Especially when searching for a specific file or folder, I want the search to be as precise as possible. The search bar in every Finder window is set to search an entire system, which seems a bit odd – to say the least. However, slightly hidden within Finder preferences is an option to limit the search to a current folder on macOS. If you haven’t yet discovered this little known Mac feature, now is the right time to unravel it. Here is how you can limit Finder search to current folder on Mac.

Restrict Finder Search to Current Folder on macOS

Wondering whether or not your Mac will allow you to customize the Finder search bar? Well, this feature has existed on macOS/OS X for ages. So, even if your Mac is running the old macOS versions, you can restrict the search inside the stock file manager. The good thing is it doesn’t change Spotlight preferences, therefore your system-wide search-setting won’t be impacted. With that said, let’s get started!

  1. Launch the Finder app on your Mac.

Launch Finder app on macOS

2. Now, click on the Finder menu at the top left corner and choose Preferences. 

Choose Preferences in the menu

3. Next, click on the Advanced tab.

Click on Advanced tab

4. Under “When performing a search” section, click on the drop-down menu.

Click on drop-down menu

5. Finally, choose the “Search the Current Folder” option.

Choose Search the Current folder option

There you go! From now onwards, the file manager will be restricted to look only inside a current folder rather than tracking down the entire system.

Customize Finder Search on Mac

So, that’s how you can fine-tune the Finder search on your macOS device to look only inside a current directory. Times when you are tracking down a specific file, it comes in super handy in narrowing down the hunt. Therefore, it saves not only time but also enhances productivity. What’s your take on this hack and where does Apple’s file manager stand against popular rivals? Do share your thoughts in the comments down below.

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