Unhappy with Spotlight because it does not find files that you know to be there? Use FAF to find every file on your disks, including those usually hidden. By file name, date, size (not by content, though!)
• Recover a file whose name you partially remember?
• See what files got changed in the past 5 minutes?
• Find all the large files on your disk?
• Uninstall software that leaves files in hidden places where Spotlight doesn't look?
Find Any File (FAF) is the perfect tool for these tasks.
You can even search on disks that are not indexed by Spotlight, including server volumes.
Find Any File can find files that Spotlight doesn't, e.g. those inside bundles and packages, and inside system folders that are usually excluded from Spotlight search.
Contrary to Spotlight, it does not use a database but instead searches the data on disk directly. This lets you search for file properties such as name, creation and modification dates, file size, even plain text inside files.
Another useful feature is its hierarchical results view (see screenshots). It lets you view the found items within their respective folders, making it often much easier to browse through 100s of found items.
Finally, it is fast. Not as fast as Spotlight, but it usually only takes a few seconds to locate all searched items on a disk.
•• Note ••
FAF can not search file content other than plain (unformatted) text - and even that is rather slow, so don't expect this to be a good replacement for Spotlight.
For searching text in Mails, Word and PDF documents, and similar files, Spotlight is still the best tool (whose results can be enhanced with Tembo, also available in the App Store).
•• Here's what users say about FAF ••
“FAF goes where Spotlight's can't easily reach.”
“As the administrator for about 50 school Macs, I often need to look for some file misplaced by a novice or, while troubleshooting a system, I often need to search for obscure operating system files. Find Any File is in my arsenal of tools when things files or folders go astray.”
“I use it when I want to find a specific kind of file or to see and eliminate or compare the double and redundant files. I surely use it 4-5 times a week.”
“I keep FAF as an icon in the toolbar of every Finder window. When I have to actually find something, I use FAF instead of the Finder.”
• Searching with "Name equals" can now perform "fast" on APFS volumes.
• Applications can be chosen again when using "Pass Results" search option.
• Avoids rare crash around "accessibilityIsAttributeSettable" on macOS 10.13 and later.
• Improved performance with showing file icons in "Preview Grid" view mode.
Note: While this is still a 32 bit app, a new 64 bit version is already in the works and will become available before Apple makes 64 bit apps mandatory. See the developer's website for more information.
Ratings and Reviews
Used this for many months - so a considered review
I've used this for many months on all my Macs so this is a more considered review than a quick love it or hate it.
I have never got on with the Macs built in search and consider it useless, so have been looking around for a better search for years. Just to be clear "Find Any File" is not it :)
However it's a very specific search tool, which when used in the right way, is very powerful and far superior and easier to use than the mac tools.
Its basically the Unix find command reskinned. However thats no bad thing, I've been using find for over 30 years and I still have to look at the manual when using it for anything beyond simple tasks. It hides the complexity of find and presents everything in a pretty simple and intuitive way.
It doesn't precalculate databases so doesn't take up much space, this is good becuase it means you can do things like check whats changed in the last five minutes and bad because it can take a long time to complete a search. Thats understandable when you think how it works. It has to scan the disk to do what you want for *most* searches.
Its staying on my disk as it does what is supposed to do very well, it doesn't try to be a Spotlight replacement. If you understand how it works (basically understand find), you'll find (pun intended) this to be a valuable and usefull app.
My Excel 2015 just froze (endless color wheel dismay) and I had to force quit. Despite having autorecovery on it hadn’t saved any changes automatically and the file opened without the work of the last 2 hours. I almost puked of anger. I tried all the stuff like “unhide library and look in application support”, googled blogs (turns out I am not the only one being highly frustrated) etc.
Finally found the tip to use this program to find hidden files. Searched for .xls created i last 2h - and voila, it found some cryptic file with the ~ wavy symbol. Double clicking couldn’t open it.
Luckily I remembered reading about changing file type from .xsls to .xslb. Could open, all there, night saved, huuuuge relief.
Bottom line: without this program I would have never found the file.
I first downloaded trial but after it successfully helped me I purchased this versoin to support the author.
Great file searching tool
As with anything the tool does the job if you put in the correct information. If you are searching a HUGE database then the search will be slower, if you have any decent filing system and can break down the search in to sub folders then this will speed up the search. I always find what I am looking for and I think this is very easy to use.
Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.