Annoying freeze and spinning wheel in Preview (Catalina)

augu2000

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 18, 2008
36
0
Hi,

I recently upgraded my MBP retina 15' 2015 to Catalina. Everything was working well for a few days, but now every time I open a PDF file Preview freezes for a couple of seconds with the file blurred, then shows the spinning wheel, and only then the file becomes usable. Following suggestions in other posts I reseted the PRAM and SMC, but neither reset helped. Any ideas on how to solve this?

Thanks!
 

xnsys

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2018
137
95
Are these PDF files located on local volumes or on Network shares - and what's the size of them?
 

Floored

macrumors newbie
Jan 17, 2020
19
4
I had trouble with PDF's in preview in 10.15.2 until I ran font book app and validated all the fonts again, something I hadn't done for a couple of years. It may have been something to do with external volume I hadn't for a while too?
 
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FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
Experiencing exactly this since yesterday. Weird!
i have tried the guest mode and it works fine.
i tried safe mode, but didn’t help.
i ran onyx, didn’t help.
I removed temporary all my fonts, didn’t help.
i removed pref files for preview app, didn’t help.

im on Catalina 10.15.2 and a MBP16.
my wife mbp13 on Catalina too, doesn’t do this at all.

there is definitely something up, as I cannot remember having preview beach balling for a second each time I open a document, going from slightly blurry to cristal clear.

Also, if i quit (cmd Q) and re-open the document it does this every time.
but if I only cmd W on the current opened document, preview actually disappea from the doc (but is actually still there if checking cmd alt esc) then open another pdf, this time it works fine.
so if preview is already opened, any document you open don’t do the beach ball.

so here is my personal analysis. But no solution.

Creating a new user account and move all the stuff would be a drastic solution.
I may wait for another macOS update combo see if it does something.
if not... any idea is welcomed!
 

FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
after further investigations (I know...obsessed geek here!) I think I found the issue, at least in my case, but I will be very interested to know if this applies to you too!!:

1) since we are apparently a few experiencing this roughly the same time (Wednesday/thursday) this tells me that this isn't macOS related, since no big updates have been rolled out.
So...
2) I started to look elsewhere! any of you having this issue, are by any chance opening files in Preview that are located in ...dropbox?!

If you do, do this test! drag any file you open with Preview that causes this beachball outside your dropbox folder, and try again.
Works like a charm (for me at least!)

Dropbox was updated this Wednesday to v89.4.78 (what a coincidence...)

I have moved back these very same files back in the dropbox folder, and here we go again, beachball.

So this it to me, a dropbox issue.
Console is also displaying the following message when Preview is beach balling at the start:

Jan 24 15:36:26 MBP-16-JU com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.getdropbox.dropbox.garcon): Caller wanted oneshot behavior for pre-existing instance: caller = Preview

Waiting on your feedback here, then we should start contact the dropbox support.
 
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Ruggy

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2017
361
196
Can you just go into the 'settings' > extensions and under 'Finder' make sure that 'create pdf is checked?
It affects the preview pane and quick look
I can't tell you if it'll help but I think it's worth a check.
 

fcorm

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
7
2
It's checked. @FreAk6767, yes, it seems to be a coincidence but in my case dragging a file out of Dropbox (that I indeed use a lot!!) doesn't work. I also completely closed Dropbox, but to no avail. It behaves like this also with files outside Dropbox.

My temporary solution is dumping Preview and using Skim. No alternatives.
 

FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
It's checked. @FreAk6767, yes, it seems to be a coincidence but in my case dragging a file out of Dropbox (that I indeed use a lot!!) doesn't work. I also completely closed Dropbox, but to no avail. It behaves like this also with files outside Dropbox.

My temporary solution is dumping Preview and using Skim. No alternatives.
Hummm interesting then.
Closing dropbox doesn't make any change either here, but dragging the file outside the dropbox does for sure as far as I'm concerned.

I tested this on my wife MBP on Catalina, and no issue, but her dropbox version hasn't updated yet.

Let's wait for another one or two feedback on this test, see if 'im just the only one here (I keep on searching /testing for now too)
 

fcorm

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
7
2
Anyway, the culprit might indeed be the latest version of Dropbox, since it started behaving like this only yesterday; I didn't notice the automatic update.
 

fcorm

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
7
2
Update: dragging the file out of my HOME (and not simply Dropbox) folder does make the problem disappear. In particular, I dragged a PDF file to /Users/Shared and the beachball was gone.

