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Try Best File Manager for Mac

Best File Managers for Mac in 2022

What is the file manager Mac users need? Finder is a good starting point, but you can do better. This article will list several options, all of which offer some improvements over the default macOS file navigator. Read on, and decide if these upgrades are worth the hassle.

Top choice
Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889+ users, Reviews(524)
Let's find Best File Managers for Mac.

In addition to the standard features provided by Finder, a Mac file explorer can include many things, such as file server connectivity, a text editor, multiple panes, and so on. There’s no definite winner here - most of the software is very similar, but, at the same time, comes with its own unique quirks. Since it’s not always obvious, we’ve highlighted the most distinct aspects of every app.

Why Do You Need Another File Manager Instead of Finder?

Finder is a graphical file management application. Outside of the main folder viewing section, it also has a sidebar (shortcuts can be added to it) and a toolbar. If you want to browse several directories at once, you need to launch a separate instance of Finder. A different file manager for Mac will often include a better alternative, such as tabs or multiple viewing panels.


Finder is available on all Mac OS devices.


It’s common for people to store large, currently unneeded files on a local server. It’s like a disposal bin - a decent way to free some hard drive space without having to use external drives or just straight up losing your data. Well, Finder can’t access these. FTP and SFTP support are a step up, a much-needed one.

Archive handling is lacking on Mac, unless you install third-party software. All you get is ZIP and a proprietary Apple format, with no way to change the compression level. RAR files are common, so a file manager on Mac that can unrar is a good replacement for Finder.

There are countless other reasons. Customizability, the lack of file access history or an operation queue, no cloud service support, no sudo, and other failings - that’s enough to make anyone consider getting a new app.

List of the Best File Managers for Mac

Commander One

Commander One

4.7 Rank based on 889 + users Reviews(524)
Requirements: macOS 10.12
Version: v3.3(3508), Released 2 Sep, 2021 Release notes
Category: System Utilities

Commander One is the best Mac file manager for general use. But it also includes advanced utilities that make it useful for almost any purpose. Any system task - whether it’s disk browsing, mounting, process tracking, or even Terminal work - can be done within the same convenient two-panel interface.

Archives are handled well in Commander One, with full encrypted ZIP and RAR compatibility. The ability to adjust compression rate is also neat, allowing you to choose between speed and size reduction.

It’s easy to mount an FTP server in Commander One, and so convenient to just drag a few files in and out, with your ordinary hard drive open on the second panel. Cloud drives can be added in too, with easy browsing and search available for any directory.

Free dual panel file manager for Mac with Monterey support.

icon pros Pros

  • Fully capable of mounting cloud and FTP/SFTP disks
  • Customizable - both visually and hotkey-wise
  • Includes process tracking and search
  • Suitable for high-level tasks.

icon cons Cons

  • Closed-source with a paid license
  • Doesn’t access SMB servers.

ForkLift 3

ForkLift only has a demo version available for free, but it doesn’t stop the app from being a strong contender to the stock mac OS file manager. It can do many things, even when it’s closed or collapsed into a widget - such as moving files, creating remote connections, or running a backup script.

In its expanded form, the app provides tools for large-scale file operations - batch renaming, action queuing, and advanced search. Customization is incredibly deep, with options for toolbar items, text size and spacing, and displayed file information. Overall, ForkLift 3 combines the familiar feeling of Finder with new additions and improvements.

The ForkLift has a very clear interface.

icon pros Pros

  • Easy to adapt to after using Finder
  • Adjusts to your workflow.

icon cons Cons

  • The sidebar feels out of place in a two-panel design
  • No way to configure the hotkeys.

PathFinder 10

Unassuming at first glance, PathFinder starts to shine when it’s enhanced with modules - for example, Git integration and hex editor make it a great asset to coders. But there are other, more universally useful modules, such as Drop Stack, which helps when you’re moving a lot of files to separate directories.

Unfortunately, all this functionality doesn’t extend to the Web. Neither local nor cloud servers can be mounted in PathFinder, which limits its usefulness quite a bit. Not the most universal file manager for Mac, but still a massive upgrade if you’re willing to use it in combination with other apps.

Gives full control over your file system.

icon pros Pros

  • Many modules available
  • Provides developer-oriented utilities.

icon cons Cons

  • Not able to mount FTP or clouds
  • Expensive ($36) with no free version.

Transmit

Transmit (formerly Transit) is not a great Mac file manager to use on a daily basis. The folder view is minimalistic, there’s no sidebar, no panels. That’s because its main purpose is to exchange files over local networks and the Internet.

You’ll find countless settings to play with in regards to cloud storage and file servers. Various rules, credential storage, automatic synchronization. Many different apps make use of server connectivity, but Transmit takes it to new heights, letting you automate, customize, restrict or permit anything you want - and all that can be done under a GUI.

The app is better suited for advanced users.

icon pros Pros

  • Advanced file server support
  • Many conditions and restrictions to adjust
  • Operation queue.

icon cons Cons

  • Not useful as a general-purpose file manager.

XtraFinder

XtraFinder, as its name would suggest, is not too distinct from the default file manager for Mac. It’s an add-on. However, the numerous small changes change the user experience a lot, making it very browser-like. This is helped by the presence of tabs and the “open folder in new tab” functionality.

