TipBITS: Always Show Window Proxy Icons

Originally published at: TipBITS: Always Show Window Proxy Icons - TidBITS

Adam Engst stumbled across an Accessibility setting that ensures that window proxy icons—those little icons that appear next to window titles—show at all times, rather than after a 1-second hover. This setting returns proxy icons to their former utility, and if you’re not clear what that was, Adam explains that too.


I wonder if this was a sacrifice made to enable more density in Big Sur. I am usually a fan of higher density, but I also encounter its limits. I appreciate that for example a Preview PDF window doesn’t have a separate header holding file name and proxy icon, but instead integrates that into the usual window toolbar to save vertical space for actual content (in contrast to MS’ multiple ribbons that end up leaving 3" for actual content /smh). But a side effect of that is it’s now getting cluttered in there, especially when you have lots of widgets in that toolbar already and you’re dealing with a longer filename.

Thanks for the tip, @ace. Hadn’t noticed that option in there either. Now it’s on. :slight_smile:

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Yes—I’ve enabled this option as well. (I already had Reduce Transparency on.) I’ve never used proxy icons much, but having them visible reminds me that they’re there as a handy option.

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An absolute gem of a find! I was getting frustrated with the slow “hover” workaround. Thanks for sharing.
Tip: I’ve also turned on “Show toolbar button shapes”, simply because it defines an area I can click into without having to activate a button if I was just wanting to move a Finder window. Previously I was unsure of how wide the “active” area was on a toolbar.
Old memory: I still miss Super Boomerang (last century?) which worked in with the Open & Save dialogue boxes especially for quickly locating a recent folder or file and also replacing an existing file with the same name. Monterey can do some of it, but not as well as SB. Monterey will only show Recent Places that the active application has used (not a recent place that may have been used by other applications).
"One More Thing …" (to borrow a phrase). Rarely do I use the Duplicate function in the File Menu for Apple’s apps. I constantly use the Option + Duplicate to get the Save As… option.
Bonus: Using Duplicate and Save As… does give slightly different “outcomes” as to how the file is saved and what happens with the original file. e.g. Duplicate gives you the option to “update” the original file to match the new one before closing, which can be messy and confusing, IMHO.

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Super Boomerang was indeed last millennium, I think, and I missed it greatly. However Jon Gotow’s Default Folder is an indispensable replacement, which does other things as well. I struggle to feel comfortable on any Mac which doesn’t have it installed. Jon’s a Good Egg, too.


I used these -all the time- in combination with DefaultFolder to rapidly select a picture/file for uploading, etc. THANK YOU for showing how to get that badly missed functionality back!!

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Thank you! I had already used this

defaults write -g NSToolbarTitleViewRolloverDelay -float 0

but I had no idea about the check box in Accessibility.

Proxy icons are wonderful, and even better with a shelf app like Yoink, Dropzone or Dropover. My favorite is Yoink because it is so unobtrusive and dead simple.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Kudos for Default Folder

Isn’t it weird how the smallest details might be the “nudge” to encourage an upgrade? I’ve been waiting to move my environment from Big Sur because little about Monterey seemed urgently useful. Since I spend what seems like half my life dragging window proxies from documents to somewhere else (sometimes to Postbox, sometimes to Evernote, sometimes elsewhere), I’ve cursed that hover so many times I’ve lost count. This just might be the compelling “feature” that gets me to install Monterey some time before WWDC and its dreaded announcement of the next major iteration of MacOS.

That last phrase probably should spur a thread of its own… :wink:

2 posts were split to a new topic: Putting Save As back on the File menu by default

Adam, do you now recommend upgrading to Monterey?

anyone remember the name of the guy that did SuperBoomerang? I think he was a college student. First name was Hiro I think.

Hiro Yamamoto


Indeed, great tip. Turned it on immediately. Another thing I hate waiting on—this one for about 6 seconds!—is when I take a partial screen shot (⇧⌘4). I usually want immediately to rename it and file it, but I have to wait for the markup(?) feature to time out before the newly created desktop icon is revealed. Would like an option to remove that delay or feature altogether.

Do Cmd-Shift-5 instead, click “options”, and turn off “Show floating thumbnail”. This will get rid of it for good with Cmd-Shift-4 as well.


Excellent! Indeed, I was mildly optimistic that someone come through with a solution to it. Thank you!

Have returned to working at the office, and decided I wanted these window favicons back dammit! Came back to TidBITS and am once again grateful for this article.