Anyway, I keep thinking that the culprit is some Dropbox process, since it started two days ago.
 

FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
Update: dragging the file out of my HOME (and not simply Dropbox) folder does make the problem disappear. In particular, I dragged a PDF file to /Users/Shared and the beachball was gone.

Anyway, I keep thinking that the culprit is some Dropbox process, since it started two days ago.
Now that's interesting!
This is at least going toward the same conclusion that I found so far.
Let's see what the dropbox support is saying.
 

larryglickman

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
2
0
I had issue with spinning "beachballs" while opening PDF's either in Preview or Adobe Acrobat Reader. I deleted EVERY file associated with Acrobat and have had no problems since.
 

fcorm

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
7
2
Now that's interesting!
This is at least going toward the same conclusion that I found so far.
Let's see what the dropbox support is saying.
I uninstalled Dropbox and the problem died out (for any PDF, even those in the no-longer-synced Dropbox folder). We now know for sure the culprit. Wanted to revert to an earlier stable build, downloaded it, but then it automatically updated to the latest build and the problem started over again.
 
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FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
Awesome! Thank you for the update.
Uninstalling dropbox was the ultimate test as quitting the app wasn't enough (dropbox installs files in the finder which may explain the issues).
Didn't want to do it with 2To to sync all over again, so thanks for that!
 

fcorm

macrumors newbie
Jan 24, 2020
7
2
Found this, it helped me revert to the latest earlier stable build. Now the auto-update feature is freezed, and with build 88.4.172 it's working again!
 
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FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
Thats actually awesome fcorm, well done for finding this!
Looks like it is also slowing down photoshop and illustrator upon first launch of a file within dropbox. So there is definitely more to this.

But with your solution, it will do for the time being! Thanks!
 

Ryo@ryomac

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2020
8
2
Japan
A similar problem occurred in my environment.
My workaround is as follows.
Uncheck the "Dropbox" setting in "System Preferences > Function Extensions > All ".

Please refer to the attached file. However, please understand that macOS is used in a Japanese environment.

Environment : macOS Catalina 10.15.3 (19D76), Dropbox v89.4.278
 

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shankar2

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2009
964
52
A similar problem occurred in my environment.
My workaround is as follows.
Uncheck the "Dropbox" setting in "System Preferences > Function Extensions > All ".

Please refer to the attached file. However, please understand that macOS is used in a Japanese environment.

Environment : macOS Catalina 10.15.3 (19D76), Dropbox v89.4.278
OH MY GOD This fix worked for me too! It's been irritating me for at least 2-3 months! I'm so grateful to you! Thanks! Now should we complain to apple or Dropbox about this bug?

Secondly, what does disabling this "Finder Extensions" for Dropbox do? Some clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Ryo@ryomac

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2020
8
2
Japan
OH MY GOD This fix worked for me too! It's been irritating me for at least 2-3 months! I'm so grateful to you! Thanks! Now should we complain to apple or Dropbox about this bug?

Secondly, what does disabling this "Finder Extensions" for Dropbox do? Some clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I'm happy that the problem no longer occurs in your environment.

At least I think it's better to report the problem to Dropbox. But, I think it is difficult for me.

Even if I disabled the "Finder Extension" of Dropbox, I did not understand the difference in operation. For that reason, I corresponded by disabling the "Finder extension".
 

FreAk6767

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2008
31
1
Right click on any file in your dropbox folder when the extension is activated and when it's not, you will spot the difference in the menu, with the added dropbox action ;)

We have reported this to dropbox (I did), but knowing how slow and poor Dropbox support is, I wouldn't hold my breath.
At least we have to workaround mentioned here for the time being.
 

Ryo@ryomac

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2020
8
2
Japan
Right click on any file in your dropbox folder when the extension is activated and when it's not, you will spot the difference in the menu, with the added dropbox action ;)

We have reported this to dropbox (I did), but knowing how slow and poor Dropbox support is, I wouldn't hold my breath.
At least we have to workaround mentioned here for the time being.
Thank you for the information.

When the extension is active, a synchronization status mark is displayed in the Dropbox folder, and a Dropbox-specific menu is added to the context menu.
I don't have any problems if they don't work. Therefore, I will continue to turn off extensions.

We hope that Dropbox will respond quickly.
 

shankar2

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2009
964
52
Actually my mac has become more responsive after turning off Dropbox Finder extension feature! Especially the file / open windows, this bug of beachball .. I too don't need the finder integration! Thanks!
 
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