In addition, XtraFinder can provide unexpected conveniences in the form of additional commands. For instance, Copy Path is a game-changer when you’re also using the Terminal. And Cutting/Pasting works exactly like it does on other OSes.

The application has a little more features than a regular Finder.

icon pros Pros

  • Keeps the familiar feel of Finder
  • Significant, but simple additions
  • Cheap ($5) and free to try.

icon cons Cons

  • Incompatible with cloud disks
  • Not a full-fledged app.

TotalFinder

Continuing on with the plugins, TotalFinder brings little to the table, and fails to work properly on newer systems, especially on ARM chips. Tabs, two panels, and colored labels - that’s as much as you can get for free. The "folders on top" sorting feature is certainly something that the original Finder could use.

It’s not harmful by any means, and the changes are welcome and non-intrusive, but in the end, TotalFinder is very likely to fail on your system.

The application does not support the latest versions of Mac OS.

icon pros Pros

  • A free plugin
  • No serious changes that could break your rhythm.

icon cons Cons

  • Broken on new Macs and macOS versions
  • Doesn’t do all that much.

HoudahSpot 6

If you’re having no trouble managing files in Finder, but need a better way to locate them, HoudahSpot can fill that niche. It’s exclusively a recursive search tool, with unlimited custom operators to explore and use. Search by titles, contents, dates, metadata, and more.

HoudahSpot can supplement any file manager Mac app, not just Finder. The price tag is unfortunately large ($34), but it’s really a gift that keeps on giving, no matter how many times you switch.

The HoudahSpot has a user-friendly interface and modern design.

icon pros Pros

  • Will complement most file browsers
  • Refined search with dozens of possible filters.

icon cons Cons

  • Doesn’t improve Finder enough
  • No automation.

Nimble Commander

Despite being a jack of all trades, Nimble Commander locks many important features under the paid version ($24). What should you expect from this file manager for Mac? Well, it can be changed to the point where it looks like the original Commander - monospaced font and all.

The differences aren’t just superficial. Nimble Commander is heavily optimized for quick navigation, and reduced memory use. Anything can be done with a hotkey, and by that we mean anything. System characteristics, symlinks, quick sudo and file tag access - NC has it all.

You can add hotkeys and make the application for yourself.

icon pros Pros

  • Provides more possibilities for a power user
  • Mounts SFTP
  • Tracks hardware stats.

icon cons Cons

  • Moderate cost
  • Requires time and effort to learn.

fman

Do you want a downgrade from Finder? Do you actually want to have fewer tools at your disposal? fman is the right app for you. This project may have some potential in the future, but it’s insanely expensive for what it really is.

91 available plugins (at the moment of writing) are insufficient to sustain the barebones framework of Fman. Not even a sidebar, or a settings panel. If you want a solution right here, right now, pass this up.

fman is a dual-pane file manager for Windows, macOS and Linux.

icon pros Pros

  • Will possibly grow in the distant future.

icon cons Cons

  • Has nothing but 2 folder views
  • One of the most expensive items on this list.

CRAX Commander

Despite being a two-panel file manager, CRAX allows the user to hide any of its parts, including the sidebar and even the menu bar. The app presents various utilities for file interaction (such as sandboxing, editing, MD5 exporting, compression), and some admin-grade tools (Secure Shell sessions, a digital keychain). At the same time, CRAX remains accessible to casual users and affordable ($20.99). It’s really the best of both worlds.

CRAX Commander is dual-pane file manager with approachable user interface.

icon pros Pros

  • Includes ways to handle dangerous files
  • Supports almost every file server protocol (FTP, SFTP, SMB, AFP).

icon cons Cons

  • Has an average price tag
  • App Store version is crippled.

Comparison Table

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Swipe tip
Top Features
Commander One
ForkLift 3
PathFinder 10
Transmit
TotalFinder
CRAX Commander
DCommander
Disk Order
ProCommander
File Encryption
File Encryption
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
File Preview
File Preview
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RegEx for Content
RegEx for Content
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FTP Client
FTP Client
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Customizable Hotkeys
Customizable Hotkeys
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Double Panel
Double Panel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Archiving Files
Archiving Files
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Customer Support
Customer Support
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Work with Local and Network Drives
Work with Local and Network Drives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Show Hidden Files
Show Hidden Files
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Price
Price
Free (PRO Pack - $29.99)  
$29.95  
$36  
$45  
$12  
$19.99  
$14.99  
$10.99  
$14.99  

With so many interesting ways to spice up and enhance your daily Finder use, you might feel indecisive. But it might be better to start with a Mac file manager that’s easy to learn, such as Commander One. Most of the solutions found above benefit from familiarity and prolonged use, some more than others.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If you want to find files on Mac, Finder is the standard way to do this. It can be found on the Launchpad (a smiling face icon).
The default option - Finder - is the smiling face icon you see on the Launchpad. It can even show hidden files Mac.
MacBook Pro runs on the same operating system as any other Mac. Most file managers on the App Store should be compatible. Unfortunately, there’s no Total Commander for Mac. Try an alternative instead.

Commander One

This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with macOS 10.10 and later. Requires 58.68MB of free space, latest version 3.3(3508). Released 2 Sep, 2021.

4.7 rank based on 889+ users, Reviews (524)
Editor's Choice