How to Disable Screenshot Thumbnail Previews on Mac

Mac Screenshot Float Mte Hero

Modern versions of macOS feature a floating thumbnail preview for screenshots that allows users to quickly apply edits to their screenshots before they save them. If you find this interface too obtrusive, or simply prefer to edit your screenshots later using the Preview app, Here is how you can disable this screenshot behavior in macOS in a few clicks.

Good to know: Need to sign an important document? The Markup tool and Preview app make it easy to sign a PDF document on your Mac.

Disable Screenshot Previews

You can access the Screenshot utility in macOS by locating it in your Applications folder or by using a keyboard shortcut.

  1. Open the Finder app. Navigate to the “Applications -> Utilities” folder. Double-click on the Screenshot app to launch it (you can also launch the Screenshot tool by pressing Command + Shift + 5 on your keyboard).
Screenshots Applications Utilities

Tip: Having trouble finding your applications? You can discover how to make the Mac Launchpad more useful making it easier to find the apps you need in a flash.

  1. In the screenshot toolbar that shows up, click on the “Options” button to reveal a dropdown menu.
Screenshots Options
  1. You should see a checkmark next to the “Show Floating Thumbnail” entry item. Click on itto uncheck and disable floating thumbnail previews for screenshots.
Screenshots Floating Thumbnail Checked
  1. Click the “x” icon on the left side of the screenshot toolbar to exit the screenshot utility.
Screenshots Utilities Close

Tip: There are plenty of ways that you can take screenshots on your Mac including using keyboard commands, capturing select portions of your screen, customizing save directories, setting cursor visibility, and more.

Re-Enable Screenshot Previews

If you want to switch back to the floating thumbnail animation for screenshots, you can do so quite easily by retracing your steps from the guide above.

  1. Navigate to “Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Screenshot.”
Screenshots Applications Utilities 1
  1. Select the “Options” menu to reveal a dropdown list of preferences.
Screenshots Options 1
  1. Click on the “Show Floating Thumbnail” entry item to enable it. If you see the checkmark appear beside it, then you have successfully re-enabled the floating thumbnail animation for screenshots.
Screenshots Floating Thumbnail Unchecked 1
  1. Click the “x” icon on the left side of the screenshot toolbar to exit the screenshot utility.
Screenshots Utilities Close 1

Tip: Looking for a way to capture more information in every screenshot on your Android smartphone? You can explore how to take a scrolling screenshot on any Android device allowing you to quickly save long-form content.

Enable or Disable Screenshot Previews Using Terminal

You can also turn the floating thumbnail preview on or off using a short Terminal command. Note that a system restart is required in order for these changes to take effect.

  1. Open the Terminal app on your Mac (press Command + Space and type “Terminal” into the Spotlight Search field).
Screenshots Terminal
  1. Type the following command to disable floating thumbnail previews:
defaults write show-thumbnail -bool false
Screenshots Screen Capture False
  1. To re-enable floating thumbnail previews, replace false with true:
defaults write show-thumbnail -bool true
Screenshots Terminal Screen Capture True
  1. Navigate to the Menu Bar and click on the Apple logo. Select “Restart…” to restart your Mac and apply the changes that you made.
Screenshots Restart

Frequently Asked Questions

What else can I configure using the Options menu from within the Screenshot app?

Under the Options menu you will find a number of screenshot customization options, including the ability to hide or show the mouse pointer in your shots, set a countdown timer, and determine where your screenshots will be saved on your Mac. You can keep your private screenshots away from prying eyes by learning how to hide files, folders and desktop icons on your Mac.

I cannot find the screenshots on my Mac after I take them. How can I find my screenshots?

You can gain deeper access to the file system on your Mac by enabling the root user , via the Terminal app or Directory Utility. This will allow you to locate files and explore directories that you may have accidentally hidden.

Can I take a screenshot of the Touch Bar on my MacBook Pro?

Yes. You can use the keyboard command Command + Shift + 6 to take a screenshot of your Touch Bar at any time. You can also hold down the Control key while performing this keyboard command to automatically save your Touch Bar screenshot to your keyboard.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots taken by Brahm Shank.

Brahm Shank
Brahm Shank

Self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur and tech enthusiast Brahm Shank is captivated by the impact of consumer tech: “It’s profoundly moving when people discover that the phone in their pocket or the tiny computer on their wrist has the power to enrich their lives in ways they never imagined.” Apple, Inc. and its unique position at the intersection of technology and the creative arts, resonates deeply with Brahm and his passion for helping people unleash their potential using technology. Over the years, Brahm has held various podcasts - including famed technologist David Pogue of The New York Times on topics such as Big Tech and digital wellness.

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