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When Lightroom Crashes on Mac

Lightroom Crashes!

I thought I’d seen the last of this, but Lightroom crashes suddenly on Macs. It just disappears from the screen in an instant. I used to see this more often with Lightroom 6, but I still see it happening. Usually after an update to Classic from earlier versions of Lightroom. This issue seems to be MacOS agnostic as it happens with Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave with Lightroom 6, 7 and right up to 8.4.1.

Here’s what happens:

Everything is fine in the Library. Imports, moving folders, naming files – no problem. Then a photo is opened in the Develop Module. Do some Basic developing or maybe start using an adjustment brush or a radial filter and, in a blink – Lightroom crashes. It just vanishes. Eventually an error dialog will appear, but it usually takes a while, making the crash event a mystery until it appears.

Lightroom Quit Unexpectedly. Lightroom Crashes

And, then a Problem Report will show up.

Lightroom Problem Report dialog. Lightroom Crashes

What is the cause of these Lightroom crashes?

The GPU. For many of our readers GPU is a meaningless acronym. So to clarify, the GPU – Graphics Processing Unit – also known as the graphics card, is a circuit board inside the computer that is necessary to render images, animations and videos to your computer screen.

In Lightroom, the GPU can be used accelerate viewing thumbnails and loupe view of images in the Library. GPUs also speed up adjusting images in the Develop Module and boost the speed of 4K and 5K monitors. You can read more about troubleshooting the GPU acceleration on the Adobe site here and how the GPU acceleration works here.

Here’s the short form: there are GPUs that don’t meet Adobe’s requirements and sometimes even those that do, aren’t stable and Lightroom crashes. Without going too deep into all the minutia, let’s look at how to stop these crashes with a simple adjustment in the Lightroom Preferences.

Turn off the GPU acceleration in the Lightroom Preferences!

It’s usually that simple. In most cases, turning off the GPU
acceleration stops those crashes.

In Lightroom 8.4, choose Off.

Set GPU preferences in Lightroom 8.4. Lightroom Crashes

In Earlier versions of Lightroom, uncheck “Use Graphics Processor.”

Set GPU usage in Lightroom. Lightroom Crashes

This simple adjustment to the Preferences should stop the Lightroom crashes. You’ll probably have a hit in the speed of Lightroom in the Library and Develop modules, but you’ll get back up and running without the crashes.

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