I am an Apple user, but I am also a Windows user, and as such I run into many limitations with Finder. The limitations are real, that’s why many people have to rely on third-party tools such as Forklift, PathFinder, OneCommander, TotalFinder and more to satisfy their needs, but none of them offer the complete experience.
Some folks might be native MacOS users and for them probably Finder is fine as it is, but others (like me) we still need to use Windows and Mac in different environments, making it difficult or more complex to remember the shortcuts or missing functionalities.
Things don’t need to change for everyone by default, but at least having the option to enable these options would be awesome. I strongly believe that these enhancements could ease the pain for Windows users to adopt Mac´s faster.

I would like to start with my point of view with some ideas, but I would love if everyone could chip in with more ideas on how to improve Finder for everyone. Who knows? With a little bit of luck, we catch someones attention at Apple ????

1 – Copy/Cut/Paste Enhancements

Current Issue: Finder lacks a straightforward ‘cut’ command for files. We’re stuck with copying files and then moving them with a different shortcut, which isn’t as intuitive as the cut-paste mechanism in Windows Explorer.

Proposed Enhancements:

  1. True Cut Functionality: Implement a genuine ‘cut’ function (Cmd + X) in Finder to hide files from the original location until they are pasted elsewhere.
  2. Visual Indicators: Add clear visual feedback when files are cut, such as dimming icons, to show they’re ready to move.
  3. Improved Transfer Dialog: Enhance the file transfer dialog with details like speed, time remaining, and pause/resume options.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Provide better options when pasting files with the same name (replace, skip, keep both).
  5. Customizable Shortcuts: Allow users to customize keyboard shortcuts for file operations.

Why It Matters: These changes would make Finder more user-friendly and align its functionality closer to what many users expect, based on their experience with other operating systems like Windows.

2 – Incorporating Copy Operations Queues

Current Issue: Finder executes all copy or move operations simultaneously. This can lead to system slowdowns and makes it hard to prioritize important transfers.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Copy Operations Queue: Introduce a queuing system for copy and move operations within Finder. Instead of processing all actions at once, Finder would queue them and execute sequentially. Users could manage the queue, prioritizing or pausing operations as needed.

Why It Matters: Implementing a queue system would improve system performance and give users better control over their file management tasks. It would be particularly beneficial for managing large files or performing multiple transfers, ensuring that critical operations complete first without overwhelming the system.

3 – Enhanced Image Visualization

Current Issue: In Finder, when you double-click to view an image, you can’t easily navigate to other images in the same folder without closing the preview and selecting a new image. This makes browsing through multiple images cumbersome compared to the straightforward navigation in Windows.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Sequential Image Navigation: Implement a feature where double-clicking an image in a folder opens it in a preview mode that allows users to navigate to the next or previous image in the folder using arrow keys. This would work without the need to pre-select all the images beforehand.

Why It Matters: This improvement would streamline the process of viewing multiple images, making it more efficient and user-friendly. It’s particularly beneficial for photographers, designers, or any user who needs to quickly compare or review a series of images without the hassle of opening them individually.

4 – Improving Persistent Mapping to Network Drives

Current Issue: Currently, persistent connections to network drives in Finder can be unreliable. Users often experience dropped connections after rebooting or waking their Mac from sleep, requiring manual reconnection to the network drives.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Improved Persistent Mapping: Enhance Finder’s capability to maintain persistent connections to network drives. This could include automatic reconnection upon startup or waking from sleep, and better stability to prevent drops during use.

Why It Matters: Consistent access to network drives is crucial for many users, especially professionals who rely on shared resources. Improving this feature would significantly enhance productivity and reduce frustration, aligning macOS more closely with the seamless network drive integration seen in other operating systems like Windows.

5 – Possibility to disable Horizontal Scrolling

Current Issue: In Finder, horizontal scrolling can inadvertently hide files, especially when using “Cover Flow” or other view modes. This can be frustrating when trying to view all items in a folder without missing anything due to off-screen scrolling.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Disabling Horizontal Scrolling: Introduce an option in Finder preferences to disable horizontal scrolling. Instead, implement a more intuitive navigation system that ensures all files in a folder are easily viewable without hidden items, possibly through a wrap-around or vertical layout adjustment.

Why It Matters: This enhancement would prevent files from being obscured and improve overall navigation within folders. It’s especially crucial for users dealing with extensive collections of files, ensuring that nothing gets inadvertently overlooked due to the interface design.

6 – On-Demand Calculation of Folder Sizes

Current Issue: Currently, Finder does not automatically display the total size of folders including their subfolders, which makes managing storage space more challenging. Users have to manually “Get Info” on each folder individually to see the total size, which can be time-consuming.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. On-Demand Folder Size Calculation: Implement a feature that allows users to request the total size of a folder, including all its subfolders, at the click of a button. This could be integrated into the right-click context menu or as a button in the Finder toolbar for easy access.

