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How to Disable the Screenshot Preview Thumbnails on a Mac

Apple Logo Hero

When you take a screenshot on a Mac, macOS usually displays a tiny thumbnail of the screenshot in the lower-right corner of the screen for a few moments before saving the image. If you find this annoying, it’s easy to turn off. Here’s how.

Why Even Have a Thumbnail?

You might be wondering: why show the thumbnail at all? As far as we can tell, Apple decided this would be the best way to trigger macOS’s built-in screenshot editing feature, which has been present since Mac OS X 10.14 Mojave.

If you click on the screenshot thumbnail that appears, the screenshot opens in a special editor that allows you to crop the image or annotate it with drawings, shapes, or text before it gets saved to disk. You also have a chance to discard the image if you don’t like it.

The macOS screenshot editing tool

But that’s a lot of extra capability for people who just want to quickly take a screenshot. Luckily, Apple makes it easy to disable this feature.

RELATED: How to Take Screenshots on a Mac

How to Disable the Screenshot Preview Thumbnail on a Mac

To disable the screenshot thumbnail, press Command+Shift+5 from anywhere on the Mac. A special screenshot toolbar will pop up at the bottom of the screen. Click on the “Options” button.

Click Options button in Mac screenshot toolbar

A small menu will pop up. In the “Options” section of that menu, uncheck “Show Floating Thumbnail.”

Uncheck Show Floating Thumbnail in screenshot options on a Mac

When you’re done, close the screenshot toolbar by pressing “Escape” or clicking on the tiny “X” button.

From now on, every time you take a screenshot using Command+Shift+3 or Command+Shift+4, the image will be quickly saved directly to its proper destination. No more thumbnail delay!

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 14 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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