Can’t find a file in macOS? Here’s what to do

Macworld reader Lon has a problem finding a file on his Mac. He needs to remove it to avoid a compatibility problem, and no amount of Spotlight searches nor browsing through folders can find it.

Spotlight should let you find nearly any file you create or store in macOS with ease, but it doesn’t always work that way. There’s a way to search comprehensively through your macOS drive (or drives) using the Terminal, but I think of it as a last resort, because it involves tricky syntax and can be slow. It also may match a lot of files you’re not interested in.

In the Terminal, a command called find can perform a comprehensive and deep search across everything, including system files and other stuff that we don’t need to interact with and macOS doesn’t readily expose to users. (Find is something I’ve used for decades, and it feels like a tool designed for a computer with a teletypewriter attached.)

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