GIMP annoyances on Mac High Sierra

Following the death of my old MacBook which ran Yosemite and ran GIMP without any problems, I had to purchase a new MacBook, and this one came with the High Sierra version of MacOS installed.

As part of the reconfiguration process I downloaded the latest version of GIMP (2.8.22) for Mac and installed it, only to find that it now misbehaves in various extremely annoying ways.

I tried uninstalling the latest version of GIMP and installed various earlier versions (clearing the hidden library folder each time), but with the same results, so my assumption is that GIMP is not fully compatible with the High Sierra version of MacOS.

Here are the problems I found:

CMD-H won’t hide GIMP

This used to work when using GIMP on Yosemite. Now it doesn’t. I found that CMD-H was allocated to a layer function in GIMP’s shortcuts, and removed that, but it had no effect on the problem. CMD-H now does nothing at all.

Opening a second image from Finder opens a new instance of GIMP

Put two image files on your desktop. Right-click the first one and select ‘Open with GIMP’. No problem. GIMP launches and opens the image. Now right-click the second one and select ‘Open with GIMP’. A NEW INSTANCE of GIMP launches and loads the second image. Not desirable behaviour.

When exporting, the final dialogue doesn’t have focus

This is perhaps the worst problem. Say you have an XCF native GIMP image loaded, and you want to export it as a JPG. So you use CMD-SHIFT-E for export, and the export dialogue comes up. So far no problem. Then you select JPG in the file types dropdown, and click the button. The final export box appears (the one showing JPG quality), but it doesn’t have focus, and you can’t give it focus. It’s like it’s dead, or there’s an invisible overlay over it. The only option is to CMD-TAB (to switch tasks) then CMD-TAB again to bring focus to the dialogue. It’s infuriating.

This last problem has led me to start using Seashore as my main app for basic photo editing, but I miss the power of GIMP.

Surely GIMP’s Mac team can fix these problems?

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  1. I encountered the same problems when upgrading from ElCapitan to High Sierra shortly after HS was released. Nothing I tried would solve them. And weeks of research on Gimp forums, Gimp groups, etc. didn’t either. I was fortunate to be using a MacBook that would still run El Capitan, so after weeks of frustration with Gimp, I downgraded back to El Cap. It is (so far) the only solution. If your new MacBook will run El Capitan but still need HS for other applications, you might want to partition your drive and set up the second partition with El Cap and run Gimp from there. It’s not ideal, but it works.

  2. I’ve now found that by installing McGimp 2.10 (acquired from, the ‘open multiple instances’ problem is gone. The ‘save dialogue without focus’ problem is mostly gone though still appears from time to time, but CMD-H still won’t hide GIMP!

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