QuickLook not working for photos in Messages

I'm a very experienced user with several Macs and several iOS devices, all running El Capitan (or Yosemite) and iOS 9.3, and all messages (iCloud/SMS/text) are syncing properly between all devices. But on my main Mac, a 2015 MacBook Pro (MBP) (El Capitan), if someone has texted me a photo, when I select that photo, then use the spacebar to invoke QuickLook (to enlarge the photo), I get a large, blank (white) window, instead of the actual image:Screen Shot 1 2.png

(Interestingly, the blank window does bear the correct name of the photo, but no image.)

So, on that machine, if I want to view an image I've received, I have to drag it from Messages to the desktop, and then I can use QuickLook. But QuickLook refuses to work within Messages.app. (This is NOT the case on any of my other Macs. On those machines, when I hit spacebar, I get an enlarged version of the photo, as expected. But this is the Mac I use most often!)

I should also mention that this MBP is new, and its contents were cloned, just a few weeks ago, from a backup of my previous MBP. And the previous MBP had the same issue, both in El Capitan and previously in Yosemite. This seems to suggest that there's some sort of corruption, somewhere.

Any suggestions?

I've considered trashing preferences, but Messages has several preferences files, and I don't know which ones affect which functions. I'm fine with resetting app preferences or reentering my account info. But most importantly, if at all possible, I don't want to lose my message history. :-)

Related preference files include:





Does anyone know which of these might be best to try deleting, while keeping my message history intact? Or, if I'm on the wrong track, I'd appreciate any other suggestions.


Has invited:

howapple - hello

Favor from:


The Pic also lacks the option to open in Preview

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 19.38.04.png

This picture is also in an AIM chat which did not actually send this Pic "in Line" so I had to zip (Compress) them.

com.apple.ichat.plist does not hold iMessage "history" other than it does now hold the Recent Chat List (which is pointless as there is no option in the File Menu to access them). It also holds all the Preferences and Menu option settings.

com.apple.imagent.com holds the Account names of all the accounts you have and is involved in logging them in behind the scenes. There is a process called IMAgent that starts when the computer does and depending on the setting in the General Section it will login enough to "listen" to the Servers. The setting in the General section read "when I quit Messages, set the Status to Off Line" - it does not effect the iMessages account which will still show Off line Messages.

com.apple.imservice.iMessage.plist This is not used any more. In Yosemite and El Capitan it uses com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.madrid.plist instead. This also is only about the info for the iMessages account and not about the "History" or how the pics in chats are dealt with.

com.apple.imessage.bag.plist This only lists the last Apple iMessages server used.

However there are these few .plist in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.soagent/data/Library/Preferences that also play a part.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 19.55.17.png

Note the Path Bar location across the bottom.

com.apple.messageshelper.FileTransferController.plist looks the most likely bit it does hold a record of all the files and pictures sent to you but in hexadecimal names.

Xcode view.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 20.03.33.png

com.apple.quicklookconfig.plist does not appear to have any relevant info.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 20.06.29.png

The next would be the Preview .plist but that is as blank as the Quick Look one.

The actual 'live .plist is in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Preferences rather than having an Alias point to the ~/Library/Preferences folder.

Having said that and having looked through it I can't see any references to which apps it is allowed to work with.

This appears to be an issue that involves 3 apps Messages, Quick Look and Preview.

All have Read and Write routes through ~/Library/Containers as well as the final file storage ~/Library/Preferences.

I would be tempted to check the number of files that have lost your Ownership and Read and Write Permissions see this Thread and the helpful item before the green Marked Solved one. Reset Home Folder permissions and ACLs Error (Linc offers a Text first - marked Helpful and then a "Fix" which is the Green Solved post.


8:40 pm Friday; May 6, 2016

 iMac 2.5Ghz i5 2011 (El Capitan)
 G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
 MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
 Mac OS X (10.6.8),
 iPhone and an iPad (2)

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