Finder alternative: the list of best file manager for Mac

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Why do people search for a Finder alternative? Is Finder functionality not enough? Let’s try to figure this out. It is a well-known fact that one can perform different work at a computer. Someone surfs the Internet all day long and does not really need additional tools, namely a browser is enough for them. But a significant portion of users are really working on their computers and they may lack decent file management software for Mac. As a rule, in the process of work, many small tasks for working with files arise, from banal copying/moving to more complex ones, such as group renaming, updating archives, and creating backups on remote servers. Taking into account all the user-friendliness of Finder, doing all these operations quickly and efficiently is quite difficult, nevertheless not impossible, but rather time-consuming.
Finder alternatives

Why do people look for Mac Finder alternative?

The Finder app is often one of the main points of mockery when comparing macOS with Windows or Linux. In brief, it doesn't have tab navigation, doesn't provide a painless way to cut files. It is bitterly slow at times, and for even the most hardcore users navigating its eleven billion open windows when searching through complex projects and subfolders can be confusing. In addition to that, it creates .DS_Store files all over the place and in every folder you open so there is no reason to think of it as a good application.

Despite that, Finder is a satisfactory file management software. For an ordinary working routine, it works smoothly and you do not need to pay for its features. However, if you keep a lot of files and need to have proper organizing of the data, here things can be a bit challenging. So what is missing in Finder and why do people need Mac Finder replacement?

  • Apple hasn't always updated Finder with features on a regular basis. If to compare Finder with some older versions of other file management software, the lack of Finder functionality can be a major hurdle.
  • One of the features missing in Finder is an Advanced Search. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the file/folder you are up for.
  • Finder viewing options are limited. When you want to browse through hundreds of photos and choose the right ones, it can be a real nightmare.
  • Finder is not the great choice to manage your network storage. Quite often you would wish you had a better solution.
  • Some of the basic features are performed very poorly not even taking into consideration that it lacks some of them (such as remote connections, syncing or intuitive navigation).

What features should have a good alternative to Mac Finder?

Let’s try to figure out what features should an efficient Finder alternative have? Or what to look for in its alternative.

  • The user interface of the file management software should be rather intuitive. Users do not need to spend hours in front of the computer screen learning how to work with this utility. In brief, the no-learning scenario is the best one.
  • Another key factor is customizability. It should cover every aspect of the app, especially viewing options. In an ideal scenario, you should have the right way to find the files/folders you want.
  • Additional features are also a great plus for a good Finder replacement, such as batch renaming, synchronization of files and folders, network file management, etc.
  • Dual-panel interface. The most convenient and easy way to work with your data. It can help you to compare information from the single pane.
  • Reliability is what we always keep in mind, but never talk about. As you are dealing with the important files and you are searching for an app to work with them, reliability should be an issue of your concern in order to avoid any bugs and data damage.

Having all these criteria in mind, we have gathered the top Mac Finder alternative solutions. Have a look at our solutions below and choose the one that appeals to you.


Overview of best Finder replacement software

Best Mac FTP client – Commander One

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Commander One archiver

The first alternative to Mac Finder is Commander One. Having dual interface the app combines several protocols in one window making it very convenient for further use. If you are tired of many open windows, Commander One is one of the best Mac solutions. Convenient file navigator and client for working with protocols (FTP/SFTP/FTPS, WebDAV), cloud services ( BackBlaze, Box, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.). It showed itself excellently when working with files on Mac OS and when transferring data via remote access. Excellent additions to file manager are archiver, task manager, Terminal emulator, and much more.

Pros:

  • ability to work with Android, MTP and iOS devices;
  • Terminal emulator;
  • supports Finder tags;
  • a large list of supported archive formats;
  • move files between local and cloud drive easily.

Cons:

  • no single-pane view;
  • no synchronize directories feature.

Path Finder

Path Finder

For those who lack Finder capabilities, Path Finder will certainly be a very useful program. This file management software follows the Finder ideology, significantly expanding its capabilities. The program has a built-in FTP client, can replace the built-in Finder, works with tabs and bookmarks, can preview a large number of graphic and text files, manage processes, work with archives, change the appearance and properties of folders, install and uninstall applications, change combinations hotkeys, create and convert CD / DVD / Blueray images, etc. disks and much more.

