I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop since version 4.0 in 1996, and professionally since version 6.0 in 2001. Each release has brought benefits and improvements, and many have introduced the occasional bug. Never in the last 25 years have I had to deal with a version as broken as 22.3. How on earth did this unstable update get released?
Apparently this release adds native support for Apple’s new M1-based Macs, and according to Adobe “fixes several bugs”. I updated to the new version, and created a new document to test it with. I selected part of the image, and then used Ctrl+D to deselect, which caused an error message to pop up. “Could not complete your request due to a program error.” I wasn’t doing something complex like trying to apply a series of filters to a Smart Object or running an Action with hundreds of steps, just clearing a rectangular selection marquee on a 1200 x 800 canvas.
Perhaps this was just a one-off. Bugs happen, so maybe restarting Photoshop would fix it. No. Okay, maybe rebooting the computer would help. Same error. I headed to the Adobe user forums and found that lots of people were suffering from similar errors. In one thread an Adobe employee suggested disabling GPU acceleration, so I went into the preferences and clicked on the Performance section. Nothing happened. The Performance section itself was unavailable!
The next step was the standard “Photoshop has gone wrong” course of action – holding Ctrl + Shift + Alt when launching in order to “trash the prefs”. It’s less of a pain than it used to be, as these days settings can be backed up and restored easily. Same problem.
I began to wonder whether the problem might be due to something on my PC rather than an Adobe issue, so I tried to replicate it on my another PC, and got the exact same behaviour. This second PC is also running the latest Windows 10 version 20H2 and has barely anything else installed on it aside from Firefox, Chrome and the VPN client I use to connect to my work network. I installed 22.3 and hit the exact same deselection problem yet again, and the same inability to open the Performance tab of the preferences.
At this point, and with a growing pile of Photoshop-related work that needed doing, I decided to roll back to 22.1.1. Once installed, the problems were gone.
Photoshop 22.3 is essentially unusable on Windows for me, and many other people. Perhaps my graphics card (an Nvidia Quadro K620) is no longer suitable for GPU acceleration. If that’s so, surely this should be detected at the install stage, and acceleration automatically disabled. If that’s not possible, just disable it across the board, and show a post-install message detailing which graphics cards are supported, and how to re-enable it. Simply issuing an update that causes failures and even prevents the feature from being disabled is not good enough for production level software. Adobe knows that its software is the industry standard, and has a steady revenue stream from the huge number of Creative Cloud subscribers who now have to pay a monthly fee rather than an upfront outright purchase. The increased release cadence should be a good thing for Adobe’s customers. Bugs should be fixed more quickly and I installed this update on two computers – one fairly recent workstation with 32 GB of memory and the other 10 years old with only 8 GB – but both capable of running all prior versions of Photoshop without issue.
The only positive thing I have to say is that at least previous versions are easy to locate and install through the Creative Cloud app, and thankfully don’t need administrator rights to do so. With updates as poor as this, that’s pretty vital.
Update v22.3.1 – Fixed at last!
Adobe finally released the 22.3.1 update on 9th April, which fixed the issues for me. Photoshop now works just as stably as the 22.x release did. It took almost a month for the fix to be pushed out to users, which is not good enough. Version 22.3 should never have been released in the state it was.