Cover Art on iCloud Missing in Finder

Hi, I have always used MP3TAG as the sole app for maintaining mp3 tags and never used iTunes/Music app. I store all my files in iCloud and I could always see the cover art images as the file icon in Finder (and Files app from the iPad).

I recently upgraded the OS from 10.14 Mojave to 12.6 Monterey. Now, any new mp3s, or any existing mp3 saved in MP3TAG, do not show the cover art in Finder - only a white square with grey music symbol.

My mp3 creation process (Audacity) is unchanged
Files have the same ID3v1 tag as before.
Cover art is always created same size (300x300), jpeg and high resolution
The cover art is displayed correctly when opened in MP3TAG and VLC.

Has anyone else had this issue and found a solution?


Are you sure that you use V1 tags? As they do not contain any pictures.
If you really had only V1 tags then this could indicate that an external picture file has been used.

You can filter for files that do not have an embedded picture with
%_covers% MISSING

Ideally, no file should be displayed.

Sorry, my typo. The tags are ID3V2.3 (ID3v1 ID3v2,3)

Looks like an Apple problem, not one really related to MP3tag.

I found this text on the internet:

"The Finder does not read the metadata like iTunes does to draw and display artwork, it relies on the shared cache inside the ~/Music/iTunes/Album Artwork directory. Depending on the size of one's collection, it can be quite large. My 60-70GB of music results in a cache that's larger than 500MB.

That is why everything looks proper, and the artwork is intact when viewing inside iTunes, but either incomplete, or missing when viewing the files with the Finder. iTunes reads it properly, but the Finder doesn't.

Quitting iTunes and then deleting this cache, even with the earlier versions that are unaffected, will result in no previews of any kind while in the Finder.

The next time iTunes is lauched, it will rebuild this cache ("Processing Album Artwork..."). If one is using 9.2, chances are, the previews will be missing or incomplete in the Finder. Using the earlier bug-free versions will result in no problems.

The upside to this is that it doesn't involve faults in any of the files. The metadata in each file is intact (provided they haven't been altered since), so there won't be a need to go through the hassle of fixing the library.

What Apple needs to do to correct this is have iTunes 9.21 or whatever properly write the cache again, so that the Finder can display all the artwork properly again."

on this external page:

Thanks for your effort!
The article above referred to iTunes app issues back in 2010 (OS 10.6). I only create cover art in MP3TAG, never iTunes/Music app. This worked fine in OS 10.14 but not OS 12.6. I don’t have any music in the Music app

I agree it could be an Apple problem saving the file and caching the cover art.
I doubt they will fix it since they push subscription based music….. or is there another way…..

My guess is that it's somehow related to the audio file being stored on your iCloud Drive. Is the cover displayed in Finder if you copy the file to a local drive, e.g., ~/Desktop?


Tested in Finder ~/Desktop, ~/Downloads, iCloud and USB drive attached
Files created or saved now do not display the cover in any location
Files created previously display the cover in any location
Also tested creating a new mp3 in the above locations

Not sure if this is relevant but mp4 video files work fine

I've tried with both macOS Monterey 12.6.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2.1 and both display the cover art when edited locally.

If you like, you can send one of the files via a private link and I'll further investigate locally.

I think you maybe correct about iCloud
Any file copied back to Desktop from iCloud now showing the cover - even those missing the cover when created on the Desktop. The cover is always lost when copied back to icloud

My head is spinning, I don’t understand

I’ve had this issue with Finder on network drives, it is usually caused by too large image file in the tag or that macOS stops rendering for some other reason and times out. Too me it always felt random, but varying network speeds may be the underlying cause, and then it is cached. To solve it you have to delete the files starting with . (Dot) on your folder related to the files that are not displaying the artwork. They are hidden files so you have to use Terminal, but I am not sure if you can do this with iCloud Drive. Sometimes it helps just to have finder open with the file visible for an extended time period.

1 Like

Thanks for your feedback.
After more checking following the previous posts, I found that relaunching Finder via the /Force Quit Menu seems to fix the missing artwork in Finder for both local and iCloud.
I followed your suggestion for checking any hidden files in iCloud. I used the keyboard shortcut CMD/Shift/Period (.) which toggles hidden files in Finder for any location.
I found only ,trash and ,plist files in the top level folders, Nothing in lower levels.

Since relaunching Finder resolves the topic I am now left to investigate why only the mp3 created in Monterey are missing Cover art in the Files app in iOS. I contacted Apple with this but no response yet. I will update with their response

Could it be both version are included in the file and that iCloud drive now reads the tag incorrectly. ie “IDv2.3 (ID3v1 ID3v2.3)” has both version but only reads v1?
I unchecked v1 in the MP3TAG settings but tag is unchanged when forced saved.
Is it possible to check what tag version is read or if the field is even read in iCloud

You cannot change the behaviour of the finder with settings in MP3tag.
But: set only V1 and APE to be removed, do not set V2.
Then use "Cut tag" - this should remove (only) the set tag versions.
Just a check: if you have set the ALBUMARTIST and that is also displayed by the finder, then the finder reads the V2 tags.

Tried both suggestions but no luck.
The issue in Finder is resolved by force relaunching, Only issue now is files displayed without artwork in the iOS Files app.
Is there any difference between the current MP3TAG app and the previous MP3TAG/Wine software? Just remembered I didn’t have the new app before

It is not clear to me what that means: Did you succeed to remove the V1 tags?
Did you see the ALBUMARTIST in the finder?

If the finder still does work the way you want it but Mp3tag shows the data as you expected, then I doubt that MP3tag can do a lot about it any more.

That makes sense that the artwork renderer in Finder have crashed or hang, and a restart would solve that. The files will not be shown in Finder even if you turn on hidden files, you can go to Terminal and CD to a certain folder and do rm ".DS_Store" and dot_clean -m, that will remove and regenerate the files if required by Finder.

Seems to be a common problem that is reported. This thread seems to have a good list of suggestions for fixes for this.
Top 8 Ways to Fix Thumbnails Not Showing on Mac - TechWiser.

Windows can have a similar problem in Explorer that I have seen in the past, but I believe that was related to a limit for the number of file thumbnails possible within a parent folder.

Mp3 files with artwork saved in MP3Tag on local drive do display artwork for icon
If artwork is missing, relaunching Finder restores the artwork
The artwork can be seen in File Info (cmd+I) and Inspector under “Preview” section.

Once the file is copied to iCloud drive, the artwork is still displayed in Finder however it is now missing in File Info and Inspector under “Preview” section. I assume the artwork is cached in Finder so it appears ok.

Prior to my OS upgrade and using MP3Tag+Wine, all mp3 files saved in iCloud drive still show the artwork when viewed in Finder and in File Info under “Preview” section.

I added ALBUMARTIST tag but could not see the field in Finder (File info?) and was unsuccessful removing IDv1 tags. I deleted the .DS_Store from iCloud/Downloads folder but no effect when copy/move a new file there.

How to check if its tag related or the copy/save process that removes the artwork?

The tags in the file itself, as added or modified by mp3tag, are correct and follow the spec for each file format. Many of the OS issues on Mac and Windows are just that, nothing to do with mp3tag.

I do wonder though, what is your music library and player of choice? Is that not how you would ultimately browse the files and play them? Certainly that software should be able to consolidate these files, and display them neatly including the album covers images. Using Finder or Explorer isn’t really the most robust or pleasing way to do this.

It’s for the car mp3 player via usb stick - we don’t have much cell or radio this part of the world