What exactly do these hold-over arrows in OS X 10.9 do?

hold over arrows on a document icon in OS X 10.9

When I mistakenly press on the right arrow, it just starts flashing/blinking, and the other arrow — the left one — appears to indicate that it's now available, too. Yet nothing at all happens, not even any kind of title or annotation is provided.

The right arrow stops blinking and the left stops being bold if you navigate away from the folder, and then go back.

These arrows are really annoying; more worryingly, I'm afraid they're doing something bad behind my back. How do I turn all of this nonsense off for good?

Also, if mistakenly pressing them may have caused any damage I haven't noticed yet, how do I undo any such damage?

2 Answers 2


It just changes pages on the icon preview for multi-page documents.

Not spectacularly useful with small icons like that, but if you have huge icons set or are in column or cover-flow view, it's a quick way to see what's actually in the document without opening them.

If you click away from the icon, it goes back to the first page, so it doesn't actually change anything.

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  • 2
    Wow, that's a really bad IU! All they had to do is add some helpful tips like Page 2 of 2 when you click on it! At least it doesn't do anything bad. I was afraid it was somehow linked to Time Machine or something.
    – cnst
    Sep 13, 2014 at 0:26
  • It's much more obvious in column view and cover flow. I didn't even realize it was there in icon view, too. They do seem to disappear once you set your icons smaller than a certain size. Sep 13, 2014 at 0:33
  • BTW, in my Finder on MacBook Air 11" with all the defaults, when the icons are so small (and I think that's the default size, BTW), the contents of the icon doesn't actually seem to change at all...
    – cnst
    Sep 15, 2014 at 1:46

You can turn it off by using this command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLInlinePreviewMinimumSupportedSize -int 514

If you want it back, change the value 514 to 0.

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