Can’t Quit Photoshop – Top Reasons Why!

There’s nothing worse than an app that hangs or freezes. It’s never a good time. In this article, we’ll talk about how to fix the problem and why it happens.

Photoshop won’t quit because of memory issues, either with Photoshop or other apps running at the same time. An update can also cause problems. Preferences may need to be reset.

No matter what the issue is with an app there’s always a solution. It might take some time away from your working day but you will get everything back on track.

How to Quit Photoshop

If Photoshop has hung or has frozen there is no alternative but to Force Quit. But before you do that, if you can, try and save any changes you have made. Hopefully, you have autosave activated. If not you will, unfortunately, have only the version that was last saved.

I strongly recommend you turn on autosave but that’s for later. 

SO before you Force Quit Photoshop, I suggest you Force Quit all other apps you have running. It may be that there is not enough memory to run everything.

When you quit everything else, return to Photoshop and you might be pleasantly surprised that it has ‘unfrozen’.

Force Quit is different for Mac and Windows.

Mac: Option Command & Escape

Or Choose Force Quit from the Apple Icon in the Top Left Hand Corner of your Screen. Select Force Quit from the Drop Down.

Windows: Ctrl + Alt + Del : Task Manager

This may not have worked and you will have to also Quit Photoshop through Force Quit. And sometimes you may, unfortunately, have to do a Force Shut Down.

Not Enough RAM

The main reason for not being able to shut it down or force quit is that you are not running enough RAM on your machine.

Photoshop is a high consumer of RAM. Photoshop requires a minimum of 2GB but 4GB is recommended for Windows and 4GB minimum and 16GB recommended on a Mac (and also Sierra or later OS).

But the more items/apps you have running the less RAM there is available for Photoshop.

You can check how much is allocated to Photoshop.

Open Photoshop and go to Edit – Preference – Performance (PC)

Preferences – Performance (MAC)

Here you can view how much RAM is allocated to Photoshop. 50-60% is the recommended amount.

You could also load your Photoshop onto an external drive. This means it’s not relying on the RAM of your machine and other apps are then not compromised.

Reset Preferences

The other reason Photoshop won’t quit is there may have been a recent software update. You can check in your Creative Cloud app if there is one available.

If there is go ahead and activate it. Or if you have recently updated your app then you might need a restart or reset your preferences.

Resetting Your Preferences

This is easily done but be aware that if you have any presets that you use regularly that you need to make a copy of them first and save them.

To Reset

Quit Photoshop

Relaunch and Hold Down the following Keys

Window: Ctrl   Alt   Shift

Ctrl Alt Shift PC Keyboard

macOS: Ctrl Opt Shift

Cmd Opt Shift MAC Keyboard

When prompted to ‘Delete the Settings File’

Click Yes

Alternatively, open Photoshop Preferences dialog box

Windows: Edit – Preferences – General

Mac: Photoshop – Preferences – General

Click on ‘Reset Preferences on Quit’ tab.

Click ‘Yes’ to the ‘Are you sure?’

Quit Photoshop.

Reopen Photoshop

Back in 2020, the Photoshop release was quite glitchy. If you check out any number of forums the release gets quite the hammering. Working, then not working. Having to uninstall Photoshop and reinstall it to get it to shut down. People were not happy! Thankfully, new updates have been released and those problems have disappeared but it shows the pros and cons of having an online subscription. Bugs and glitches can be ironed out and removed almost instantly, whereas in the past we would have to wait for a patch (possibly on a disk!) and never 100% sure if the problem was ours or theirs.

Scratch Disks and Mac Access

There are two more quick items to mention about Photoshop not quitting or at least not behaving as it should.

The first is your Scratch Disk. What is that I hear you say? Well, your scratch disk allows you to multi-task. It basically makes your machine react quickly enough so you don’t have any lag. Scratch Disks store all your temporary files and by default, your Scratch Disk is usually part of your system drive.

I have another article that deals with Scratch Disks and how to improve the running of Photoshop on your machine.

A certain amount of space is allocated to this task, and this can quickly get clogged if you’re using heavy apps.

If you once again return to Preferences and this time choose File Handling and Clipboard

In the Auto recovery (which we mentioned at the start) you can adjust this by moving out the length of time. You can disable it but I wouldn’t as then you have no fallback. You can also adjust recent files to display – Default is usually 50 – but 10-15 is sufficient.

All of these changes will increase the amount of memory being used by Photoshop and in doing so, it will be less likely to freeze.

On a Mac, you can actually give Photoshop access to your Hard Drive. In your Settings – Go to Privacy and Security. Here you can add Photoshop to an Access List, and give Photoshop permission to Save Files. You can only do this if you are an Admin of your machine, so you may have to contact your IT department if not.

In Conclusion

There’s never a good time for your machine to act up but if you follow the steps above it will get you out of trouble. By altering your preferences you hopefully won’t encounter this problem again. Or at least not as much.

Photoshop won’t save

Why can’t I type in Photoshop?

Tara Cunningham

My name is Tara. I am a Graphic Designer for the last 25+ years. Designing everything from Wedding stationery to Magazines. I have been using Adobe products since I was in college and know all the tips and tricks that make life a little easier when completing a project. Hopefully you will find the answer to your question on

Recent Posts