I did the direct jump from Snow Leopard to Mavericks and there is possibility that I have missed some changes in the versions in between. Nonetheless, here is my problem:

When I open a document (e.g. an image) preview shows up and does its job. The problem is when I press the close button in the finder, the Preview is closed completely. In 10.6 Preview would remain open, indicated by little white dot bellow its icon in the dock. How can I keep Preview open and let it close only if I send a cmd+q?

2 Answers 2


You need to disable Preview's automatic termination.

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSDisableAutomaticTermination -bool TRUE && killall -HUP Finder

This is due to Lion's automatic termination which was introduced so that apps which have no windows open and are not performing a task can be quit to save system resources. Generally it's good to leave on, but if you really want to disable it, use the above command.

You can disable automatic termination in all apps by setting it in the global preferences.

defaults write -g NSDisableAutomaticTermination -bool TRUE && killall -HUP Finder
  • 1
    Thank you! You may want to add a killall Finder is necessary. As a comment, I think it's a good idea to do so for system resources, however, Preview is that one application which is going to be used every few minutes. Instead it seems it is the only application that is having this behavior.
    – Pouya
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 17:10
  • Nice tip. Is it documented by Apple somewhere ? Is there a way to disable automatic termination for all apps ? Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Nicolas Maybe, haven't really looked. Added a command for global disabling.
    – grg
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 19:00
  • In macOS 10.12 the behaviour is the opposite and running the same command using FALSE instead of TRUE didn't work. Suggestions? Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 2:45

When you open a file in Preview.app, then close the last window, Preview appears to shutdown too. It disappears from the Dock.

However, if you check your Activity Monitor.app, Preview actually isn't shutdown. It still is listed in the CPU and Memory tab of Activity Monitor. For me, Preview is taking up 60MB of memory and it appears to be closed. It's not in my Dock or in the Menu at the top of screen.

If you open Preview up again. Then close it using cmd-Q or select "Quit Preview" from the menu, it will actually shutdown. It disappears from the CPU and Memory tabs in Activity Monitor.

You don't need to disable automatic termination because it is not automatically terminated.

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