Search Beyond The Spotlight
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, and even plain text content (including RTF, Word and Excel files, but not PDF files nor Mails – see note below).
• Recover a file whose name you partially remember?
• See what files got changed in the past 5 minutes?
• Find all the largest files on your disk?
• Uninstall software that leaves files in hidden places where Spotlight doesn't look?
• Search with regular expressions?
Find Any File (FAF) is the perfect tool for these tasks.
You can even search on disks that are not indexed by Spotlight, including network server (NAS) 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.
•• Note about text search ••
FAF can not search file content other than plain (unformatted and RTF) and zip-compressed text (as used by Word for instance) - and even that is comparatively slow, so don't expect this to be a good replacement for Spotlight when you need to find text in your documents.
For searching text in Mails, PDF and similar files, FAF won't be of use. Instead, Spotlight is still the best tool for those file (whose results can be enhanced with Tembo and HoudahSpot, 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.”
• Fixes a crash when searching certain (network or encrypted) volumes
v2.4 (released June 1, 2023):
• The rule "Name ends with" now excludes the extension, so that “Name ends with pies” finds a file named “Recipies.txt”.
• The “Path” rule now matches on the entire path, not just on the item's enclosing path any more.
• The rule “Kind is not Video” does now correctly exclude video files.
• The search rules have been re-arranged and modernized.
• Fixes issues with searching Google Drive.
• When choosing the iCloud folder as a search location, FAF will search all iCloud related application folders, not just the "iCloud Drive" folder.
• Searching a folder (instead of entire volume) now properly skips excluded folders again.
• When performing another search while looking at the results of a previous search, the new Results window won't pop up in front any more.
• Improvements to displaying results in Dark Mode.
• The menu bar now offers a "Join Beta Program" command, for getting access to pre-releases of FAF in the future, via Apple's TestFlight program.
• The purchase date in the About window is now shown correctly.
• Issues with the Toolbar in the Results window have been fixed. Now you can choose to show the smaller icons or the wider text labels. To do that, ctrl-click into the toolbar to customize it, and drag the desired toolbar items in or out.
• Determining the Finder selection doesn't stall FAF any more (this used to happen whenever FAF was activated).
Ratings and Reviews
Find Any File makes getting a specific file’s location much easier than the default OS X find. I usually have multiple volumes mounted and I’m impressed it’s as fast as it is. I just found out I can set two volumes to be searched without searching any of the others by dragging their icons from the Finder to the “Find Items” section in the search box, then select File -> Save as Default Search, and now those two volumes can be selected independently of all the others.
I don’t think it finds files faster than Spotlight, which someone else wrote, because you’re just never going to beat pre-indexed searches, but it’s very fast and at least I know when FAF is searching in realtime as opposed to an index, it’s finding everything at that point in time. I’m not always sure about how up-to-date Spotlight’s index is at any given time (on the start-up volume, yes; but for recently mounted volumes, that’s where I’m not sure it’s been indexed).
Saving default searches is vastly easier than using OS X’s save search function.
Developer responded to my question about how to search some but not all volumes nearly instantaneously, so for the price, definitely worth five stars.
Fast, easy to use, very very useful
There are times when one wants to find a file anywhere on a disk. Find Any File makes this very easy and quick.
For example, as I’ve migrated from machine to machine sometimes there are little helper apps, or files in non user spaces that have hung around long past their useful life. I noticed on my new Macbook Pro the fans were not operating correctly. Years ago when I put an SSD in my iMac I purchased a fan control program to make sure the device stayed cool as the SSD was a non standard apple component. When I moved to a Macbook Pro I had long forgotten about that utility….until I noticed one of the fans wasn’t operating correctly. After a little research I remembered the old program, but couldn’t remember the name, so I searched for the word “Fan” with Find any file. The components came up, I recognized them for what they were and deleted them. Problem solved.
I use Find any File on all my machines, I don’t use it very often, but when I do, it saves me time and pain over and over and over again.
Best File Finder For Mac I Know Of
If you need to find system or hidden files like configuration files - stuff that could be anywhere - then you need this app! It means what it's name says. And when it finds your file you can perform on it most anything that Finder offers. I don't know what took me so long to find this app. I have been looking for years.
My wife recently asked me to find a file somewhere on our network (with Windows machines) with an "html" extension. She didn't know the filename. I thought, "This will be a great test for FAF. I did a network search.
It returned about 6,000 results in no time at all. And the result screen, which I didn't know if I liked at first, is pure genius. It is a tree view that showed a hierarchical path to every folder containing "html" files. Having some idea what the file's general path might be, I was able to scroll thru the results in a matter of minutes, and locate the file.
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- Thomas Tempelmann
- 11 MB
- Requires macOS 10.11 or later.
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- © 2005-2023 Thomas Tempelmann
Up to six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled.