Finder (software)

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Mac Finder icon (OS X Yosemite).png
Finder Lion.png
Screenshot of a Mac OS X v10.7 Finder window, displaying files in Cover Flow view. Above the picture: the new Finder that will come in Mac OS X Yosemite, which is version 10.10.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 10.9 / October 22, 2013; 9 months ago (2013-10-22)
Preview release 10.10 / June 2, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-06-02)
Written in Objective-C++
Operating system System Software, Mac OS, OS X, GS/OS
Platform Macintosh
Type File browsing/organization
License EULA
Website OS X – Finder

The Finder is the default file manager used on Mac OS and Mac OS X operating systems. It is responsible for the overall user management of files, disks, and network volumes and the launching of other applications. Finder acts like the shell on other operating systems, but using a graphical user interface, and is described in its "About" window as "The Macintosh Desktop Experience". It was introduced with the first Macintosh computer, and also existed as part of GS/OS on the Apple IIGS. It underwent a complete rewrite with Apple's switch to a UNIX-based OS in OS X.[citation needed]

The Finder uses a view of the file system that is rendered using a desktop metaphor; that is, the files and folders are represented as appropriate icons, volumes are displayed on the desktop, and there is a trash can (on the Dock in OS X, on the desktop in previous versions) to which files can be dragged to mark them for deletion. Similarly, recording files to the optical media may be accomplished by dragging them to "Burn Folder" and pressing "Burn" button afterwards.[1] Part of the system core services in OS X, the application bundle is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/.

Finder replacements[edit]

Third-party OS X software developers offer Finder replacements that run as stand-alone applications, such as Path Finder, Xfile, and XtraFinder. These replacements are shareware or free and aim to provide the same functionality as the Finder, as well as additional features that the Finder does not include.


Ars Technica columnist John Siracusa has been a long-standing critic of the "non-spatial" interface of the OS X Finder compared with the Classic Mac OS Finder.[2] Daring Fireball blog author John Gruber has voiced similar criticisms. In a 2005 interview[3] he said that the Finder in version 10.3 of OS X had become "worse than in 10.0" and that "the fundamental problem with the OS X Finder is that it's trying to support two opposing paradigms at once – the browser metaphor ... and the spatial metaphor from the original Mac Finder ... and it ends up doing neither one very well." Reviewing the same version of OS X, Siracusa comments that the Finder "provides exactly the same self-destructive combination of spatial and browser-style features as all of its OS X predecessors".[4]


Note differences between Finder versions and Classic OS to System 7. From System 6 onward, the version numbers are unified. OS X therefore shows a combined System and Finder.

Timeline of Macintosh operating systems
Apple Intel transition Power Mac G5 Power Mac G4 iMac Power Macintosh Macintosh Quadra Macintosh Portable Macintosh SE/30 Macintosh II Macintosh Plus Macintosh 128K A/UX A/UX A/UX Mac OS 9 Mac OS 9 Mac OS 9 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 System 7 System 7 System 7 System 7 System 6 Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS OS X Mavericks Mac OS X v10.8 Mac OS X v10.7 Mac OS X v10.6 Mac OS X v10.5 Mac OS X v10.4 Mac OS X v10.3 Mac OS X v10.2 Mac OS X v10.1 Mac OS X v10.0 Mac OS X Public Beta Mac OS X Server 1.0 Macworks Plus II Macworks Plus Sun Remarketing Macworks Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software)
A graphical timeline of Macintosh models

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LeVitus, Bob (August 2011). "How to Burn CDs or DVDs in Mac OS X Lion". Mac OS X Lion For Dummies. For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-02205-4. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Siracusa, John (April 2, 2003). "About the Finder...". Retrieved December 20, 2006. 
  3. ^ Marcin Wichary (September 2005). "Interview with John Gruber". GUIdebook. Retrieved January 13, 2007. 
  4. ^ John Siracusa (November 9, 2003). "Same as it ever was". OS X 10.3 Panther review. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]