Troubleshoot issues related to playback and performance in Premiere Pro

When using Premiere Pro, you may encounter issues relating to playback and performance. Here is a list of some common Issues that can occur along with steps to troubleshoot.

Why am I getting choppy playback and poor performance?

Many issues that are related to playback and performance are linked to the Media Cache and Media Cache DatabaseMedia Cache contains the.CFA and.PEK files that are generated by Premiere Pro while importing clips for the first time in Project bin. Clearing cache files can help in solving such issues.

Watch the video or read the instructions.

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  1. Select:
    • Edit > Preferences > Media Cache (Windows). 
    • Premiere Pro > Preferences > Media Cache (macOS).
  2. Click the Delete button next to Remove Media Cache Files.
Option to remove media cache files
Option to remove media cache files

Navigate to the location of the Media Cache Files and Media Cache Database and delete the files manually. After you delete the files, empty the trash. For information on how to free up hard disk space by removing cached media files, see Managing the media cache database.

Default locations of the media cache files:

  • Windows: \Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Common
  • macOS:  /Users//Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common

 If you have customized the media cache location, you need to navigate to that custom location and clean the media cache files from there.

Why is my rendering slow?

If you have issues with slow rendering, try changing the Renderer.  

Select File > Project Settings > General > Renderer and change the setting to Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration

Changing rendering settings
Changing rendering settings


If the Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration option is grayed out or not available, then check if there is any update available for your GPU drivers.

Why doesn't my timeline show any video preview?

Delete the preview files and check if the preview works. You can delete render files within Premiere Pro, or by navigating to the folder where they are saved, and deleting them from that location.

If you have preview issues, try deleting the preview files. 

Select the sequence and click Sequence > Delete Render Files.


This option might be grayed out if the timeline is not rendered.

Deleting render files
Deleting render files

Click File > Project Settings > Scratch Disks. Look for the location specified for Audio/Video Previews. Navigate to that location in macOS Finder or Windows Explorer, and delete the preview files from that location.

Deleting preview files from your scratch disks
Deleting preview files from your scratch disks


If you delete previews you need to rebuild them manually (Sequence > Render In to Out), otherwise the playback might become choppy. 


Clearing the cache causes Premiere Pro to regenerate these cache files when you open the project after clearing the cache. It may take some time for Premiere Pro to respond properly during playback or preview while these cache and pek files are being generated.

What can I do to optimize the playback performance?

Reduced performance could occur because of two issues:

Read on to understand how to identify the cause of the issue and troubleshooting guidance.

Checking for issues with applied effects

To check if an effect is responsible for the reduced performance, disable the audio/video effects applied on a sequence to ease the processing load. You can then enable these effects again when you export.

Use Global fx mute button in the Program Monitor to mute all effects at once. Or, disable the effects individually from the Effect Controls panel.

Muting all effects at once
Muting all effects at once

Muting individual effects
Muting individual effects

For more information, see Remove Audio/Video effects in Premiere Pro. 

Checking for issues with plug-ins

  1. Check the MediaCore folder to verify whether the installed plug-ins are compatible with Premiere Pro.

    For Windows, the files are at:


    For macOS, the files are at:

    Macintosh HD⁩/ ⁨Library⁩/⁨Application Support⁩/Adobe⁩/⁨Common⁩/⁨Plug-ins⁩/⁨7.0⁩/MediaCore.

  2. Move the plug-ins temporarily from this location to any other folder and check if Premiere Pro is working properly without the third-party plug-ins. If the issue is resolved, then update the plug-ins, or contact the plug-in vendor for a compatible version.

What can I do if I think my hardware setup is not optimal?

  1. Check the System Compatibility Report (Help > System Compatibility Report) in Premiere Pro and see if there are any hardware compatibility issues. Alternatively, check the Premiere Pro System requirements page.

  2. If the system is not able to process the media and the effects applied in real time, it may result in reduced performance. In such cases, try the Proxy Workflow in Premiere Pro to use the proxy functionality and switch between native and proxy formats to get the job done faster.


Fast storage is critical for video production. Use solid-state NVMe or SSD storage. For more information on optimizing your system, see Optimizing your system for Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Why does my audio playback keep getting stuck?

Sometimes you may face issues where the playback doesn’t work after hitting the play button. Usually, such issues occur due to Audio Hardware not being configured properly.

  1. Select Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware, to check the computer audio device and the Device Class settings (ASIO/MME for Windows OS or CoreAudio for macOS) that is used by Premiere Pro for audio playback and recording. For more information, see Audio Hardware preferences.

    Setting audio hardware preferences
    Setting audio hardware preferences

  2. Check for external audio devices in the Default Input/Output and try to disable them. For example, you can disable external mic, Webcam, third-party audio playback devices such as AJA or BlackMagic, USB MICs, or monitor speakers.

    On Windows machines, try to disable all the devices except Realtek listed under Sound Control panel. 

    On macOS, try to create an aggregate device by selecting built-in input/output devices and then select that aggregate device as Default Input/Output under Audio Hardware preferences of Premiere Pro.

  3. Once the third-party audio devices and interfaces are disabled, check if the playback is restored.

How do I get better performance with h.264/h.265 media?

Premiere Pro supports the use of Intel® Quick Sync, which uses the dedicated media processing capabilities of Intel® Graphics Technology to decode/encode h.264/h.265 media faster. 

If h.264/h.265 media is used, enable Hardware-accelerated Decoding/Encoding to get better playback performance and shorter export time. 

To get better playback performance, enable hardware accelerated decoding:

  1. Select EditPreferences > Media
  2. Select Enable hardware accelerated decoding (requires restart).
  3. Restart Premiere Pro.

To get shorter export time, enable hardware accelerated encoding:

  1. Select File > Export > Media
  2. In the Format drop-down list, select H.264 or HEVC (H.265).
  3. In the Video tab, go to Encoding Settings and set the Performance to Hardware Encoding.

 For hardware-accelerated decoding or encoding to work an Intel® CPU with Intel® Quick Sync support is required. For more information, see the system requirements and GPU Accelerated Rendering & Hardware Encoding.

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