I've just migrated to Mac from Windows and the adaptation process has been a bumpy ride. I now have a question regarding Preview.

I just got back from a trip and have some 3GB of photos (DNG) that I have imported into my MBP. I did not use Photos because I am a Lightroom user and I intend to keep using Lightroom in the future (I am still planning on how I will move my LR stuff from my Windows PC to the MBP).

Yesterday I wanted to show my girlfriend the pictures, so I opened all of them using Preview. The application crashed after one minute of usage. I tried again, and one more time the application crashed.

I did some googling and found a suggestion that I could go to the Library folder and trash a few Preview related files. I decided to give this idea a spin and ditched them. I fired up Preview again, used for a couple of minutes and.... it crashed.

I am now wondering if Preview isn't suitable for viewing loads of pictures, or if there is something wrong on my Mac? If not, which software do you guys use (other than Photos and LR)?


I have a MBP 2015 model running on 8GB of RAM. I didn't have any application open other than Chrome when I tried to use Preview.

1 Answer 1


To the best of my knowledge there is no documented limit to the number of photos you could open at one time using Preview. Usually, when software has no hard-coded limit, the only limitation is that created by the amount of RAM available to the application.

In the case of Preview, the more RAM available the more it can take advantage of when opening images. In addition to RAM being a factor, the number of images Preview can open at once also depends on the image format and the individual image sizes.

You don't specify how much RAM you have and what else (if anything) you were running at the time, nor do you specify the exact model of MBP etc. However, I've been using Preview for over 16 years and can attest to the fact that in some cases it's only been able to open a few hundred images, while in other cases it's been able to open 1000s.

My suggestion would be to start with only opening a hundred at a time and if it handles that without problems, double it to 200 and so on. You'll soon establish what's comfortable in your scenario.

A final word

One thing to consider also is that if you happen to have a corrupted image file then this could cause problems. I've seen Preview (and other apps) normally capable of opening a large number of files, randomly crash because one of the files you're trying to open is damaged in some way. Likewise, similar problems can be experienced if you've inadvertently selected a file that isn't supported. While these issues aren't usually a problem as Preview would just present you with an error message, it can be a problem if Preview is processing a large number of images simultaneously and is also waiting for a response from the user.

  • I have a MBP 2015 with 8GB of RAM. I didn't have anything open other than Chrome when I tried to use Preview. So there should be plenty of RAM available even if Preview were not optimized and tried to bring everything into memory, which, I hope, is not how Preview works :)
    – user241497
    Jun 14, 2017 at 8:30
  • Your point on corrupted files is very valid, and it may be the root cause of the problem. I will follow your suggestion and will try and open 100 files, then go up to 200, and so on. Maybe I will find a culprit when increasing the load.
    – user241497
    Jun 14, 2017 at 8:31
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    Another thing you can do is use Activity Monitor to determine what's using your processor, memory, etc. I've come across a number of users who have issues generally and then find that Chrome is the culprit in their particular scenario, either because of the way it uses memory per tab and/or because of hardware acceleration (which can be disabled from within Chrome's Advanced settings). All the best in getting to the bottom of it. :)
    – Monomeeth
    Jun 14, 2017 at 8:38
  • There are also various apps that can be installed that go through your active processes and kill the unnecessary ones. I have one of these, and it's saved me as much as 5GB on occasion. I will note that the OP said he had Chrome open, and internet browsers generally use an enormous amount of RAM.
    – DonielF
    Jun 14, 2017 at 11:13
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    @DonielF It may be worth mentioning the apps you're referring to (especially the one you've used) as it could help other users.
    – Monomeeth
    Jun 14, 2017 at 21:34

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