it can really get on one’s nerves. Until you find the solution, you will not be able to continue working. And if you happen to be on a serious deadline, you will want to be prepared. The solutions below are easy to remember and when you read through them, you will be one step ahead of the problem.

Photoshop Cache

photoshop cache

Thankfully, the software itself has the option of deleting specific caches. The first thing you want to do is launching Photoshop and opening the file.

  • Select Edit and click on Purge.
  • There should be four different options – Undo, Clipboard, Histories, and All. If you see something grey, then it means that it no longer exists.
  • When you want to delete something specific, select that. As an alternative, getting rid of all the caches is also an option by selecting “all”.
  • Confirm that you want to purge the cache and be done with it just like that.

These caches accumulate over time so it would be good to run regular cleanups, especially if you are using Photoshop often.

As an alternative, you can make use of various cache-clearing software, available on the app store.

Temporary Files

Temporary files are one of the usual suspects of the problem. And we are talking about Photoshop’s temp files. You cannot expect the software to do everything on its own, so you will need to delete the files on your own.

Look for files that start with “pst” and end with “tmp”. It should be quite clear that these abbreviations stand for, right? It might take some time until you get rid of every single one of these, but if you want to do a thorough work, it is natural to expect that some time will be spent.

Buying Separate Drive

hard disk

Some would suggest that this is a bit of a stretch, but you can purchase a hard drive dedicated to caches, temporary files, and all that jazz. Of course, that would be a bigger problem if you are using Photoshop on the iPad, but as far as Macbooks go, it could be the perfect solution. Not to mention that external storage devices are relatively cheap nowadays.

Making More Space

Those who do not want to bother with a brand-new hard drive could always look to free up more space on the current one.

There ought to be some useless stuff there, like email downloads from attachments, duplicate files, whatever can be transferred to clouds or USB drives, and so on.

Hidden Files

Caches and temporary files are not the only ones that get created while working with Photoshop. In some cases, you could end up with hidden folders that are just sitting there without offering anything of value.

Open the Photoshop directory and click command + shift + period. If you see some greyed out folders, look how much space they are taking. And if the number is not a few kilobytes, put them in the trash bin.

Ultimately, this problem can be taken care of in a number of different ways. And in all honesty, it is not something that would happen to a casual Macbook user. But it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Posted by Biodun

Passionate about Technology and everything concerning it. Avid Gamer and Music Lover. Loves Chelsea FC. Overall, a nice guy. Find me on Instagram and Twitter.

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