I cannot figure out for the life of me why the scaling/transforming options keep changing on me, even mid-project.
So I used to always scale with shift to lock aspect ratio, but then more recently since I believe Photoshop has updated to flip this, I haven't needed to do that. Great! Love it, but then out of nowhere I have to use Shift again to lock aspect Ratio. This options flips on/off for me and it's very frustrating...
Am I hitting a keyboard shortcut I'm unaware of? Is there something in the preferences or toolbar I can tick to make this always locked aspect ratio transform w/o shift, BUT I can use Shift key if I want it not aspect scaling?
First of all not every tool have switched to the new NO shift to constrain. The crop tool for example still works the old way. Concerning the transform tool, what do you see in your preferences?
you can see there is a legacy "free transform" that can be enabled/disbaled, see if it changes anything when you change it. Apart from that it could be a keyboard issue (or express key issue if you're using a tablet).
Just out of curiosity (Although I doubt this is the problem)
Check what you got in the keyboard shortcut preferences (Edit> keyboard shortcuts) and see what you've got in the edit section, under free transform.
Check if you haven't got SHIFT+CTRL+T registered instead.
Photoshop should keep the last way you scaled as a sticky setting, but you can check it and change it quicky in the Options bar (Window > Options). When you use Free Transform, Edit > Free Transform or via keyboard shortcut Ctrl (Windows)/Command (macOs), you'll see in the Options bar whether the Maintain Aspect Ratio button (the constrain chain) is selected or not. You can click it for whichever way you want it.