How to fix Quick Look stuck at loading on macOS

Quick look is feature on macOS that allows you to quickly preview a file. It supports quite a few different file formats and it’s so popular, there are apps that replicate it on Windows 10. The feature is great because it’s quick but if Quick Look tends to get stuck, or takes a long time to actually show the file you want to preview, it defeats the purpose of having it. If you have Quick Look stuck at loading, here’s how you can fix it.

Fix Quick Look stuck at loading

Open Finder and navigate to the following location;

~/Library/QuickLook

Here, there should be a file called DropboxQL.qlgenerator if you use Dropbox on your Mac. Delete this file. If you do not use Dropbox on your Mac, you can skip this step however, if other cloud service apps are installed on your system, and one of them has a “qlgenerator” file in this location, delete it.

Next, Restart Finder. Tap the Command+Option+Escape keyboard shortcut, select Finder, and click Relaunch.

After you restart Finder, open Terminal and run the following command. You will need to authenticate with your user password.

sudo update_dyld_shared_cache -force

The command takes about a minute to complete but it may take less or more time depending on your system.

This next step might take a little time. Open Activity Monitor. You can open it from the Launchpad, or you can search for it via Spotlight. Once it’s open, look for all Quick Look processes. Tap the Q key and it will jump to the first process that begins with that letter. Keep tapping it until you find a Quick Look process. With the process highlighted, click the close button at the top (see screenshot below) to quit it. Repeat this for all Quick Look processes. Additionally, look for and quit all QuickLookSatellite processes.

Restart Finder again the same way you did before. When you next select a file and tap the Spacebar, the Quick Look preview will open much faster.

We’ve highlighted Dropbox as one of the apps that may cause problems with Quick Look but it may not be the only one. Other cloud service apps might also be to blame, and desktop apps i.e., those that do not work with an online service might also be causing the problem. As such, those apps may have a qlgenerator in the Quick Look folder. You can try deleting them. It won’t have any long or short term negative effects on your Mac. The files will automatically be generated again when you use Quick Look.

Read How to fix Quick Look stuck at loading on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create Smart Folders on macOS

Regardless of what OS you use, you will inevitably have to search entire folders for other folders or files. Every file manager, regardless of how basic or advanced it is, supports a search feature however macOS’ Finder can save folder searches and proactively update them to include new files that match a certain criteria. This feature is called Smart Folders.

Create Smart Folders

Smart folders target a particular folder and this can be your entire home folder or one little folder nested inside several others. You can even select your entire HDD or SSD. Navigate to the folder you want to search e.g., the Downloads folder. On the menu bar select File>New Smart Folder. A new window will open that looks a lot like Finder but the icon in the window’s title bar will show a purple folder.

Click the plus button on the save bar and it will add the first rule for including files in the smart folder. You can add as many rules as you want by clicking the plus button again, and again. The rules allow you to include files by type, date modified, created, accessed, among other things. You can also change the criteria from ‘Kind’ to ‘Name’, or ‘Contents’. If you select ‘Other’ from the menu, you get an entire list of attributes that you can use to filter files.

Once you’ve added as many rules as you need to for your files, click the Save button at the top. Give the Smart Folder a name and if you want, you can uncheck the ‘Add To Sidebar’ option.

The Smart Folder is now ready so you can access it whenever you want. It will update to include or exclude any files that have been added and that meet its filtering criteria.

If you later need to change the rules for a Smart Folder, navigate to it. Right-click it, and select the ‘Show Search Criteria’ option. You can then change the search filters you’ve set, add new ones, or delete the ones that are present.

If you choose to not add Smart Folders to the Finder side bar, you can access them from your Home folder under Library. The Library folder is a hidden folder so navigate to your Home folder and tap the Command+Shift+. keyboard shortcut to reveal it. Inside the Library folder, there’s a folder called ‘Saved Searches’. All your Smart Folders are saved to it. You can modify them or create a shortcut to them.

Read How to create Smart Folders on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to find 32-bit apps on macOS

macOS Catalina will not support 32-bit apps. This means that developers who still only have 32-bit versions of their apps will have to develop 64-bit versions. That’s for the developers but as end users, you need to know which apps are currently 32-bit apps and be prepared in case they aren’t updated. Here’s how you can find 32-bit apps on macOS.

Find-32-bit apps

On your desktop, click the Apple icon in the menu bar and select About this Mac. In the window that opens, click the System Report button.

A new window will open giving you complete details about your system. Scroll through the column on the left and expand the Software section. Under it, select Applications. A list of every single application installed on your system will be shown in the panel on the right. Select an app and in the bottom pane, look for the Kind field. It will tell you if an app is 64-bit or 32-bit.

What now?

