Preview Not Working on Mac? Here's How to Fix It

Wendy Wu
Last updated: May 10, 2024

Mac Preview not working? Get quick and effective workarounds below!

Preview is a built-in macOS application, which makes previewing png, jpeg, pdf, etc. files easier.

However, Mac users may encounter Preview-related issues in their usage, for example, Preview not saving changes, Preview not working, Preview cannot open files, Preview gets stuck, Preview stuck on markup tool, Mac Preview quit unexpectedly, etc.

This post is aimed at helping users solve the common problems related to Preview. Read on for the detailed step-by-step tutorial.

Mac preview not working

Why Is Preview Not Working on My Mac

Many factors can lead to Mac Preview not working. Here we list the main ones:

  • The file you are opening is corrupted.
  • Preview app's issues.
  • macOS system bugs.
  • Hardware issue.

How to Fix Preview on Mac Not Working

Preview-related issues are not that hard to resolve. Follow the methods below and you will successfully fix it.

Let's get started.

1. Force Quit Preview App

The first solution is to force quit Preview. There are two ways to force quit Preview.

  1. Go to Apple menu>Force Quit>Select Preview>Force Quit. (Shortcut: Command + Option + Esc)

  2. Open Activity Monitor via Spotlight> Enter Preview in the search box>Select all Preview-related processes>Click the X button>Force Quit.

Force quit Preview app

2. Try Opening Other Files

There is a chance that the files you are opening via Preview are broken/corrupted. To rule out this possibility, you can have a try at opening other files via Preview.

3. Restart Your Mac

Restarting your Mac is helpful in killing the abnormal processes and system settings. Thus, it may also save your Mac from Preview not working.

4. Update macOS

Outdated macOS is more likely to cause problems like Preview not working on Mac. Update your Mac as soon as there is a new macOS release compatible with your Mac.

macOS Sonoma update

5. Reboot Your Mac in Safe Mode

Mac safe mode can help you rule out whether the Preview not working issue is caused by startup items.

If yes, you can fix this issue by disabling or uninstalling those problematic startup items.

6. Reset Preview

Reset Preview will kill problematic Preview-related processes and restart Preview.

Here is how to reset Preview on Mac:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click the Go menu>Press and hold the Option key>Click Library > Preferences >
  3. Delete file.
  4. Reopen Preview.

7. Sign In with A Different Account

Error with your account can lead to Mac Preview not working. In this case, have a try at switching to another user account. If you can use Preview normally on that account, there must be errors with your previous account.

Here is how:

Go to the Apple menu>Click Log Out XXX...>Wait for the login screen>Select another user account>Enter the password.

8. Reinstall macOS

The ultimate solution is to reinstall macOS. But it's worth noting that reinstalling macOS will erase all your data. You'd better back up important data before you perform this action.

Bonus: How to Optimize Mac Performance to the Maximum

If app crashing consistently occurs on your Mac, consider optimizing your Mac performance. BuhoCleaner is a professional and easy-to-use Mac performance monitor and optimizer. With it, you can free up your Mac space and improve your Mac performance in minutes.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide


Have you got those methods for fixing the Preview not working on Mac? Try these methods now!

Wendy Wu is a tech enthusiast with a deep passion for all things iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Wendy is always on the lookout for Apple products and is committed to providing Apple users with some of the latest information and useful tips.