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Question: previews not showing in Finder

I'm running High Sierra on a 2013 MacBook Air. I always view files in Finder in column view with preview column shown. Recently, the previews have not been loading--I indefinitely get the gray circling loading icon instead.

MacBook Air (13-inch Mid 2013), macOS High Sierra (10.13.3)

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Mar 17, 2018 11:34 AM in response to Alexis1z In response to Alexis1z

A Troubleshooting Procedure that may Fix Problems with macOS El Capitan or Later

You should try each, one at a time, then test to see if the problem is fixed before going on to the next.


Be sure to backup your files before proceeding if possible.


  1. Shutdown the computer, wait 30 seconds, restart the computer.
  2. Disconnect all third-party peripherals.
  3. Resetting your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM
  4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
  5. Reset your Startup Disk and Sound preferences.
  6. Start the computer in Safe Mode. Test in safe mode to see if the problem persists, then restart normally.
  7. Use Apple Hardware Test to see if there is any hardware malfunction.
  8. Repair the disk by booting from the Recovery HD. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Utility Menu appears. Choose Disk Utility and click on the Continue button. Select the indented (usually, Macintosh HD) volume entry from the side list. Click on the First Aid button in the toolbar. Wait for the Done button to appear. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu. Restart the computer from the Apple Menu.
  9. Repair permissions on the Home folder: Resolve issues caused by changing the permissions of items in your home folder.
  10. Create a New User Account Open Users & Groups preferences. Click on the lock icon and enter your Admin password when prompted. On the left under Current User click on the Add [+] button under Login Options. Setup a new Admin user account. Upon completion log out of your current account then log into the new account. If your problems cease, then consider switching to the new account and transferring your files to it - Transferring files from one User Account to another.
  11. Download and install the OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 Combo Update or 10.12.6 Combo Update or Download macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Combo Update as needed.
  12. Reinstall OS X by booting from the Recovery HD using the Command and R keys. When the Utility Menu appears select Reinstall OS X then click on the Continue button.
  13. Erase and Install OS X Restart the computer. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Apple logo appears. When the Utility Menu appears:
  1. Select Disk Utility from the Utility Menu and click on Continue button.
  2. When Disk Utility loads select the drive (out-dented entry) from the Device list.
  3. Click on the Erase icon in Disk Utility's toolbar. A panel will drop down.
  4. Set the Format type to APFS (for SSDs only) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled.)
  5. Click on the Apply button, then wait for the Done button to activate and click on it.
  6. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu.
  7. Select Reinstall OS X and click on the Continue button.

If none of the above helps then make an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar for service. If you need to find an Apple Store - Find a Store - Apple.


Mar 17, 2018 11:34 AM

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Mar 17, 2018 2:42 PM in response to Alexis1z In response to Alexis1z

Might be a corrupt .plist.


Do a backup, preferably 2 backups on 2 separate drives.


Go to Finder and select your user/home folder. With that Finder window as the front window, either select Finder/View/Show View options or go command - J. When the View options opens, check ’Show Library Folder’. That should make your user library folder visible in your user/home folder. Select Library. Then go to Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist. Move the .plist to your desktop.


Re-launch Finder by restarting the computer and test. If it works okay, delete the plist from the desktop.


If the same, return the .plist to where you got it from, overwriting the newer one.


Thanks to leonie for some information contained in this.

Mar 17, 2018 2:42 PM

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Question: previews not showing in Finder