Catalina is in beta at the moment. There are still a few months left until it is officially released. The first thing you should do if you find an important app that is 32-bit is check if it’s still under active development. A developer will know that their 32-bit app is about to reach the end of its life and if nothing else, there should be some news from them regarding an update.

If there’s nothing from the developer, check when the app in question was last updated. If it was a recent update, chances are good that a 64-bit version of the app will be released since the developer is active.

In the event the app isn’t going to be updated, and you cannot find any reason to think that a 64-bit version will be released, you need to find an alternative to the app. There is no way, as yet, that allows 32-bit versions of an app to run on Catalina. If, in the future, a hack for it is discovered it may not be safe or stable. It is best to start looking for an alternative now so that your work isn’t disrupted when Catalina rolls out to the general public.

If the app is too critical to your work process and there is no alternative available, you can always hold off on updating to Catalina when it is finally released. Apple doesn’t force the update and perhaps when it officially rolls out, the developer will release a 64-bit version of it.

Read How to find 32-bit apps on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to fix Spotlight top hit prioritization on macOS

Spotlight search has always worked well on macOS. It’s not only quick to index items, it also learns user behavior quickly and refines the search results. It has suffered in performance these past years though with bugs becoming more common. If you use the feature a lot and the Spotlight top hit results are consistently incorrect, there’s a simple way to fix it.

Fix Spotlight top hit

The trick is to have Spotlight rebuild its index but we’re not going to go through the Terminal to do that. Instead, we’re going to use a different trick that does the same thing but also fixes the incorrect Spotlight top hit results.

Open System Preferences and go to Spotlight. There are two tabs inside this preference. Go to the Privacy tab and click the plus button at the bottom. In the choose file window, select your Mac’s hard drive or SSD. Confirm that you want to exclude it from Spotlight.

Wait a few seconds so that the index is purged completely. Open System Preferences again and go to the Spotlight preference. Go to the Privacy tab and select your Mac’s hard drive or SSD. Click the minus button at the bottom to remove it.

Spotlight will now start indexing items all over again and your top hit results will be correct from this point forward.

Teaching Spotlight

Spotlight does not include or exclude apps in Top List based on your app usage. Instead, it looks at which apps you consistently open from its results. To that end, you need to open Spotlight, search for an app, and open the one you want to use from its search results. It doesn’t matter if you use the keyboard or the mouse to launch it but it should be launched from Spotlight’s search results.

When Spotlight’s search results show the incorrect app/file/folder, they usually just move to an alphabetical preference. The item that is shown under Top Hit is the one that would appear first if you were to sort all matching items into an alphabetically ordered list. No amount of opening or selecting the correct app can change this which is why it’s necessary to reindex everything.

The reindexing can take some time but Spotlight will be usable right away. Some search results might take a few extra seconds to appear and you will see the ‘Indexing’ message in Spotlight on occasion but the feature will work just fine. Once the indexing is complete, you won’t run into any more problems with it.

Read How to fix Spotlight top hit prioritization on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to add Recent Folders to the Finder sidebar on macOS

Finder has a menu bar item called Go where you can access recent folders from. It’s useful if you want to quickly jump to a folder you’ve been accessing frequently but don’t want to navigate to it or create shortcuts that you’ll later have to clean up. Unfortunately, Recent Folders isn’t an item on the sidebar in Finder. If you’d find it useful to add Recent Folders to the Finder sidebar, you can use a little trick with Smart Folders to get the job done.

Since this trick uses Smart Folders, and the feature was introduced in Mojave, it goes without saying that if you’re on an older version of macOS, you won’t be able to use this trick.

Add Recent Folders to Finder sidebar

Open Finder, and select your home folder from the sidebar. On the menu bar, go to File>New Smart Folder.

This will open the New Smart Folder window with your home folder pre-selected as the location to search. Click the little plus button at the top right. It will add the first condition for filtering the items that are included in the smart folder. Leave the first option set to ‘Kind’, but in the second dropdown, select ‘Folder’.

Click the plus button again, to add another condition. Set it to ‘Last opened date’, and in the second dropdown, select how recent a folder should be included in your ‘Recent Folders’ smart folder.

If you want, you can add additional rules to also include date modified, and date created. Once you’re done, click the Save button at the top right. Name the smart folder ‘Recent Folders’, and make sure the ‘Add to sidebar’ option is selected. Click Save and the smart folder will be added to the Finder sidebar. When you click it, it will show you all folders that you recently accessed.

You will notice that there’s a Recents option in the sidebar as well. It’s only for files and while it may be useful, it can get cluttered if you have to work with lots and lots of files. This is why the recent folders are a better way to navigate and access files.

If you need to change the criteria for what is included in the folder, you can right-click it in the sidebar and select the ‘Show search criteria’ option from the context menu. It will take you back to the window you created the smart folder in. You can make all the edits you want and then save them.

Read How to add Recent Folders to the Finder sidebar on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter