How To Fix Mac Preview Images Not Showing

Preview is Mac’s built-in default image viewer app and takes care of all your photo viewing and editing requirements. Its integration with Finder allows you to view image files in Preview seamlessly. However, users have experienced problems with Preview failing to load image thumbnails or images not showing.

How To Fix Mac Preview Images Not Showing

Read on for fixes that should get Preview to work as expected again.

Try Another Image File

If Preview refuses to open an image, the first thing to check is the image file itself. If the file you’re trying to open becomes corrupted, Preview will not open it.

The simplest way to test whether problem is with the file is by trying to open a different image file in Preview. If the other file opens, you know there’s an issue with the previous file. However, if the second file doesn’t open, try the following fixes below.

Restart Your Mac

Let’s start with a simple solution, as, at times, they fix these types of app issues. Close all the apps on your Mac and restart it to see if that helps. Here are the steps to restart your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of the screen.
  2. Choose “Restart,” then wait for your Mac to reboot.

Update to the Latest macOS Version

Some macOS versions contain bugs that cause apps not to function correctly. Upgrading to the latest version can fix these issues; follow these steps to upgrade your macOS:

  1. At the top left of the screen, click on the Apple logo.
  2. Choose the “About This Mac” option.
  3. A pop-up window will display information about your Mac. Click on the “Software Update” button.
  4. Wait while your Mac scans for the latest update; if one is available, it will be displayed. Click “Upgrade Now,” then wait for the process to finish.
  5. Once the update is installed, and your Mac has restarted, try Preview again to see if the issue has been fixed.

Delete Preview’s PLIST File

Removing the PLIST file of an application on a Mac is like resetting the app’s preferences, which is equivalent to installing and setting up the app for the first time. This is another suitable troubleshooting method for fixing Preview issues. Here’s how to delete Preview’s PLIST file:

  1. Launch a new “Finder” window.
  2. At the top of the menu bar, click “Go.”
  3. Long-press the “Option” key on your keyboard, then click on the “Library” option via the pull-down menu.
  4. Scroll down slightly, then double-click the “Preferences” menu to open it.
  5. Find the “com.apple.Preview.plist” file, then delete it.
  6. Mac will automatically create another PLIST file for the Preview app once you re-open it.

Restart Your Mac in Safe Mode

At times, the Mac Login Items may clash with the Preview app. The quickest method to test whether the problem is due to Login Items is to reboot in Safe Mode. Login Items are apps that open automatically whenever your Mac starts up or when you sign in. Booting up in Safe Mode prevents the Login Items from loading.

The process is different for Apple Silicon and Intel Macs; therefore, follow the steps for your Mac.

Restart in safe mode for intel Macs:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Push the “Power” button and simultaneously long-press the “Shift” key.
  3. Once the login screen displays, release the “Shift” key, then log in.

Restart in safe mode for Apple Silicon Macs:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the “Power” button, then wait for the “Startup Options” to display.
  3. Click on your startup disk, hold down the “Shift” key, then select “Continue in Safe Mode.”
  4. Let go of the “Shift” key, then log in.

In Safe Mode, retry Preview to see whether images are displaying. If Preview starts to work as expected in Safe Mode, here’s how to delete your Mac Login Items:

  1. Click the Apple logo, then select “System Preferences.”
  2. Choose “Users & Groups.”
  3. Click your username, then select the “Login Items” tab.
  4. Select the lock icon, then type your admin password for authorization to make the change.
  5. Click on every item on the list, then select the minus icon to remove it.
  6. Restart your Mac, and Preview should now work as expected.

Successfully Previewing Images in Preview

Preview is Mac’s built-in image and PDF viewer app. It’s a reasonably solid app; but, it is not immune from occasional problems. Preview has been known not to display images at times, which is a real inconvenience since image viewing is one of its primary functions.

Fortunately, there are several fixes available if Preview acts up. First, try restarting your Mac and Preview or removing the PLIST file. If the standard troubleshooting tips don’t work, consider restarting your Mac in Safe Mode to determine whether apps opening during startup are causing interference.

Can you see images in Preview now? What did you do to fix it? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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