I don't know the nomenclature for this, but there used to be always a little file icon at the top of say, a pdf or jpeg which could be dragged to put the file somewhere else (eg paste it into an email). It looked like this (I'm talking about the little icon to the left of the word 'gray's' in this screenshot):

little file icon

However, on Big Sur, the default behaviour for this little icon is hidden until I hover my mouse. So, by default, I see this (sans icon):

a picture without icon

I would like this little icon to always be present at the top of all files, like it used to be. Is there a way to do this?

(My apologies for not knowing the name for this little icon!)


3 Answers 3


If you upgrade to macOS Monterey (at least beta 3), you can make the icon always show:
System PreferencesAccessibilityDisplayDisplay (tab) → Show window title icons

Enable this from the command line by setting

defaults write com.apple.universalaccess showWindowTitlebarIcons -bool YES
  • Brilliant—I'm not normally a Beta user, but I can't wait for this to come to me downstream! Glad Apple has enabled a canonical answer..
    – ezgranet
    Jul 16, 2021 at 0:35

Backup your plist first. ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preview.plist

Then run this command:

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSWindowSupportsAutomaticInlineTitle -bool false

It will change the look of the toolbar so the title name is now on its own row above the tool icons. You can revert back to default with this command:

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSWindowSupportsAutomaticInlineTitle -bool true

Alternatively you can change the delay setting from the default 0.5 seconds to 0 seconds with:

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSToolbarTitleViewRolloverDelay 0

A note on @grg's terminal command to set the new option in macOS Monterey (I'd comment if I had enough reputation).

In order to get it working, I had to:

  1. Give Terminal Full Disk Access via System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Full Disk Access
  2. Remove the -g (global domain) option

So the command I ran and added to my .macos preferences script is:

defaults write com.apple.universalaccess showWindowTitlebarIcons -bool true

Note: YES and true are the same.

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