Today’s Question: I’ve run into an issue where if I select the Crop tool in Photoshop, then change my mind and switch to another tool, the image gets cropped without asking if I want to apply the crop. I don’t think this was always the case, but is there a way to disable this unwanted cropping?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If there is a crop set with the Crop tool in Photoshop, you must click the “reset” or “cancel” button on the Options bar (or press the Esc key on the keyboard) to cancel the crop. If you simply switch to a different tool the current crop will be applied to the image.
More Detail: There have been a number of changes to the Crop tool over the years that I have found frustrating, but the change in behavior where you are no longer asked if you want to apply the crop when you switch to a different tool from the Crop tool is particularly frustrating.
In the past, if you selected the Crop tool but then switched to a different tool, a dialog would appear asking if you want to apply the crop. It appears this was changed with a recent update to Photoshop. If you had the crop tool set to a specific crop ratio, such as 1:1 to crop to a square, that setting would remain when you then switched back to the crop tool while working with another image later.
In this scenario, simply selecting the Crop tool by mistake and then switching to the actual tool you intended to use will cause the image to be cropped to a square.
To avoid this issue, you need to be sure to either press the Esc key on the keyboard, click the “cancel” button (the circle with a slash icon) on the Options bar, or reset the Crop tool settings by clicking the “reset” button (the counter-clockwise arcing arrow icon) on the Options bar.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way to permanently turn off this automatic crop other than to reset or cancel the crop. I would love to be able to prevent this behavior, as I don’t think it makes any sense at all.