Before macOS Big Sur, qlmanage -p by itself or qlmanage -p -d debugLevel showed which Quick Look generator was used for a given file. Now, no such info appears.

The man page for qlmanage also changed from

qlmanage -p [-d debugLevel] [-x] [-c contentTypeUTI [-g generator]] [file ...]


qlmanage -p [-x] [-c contentTypeUTI [-g generator]] [file ...]

How can I, as of macOS Big Sur, see what Quick Look generator is used for a given file?


1 Answer 1


Try qlmanage -m plugins. That shows the list of generators for Uniform Type Indicators types, though I'll agree the difference in wording is odd (plugins / generators).


% qlmanage -m plugins
  org.videolan.avi -> /Library/QuickLook/Video.qlgenerator (1.9.4)
  org.perian.nuppelvideo -> /Library/QuickLook/Video.qlgenerator (1.9.4)
  com.apple.iwork.keynote.sffkth -> /System/Library/QuickLook/iWork.qlgenerator (225)
  com.bittorrent.torrent -> /Applications/Transmission.app/Contents/Library/QuickLook/QuickLookPlugin.qlgenerator (1.0)
  com.seriflabs.affinity -> /Applications/Affinity Photo.app/Contents/Library/QuickLook/QuickLook.qlgenerator (5.1)
  com.microsoft.powerpoint.pot -> /System/Library/QuickLook/Office.qlgenerator (46)
  org.videolan.wmv -> /Library/QuickLook/Video.qlgenerator (1.9.4)
  org.perian.ogv -> /Library/QuickLook/Video.qlgenerator (1.9.4)
  com.adriangranados.wifiexplorer.document -> /Applications/WiFi Explorer.app/Contents/Library/QuickLook/WiFiExplorer.qlgenerator (51)
  org.videolan.ogg-video -> /Library/QuickLook/Video.qlgenerator (1.9.4)
  • The list does not seem complete. For example, QLMarkdown is active via /Applications/QLMarkdown.app, however does not show up in the list. In the old qlmanage, you could see which generator handled a specific file.
    – Michael
    Aug 4, 2022 at 12:03
  • 1
    QLMarkdown is installed as an extension (see System Preferences | Extensions). I'm not sure how that differs from a QL generator in it's execution by Quicklook though... Aug 4, 2022 at 12:14
  • 1
    I appreciate the pointer. It seems there are .appex-bundles (called App Extensions) and .qlgenerator-bundles (called Quick Look Generators). Both seem to achieve the same, namely show previews. Some apps have both, some have only one of them. — It seems qlmanage -m only shows the latter. I feel confused upon receiving this information.
    – Michael
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:19
  • 2
    pluginkit -mvp com.apple.quicklook.preview QLSupportedContentTypes show you relevant .appex bundles. To inquire into the content types, add the --raw flag in front and search for the QLSupportedContentTypes key.
    – Michael
    Aug 5, 2022 at 22:14
  • 1
    @ma1234 Thx.. yeah I was probably generalising. Amended. Apr 9, 2023 at 9:19

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