Inconsistent Application of View Options in Finder Windows

The Finder > View menu shows four items of interest to us. Path Bar, Status Bar, Sidebar, Preview. When checked, two of these options are applied to every tab in the frontmost Finder window, one is applied to every tab in every Finder window, and one is applied only to the tab that’s currently viewed. This is inconsistent and not predictable.

Finder. View Menu

Show Path Bar is applied to all tabs in the current window.

Finder. View Options 02
Apply Show Path to the front tab…
Finder. View Options 03
…and the other tabs show the Path Bar.


Show Status Bar is applied to all tabs in the current window.

Finder. View Options 04
Apply Show Status Bar to one tab…
Finder. View Options 05
…and the other tabs show the Status Bar.


Show Preview is applied to all tabs in all Finder windows (background Finder windows suddenly show a preview).

Finder. View Options 06
Show Preview is applied to one tab…
Finder. View Options 07
…and ALL tabs (including in other Finder windows) show Preview.


However, Show Sidebar is applied only to the single tab in the current window.

Finder. View Options 08
Show Preview is applied to one tab…
Finder. View Options 09
…and is applied to no other tab.


It’s a bit confusing and frustrating to have options that are placed together yet have different global effects.

Finder 10.11.4; OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Distinguishing Network Folders in Finder Tabs

There are five tabs open in this Finder window. Never mind the open Applications tab; look at the Desktop and Documents tabs. Can you tell which of the folders are from a networked Mac, and which from this Mac?

Finder. Networked Folder 01

Even clicking on the tab is of no help unless you already know the contents of the folder.

Finder. Networked Folder 02

This could be rectified by showing a Network or Drive symbol in tabs that are not local. Of course, having the Show Sidebar and Show Path Bar options enabled would help reveal which folder it is, but the user must still click on the tab.

To make things worse, should one of the folders be local and shared, a ‘Shared Folder’ banner tops the window contents. Does this mean that the displayed folder is being shared by me or is it a folder shared by another Mac? This is not a clear statement.

Finder. Networked Folder 03

Finder 10.11.4; OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.

Full-Screen Application Issues

There is a problem when fast-switching (Cmd-Tab shortcut) between full-screen applications.

In the demonstration video below, you can see that I enter full-screen in iTunes. Then I fast-switch to Safari. Then I fast-switch back to iTunes. What we get is iTunes with whatever other window happens to be open. (In the video the Equalizer window is open). If the Equalizer window was not open, then we would see NO windows at all for iTunes, which shows how ridiculous this bug is.) In order to see the window that was full-screened, that window needs to be manually selected in the Window menu item/the application icon in the Dock must be clicked.

In the video, here are the steps:

  1. Make the application full-screen (iTunes).
  2. Fast-switch (cmd-tab shortcut) to another application (Safari).
  3. Fast-switch back to iTunes.
  4. The window that was full-screen now doesn’t show, only another non-full-screen window (in this case the Equalizer).
  5. In order to get to the full-screen window, the menu item Window > (window name) must be selected, or the application Dock icon must be clicked.

OS X El Capitan 10.11.6

Greyscale Finder Sidebar

A terrible usability decision was made with the introduction of the greyscale Finder sidebar. The folders in the sidebar are difficult to distinguish. If colour is so unimportant, why aren’t the applications in the Applications folder greyscale? I think everyone would agree that having a greyscale Dock would be a terrible decision. So please bring back colour to the Finder sidebar (or at least make it an option in System Preferences).

The Monochromatic Finder Sidebar
Making the sidebar monochromatic was a bad usability decision.

Finder 10.11.4; OS X El Capitan 10.11.6.


DVD Ownership Issues

I know DVDs are a dead media, but old Macs with DVD players are not dead (yet). So this is still a relevant issue. The Mac OS and DVD Player compete for ownership of inserted DVDs. If you hate DVD Player auto-running when you insert a DVD you just have to deselect the “Start playing disk” checkbox, right?

DVD AutoPlay Option

So now we slip a DVD into the DVD slot and what happens?

DVD Player Auto Playing
DVD Player AutoPlaying

Hmm. Let’s check System Preferences. There are autoplay options in there.

System Preferences DVD AutoPlay Option
System Preferences DVD AutoPlay Option

Okay. Now we have the behaviour we want. But why are there two different sets of preferences for the same event? The System Preferences option should be the definitive one, and DVD Player should have to check with System Preferences when the user wants to change the option in the DVD Player preferences.

DVD Player 5500.66; System Preferences 14.0 (14.0).