How to Сlear Scratch Disk in Photoshop on a Mac?

How to Сlear Scratch Disk in Photoshop on a Mac

The Macintosh provides its users with ample storage laptops. It will not be so often that you run out of space while using Mac. It may not be a problem for the users of Mac to worry about storage capacity. But, when you do, you will need a quick and easy solution. These errors pop up when your system is loaded with heavy-running applications. We have got you all covered, and the article will definitely help you solve the “scratch disk are full” issues.

Before you dive into the solutions of the Photoshop scratch disk are full, or scratch disks are full errors, let us know the causes of why the scratch disks are full. What scratch disks are? And how to tackle the errors on Mac?

1. What is a Scratch Disk?

The scratch memory is temporary memory for layers of work. The way you get swap memory in the distribution systems of Linux, here in Mac OS version, users get to perform the heavy tasks using temporary memory that is scratch memory. When the hard disk is full, but you still need to keep the work in progress.

Then applications choose to do tasks such as editing videos or photos with many edits. Even though the edits are temporary, it requires space to perform well. The scratch disk is where these temporary files work on.

Scratch is based on the concept of scribbling on the page before making it a permanent copy into your notebook. You do rough work on pages or paper, and if the work is satisfying and fulfills the requirements, you choose to make it a permanent copy.

2. Causes of the Scratch Disk is Full:

Optimize performance Photoshop

Temporary files are the most common culprit of Photoshop scratch disc errors. Temporary files do not dissolve if you regularly force-quit applications like Photoshop. The app stores them because it assumes, you’ll like to use them again. These files can not appear as dynamic memory, which only further confuses the case. The article is here for you to avoid these errors or guide you on how to resolve the “photoshop scratch disk full” errors.

Your drive where your scratch disk is located is overloaded. The more common cause is when your Mac’s capacity where the partition for Photoshop or other applications uses may have a small amount of RAM. These are few other reasons that pop up the message of scratch disk full, and photoshop scratch disks are full. 

3. Working With the Scratch Disk:

  • Your disks will not clear themselves or create yet another partition to overcome the error of photoshop scratch disk full in mac. You will have to learn the steps to clear your system’s scratch memory and run the applications by getting rid of the pop-up messages.   
  • Photoshop utilizes space available on the drive, identified mostly as Scratch Disk when the machine doesn’t have enough RAM to complete an operation. When the Scratch Disk workload is divided, Photoshop performs better. As Photoshop uses one of the several filters and corrections, scratch operations are done on your computer’s hard drive.
  • To check your system’s storage status in Mac, tap the Apple icon on the top left corner of the screen. Select the very first option as “About This Mac”. Then you will find a dialogue box with options in its navigation bar such as Overview, Displays, Storage, Memory, Support, and Services. You will have to click the storage options, which will display the available storage.

    The more time it takes to load the drive space, the more is your dick occupied. You can click on the manage button at the top right corner above the calculating storage bar. This will show the storage divided among various activities, applications, and files. You can delete the less used applications, iOS files, images files, etc. Following are the steps to win over the error of photoshop scratch disk full.

4. Clearing the Scratch Disk in Photoshop on a Mac:

It is important to remember that clearing the disk should be a process where no other data is harmed. The clearing of scratch disks should not harm the permanent and essential configuration files in the Mac. Clearing the space should follow effective solutions that help in removing the unwanted, not so often used application and photos files. Here is a way to clear cache from Photoshop to get some free space into the scratch, temporary memory.

1. Delete Photoshop Temporary Files:

How to fix the 'scratch disk full' notification when using Photoshop - Quora

By clearing the cache memory, you can run the system smoothly. The cache is nothing but the temporary, regularly used memory. Which sometimes makes the application to lag or disconnect while using. It is better to clear the cache memory for refreshing the apps and using them with ease. The deleting data of Photoshop is easy as it stores its file beginning with ‘pst.’

When you start the search for temporary Photoshop files ending with .tmp, the process gets easier. Following are the steps to clear your photoshop scratch disk, which means to clear the cache memory.

Scratch Disks are Full? How to Clear Your Scratch Disk in 8 Ways


  1. Before going any further, search for photoshop on your Mac.
  2. Open the photoshop on Mac.
  3. Select the option ‘edit’ from the Menu bar.
  4. Select the option ‘Purge’. The purge option helps in eliminating the extra image data-consuming space on RAM.
  5. Select the ‘All’ option. By clicking on this option, you will delete the cache of photoshop.
  6. Once the process is over, the pop-up window appears with the option ‘Ok.’ Confirm your procedure by tapping on it.
  7. Remember, this will clear the cache, history of browsing in photoshop, files edited, and other data from photoshop. Once the above steps are successfully executed, there is no option to undo the changes. This way, you make a scratch disk free for other temporary files to use the space for performing tasks.

