Previously in macOS Big Sur pressing the space bar on an image/video file, Preview.app shows the preview of the media content (image content / play video), but now in macOS Monterey (version 12.0.1 (21A559)) it shows the thumbnail of the media file, its name, size and last modified timestamp. Why is that? Is this happening for everyone or I have something off in my system? I recently updated my macOS from Big Sur to Monterey.

On Image file:

On video file:

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    I see this here as well, hopefully somebody has an answer.
    – nohillside
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:50
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    Are you sure you have the file downloaded onto the computer? This happens for me when QuickView either can't preview the file due to an unknown file type or when the file is still uploaded to iCloud Drive. The behavior is fine for me on Monterey 12.0.1.
    – X_841
    Nov 6, 2021 at 19:40
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    @x_841 I have it with screenshots and locally stored PDFs
    – nohillside
    Nov 6, 2021 at 21:46
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    Thats weird. All files I have tested show my above described behaviour: If I see the little download icon next to the file (meaning its currently stored in iCloud and not locally) it shows the metadata preview like in the pictures from the question. All downloaded files like pdfs, screenshot, word, pages,... docs show up normally with their preview.
    – X_841
    Nov 6, 2021 at 22:10
  • The (lower case) preview you see is not generated by the (upper case) Preview app. What you are using is Quick Look developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/macos/… It is a Quick Look Generator which creates the quicklook. The generator used depends on apps you have loaded on your Mac and the file's UTI. The UTIs and generators can be shown with the command qlmanage -m. And what you are seeing is not a Monterey issue/bug - Quick Look works as expected for me.
    – Gilby
    Nov 6, 2021 at 22:59

4 Answers 4


This seems to be an issue with Finder which can be resolved by restarting it.

  • Open Terminal
  • Type killall Finder and press Return

Finder will automatically restart, QuickLook works again.

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    You probably only need to restart the QuickLook manager, which you can do from the command line with qlmanage -r.
    – benwiggy
    Nov 7, 2021 at 8:32
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    @benwiggy I‘ll try if it happens again. Quickview itself did work though (well, not sure whether qlmanage -p uses the QV Manager itself).
    – nohillside
    Nov 7, 2021 at 10:42
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    @benwiggy Just restarting the QuickLook manager doesn't help (I just had the "opportunity" to verify this).
    – nohillside
    Nov 13, 2021 at 15:21

Restart Finder by ...

  1. Command + Option + Esc
  2. Select Finder, then hit Relaunch
  • This hangs my whole system, cannot do anything after that, I've to kill the system then.
    – Sourav Dey
    Jan 8 at 16:27
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    This worked for me. Thanks.
    – Jamie Cox
    Jan 14 at 2:38

Found the answer to the problem here.

Restart your computer into safe mode. Then restart back into normal mode. Now Quick Look images appear large when looking at them via the iMessage app.

Note that booting into safe mode between intel and silicon chips is different. Safe mode instructions here.


Thanks for the answers, for me the thing that worked was to reset Preview and then restart the OS. By resetting the Preview app I mean to delete all plists and caches.

Also few suggested to restart Finder, when I do that my whole system hangs and I cannot do anything, not even shutdown/restart the OS, I have to resort to forcefully killing (shutdown) the system. Kindly let me know in case I'm doing something wrong.

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    This seems unlikely. As mentioned in the comments to the Question, Preview app is not involved in Finder QuickLook 'previews'. So presumably it was the restart that fixed it. It's also not usual for the entire machine to hang when you kill the Finder, so there may be some underlying problem there.
    – benwiggy
    Jan 8 at 17:13

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