Acrobat or Acrobat Reader crashes, or displays PDF cannot be viewed error in macOS

Problem: Acrobat or Acrobat Reader crashes or displays the error "This PDF cannot be viewed in Acrobat or Reader, and the application will now exit.”

PDF cannot be viewed in Acrobat or Reader error

Acrobat or Acrobat Reader crashes on macOS, or displays the above error dialog when you perform any of the tasks below in a PDF file:

  • Play MP4 content
  • Render a 3D model
  • Add a .U3D file
  • Scroll a PDF created by InDesign


When the virtual memory limit of Acrobat or Acrobat Reader crosses the internal threshold, Acrobat displays the error and exits.

Solution: Create a FeatureState.plist file with a lock-down setting to increase the threshold limit

  1. Quit Acrobat or Acrobat Reader application if it's already running.

  2. Navigate to the folder /Library/Application Support/Adobe/(product name)/(version)/Preferences.

    For example, the path for Acrobat is /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/DC/Preferences.

  3. Do the following:

    a.) Download the file below - click the Get file button.

    b.) Extract the file, and copy the extracted file to the following folder - /Library/Application Support/Adobe/(product name)/(version)/Preferences.


    The com.adobe.acrobat.featurestate.plist file has the following entry:

    • Key: kEnableHigherVirtualSizeLimit
    • Type: Boolean
    • Default  Value: 1

    When kEnableHigherVirtualSizeLimit = 0; the default internal threshold is used.
    When kEnableHigherVirtualSizeLimit = 1; the increased internal threshold is used.

    In either case, when you exceed the internal threshold limit, Acrobat displays the error and exits.

  4. (Optional) Open Terminal and run the following command:

    sudo killall cfprefsd

    This command clears your Mac's cache preferences, and avoids the macOS to delete the newly added plist file when you launch Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.

  5. Launch Acrobat or Acrobat Reader and perform your desired task.


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