2. Scratch Disks Options:

The operations you perform in the temporary memory are save in the scratch disks. Even if you stop using them, the memory does not delete the space’s unnecessary items from space. The scratch does not work like trash, which will automatically climate the old data within the decided span. In this case, you get an error saying, photoshop scratch disks are full,” “scratch disks are full.This can be resolved by using the below steps.

How To Fix The “Scratch Disks Are Full” Error In Photoshop

  • In Mac’ Photoshop, click the options edit, which shows the Preferences options.
  • After that, tap the option displayed as Performance.
  • Search for the check box next to the scratch disk you wish to use.
  • You can clear the checkbox to remove it.
  • When the photoshop is in use on your Mac system, the memory space cannot be cleared from scratch disk. You will have to close the running application, that is the photoshop, to free the disk.
  • You can take a look at the items by clicking to view the more significant images option. This way, you ensure the files before deleting them from Photoshop.
  • Selecting the ok button will finish the procedure.

3. Terms Used While Working with Cache Memory:

  • You can choose to optimize the cache level. By optimizing the cache, you can preset the cache memory.
  • The tall and Thin option is used to optimize small-size documents and layers of files.
  • The default option is used for general purposes, such as clear the available cache, as mentioned in the above steps.
  • The big and Flat option is used for optimizing the large set of documents and file layers.

4. Changing Scratch Disk for Photoshop:

You can change the scratch disk location before launching Photoshop on Mac. The timely overloading of the scratch disk is one of the causes for errors such as “scratch disk full.” In such a situation, it is good to change the location of your scratch disk before using Photoshop. If you have only one drive, in this case, using an SSD is preferable while changing the location of the disk. Take help from the mentioned steps below to change your scratch disk in Photoshop.

  1. In the Photoshop of your Mac, click on the Menu option.
  2. In that, tap the Preferences options.
  3. Following that, choose the Scratch Disk option to relocate it.
  4. Click the OK option present at the top right corner of the dialogue box.
  5. Don’t use Photoshop directly, and this will show no changes. Instead, restart the photoshop to use the new location of your scratch disk.

5.  A Rule to follow:

The 15 percent rule is not mandatory, but practicing it will surely help you save some space. When you check for your system storage in About this Mac, it shows the available amount of space on the hard disk. If you start saving the last 15 percent of the calculating storage bar, the error of scratch disk full will not be an issue. The saved memory can be beneficial in storing the photoshop files and images on temporary memory.

6. Clear Space Using Terminal:

You can use commands that operate storage through Terminal if Photoshop becomes disabled due to a shortage of RAM. There are few other options to release the RAM and scratch memory. Following are the steps to overcome the photoshop scratch disk full error:

  1. Search for the terminal in your Mac system.
  2. You can search the terminal in the Launchpad of Mac.
  3. Type “sudo Purge” in the command line.
  4. It will ask for the user password for the system.
  5. You will have to flush the virtual memory of RAM to see the difference in storage space. TO see the memory freed from junk files, release the files running without any need, clear the cache manually to see instant release in RAM.
  6. Using the command line, you can install the CleanMyMac or from the official website of the application.
  7. To do so, you can install the CleanMyMac application to use its RAM space clearing commands on the command line tools. 
  8. In the CleanMyMac application, you can perform the task manually as well.
  9. Click on the maintenance option once you install the app successfully.
  10. Then go for the Free the RAM option and free the space.

6. Recommended Settings before Clearing Scratch Disk:

  1. Attach the scratch discs to a suitable port with the maximum bandwidth capacity of most of the available ports for maximum results. The below are the specific threshold for different ports:10GB/sec Thunderbolt, 600MB/sec eSATA, 500MB/sec PCIe, 400MB/sec via USB3.
  2. You should use a separate hard disc for your central scratch disc if your initialization disc is a hard disc rather than a consistent disc (SSD). A Graphics card, on the other side, functions well as a central initialization disc and thus a scratch disc. In fact, using an SSD as your primary scratch disc is usually preferable to the use of a specific hard disc.
  3. It is preferred to defragment the scratch disk to a hard disk. Due to the constant use of a temporary memory of scratch disk, the hard disk has plenty of untouched memory. This way, the loaded scratch disk error of  “photoshop scratch disk full” can be prevented. This method improves the performance of systems.
  4. Photoshop accepts scratch disc space of up to 64 exabytes on up to four partitions. (An exabyte is one billion gigabytes.
  5. Defragmentation of scratch disk regularly is helpful in avoiding the pop-up message of “scratch disks are full mac.”
  6. Scratch discs can be held on a separate drive from the memory management drive used by the operating system.


Photoshop’s strength is both a blessing and a curse. It can do virtually everything you want to when it refers to image manipulation, but it really is resource-intensive. Rectifying scratch disk space might not be something you do on a regular basis, but unless you’re an Image editing power user, you’ll almost certainly run into it. 

You will have to be careful while deleting the temporary memory. Even if the layers of tasks on the scratch are temporary, they are helpful in the future. You can save them as permanent data into a hard disk to avoid elimination while clearing the cache memory. It is possible to clear the memory without digging into photoshop.

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