Is the Mac Quick Look not working on your MacBook or iMac after a recent system update or out of the blue? Read to learn how to fix Quick Look on Mac and get started with work instantly.
Quick Look on macOS (Spacebar Preview) makes your life easier by providing a quick view of most files without opening the relevant application. It saves you time when you look for a specific file in piles of documents, images, videos, etc., on your macOS local storage, iCloud Drive, or the Recents folder.
Also, if you need to interact with an unknown file sent by a client or colleague, you can use Spacebar Preview for a sneak peek before accessing the file and save your Mac from virus attacks.
However, there’s a rising report of Quick Look not working on Mac after a major software upgrade like Big Sur to Monterey or Monterey to Ventura. What would you do in such a situation? Without any further ado, explore how to fix Quick Look on Mac below.
Mac Quick Look Not Working: Reasons
The following are the most popular causes for the Quick Look in Mac not working error:
- A recent software upgrade
- The target file isn’t on the local hard drive
- The file you want to view in Quick Look isn’t accessible due to internet issues
- Thumbnail shows but Markup, Share, Rotate, etc., features aren’t showing up
- Quick Look is freezing while viewing files and documents
- Videos not playing on Quick Look
How to Fix Mac Quick Look Not Working
The following methods are mostly available on all macOS editions. Try one method, and test the file in Spacebar Preview before moving on to the next method to save time and effort.
1. Relaunch the Finder App
Finder App controls the functionalities of the Quick Look feature on macOS. There aren’t any applications that you need to run to use Quick Look. You simply select a file or document and hit the Space Bar to get a quick view of the content. When Quick Look not working on Mac, try the following steps:
- Close all open applications and windows.
- Press and hold the Control and Option key on MacBook or iMac keyboard.
- Now, right-click on the Finder icon on the Dock.
- Select Relaunch on the context menu that shows up.
2. Force Quit Finder App
If the Relaunch action of Finder doesn’t work, you can try force-stopping the app by following these steps:
- Click the Apple icon on the Mac toolbar at the top of the screen.
- Select Force Quit on the context menu that pops up.
- Alternatively, you can press the Option + Command + Esc buttons on the keyboard altogether to perform a Force Quit of the Finder app.
- Now, reboot the device and then try to open a compatible file or document using Spacebar Preview.
3. Force Quit Quick Look Processes
There are three different Quick Look processes that run in the background of the macOS. Here’s how you can find all three processes:
- Open the Activity Monitor app from the Spotlight.
- Type QuickLook in the Search box on the Activity Monitor tool.
- You’ll mainly see the following processes for Quick Look:
- You can quit any of these processes by double-clicking on the process and then clicking the Quit button.
Find below, when to quit which Quick Look process:
- If there’s an issue with the thumbnail view, quit com.apple.quicklook.ThumbnailsAgent.
- Quit QuickLookUIService when the whole app isn’t behaving normally.
- QuickLookSatellite tries to create a preview for damaged or corrupted files, so you may also want to quit it.
Now, restart macOS to recreate the above processes, and the feature should work just fine.
4. Check Internet Connectivity for Cloud-Only Files
When you’re outstation, roaming, or using a substandard internet connection, you can frequently face the Mac Quick Look not working error. It’s not because of any issue with your MacBook or iMac. It’s simply about the bandwidth of the internet network. Also, the cloud server which is hosting and serving the file could be an issue. Hence, connect to a high bandwidth internet and re-test the Quick Look app.
5. Download the File onto Local Storage
If you’re planning to go out of the workplace or home for personal or professional purposes, it’s a good idea to download online files for offline use. This will ensure that the Spacebar Preview app can read the file from a local hard drive or SSD instead of cloud storage while the roaming internet connection isn’t so satisfactory.
6. Clear the Cache of the Quick Look App
The cache memory or data of the Quick Look app enables it to launch immediately as you select a file and hit the Space Bar key. If this cache pool gets corrupted, the Quick Look app may not open easily, and hence it crashes.
Once the command line interface confirms that it deleted the cache pool, you need to restart your MacBook or iMac to test Quick Look again. You can quickly clear the cache by following these steps:
- Open the Spotlight app and type in Terminal.
- Click on the Terminal icon in the search result to launch the macOS command line app.
- Now, copy and paste the following command and hit Return:
qlmanage -r cache
- The Terminal interface will show the following message in return when the task is completed successfully:
qlmanage: call reset on cache
7. Look for Open Viewer Settings
The Open Viewer feature of a few apps interlinks its file viewing functionalities with the Quick Look app. If the Open Viewer option of certain apps assigned any other key instead of Space Bar, the Quick Look won’t work.
This happened with the Photos app of macOS Mojave. Later on, Apple fixed the issue with an update. Thus, it’s worth checking the Open Viewer settings of the app that’s the default for the file you’re trying to view using Quick Look.
When Mac Quick Look not working repeatedly for a specific file type, run the default app for that file. Now, check all the Mac toolbar options of the app for Open Viewer or Manage Viewer. If it says Space or Space Bar, then the issue isn’t with Open Viewer.
If the Open Viewer key binding shows another key, select the file and press that key on the keyboard to launch Quick Look.
8. Reboot the Device
Though the robust hardware and software combination along with the neural engine empowers Mac to manage resources and clear unused cache efficiently, a restart is always useful.
If Quick Look not working on Mac, simply restart the device. Once your MacBook or iMac comes to the Home Screen, click Go on the Mac toolbar. Now, either access the file from Downloads, Documents, or iCloud Drive. This time, Spacebar Preview should work.
9. Update macOS
If the Quick Look issue is related to a software update, like “macOS Monterey Quick Look not working” reports around the internet, you must try updating the system. Apple already released macOS Ventura for most MacBooks and iMacs. Moreover, You can get the upgrade for free. Here’s how to update any macOS device:
- Select the Apple menu icon and then click on System Preferences.
- Inside the System Preferences dialog box, locate Software Update. It looks like a cogwheel.
- Double-click Software Update and the system will start checking for all available upgrades.
- You must see the macOS Ventura 13.2.1 update. Click the Upgrade Now button beside the Ventura update banner.
Let’s consider you’re not ready to move to Ventura yet. In that case, apply any pending Monetery system patch or update from the same location. Just click the More Info link below the Other updates option. You should see macOS Monterey 12.6.3 update. Click Install Now to apply this system update.
9. Reboot into Safe Mode
Safe mode loads only the basic programs and utilities necessary for the macOS. Thus, it’s a great diagnostic tool on Mac to investigate if any third-party app is causing the “Quick Look not working on Mac” error.
Here’s how you can go to safe mode, test Quick Look, and reboot to normal mode on Mac:
- Restart or power on Mac.
- Simultaneously long-press the Shift key until the log-in window shows up.
- Now, log in to use Mac in safe mode.
The log-in window will be smaller. Also, it should show Safe Boot in red font on the top right corner.
Apple Silicon-Based Mac
- Power down the Mac system.
- Press the power button once to power up the Mac.
- Immediately, long-press the power button until you see startup options.
- Select an appropriate startup disk and click Continue in Safe Mode while pressing the Shift key.
- macOS may prompt you to log in twice.
So, these are some of the methods that you can follow to fix the Mac Quick Look not working error. Give these troubleshooting tips a try, and you should see that Quick Look started working in no time. If Quick Look in Mac not working even after exhausting all the methods above, don’t forget to report the issue to Apple support for further action.
If, indeed, the issue got fixed, do leave your comments below. And, of course, let our users know if you think there’s a better way to fix the Quick Look not working on Mac issue. You might also like how to fix “The File Can’t Be Found” on Mac.