Skip MacOS Screenshot Thumbnail

October 26, 2019

Starting from MacOS Mojave, Apple has ported over one of the more irritating features from recent iOS releases - the thumbnail that appears in the bottom corner of the screen when taking a screenshot.


Ostensibly this feature is there to enable one to easily find the screenshot1 and presumably further edit or mark it up with the useless built-in tools before saving. In reality however, for many people (such as ourselves) who take dozens of screenshots a day with the intent of immediately using it the several-second delay incurred before the screenshot actually “appears” on the desktop (so it can be dragged into an email or selected with a file finder) is absolutely infuriating.

5 seconds x 24+ screenshots a day x the interruption in the workflow x 365 days a year… the feature might be useful to some users out there, but for the rest of us, it’s frustrating that it was made the default behaviour.2


Fortunately, this feature can be turned off, although the affordance to do so is frustratingly buried, like many other things in Apple software these days (see for example the user-hostile overloading of the ‘reply all’ button in iOS 13 or the frustratingly-difficult-to-use action sheet ‘improvements’, also in iOS 13).

To banish this useless bit of productivity-destroying behaviour from your life, trigger the full-option screenshot interface via cmd+shift+5, then click on the option menu and toggle off Show floating thumbnail.


Close out the interface and then go on to reclaim your lost time and productivity.

  1. Was it really that hard to find the screenshot before? It saves to your desktop automatically… maybe this is aimed at those terrible souls3 who treat their desktop like a wastebasket with years of accumulated cruft and files piled up every which way? 

  2. Part of the overall “dumbing down” (counter-point: increasing the accessibility to lay consumers) of OS X and Apple software overall, perhaps. 

  3. You know who you are. shudder 

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