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Apple Wiki

Finder icon from macOS Big Sur, Monterey, and Ventura (v.11-13)

Finder is the default file manager used in classic Mac OS, Mac OS X, and macOS operating systems. It is responsible for the overall user-management of files, disks, network volumes and the launching of other applications. As such, the Finder acts like the shell on other operating systems, but using a graphical user interface, and is described in its 'About' window as The Macintosh Desktop Experience.


Main article: List of Finder versions

The Finder was introduced with the very first Macintosh computer, and also existed as part of GS/OS on the Apple IIGS. It underwent a complete rewrite with Apple's switch to a UNIX-based OS in Mac OS X.


Finder Lion

The Finder in Mac OS X Lion (10.7)

The Finder is the first application a user interacts with after logging into a Mac, and as such it is responsible for the general look and feel of the machine. It is distinct from the system's underlying GUI and desktop environment, which are provided by HIToolbox and Quartz Compositor on OS X and by QuickDraw and the Macintosh Toolbox on prior OS versions. One could compare it to Windows Explorer in Microsoft Windows, the Tracker in BeOS and Haiku OS, Nautilus in GNOME, and Dolphin or the file management aspect of Konqueror in KDE.

The Finder maintains a view of the file system that is rendered using a desktop metaphor – that is, the files and folders are represented as appropriate icons, volumes are displayed on the desktop, and there is a trash can (on the Dock in OS X, on the desktop in previous versions) to which files can be dragged to mark them for deletion. Part of the system core services in OS X, the application bundle is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/.


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