Play Movie Files Directly in Their Icons Using Finder of Mac OS X

Mar 9, 2010 - 4 Comments

Play movies in Mac Finder icons of OS X

Do you have a large directory of movies? Not sure what each video file actually is? If you’re in thumbnail view at a large enough resolution (looks like 68×68 is the threshold for me) or you’re viewing the folder in Cover Flow view, you can play movie files directly within the Finder of Mac OS X! Actually, the video will play in the icon, making the icon itself a movie playback.

This is a really simple trick but it’s so useful. All you need to do is hover over the movie files icon to display a play button within a Finder window of OS X.

Then, simply click play and the video complete with sound will play seamlessly within the Mac OS X Finder window in Icon view as a tiny thumbnail.

Hover over the movie file icon again while it’s playing will reveal a pause button to stop the video playing too.

play movies in finder

The playback feature also works in the larger panel window if the active folder is viewed open in Column view, or has the preview panel enabled separately.

This is a really neat feature that has been around for quite some time, and while it works great in new Macs, older Macs can stutter or struggle a bit depending on the hardware. Obviously for some of those machines, there are some potential performance downsides that you may encounter with this tip, particularly with directories that are full of many large video files.

If you experience any such performance issue, disabling the icon thumbnail generation will also remove this feature. Newer Macs should have no issue playing the video thumbnails though, so check this out, it’s pretty cool.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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