Home > Wiki Tips

Get to Know What Is Finder on Mac and How to Use It More Efficiently

Updated on Thursday, June 16, 2022

iBoysoft author Anna Yuan

Written by

Anna Yuan
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Connie Yang

Mac Finder Introduction: What Is It & How to Use It

Summary: This post mainly focuses on what is Finder on Mac, including how to open Finder on Mac, how to use Finder on Mac, and how to close Finder on Mac.

Mac Finder

If you're new to a Mac or just switching from a Windows PC to it, Finder should be one of the first apps you need to learn how to use. Apple Finder is known as the heart of macOS and it indeed plays a very crucial role in managing files.

You may think Finder a bit confusing now and wonder what is it, why do you need it, and how to use Finder on Mac? Don't worry, we'll explain them all in detail in this post.

Table of Contents:

What is Finder on Mac?

The Apple Finder is the default file manager and graphical user interface shell used on macOS. It reflects how you interact with the file systems on your Mac and helps access all files on your Macintosh HD, external disks, or network volumes. Apart from this, macOS Finder also helps you launch applications.

Mac Finder icon

It's called the Finder because it helps you to find and organize your files. Or you can consider it's a Mac File Explorer since It's generally equivalent to File Explorer on Windows. Mac Finder was introduced with the first Macintosh computer and was rewritten completely with the release of Mac OS X in 2001.

what is Finder on Mac  
Source from: Apple.com

How to open Finder on Mac?

To quickly open Finder on Mac, use Dock to help you. Simply click on the smiling blue face from your Dock, and the default macOS Finder window will appear. Finder will load the Recents folder by default, but you can use the sidebar to view other popular folders, for example, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, etc.

how to open Finder on Mac

If you want to open Finder with the keyboard, just press the Option + Command + Space keys. This will open the 'Searching This Mac' window and activate the Finder app. Now, you can use its sidebar and toolbars as if it was launched normally.

How to use Finder on your Mac?

Now that you have opened the Finder window on your Mac, you must wonder how to use Finder on Mac. Here we conclude some basic tips to help you better utilize macOS Finder.

How to use Finder sidebar

When you open Finder on Mac, you'll see a sidebar on the left side of the window. The sidebar in Finder windows contains the shortcuts to AirDrop, commonly used folders, iCloud Drive, devices such as your hard drives, and more.

If you want to change the items in your sidebar, click Finder from the top menu bar, and select the Preferences option, then click the Sidebar tab. Then, you can check or uncheck those options to decide what items can be shown or not shown in the Finder sidebar.

Mac Finder sidebar

How to change the way your files are displayed in Finder

To customize how files are displayed on Finder, select View from the toolbar of Finder. Then you can view the files as icons, in a list, in columns, or in a cover flow. Alternatively, you can change it by clicking the row of buttons at the top of the Finder window.

change how files display in Mac Finder

By the way, no matter which view option you choose, you can click the gear icon at the top center of the Finder window and select Sort By options to change how items are sorted and arranged, such as by kind, date, size, or tags.

How to find files on Mac Finder

The search box at the top-right corner of the Mac Finder makes it easier for you to find files and folders quickly. Just enter the file name into the search bar and then the related files/folders will show up. If you can't find the search bar in Finder, press the Command + F keys to launch the Mac Finder search. 

use Finder to find files   
Source from: Apple.com

How to use Mac Finder to delete files

To delete files on Mac, Finder is also a handy tool. Simply open Finder on Mac and locate the file you wish to delete. Select the file or folder and right-click on it and click on the Move to Trash option from the context menu to delete it. Or, you can drag the selected content you wish to get rid of to the Mac Trash in the Dock to achieve the deletion.

How to use Mac Finder shortcuts

To help you use Finder on Mac more efficiently, here gives you some frequently-used Mac keyboard shortcuts:

  • Command + N: Opens a new window
  • Command + T: Opens a new tab
  • Command + F: Opens Finder with the search option
  • Command + I: Gets the info panel on Finder
  • Command + Option + S: This will either hide or show the sidebar
  • Command + 1/2/3/4: To get the icon/list/column/cover flow view
  • Command +Shift + I: Opens the iCloud Drive
  • Command +Shift + D: Opens the Desktop folder
  • Command +Shift + O: Opens the Documents folder
  • Command +Shift + L: Opens the Downloads folder

How to close Finder on Mac?

After finishing using Finder on Mac, or you encounter an Apple Finder problem like Mac Finder not responding, you may want to close or force quit Finder on Mac. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on the Apple menu icon in the top menu bar, and press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Select the Force Quit Finder option.

FAQs about Mac Finder

A

Normally, you can find Finder on your Mac Dock. The left-most icon with a smiling face on the Dock should be it.

A

Press down Command + Option + Esc on your keyboard at the same time to open the Force Quit Applications window. Next, select Finder > Relaunch.