Pros:

  • a wide range of interface settings;
  • optical disc recording function;
  • the ability to create a new file with a mouse click;
  • built-in mechanism Allume StuffIt.

Cons:

  • Overloaded with functions. Some of them are repeated in different places in the program, others duplicate functions of the built-in Mac OS X utilities or are of dubious usefulness.

ForkLift

ForkLift

ForkLift strictly follows Apple's requirements for interface design and attentive to details to the fullest. ForkLift is designed to be the fastest and most powerful Mac Finder alternative. The app turned out to be very pleasant, unloaded, and, most importantly, intuitive during navigation. Connect to FTP or SFTP servers, manage your Amazon account or mobile devices via Bluetooth. All of these features are beautifully integrated into a sophisticated yet easy-to-use interface. The dual-panel design will dramatically increase your productivity along with modern features such as live preview, folder loading, etc.

Pros:

  • dual-panel interface;
  • synchronization of folders;
  • batch renaming.

Cons:

  • cannot completely be controlled by keyboard;
  • more Terminal integration could be a plus.

muCommander

muCommander

muCommander turned out to be a worthy representative of two-panel file management software. The app is fast, has good interface ergonomics, is good at processing large amounts of information promising to work smoothly in two windows simultaneously. muCommander has all the functionality typical of file managers for working with the file system, such as copying, moving, deleting files and directories, renaming, creating directories, viewing the size, access rights, etc. In addition, the bookmark manager option provides a good overview. However, one of the conditions for running the program on your computer is the installation of Java 11 or later.

Pros:

  • free software;
  • supports ZIP, TAR, bZip, and gZip;
  • ability to view directories in the form of a tree;
  • create bookmarks for any directories.

Cons:

  • doesn't remember settings;
  • doesn’t show folders size.

HoudahSpot

HoudahSpot 4

One more alternative to Mac Finder is HoudahSpot - an add-on for the Finder that significantly expands its capabilities for working with files. Thanks to HoudahSpot, your frequently used files are always within reach. The app allows you to make detailed queries to find the exact file that the user needs. HoudahSpot is as fast as Spotlight but much more versatile. Its ability to create complex search filters is remarkable and, more importantly, actually helps you refine your searches and quickly lead you to one specific file you're looking for.

Pros:

  • created queries can be saved to always have quick access;
  • filters to reduce search results;

Cons:

  • only Spotlight indexed files are searchable;
  • can be difficult to figure out how to search at the beginning.

Fman

Fman

Fman is a two-pane file manager that displays the content of two different directories and just by using the Tab key you can quickly switch between panels. You can use fman to view directory contents, copy and move files/directories, mount external drives, and so on. This Mac Finder alternative works quickly and has an intuitive interface you will get aesthetic pleasure from working with. The program's functionality can be extended using plugins created by third-party developers. A large number of plugins for fman are available, including those for working with zip and tarball archives, a more informative status bar, getting detailed information about file properties, and so on.

Pros:

  • ability to add extensions;
  • simple to use;
  • cross-platform.

Cons:

  • a bit slow to load and scroll through folders;
  • no choice between dull-dark or fresh-light.

Liquifile

Liquifile

Liquifile is our next Mac OS X Finder alternative. It is designed for visual thinkers who want to have a wider picture of their files and not to be lost in deep hierarchical structures of the files. Having a visual interface, Liquifile makes it easy to identify files without reading their filenames. All the information about the file and folder is given in a form of “circle” to the right revealing size, date, etc.

Pros:

  • file information is easy to scan;
  • quick file search/filter;
  • liquid browsing.

Cons:

  • unusual interface;
  • sometimes can be a bit slow.

Nimble Commander

Nimble Commander

Nimble Commander - consumes a minimum amount of resources and provides instant response, working equally quickly with one window and dozens of them. The flexibility of this macOS X Finder alternative plays an important role, as thanks to which you can customize everything according to your wish. Almost any (if not all) actions with files and additional tools are performed by using hotkeys, which is a great time saver and allows you to work as in the good old days. The developers did not try to please everyone at once but clearly focused on the target audience - advanced users.

Pros:

  • convenient navigation;
  • integration with Quick Look;
  • integration with Spotlight;
  • Terminal emulator.

Cons:

  • savvy users oriented;
  • can have problems with opening a link to network folders.

