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In macOS Catalina, the Finder has a gallery view mode that is convenient for easily browsing a folder of images. In the Finder's preview options, if I select all possible information checkboxes, then the right-hand panel (the "preview column") shows the file name, file format, file size, a lot of EXIF field values, tags, and some quick action icons, but what it does not show is the image title and caption/description. Example:

enter image description here

Here is the Finder preview options panel showing the settings in use:

enter image description here

Perhaps the Finder does not show the title and caption/description because those fields are part of the IPTC metadata and not EXIF. However, some macOS native software such as Preview does understand how to read those values. Here is the info panel in macOS Preview:

enter image description here

Is there any way to make the Finder display the title and caption in gallery view? Failing that, is there any Finder extension that enables this?

2 Answers 2

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I can explain what is happening and suggest some solutions, but not provide a solution for your precise question. But one of my solutions is very close.

Finder and Spotlight:

In "as Gallery" mode Finder shows a subset of the metadata which has been indexed by the Spotlight importer for jpeg files. As you have discovered this includes at least some EXIF data, but not any IPTC. And you are not able to extend what Finder displays to include all EXIF and IPTC metadata.

You can show what Spotlight has indexed with the terminal command:

mdls <path to file>

I have taken one of my photos and (using Graphic Converter) added the IPTC Title field as "Flowering Plum". This is indeed indexed by Spotlight as shown with:

mdls "/Volumes/Photos/PhotoSync/Gilby’s iPhone/Recents/IMG_3495.HEIC"
_kMDItemDisplayNameWithExtensions      = "IMG_3495.HEIC"
kMDItemAcquisitionMake                 = "Apple"
kMDItemAcquisitionModel                = "iPhone 13 Pro Max"
...
kMDItemEXIFVersion                     = "2.3.2"
kMDItemExposureMode                    = 0
kMDItemExposureProgram                 = 2
kMDItemExposureTimeSeconds             = 0.001366120218579235
kMDItemFlashOnOff                      = 0
kMDItemFNumber                         = 1.8
kMDItemFocalLength                     = 1.57
...
kMDItemTitle                           = "Flowering Plum"
...

I have deleted much of the output, but shown some EXIF metadata and, more importantly, the IPTC Title field has been used to populate KMDItemTitle.

The bad news is that this doesn't change what Finder displays in Gallery mode.

The good news is:

  1. Finder's Get Info (Command-I) does display the KMDItemTitle metadata as "Title: Flowering Plum".
  2. You can use Command-Option-I to display a Get Info window which remains in place and is populated by the Spotlight metadata for the currently selected file.
  3. A Finder search for "plum" will find the photo.

Here is a snippet from the Get Info: Get Info

Preview: I am pretty sure that Preview does look directly at the metadata inside the file and displays that directly.

Apple Photos: When I import my test photo into Photos (macOS 12.5), it is displayed with the title. The Title is also shown in its "Info" panel.

Flowering Plum

Graphic Converter, Lightroom or other Digital Asset Manager: These do, of course, display all metadata.

In summary you can:

  • Use Finder's search and it's "Get Info" panel to show use/show the Title metadata - but not in Gallery view's right hand info panel. I don't see a way round the restriction.
  • The closest to what you ask is to use the permanent Get Info window activated by Command-Option-I.
  • Use Apple Photos as a Digital Asset Manager.
  • Use a third party DAM.

Everything I have said for the IPTC Title, also applies for the IPTC Caption which appears in the Spotlight kMDItemDescription metadata and is displayed in Finder's Get Info as "Description".

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  • I was not aware (or forgot) that ⌥⌘i brought up a floating inspector panel. It turns out that it works not just in gallery mode but also when viewing a folder in other views (e.g., icon view). This is not a bad compromise, all things considered. So, thank you!
    – mhucka
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 21:40
  • I thought is was an interesting question and worth the time to reply. The funny/odd thing is that I missed the ⌥⌘I at first.
    – Gilby
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 22:18
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Not in Finder, but you can with Preview. Select all the photos, then double-click one. This will open a view like this:

enter image description here

If you don't see this view, go to the top menu of Preview, click View and select Thumbnails.

Now in the top menu, click Tools > Show Inspector. The More Info window will open, showing details about the thumbnail selected in the left pane. Click EXIF tab to see the EXIF data and the IPTC tab to see the IPTC data (e.g. title, keywords, caption etc.)

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