Mac: enable and disable expanding folders in Finder

Mac Finder - Expanding Folders

Today a reader asked me if the pop-up folders you get on Mac when you drag and drop files over a folder disappeared in a recent macOS update. They can no longer be found on him since macOS 10.15.7 (Catalina). If he holds files over a folder, nothing happens anymore.

What are popping folders?

Briefly explained, these folders that open on drag-and-drop actions are a feature available in the Finder since macOS El Capitan (10.11). This function is intended to make the detour via two Finder windows unnecessary, which you would otherwise have to do to move or copy files from A to B.

Looking for the settings...

It was clear to me pretty quickly that the settings for the folders that pop up were probably simply shot to pieces during the update, but it wasn't that easy to find out where these settings are found.

I did find instructions in forums, but I just couldn't understand what was described there on my Mac. At some point, the reason for this became clear to me: Apple moved the settings at some point. Therefore you have to see which of the following two ways leads you to the settings.

The settings for the folders that pop up in the Finder can be found under Operating Tools and Pointer Control.
The settings for the folders that appear in the Finder can be found under Operating Tools and Pointer Control.

Enable/disable pop-up folders and change delay

In the settings you can activate or deactivate the function itself as well as change the delay that the Finder puts in before the folder pops up.

Settings in current macOS versions

The following way works on my MacBook Pro under macOS Monterey and under macOS Big Sur:

  1. Finder
  2. System Settings
  3. Accessibility
  4. Pointer control (on the left in the bar)
  5. Delay for popping up

Settings in older macOS versions

With older macOS versions you can find the function as follows:

  1. Finder
  2. System Settings
  3. General

Tip for popping folders

When navigating through multiple levels using bouncy folders, it can take a while to navigate through as you wait for the bouncy delay each time.

If you press the spacebar when a folder is selected by the mouse pointer, this folder will open immediately and you don't have to wait for the delay from the function "bouncing folders".

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.