CRAX Commander

CRAX Commander

Another best Finder replacement is CRAX Commander. The application greets the user with a classic two-pane interface. The advantages of this structure are obvious - first of all, it is convenient when copying or transferring data from one directory to another (these operations can be done in the background). Besides that, the app supports drag and drop operations. CRAX Commander has quite extensive settings, which is not so typical for applications released under OS X. It is possible to change fonts, colors, background, adjust the size of elements to panels, and much more.

Pros:

  • built-in text editor;
  • ability to quickly view files;
  • work with archives in ZIP, RAR, 7-ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, AR formats;
  • connections to remote hosts via SSH, SFTP, FTP, SMB, AFP;
  • native function for creating and storing passwords.

Cons:

  • SFTP connection problems;
  • cannot open some external drives;
  • sometimes it copies the wrong file when selected.

DCommander

DCommander

In general, DCommander knows its business and perfectly performs the tasks assigned to it. The interface of this Mac Finder replacement is practically no different from that in Total Commander: in the upper part there is a customizable toolbar, then there are two working windows with the ability to quickly select disks and information about the available space, and at the bottom, there is a panel with buttons for working on files. Among the additional features, it is worth noting competent sorting, quick access to hidden files and folders, FTP support, reading, and working with archives (ZIP, JAR, EAR, WAR, XPI, and ODT) and tabs.

Pros:

  • has a full-screen mode with supports Retina displays;
  • quick viewing and editing at the click of a button;
  • connecting to FTP servers, and more.

Cons:

  • the functionality is not enough for advanced users.

TotalFinder

TotalFinder

TotalFinder utility allows you to change the interaction with the branded Mac file management software named Finder. However, TotalFinder is not a Finder replacement. This is an additional utility designed to expand the functional content of the branded macOS file manager. It changes the way you use some of the features of this application, and also adds new features to it. For example, it allows you to add a miniature progress bar to the program icon in the Dock, which will show the progress of any tasks. TotalFinder is recommended to all users, without exception, who are accustomed to Finder's simplicity, but who want to get a few pleasant innovations in terms of functionality.

Pros:

  • two-pane mode;
  • the ability to enable/disable hidden files;
  • a higher level of file prioritization;
  • support for hotkeys.

Cons:

  • can be slow when rearranging sidebar tabs.

XtraFinder

XtraFinder

Another Finder alternative or would be better to say add-on for Finder is XtraFinder designed to expand the capabilities of this application. The user has the opportunity to work with tabs, turn on and off the two-panel mode, create additional hotkey combinations, and much more - the number of additional features is quite large. XtraFinder's main merit is to make Finder a real working tool without adding any special gluttony to it. This is an amazing utility that can really expand the functionality of the Finder at times while remaining invisible and familiar.

Pros:

  • allows you to assign many shortcuts;
  • ability to pin opened window;
  • support for hotkeys;

Cons:

  • files aren't shown in some folders;
  • can have some difficulties with recent macOS versions.

Conclusion

Here is our list of best Finder replacement solutions, however, you can look for other Finder alternatives. Perhaps someday Apple will think about updating the Finder making it one of the best file managers but for now, we recommend you take a closer look at one from our list and find the most appealing to you.

Mac Finder alternative: Frequently Asked Questions

Finder is the default file manager in OSX since time immemorial. One of the best representatives of single-window managers on all known operating systems.
File managers are a class of programs that are used for all kinds of work with files, including support for operations such as creating, editing, copying, and deleting, to provide a flexible and convenient launch of other programs designed to work with these files. They are often accompanied by additional utilities that make life easier for the user. For many users, the favorite file manager often acts as a shell, replacing some of the standard file management tools available in the operating system.
The lack of Finder functionality makes it difficult for users to fully control their data.
  • intuitive user interface;
  • customizability;
  • dual-panel interface;
  • reliability;
  • enhanced features.
Commander One, Path Finder, Total Finder, muCommander, ForkList, XtraFinder, Nimble Commander, DCommander, HoudahSpot, fman, Liquifile, CRAX Commander.
Commander One
This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with MacOS 10.10 and later. Requires 45.83MB free space, latest version 2.5.2(3329). Released 25 Oct, 2020.

4.5 rank based on 90+ users, Reviews (15)
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