six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Find Any File lets you see into Mac packages

I’ve showed you some of the advanced tools Spotlight has up its sleeve, but there’s one thing that Apple’s built-in search really can’t do: search inside packages.

Packages are groups of files that the Mac treats like a single unified thing. The most common one you run into most days are applications. Control-click on any app on your Mac and the second option down is “Show Package Contents.” Inside you’ll find a variety of folders and files that all combine to form the app.

But packages are used in a variety of other places—chat client Adium, for example, stores its chat logs as packages. If you’re searching for a particular file or the contents of a file inside a package, you’re out of luck: Spotlight just views it as a single file, and there’s no option in those advanced settings to change that.

I was recently looking for something inside one of those packages and after a bit of casting about, ended up having to turn to a third-party app: Thomas Tempelmann’s Find Any File. It’s a good complement to Spotlight as it can look inside packages and bundles, and provide a comprehensive list of files on your Mac—even those stored in other users’ directories (assuming you authenticate with an administrator password).

So if Spotlight isn’t quite cutting it for your task, give Find Any File a look. It certainly lives up to its name.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]