Preview app doesn't quit automatically

Discussion in 'macOS' started by chris4565, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. chris4565 macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2018

    I have a strange issue concerning the behavior of the Preview app. Normally when I double-click on a file to open it with Preview and then I close the file by hitting the red x and then I click somewhere on the screen the Preview app automatically quits. However when I also have Dropbox running the Preview app stays open in the background/dock. This is only the case when I also have Dropbox running (I guess this started after a certain Dropbox update) and I also had this problem in the past while I was using the Magnet app (from the app store).
    Does anyone else also have this problem and knows a solution?

    Thanks in advance and many greets

    Edit: I am using macOS Mojave 10.14.1 and Dropbox version 61.4.95 (but when I had the same problem while using the Magnet app I was using macOS Sierra/High Sierra).
  2. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    I think you have misunderstood. What you see are normal behaviour. If you want to exit Preview or any other App, normal action is to press cmd+Q. It is not like Windows, where last Windows is expected to quit the app, though some apps does e.g. System Preferences.

    Maybe you think of Quick Look, where you see a quick preview by pressing spacebar on a file in finder.
  3. chris4565 thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2018
    Thanks for your reply. However, Preview always automatically quit in the past. Just when I also have Dropbox running it doesn't automatically quit. I also checked on two other MacBooks from friends/family and there it also quits automatically.
  4. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    It never has on my machines as far as I can recall and it is not the way macOS normally act. I always use cmd+w if I want to close windows and cmd+q if I want to quit app. Maybe you had some helper utility, which is either not running or you need to grant access in System Preferences->Security & Privacy->Privacy->Accessibility.

    If you quit with open windows, they might open again next time Preview is run, depending on your System Preferences->General->Close Windows when quitting an App setting.
  5. jamietshaw macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Contrary to what “Significant1” says, I have seen the behaviour whereby Preview will close itself. Something to do with energy saving?
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    2012 Mac Mini here, running Low Sierra.

    I just did this "experiment":
    1. I have a pic file on the desktop.
    2. I double-clicked it
    3. Preview opened and displays the image
    4. I clicked the "red button" in the upper-left-hand-corner of the image window
    5. The image closed, but...
    6. Preview REMAINED OPEN, its icon displayed as an open application (in the dock).
    7. Even with the image window closed, Preview remains "the forward app" and its menu bar remains active.
    8. I typed "command-Q" and Preview quits.

    That's normal Mac app behavior.
  7. chown33, Dec 1, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018

    chown33 Moderator

    Staff Member

    Aug 9, 2009
    The feature resides in the OS. It's called Automatic Termination, and exists in OS 10.7 (Lion) and up. It only happens if the app itself declares it supports it (a plist entry), and after a time interval of app inactivity.

    Some summary info:

    Apple's archival developer page:

    The heading that describes the feature is "Automatic and Sudden Termination of Apps Improve the User Experience".
  8. revmacian macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2018
    This is what I'm seeing on Mac mini (Late 2014) running macOS 10.14.1 (Mojave).

    1. Open Finder and find a photo
    2. Double-click the photo and the Preview app opens to display the photo
    3. Click the red traffic light and the Preview window closes but the Preview app remains open - icon stays in dock
    4. Clicking the mouse pointer anywhere (desktop, other app, etc.) causes the Preview app to quit - icon removed from dock and menubar changes

    This also happens with the Numbers and TextEdit apps - the little black dot under their respective icons disappears from the dock.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    There's a small, free (and now outdated) app out there called "Mountain Tweaks" that can enable/disable auto app termination.

    Not sure if it will still work with High Sierra and Mojave.
    It seems to work with earlier versions of the OS (for at least some of the functions).
  10. tarsins macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2009

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