The Finder is the first thing that you see when your Mac finishes starting up. It opens automatically and stays open as you use other apps. It includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen and the desktop below that. It uses windows and icons to show you the contents of your Mac, iCloud Drive, and other storage devices. It's called the Finder because it helps you to find and organize your files.
Open windows and files
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To open a window and see the files on your Mac, switch to the Finder by clicking the Finder icon (pictured above) in the Dock. Switching to the Finder also reveals any Finder windows that might be hidden behind the windows of other apps. You can drag to resize windows and use the buttons to close , minimize , or maximize windows. Learn more about managing windows.
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When you see a document, app, or other file that you want to open, just double-click it.
Change how your files are displayed
To change how files are displayed in Finder windows, use the View menu in the menu bar, or the row of buttons at the top of the Finder window. You can view files as icons , in a list , in columns , or in a gallery . And for each view, the View menu provides options to change how items are sorted and arranged, such as by kind, date, or size. Learn more about customizing views.
When you view files in a gallery, you can browse your files visually using large previews, so it's easy to identify images, videos, and all kinds of documents. Gallery View in macOS Mojave even lets you play videos and scroll through multipage documents. Earlier versions of macOS have a similar but less powerful gallery view called Cover Flow .
Gallery View in macOS Mojave, showing the sidebar on the left and the Preview pane on the right.
Use the Preview pane
The Preview pane is available in all views by choosing View > Show Preview from the menu bar. Or press Shift-Command (⌘)-P to quickly show or hide the Preview pane.
macOS Mojave enhances the Preview pane in several ways:
- More information, including detailed metadata, can be shown for each file. This is particularly useful when working with photos and media, because key EXIF data, like camera model and aperture value, are easy to locate. Choose View > Preview Options to control what information the Preview pane can show for the kind of file selected.
- Quick Actions let you easily manage or edit the selected file.
Use Quick Actions in the Preview pane
With Quick Actions in macOS Mojave, you can take actions on a file without opening an app. Quick Actions appear at the bottom of the Preview pane and vary depending on the kind of file selected.
- Rotate an image
- Mark up an image or PDF
- Combine images and PDFs into a single PDF file
- Trim audio and video files
To manage Quick Actions, click More , then choose Customize. macOS Mojave includes a standard set of Quick Actions, but Quick Actions installed by third-party apps also appear here. You can even create your own Quick Actions using Automator.
Use Stacks on your desktop
macOS Mojave introduces Stacks, which lets you automatically organize your desktop into neat stacks of files, so it's easy to keep your desktop tidy and find exactly what you're looking for. Learn more about Stacks.
The sidebar in Finder windows contains shortcuts to AirDrop, commonly used folders, iCloud Drive, devices such your hard drives, and more. Like items in the Dock, items in the sidebar open with just one click.
To change the items in your sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences from the Finder menu bar, then click Sidebar at the top of the preferences window. You can also drag files into or out of the sidebar. Learn more about customizing the sidebar.
Search for files
To search with Spotlight, click the magnifying glass in the menu bar, or press Command–Space bar. Spotlight is similar to Quick Search on iPhone or iPad. Learn more about Spotlight.
To search from a Finder window, use the search field in the corner of the window:
When you select a search result, its location appears at the bottom of the window. To get to this view from Spotlight, choose “Show all in Finder” from the bottom of the Spotlight search results.
In both Spotlight and Finder, you can use advanced searches to narrow your search results.
To move a file to the Trash, drag the file to the Trash in the Dock. Or select one or more files and choose File > Move To Trash (Command-Delete).
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To remove a file from the Trash, click the Trash to open it, then drag the file out of the Trash. Or select the file and choose File > Put Back.
To delete the files in the Trash, choose File > Empty Trash. The storage space used by those files then becomes available for other files. In macOS Sierra, you can set up your Mac to empty the trash automatically.
How to get updates for macOS Mojave or later
If you've upgraded to macOS Mojave or later, follow these steps to keep it up to date:
- Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu , then click Software Update to check for updates.
- If any updates are available, click the Update Now button to install them. Or click ”More info” to see details about each update and select specific updates to install.
- When Software Update says that your Mac is up to date, the installed version of macOS and all of its apps are also up to date. That includes Safari, iTunes, Books, Messages, Mail, Calendar, Photos, and FaceTime.
To find updates for iMovie, Garageband, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and other apps that were downloaded separately from the App Store, open the App Store on your Mac, then click the Updates tab.
To automatically install macOS updates in the future, including apps that were downloaded separately from the App Store, select ”Automatically keep my Mac up to date.” Your Mac will notify you when updates require it to restart, so you can always choose to install those later.
How to get updates for earlier macOS versions
If you're using an earlier macOS, such as macOS High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, or earlier,* follow these steps to keep it up to date:
- Open the App Store app on your Mac.
- Click Updates in the App Store toolbar.
- Use the Update buttons to download and install any updates listed.
- When the App Store shows no more updates, the installed version of macOS and all of its apps are up to date. That includes Safari, iTunes, iBooks, Messages, Mail, Calendar, Photos, and FaceTime. Later versions may be available by upgrading your macOS.
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To automatically download updates in the future, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click App Store, then select ”Download newly available updates in the background.” Your Mac will notify you when updates are ready to install.
* If you're using OS X Lion or Snow Leopard, get OS X updates by choosing Apple menu > Software Update.
How to get updates for iOS
Learn how to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the latest version of iOS.
- Learn how to upgrade to the latest version of macOS.
- Find out which macOS your Mac is using.
- You can redownload apps that you previously downloaded from the App Store.
- Your Mac doesn't automatically download large updates when it's using a Personal Hotspot.