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Today, I noticed a image I downloaded earlier (one of two) has a large gray circle at the right-hand edge of the Name column in Finder:

enter image description here

Note that the other image made at almost the same time doesn't have it.

This is not a tag. When adding the gray tag to the file, it looks like this, with a second small gray circle.

enter image description here

The large gray circle is something different. What is it?

This is macOS Sierra, 10.12.4, on a 2013 model Macbook Pro. Last night, when the image was made, neither had a gray circle. It's appeared sometime in the last 24 hours.

Edit: the file is located in Downloads, and (edited from original) was actually a downloaded file from Chrome. I do not have iCloud sync enabled for files. The gray circle was not present last night or earlier today; in fact since I posted the question, the circle has disappeared, reappeared, and disappeared again - only for this file and no others.

  • It would help if you could specify which MacOS Version you are using. If f.e. you are using 10.12. and you have iCould Sync activated for Documents and Desktop, then the circle would be an indicator for an upload/synchronisation of that file with your iCloud Account. – J.C. May 9 '17 at 20:48
  • Hi JC: it's macOS Sierra 10.12.4 (at the very bottom of the question.) I do not have iCloud Sync enabled for any files. I edited and added a bunch of other info I hope is useful :) – David May 9 '17 at 20:51
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Thanks for clarifying the question about the location and your OS.

In your case, the grey dot is a progress indicator for a downloaded file. It used to be a horizontal bar, filling up as the download progresses. Now it's a circle filling up clockwise.

Sometimes, the circle does not disappear, like in your case, indicating an incomplete download.

IMO, it is not directly an application problem, since I have seen this behaviour in Google Chrome as well as Opera and Safari. There was a report here on SE about this being a bug in Chrome (see here), but in the comments, you see other users had had it happened in other apps as well.

Since the file still opens, it seems to be a finder refresh problem for which there are several solutions.

  • The easiest would be to wait (not clear how long) for it to disappear (like in your case).
  • Try restarting the app with which you downloaded the file, in your case Google Chrome.
  • You could try forcing a refresh of the finder window by changing the directory, e.g. by moving up or downward a level or closing and reopening the finder window.
  • You could logout of your profile and login again (a bit too much IMO).
  • There is a similar problem with the finder dock and recommendations are to kill the dock via a terminal command (again look here on SE in the comments). You could do something similar with the finder, but I would not recommend it.

I hope it clarifies this problem a bit.

  • Thanks! I think that must be it. Very odd bug - as I noted, the circle vanished, reappeared, and vanished again since I asked the question. – David May 10 '17 at 11:33
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I've had the same issue. The dot appeared when I edited the original download (eps) file in Illustrator, I've deleted the background. I guess it was somehow linked with the browser and had noticed a difference between the downloaded file and the currently edited one. The gray dot disappeared when I renamed the file.

I hope this helps, and yes, it is very annoying.

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Is the file located in ~/Documents or ~/Desktop and do you have iCloud Drive turned on? If yes, this is the upload indicator saying the file is almost 100% uploaded. But sometimes it can freeze. Maybe the last Bit has not been uploaded or you just have to reboot your system to make it disappear.

On the other hand, if this file is located in ~/Downloads then it is the download indicator. The issue is similar to the one above. It can be that the file was not fully downloaded.

  • Thanks @Marc. It is in Downloads, and I do not have iCloud Drive turned on, but a good guess :) – David May 9 '17 at 20:55

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