Why Does Photoshop Use So Much Memory?

Have you ever noticed that photoshop uses a ton of memory? Particularly RAM. The worst part is that it can slow down your computer or use the space you need to run another program simultaneously. Why exactly is the cause of that and is there something you can do about it?

Photoshop uses a lot of memory/RAM to boost its performance to an optimal level. Unfortunately, to perform at its optimal level, the program has to take advantage of a large amount of storage and active memory space. However, it can be used less if you adjust your preferences.

Consider using an online graphic design software because it uses minimal RAM to run smoothly. We recommend Placeit.net because it’s the leader in the online graphic design industry, and we personally use it ourselves.

If Photoshop is taking up too much space on your computer or using too much of your RAM, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In our guide below we will discuss why photoshop does this in the first place, before diving into actions you can take to reduce the amount of memory used. So come along and let’s dive right in!

Why Does Photoshop Use So Much RAM 

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is essentially the working memory of your computer and thus plays a large role in how fast it can react and run. It can even determine whether or not you can run two programs simultaneously. If one program is eating up all your RAM then running two will likely cause it to freeze, lag or sometimes even crash. 

Photoshop uses a high amount of RAM to optimize the performance of the software. It essentially makes everything run faster and smoother, so you have a better experience using the product. This isn’t always the case, however. 

A lot of people have noticed that photoshop eats up their RAM and actually slows down their computer because they didn’t have much to start with. If you don’t have a lot of RAM to begin with, you may want to limit the amount Photoshop can use. 

How Do I Stop Photoshop From Using So Much Memory?

You can actually limit the amount of RAM Photoshop can use in the system preferences. While you don’t want to go down too low, lowering the allotted amount by a little bit can make a major impact on how much memory photoshop eats up and how smoothly it runs on your particular computer. 

If all this sounds good to you, follow the steps below to change the amount of RAM Photoshop is capable of taking up:

  1. Go into preferences: You can find the preferences section on the main menu. It should be the eighth option down, just below “Export.”
  2. Find adjusted memory usage: Once you click “preferences” you should be greeted by several settings menus. Near the upper part of the window, you should see one box labeled “adjust memory storage.” This is the setting we will be changing. 
  3. Adjust to the lowest recommended setting: Within the “adjust memory storage” box, there should be an option that says “let photoshop use,” followed by a number. Above that, you will see the ideal range. Change the number in the box to the lowest number of the ideal range. 

While you can adjust the setting even lower than the ideal amount, it could start to cause problems with how smoothly the program runs. If you find you do need it lower than the ideal amount, you may have to do a little experimentation to figure out what the perfect number is for you. 

Why Does Photoshop Take So Much Space on Hard Drive?

Perhaps your memory problems don’t come from the RAM at all. Perhaps for you, the problem is that Photoshop takes up too much space on your hard drive.

Photoshop takes up about 4GB of hard drive space, however, it also uses scratch disc space as extra RAM as well. This may not sound like a lot of space, but if your computer is already overloaded it might just be what’s tipping the scale. 

In this situation, we simply recommend that you use an external hard drive or upgrade your computer’s memory. 

What Kind of Hardware Works Best With Photoshop?

Of course, another solution to this problem is to simply upgrade your hardware so it can handle Photoshop at its optimal settings. If you’d like to take the route of upgrading your hardware, you’ll need to know what to get to completely ensure Photoshop runs smoothly. 

The following hardware will allow you to run photoshop smoothly without any memory problems:

  • A minimum of 8GB RAM but preferably 16GB: At the very minimum you need 8GB of RAM for photoshop. If you plan on using other software simultaneously then you may consider even going up to 16GB
  • Quad-core, 3 GHz CPU: The CPU is going to play a large role in performance as well. If you’ve been confused up to this point because your computer already does have good RAM but the program is still glitching anyway, this could easily be your problem. 
  • At least 16GB of hard drive space: You can certainly use far less than this to run the program, but you’ll also need space for all the projects you do in it. This is where we recommend, at the very least, using an external hard drive. You may want to consider having a 500GB to 1TB of memory when you consider the projects as well. 
  • A solid graphics card: The graphics card can also affect the performance of the software. Adobe themselves recommend that you have one with 4 GB of GPU memory and DirectX 12 support.

Don’t feel any pressure to upgrade right away. For the time being, adjusting your preferences should reduce most of the problems associated with memory. Still, it’s good to have this in mind as well, in case you really want to run the program at its optimal level. 

So Really, Why Does Photoshop Use So Much Memory?

Now let’s circle back to the original question. Why does Photoshop seem to use so much memory? Particularly RAM. 

Photoshop uses a lot of RAM to make the program run faster and smoother. If you find that it is using too much, you can go into your preferences and set a new limit. This could affect performance so you should also consider upgrading your hardware.

If you’re having issues running Photoshop, we recommend looking into newly popular web-based graphic design tools because they don’t use a lot of RAM or hard drive space. We recommend Placeit.net because it’s the most popular online graphic design tool out there, it has the largest library, and it’s fully commercially usable.