I'm on Lion now, and hoped that Apple would have added the option to disable the quick preview buttons on the icons some way. Here's the problem I have:

This is NOT what I want

When I click on a video in Finder just to select it, I often hit the tiny triangle (see screenshot above), making the video play inside the icon. This is very irritating, since I have to click the teeny tiny triangle again to stop that.

Finder has a "Show Icon Previews" setting in the view options, but that does not do what I want, as it disables the whole thumbnail preview all together, like so:

This is NOT what I want

This clearly not very helpful. I'm looking for a way to keep the previews, but disable the controls on the icons, so that whatever I do, the icon looks like this:

This is what I want

I'd like to do this for all file types with these silly tiny controls on a 32x32 icon.

  • Just to add to this I understand for audio files but how is this useful for videos? Beats me.
    – William
    May 1 '17 at 15:24

The Feature is controlled by QuickLook and therefore you need to either disable the corresponing movie-generator or replace it with a better one.

  • On 10.11 and higher: Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)
  • Go To /System/Library/QuickLook
  • Compress Movie.qlgenerator
    • Move the created zip from your desktop to the folder
    • Confirm with password
    • Delete the Movie.qlgenerator
    • Confirm with password
  • Download qlMoviePreview
    (Here is a Download Link for the Lazy)
  • Extract and Copy the qlMoviePreview.qlgenerator to /System/Library/QuickLook
    • Confirm with password
  • Open Terminal and type qlmanage -r; qlmanage -r cache
  • Maybe a reboot helps for Quicklook to change completely

Now the Finder Movie Thumbnails show an image but have no longer a playback button in it.

  • Can I safely re-enable System Integrity Protection again after this change?
    – Rolf
    May 12 '17 at 8:52
  • Yes you can. The System Integrity Protection is only necessary to alter the files. In fact, the change can not be overwritten if you re-enable it.
    – rwenz3l
    May 12 '17 at 12:53
  • qlMoviePreview.qlgenerator has seemingly disappeared from the internet, and I can't seem to make it compile. Does anyone still have a copy lying around? Sep 20 '20 at 0:25

Are you really seeing this on a 32x32 icon? This discussion suggests you won't see these controls for icons that are smaller than 64x64, which seems accurate (I just tried it).

However, my guess is that it will be impossible to disable this without disabling icon previews. Icon previews seem synonymous with Quick Look, so you either get Quick Look previews or you don't — and Quick Look icon previews come with those buttons.


A workaround would be to develop the habit of selecting icons by dragging a selection rectangle.

  • 2
    I already developed the tendency to click on the text below the icon instead of the icon itself. But I think that's silly, since the icon is designed to be an easy target.
    – Rolf
    Aug 27 '11 at 10:27

Use Terminal.app to set the hidden preference QLInlinePreviewMinimumSupportedSize to a larger icon size:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLInlinePreviewMinimumSupportedSize -int 514 
  • Thanks for the edit. This also works for PDF files and Word files. All arrows will be removed. However, if you want it back, change the value 514 to 0.
    – user385338
    Oct 8 '20 at 13:45

A workaround that can work in some cases is to Command-click or Shift-click the icon, which will not trigger the icon's play button. This works well if you have no other icons selected already, but if you have other icons selected, this will add to that selection instead of making a new selection like a normal, unmodified click would.


Another idea could to be to change your Finder window view to List mode and increase the Icon size to maximum.

Change OS X to list view

increase icon size

It’s not perfect, though. It will keep the preview and you won’t be able to play the video.


I think best solution is here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8107966

This is working in Big Sur.

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