Mac users have this love hate relationship with the venerable Finder, the built-in tool that lets you navigate folders and files, launch apps, and basically get a good look at where everything lives on your Mac.
Love? Hate? Yep. Finder is like the Dock. It’s built-in so we shouldn’t complain but there are shortcomings and, thankfully, clever app developers who Think Different™ enough to design and publish alternatives. Commander One is a free dual pane file manager that looks, works, feels just like the Finder but has features Finder does not, and the Pro version automatically makes you a Mac power user (but without superpowers).
Commander One is one of those new breed of Mac apps written in Apple’s Swift so it’s, well, swift. What it does that Finder does not is a handful of all those features you’d like to see in Finder.
- Show Hidden Files – you can use Terminal.app or a third party utility to turn on hidden files, but Commander One does it with a click.
- Fonts & Colors – Apple doesn’t want you to muck up the Finder’s gloriously boring persona, but now you can add all the color your eyes can stand.
- Customizable Hotkeys – this gets you into power user territory because you can assign the Finder-like action to a customizable keyboard combo.
- Root Access – if you don’t know the dangers or the power of root, don’t bother.
- Unlimited Tabs – Finder in OS finally has tabs, but so does Commander One; different, better.
- Brief Mode – if you’re a Finder-holic then you’ll appreciate a feature which lets you view and manage multiple folders and files at once.
This looks familiar, right? But if you look closely you’ll see what you won’t see in the Finder itself.
Just so you won’t need to bounce back and forth between Finder and Commander One you’ll see built-in support for ZIP and file Archives, but there’s also a built-in file viewer for almost every kind of file, and there’s an additional option for RegExp (regular expression) support.
That’s all for free.
The Pro version really turns you into a Mac power user with options to mount a variety of devices and online file storage services, including Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, even mount iOS devices directly to a Finder-like interface. That’s cool. I can’t think of why I’d need it. But it’s cool.
Even the simple built-in Archive function does more than the Finder, including ZIP, RAR, TBZ, TGZ, 7z, PDQ and ASAP. Plus, you can add a password to an Archive. Try that in Finder. Your Mac has a utility called Activity Monitor which monitors app activity, but that’s built-in to Commander One along with different color themes.
So, on one hand Commander One is easier to use than Finder and more customizable– for free– while at the other end of the Geek Scale™ (there is such a thing; I read it on the internet, and you know they can’t put anything on the internet if it’s not true) is the Pro option which adds all the geeky features.
Nicely done and seems to get better with every update. Commander One has a very familiar look, of course, but the Pro version adds features that make using a Finder alternative a pleasure.