Why It Matters: This functionality would make it significantly easier to manage and organize files, especially when trying to free up storage space. By understanding how much space each folder is taking up, users can make more informed decisions about what to keep, archive, or delete.

7 – Dual Pane + Preview Feature

Current Issue: Finder currently lacks an integrated solution that combines dual-pane file management with an immediate file preview option. This limitation requires users to constantly switch between windows or tabs when managing files and wanting to preview them simultaneously.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Dual Pane + Preview Integration: Introduce a feature where Finder supports a dual-pane layout with an additional preview pane. This setup would allow users to manage files across two folders while instantly previewing selected files (documents, images, videos, etc.) in an adjacent pane.

Why It Matters: This enhancement would streamline the file management process by reducing the need to open separate applications for file previews. It’s particularly beneficial for users who regularly compare, sort, or move files between different locations while needing immediate content access.

8 – Navigation Inside Archives (Zip Files)

Current Issue: Currently, to view the contents of a ZIP file in Finder, you must first extract the files, cluttering your workspace and taking unnecessary time for a simple peek inside.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. In-Archive Navigation: Implement a feature allowing users to navigate within ZIP files (and other popular archive formats) directly from Finder, without the need to extract them. Users could view, copy, and even edit files within archives seamlessly.

Why It Matters: This capability would streamline workflows involving compressed files, saving time and storage space, and align macOS more closely with the conveniences found in other operating systems. It’s particularly beneficial for professionals who frequently interact with large numbers of archived files.

9 – Enhanced Substring Search in Finder

Current Issue: Finder’s current search mechanism can be unintuitive, especially when users expect it to locate files containing specific substrings within their names. Instead, Finder might prioritize content or metadata, leading to missed files or cluttered results not directly related to the intended query.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Improved Substring Search: Revise Finder’s search algorithm to prioritize finding substrings within file names by default. This means if you search for “report,” Finder should display all files with “report” in their names, like “AnnualReport.docx” or “ReportSummary.pdf,” before considering the file content or metadata matches.

Why It Matters: Enhancing search to work as most users intuitively expect—by accurately finding substrings in file names—would significantly improve efficiency and user satisfaction. It eliminates the frustration of sifting through irrelevant results and aligns Finder’s functionality with the straightforward search capabilities seen in other file managers.

10 – Advanced Multi-File Rename Functionality

Current Issue: While Finder allows for basic batch renaming, it lacks advanced options. Users looking for more sophisticated renaming capabilities—such as using patterns, incrementing numbers, regular expressions, and specific replacements—must turn to third-party applications.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Advanced Multi-File Rename Tool: Integrate an enhanced renaming tool into Finder that supports patterns, incrementing numbers, regular expressions, and custom replacements. This tool would allow users to apply complex renaming rules to large sets of files quickly and efficiently.

Why It Matters: By incorporating these advanced renaming features directly into Finder, macOS would vastly improve its file management capabilities, aligning more closely with professional needs and reducing the dependency on external software. This enhancement would be especially beneficial for photographers, videographers, developers, and anyone who regularly organizes large numbers of files.

11 – Proposal for Built-in Folder Sync Functionality

Current Issue: Currently, macOS users have to rely on third-party applications to sync folders. Finder does not offer a native solution to easily synchronize the contents of two folders, including options for direction of sync, choosing subfolders, and other preferences.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Built-in Folder Sync Feature: Introduce a straightforward folder synchronization option within Finder. This feature would allow users to select two folders and sync them directly from the Finder interface, with customizable settings for sync direction, subfolders inclusion, and file conflict resolution.

Why It Matters: A built-in sync feature would greatly simplify file management, especially for users who work on multiple devices or in team environments where files need to be kept up to date across different locations. This function is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity for ensuring data consistency and boosting productivity.

12 – Comprehensive Network Storage Integration

Current Issue: Finder’s current network storage capabilities are somewhat limited, especially when compared to third-party applications like Forklift. Users seeking to connect to various types of network storage such as FTP, SFTP, or WebDAV often have to rely on external solutions.

Proposed Enhancement:

  1. Comprehensive Network Storage System: Expand Finder’s functionality to seamlessly integrate with a variety of network storage options like FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV. Once connected, these remote file systems should operate indistinguishably from local files, allowing users to apply all the usual tools and techniques as if the files were stored on their own machine.

Why It Matters: Integrating robust network storage support directly into Finder would revolutionize file management for professionals and casual users alike, bridging the gap between local and remote workspaces. This would streamline workflows, enhance productivity, and eliminate the need for additional software solely for accessing different types of networked storage.

What do you think? Would you like to see anything else improved which was not covered by this post?