The built-in Finder in macOS is a great tool for simple file management operations. Like all Apple software, the Finder is good-looking and well-suited to the majority of possible use cases. But if you’ve got a ton of data to move around, or you’re a little more picky about your controlling your file flow, you might want a Finder alternative. Here are some options you might consider for augmenting or completely replacing Finder on macOS.
1. Path Finder – $40
Path Finder 7 currently reigns supreme in the world of macOS Finder alternatives. Mature and feature-rich, if you want one app to replace Finder, Path Finder should be it. With a huge array of features that appeal to both casual users and power users, you can take deep control of your file management process. Dig deep with a hex-code view of any file, or just transfer files to other folders with a dual-pane window view. Pop open a terminal window without leaving the app, and arrange your tools any way you like.
Powerful and flexible, Path Finder will even generate its own Desktop and handle any “open in Finder” requests, allowing you to completely disable (and even quit) Finder. And there’s a pile of features beyond that. The downside is the expense. With an app this full-featured, you have to expect and equally-fully-featured price. You can run a free trial of Path Finder for 30 days, but afterward you’ll need to fork over $40 to get the full app.
2. Commander One – Free/$30
Commander One is another strong Finder replacement utility, with a long history of development and a mature feature set. It’s not a Path Finder clone, but it does have many of the same features. This includes dual-pane browsing, tabbed windows and a customizable interface. Commander One’s pro version also brings native support for a variety of web-based cloud services, such as Amazon S3, FTP and OneDrive. The interface is trimmed down from Path Finder’s smorgasbord of options. If you want a simple Finder replacement utility, that’s perfect. One cool thing: the regular-expression-based search function works really well, which is great if you’re one of the six people on earth that understands how RegEx works. Another cool thing: the basic version, without cloud connectivity, is free! Pro licenses, which include cloud sync, are $30.
3. Yoink – $2
Yoink is definitely not a Finder replacement utility, but it patches one of the most annoying features of Finder – dragging files between folders. Here’s what bugs me: if you don’t already have the source window open but you haven’t yet opened the target window, you have to do a little open-a-new-window, find-the-target-folder tango that just annoys the heck out of me.
This probably bothers me more than it should. Fortunately, Yoink offers an elegant solution to this annoyance. By embedding a small, pop-up “drop zone” on the side of your monitor where you can temporarily stick files, you don’t need to have both the source and target windows open at the same time. Just drop the file in Yoink, navigate to your new window, and then drag it out of Yoink into its new home. And if your a desktop-clutterer like me, you can also shove stuff in there to get it out of your face temporarily,
4. Forklift – $30
If your primary need for a Finder alternative is to augment Finder’s paltry support for remote server connections, Forklift is an awesome choice. At its heart, it’s a robust FTP client, supporting SFTP, Amazon A3, WebDAV, iDisk, SMB, AFP and more. It also includes in-place editing of remote files and a built-in, per-folder, on-demand sync utility. Uniquely, Forklift also offers the power to “bookmark” common activities with what they call “droplets” and “synclets.” These simple scripts will run Forklift tasks on-command, making them handy for automating the daily drudgery of file management. If you’re a web developer in need of a new FTP client, Forklift is perfect.
5. TotalFinder – $12
Once upon a time, TotalFinder was my favorite Finder augmentation utility. Rather than completely replacing the Finder app, TotalFinder instead adds a set of new features. They include Chrome-style trapezoidal tabs, a “visor” window that can be revealed and hidden by a key command, and folders-on-top sorting. And because it doesn’t replace the Finder, it doesn’t break anything. Unfortunately, as you might be able to guess, Apple’s System Integrity Protection (SIP) was the death knell for TotalFinder. SIP keeps any third-party utilities from editing key system files. Thanks to that, in order to use TotalFinder, SIP needs to be disabled. This may or may not feel risky to you, but it’s a personal choice. If you already have SIP disabled for another reason, TotalFinder is an amazing augmentation to your system.
If you’re looking for something to augment or replace Finder, you have a lot of great options. To completely replace finder, Path Finder is my go-to choice, but Commander One will give you an easier-to-navigate interface. If you need something to expand Finder’s capabilities for remote connections, Forklift will get you there. Yoink is a great choice to fix one of Finder’s annoyances. If you’ve already unlocked your system, TotalFinder makes Finder much easier to user. Any of these Finder alternatives would be a good choice, depending on your needs.