(solved) macOS Finder didn’t open Documents and subfolders directly.

Not sure when it started, but Finder didn’t open ~/Documents and its subfolders directly. Somehow I managed to get it fixed. If you have the same issue, it can be fixed.

Decided to troubleshoot (finally).

Current running macOS version is Sonoma 14.2.1. I might have first noticed this issue when the macOS version was Big Sur 11.0 — Finder didn’t open folder by executing open ~/Documents/Python/fuga in Terminal.app, but it was not a big deal at that time. Today, I was playing with GitHub Desktop app and once again noticed the issue — the Show in Finder button didn’t open the local repo but my home directory instead. Something was (still) wrong.

↑ this button opened the home directory ↓ instead of the local repo folder (my UI is Japanese.)
Local repo located a couple folders under the Documents folder


Open command in Terminal didn’t open any folder under ~/Documents in Finder. I was able to navigate to lower levels folders in the same Finder window, so I had the right permissions. Subfolders in ~/Music, ~/Downloads, etc. had no problem to be opend. Go menu > Recent Folders and right-click > Open in New Tab resulted the exact same issue. Only Documents and its subfolders didn’t open directly in Finder in any way.

How I fixed it.

I tried multiple things for a couple hours and nothing helped. Finally, changing the folder view to List from Column seemed to have worked. Little more details follow: Open the Documents folder in Finder then select List from the View icon or drop-down.

or List from drop-down

From the window’s action menu or Finder’s View menu, select Show View Options to open the settings window. Command + J shortcut does the same thing.

Check “Always open in list view” then click on “Use as Defaults” at the bottom and close the window. Now the Documents and its subfolders open in the list view directly by the open command in Terminal.

I won.

Finder still changes view of window somehow whether you like it or not. So, I moved around/opened new windows/changed views/closed windows several times to reproduce the issue, but it never happened again (so far). I don’t know if the above steps was the right way, but the issue is gone.

Things that I tried but didn’t work/help, just for your info.

  • Search in the internet — could not find the exact same issue.
  • Reboot
  • Boot in safe mode.
  • Run Disk First Aid
  • Remove all app’s Documents folder access permissions, reboot and granted again.
  • Compare permissions of Documents and other folders.
  • Check Console.app

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You may need to install tkinter separately if it’s gone.

Recently I started working on some small Python GUI programs. Last year on an Intel Mac I found tkinter was not good as it had some issues with Japanese input method so I gave up. It’s been more than a year and I have a M1 (arm) Mac so there might be some improvements with tkinter. Upgrading Python3 (and all programs) by brew was the first step I tried, then tkinter module was unable to be loaded any longer…

You always better read install log which gives you necessary info.

I didn’t really pay attention to the brew log when upgraded Python from 3.9.1 to 3.9.6 as it was successful and must be a minor update… Soon after the upgrade my Python scripts that import tkinter in a pipenv shell started giving me error “No module named '_tkinter'“. Lots of trials and errors referring to several web pages, tech threads, etc. didn’t help. Tried setting up pipenv from scratch, installed tcl-tk by brew, added PATH and some other tcl-tk variables to .zshrc to no avail. I finally decided to give up and went to bed – worst case scenario I need to uninstall and install all Python related things including brew… On the day-2, I was calmer than last night and started identifying the scope of the problem – ok, tkinter cannot be found even out of my pipenv. It’s really gone from macOS Big Sur at some point. Reviewed steps taken on the day-1 and it didn’t take much time to find the below:

% brew info python3
python@3.9: stable 3.9.6 (bottled)
Interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language
tkinter is no longer included with this formula, but it is available separately:
  brew install python-tk@3.9

Aha! If I read the brew install log once completed, I didn’t need to waste 6 hours and would have a sweet dream. Anyways, if your tkinter is gone after upgrading Python by brew, just execute another command brew install python-tk@3.9 and install it as well. My scripts finally open tkinter GUI windows with no error.

Most of Python documents or webpages suggest you to try tkinter for GUI development as it’s installed by default, but it’s not true anymore especially for those of you who install Python by brew on Mac.

Example of the error in my case

% python3 -m tkinter
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/opt/homebrew/Cellar/python@3.9/3.9.6/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.9/lib/python3.9/runpy.py", line 188, in _run_module_as_main
mod_name, mod_spec, code = _get_module_details(mod_name, _Error)
File "/opt/homebrew/Cellar/python@3.9/3.9.6/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.9/lib/python3.9/runpy.py", line 147, in _get_module_details
return _get_module_details(pkg_main_name, error)
File "/opt/homebrew/Cellar/python@3.9/3.9.6/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.9/lib/python3.9/runpy.py", line 111, in _get_module_details
File "/opt/homebrew/Cellar/python@3.9/3.9.6/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.9/lib/python3.9/tkinter/__init__.py", line 37, in
import _tkinter # If this fails your Python may not be configured for Tk
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named '_tkinter'

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