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Did anyone notice the symbol which always appears in the left-bottom corner of the finder ?

What is the purpose of that symbol in finder ?

enter image description here

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

That icon gives you information about the view options on the current folder. The one you're asking about specifically tells you that the folder view settings are causing it to be automatically sorted in icon view. If you right-click in the blank area and choose "Show View Options", if you set the "Arrange by" setting, it will cause the icon to appear.

Picture of arrangement setting

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It's one of two possible symbols at that location:

  • The "icons in a grid" symbol here means that the current icon view is set to snap icons into grid positions when moving them around.

    Toggle in View » Show View Options » Arrange By » Snap To Grid.

  • The other possible icon, pencil with a line through it, means that the current directory is read-only.

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Unfortunately, the indicator icon tooltips were among the numerous "minor" details from the Carbon Finder that were never implemented in the Cocoa re-write.

Here's a screenshot from Mac OS X 10.5 (the last version of the Finder that had a Carbon UI):

enter image description here

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