Lost and Finder — Cover Flow and MacOS Mojave

Another year, another MacOS update. This year, we move into the desert with MacOS Mojave. These new releases have, generally speaking, been pretty good since the divisive OS X Lion. Each successive release has largely focused on security and under-the-hood improvements, although some features have been added (and other deprecated) as to be expected. On the whole, it’s been fine.

But MacOS Mojave has broken something fundamental for me. The powers that be have decided to remove Cover Flow as a view option from Finder. If you don’t know what that means, here’s a picture. 

It’s a view mode that allows you to see a list of files along with a resizable row of thumbnails of said files. The great advantage of this view is that you can see a pretty large preview of the file without sacrificing the copious information provided by having the list view below. You can also use the trackpad or mouse wheel to quickly swipe through files.

Sure, this view was kinda Steve Jobs cum“one more thing” cum iTunes circa 2004, but it worked. It worked for me so well that it is the way for me to visually find files. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure which file I was after, but knew which one it was by context — by where it sat in the file order and Cover Flow is the only way to view a large representation of the image with all the pertinent data visible in list view.

Jump forward to MacOS Mojave and Cover Flow has been replaced by “Gallery View”, which is a large preview of the selected file, with tiny, useless thumbnails below. By default, fundamental information like file names aren’t even visible on them. Even then, having only file name visible is pretty useless compared to having created, modified, size and other data that was visible on the list view of Cover Flow. The size of thumbnails cannot be adjusted beyond three useless presets and — most disappointingly — you can’t use the mouse wheel to scroll through files.

I know I’m probably in a minority here, but Cover Flow was fundamental to how I operated MacOS and found my files, particularly photos. Now that it is gone — and I’m not exaggerating here — I have one less reason to stay with Mac. Finder used to be one of the highlights of the Mac ecosystem. Now it’s Just Another File Browser.


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