After resetting my Mac from a backup (High Sierra, version 10.13.6), I somehow lost the preview.app. It's not there. I still see remnants like com.apple.Preview.plist (yet, no com.apple.preview folder). What can be done to get it back without installing macOS anew? thx

  • 2
    What is the result of ls -ld /Applications/Preview* in Terminal? Reinstalling the OS is the safer approach in case it really is missing, other things might have gotten lost as well.
    – nohillside
    Dec 29 '18 at 12:15
  • ls: /Applications/Preview*: No such file or directory
    – jennab
    Dec 29 '18 at 13:36
  • Ok. Time to reinstall macOS then :-)
    – nohillside
    Dec 29 '18 at 13:40
  • thanks nohillside, maybe you can also comment on below comment of mine regarding the installation situation (mountain lion). and the time machine backup could then be sort of corrupt? thx
    – jennab
    Dec 29 '18 at 13:54
  • 1
    See support.apple.com/HT204904 for recovery options. If this doesn't help you in your situation, please ask a new question (and include a reference to this one if it helps to provide context).
    – nohillside
    Dec 29 '18 at 14:02

The Preview app should be in /Applications, with all the other apps. It cannot be deleted normally, so it is strange that it is missing. What happens if you double click on an image file or PDF? What happens if you type "Preview" into Spotlight? Is it missing from Launchpad?

Firstly, you should be able to restore it from your backup. Go into Time Machine app, navigate to the Applications folder, and then scroll 'back in time' until you can see it. Then Restore.

If that fails, then I would be incline to reinstall MacOS, because there may well be all sorts of other issues that you have not discovered. You can re-install MacOS and keep your (existing) applications and user data intact.

  • all tried. it's not findable. in Time Machine, I have only a few backups that do not include the preview app. Plus: when wanting to re-install (cmd-r on boot), he wants to install mountain lion (10.8). What should I do? As far as my own researches went, the preview.app itself is not available as a download, right? but what you said could also be true ("all sorts of other issues"). So, would I need to install from mountain lion up to high sierra again? how does it work(I would need to go painfully step by step, hopping from old to the next release until high sierra is reached).please advise.thx
    – jennab
    Dec 29 '18 at 13:46
  • @jennab See comment on your question for the next steps you can take.
    – nohillside
    Dec 29 '18 at 14:03
  • You should be able to download the High Sierra app from the Mac App Store.
    – benwiggy
    Dec 29 '18 at 14:45
  • Thanks both of you. A re-installation indeed did the trick. On reboot, alt-cmd-r and then I could even select Mojave (now I'm wondering why the upgrade from high sierra to mojave has not been offered automatically by my app store previously). Be that as it may, the preview app is now back and up and running :)
    – jennab
    Dec 30 '18 at 0:42

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