I understand that Perian is (a) not being developed by its creators anymore and (b) it doesn't work on 10.9/Mavericks even though someone appears to releasing updates to it on GitHub (gathering from trying Perian on 10.9, none of said updates seem to be related to 10.9 support).

I uninstalled this now apparently useless framework by clicking the Uninstall button in preferences, then removing the prefpane and rebooting.

The problem is that FLAC files still are read as a 'musical' MIME type - or something - by Finder. They have the preview music icon when they should be blank, but more confusing is that hovering over them gives a Play/Pause functionality which never actually plays anything (the icon just starts 'spinning' when you click it) Check the screenshot.

Woohoo! (Not).

How do I get rid of this leftover broken functionality?

Also note: when I press space on a selected FLAC file, Quick Look correctly makes no attempt to play it - but Perian has left another annoying mark as QL throws up the musical notes icon - as if you could play it in QL):


2 Answers 2


Alright, here's how I got rid of
- FLAC files having those ‘click to play' icons and their ensuing endless 'preview loading' spinning wheels.
- FLAC files with those Quicktime/iTunes style music icons

We don’t want either because at least in 10.9, neither Quicktime nor Finder nor Quick Look can play them (even with Perian installed). A fresh installation of OS X simply gives you no option to play FLAC files whatsoever, but when you uninstall Perian, which is supposed to let you play such exotic formats, the option to preview FLAC in Finder et al is not removed.

Apparently the problem is caused by Perian associating FLAC files with the Quicktime Player.

  • Right click on a FLAC file with a specious 'click to play icon'
  • Choose 'Open With' and select 'Quicktime Player'
  • Quicktime Player says ‘converting’ in the video window for a couple of seconds then gives you a dialogue box saying it cannot play the FLAC file after all.
  • Close Quicktime
  • Close Your Finder windows and reboot OS X.

Think of this as a way to completely remove all traces of Perian after you've uninstalled it.

Now when you interact with FLAC files in Finder they should look like this again:

Blank icons for FLAC in finder

Blank icon in Quick Look


QuickLook is just showing the icon. If no preview is available for a file, this is what happens. As you can see in the screen shot you posted, this is the icon your system is using for music without any embedded (or readable) artwork.

  • I don't think you understand the question. OS X should not recognise FLAC files as music at all. Normally you would never see a music icon appear on FLAC files let alone a 'Play' button. Installing Perian has caused this erroneous behaviour which won't disappear - even though I uninstalled it.
    – iceequal
    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:43

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