I have a frustration when i take screenshots on my mac, with e.g. shift ⇧+command ⌘ +4. If the screenshot is the first to be opend in the Preview app, then it also opens the "Open" file explorer. Which is not required as I don't want to open any files.

enter image description here

I can't find anyway of preventing this from opening.

It does not open after the first screenshot.

Does anybody know how to prevent this default behaviour?


Step 1. shift+command+4 to take a screenshot

Step 2. select area to capture

Step 3. the screenshot opens in preview, but the "Open" file explorer also opens at the same time

  • Sorry, I can't understand what is happening. Can you list the steps? You open the screenshot in Preview (How?) and you automatically get a File Open dialog? But only the "first"? (First time that Preview is opened?) Do no other files cause this behaviour, e.g. other images?
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 8:43
  • Step 1. shift+command+4 to take a screenshot Step 2. select area to capture Step 3. the screenshot opens in preview, but the "Open" file explorer also opens at the same time
    – FuzzyLlama
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 9:20
  • If the Preview tool does not have any other images opened in it, e.g. I have closed all other windows before taking this screenshot. Then this behaviour happens. Once there is one window open in preview and I take another screenshot, then this does not happen.
    – FuzzyLlama
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 9:24
  • Normally, taking a screenshot does not open the image in Preview automatically. In older macOS versions, you just get a file on the Desktop. More recently, the image appears in the bottom right of the screen and you can click on it to edit it. Is that what you're doing?
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 9:28
  • @benwiggy cmd+shift+5 brings up the screenshot tool, where you can set the option to open screenshots in Preview (instead of saving them to e.g. the Desktop).
    – Redarm
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


As mentioned in the Comments, the behaviour to open screenshots in Preview is set using Command Shift 5. Once set, then all screenshots will be handled this way (including using Command Shift 4).

Preview is set to show an open dialog when it is launched or brought to the foreground and no document window exists.

It would seem to be a bug that the screenshot document is not counted.

If you want to stop the open dialog, then you have to do the following:

Open System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Options. Uncheck Preview.

(as per this discussion) https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7936364

Otherwise, you might want to consider not opening all screenshots in Preview, but choosing another behaviour for Screenshots.

  • You are awesome @benwiggy the system preferences tip was exactly what I was looking for. Hope you have an awesome day <3
    – FuzzyLlama
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 7:53
  • Just an update as I still refer to this every time I get a new mac. With OS updates the path is slightly different but still same solution as found by @benwiggy. System Settings > ICloud > ICloud Drive > Apps syncing to ICloud Drive > Deselect Preview > Back > Done Enjoy :)
    – FuzzyLlama
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 9:42
  • Can’t toggle those settings on Ventura ? Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 23:06
  • The fix does not work in Sonoma, posted a new topic for this specifically: Sonama breaking fix to preventing Preview from opening "Open" file explorer when taking screenshot
    – FuzzyLlama
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 8:25

YO, all the comments above sound like robots. To fix this you dont need to go into system prefs, you can change the settings if you hit Command + shift + 5. Theres a dialog box that appears at the bottom your screen and if you hit the options tab you can choose from like 10 different options. Its legit, choose the one you are looking for and presto, done. hope this helps.

  • This, in greater detail, was already addressed in the existing answer, plus the Prefs option to prevent iCloud Drive opening.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 17, 2022 at 12:38

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