Eliminating the Finder

Since the dawn of time (or shortly thereafter), people have been using things like Windows Explorer and Finder to locate and manage their files. I find this system to be annoying. I have so many different folders and files that it’s difficult to always remember what I put where. Sure, I could just use Documents, Pictures and the like for storing those files, but I need more sorting than that, or I’ll never find anything. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, it’s too hard to keep my ever-growing collection of documents sorted.

But then something awesome happened. Apple came up with this really nice integrated file browser for iWork on iOS. And then they brought it to the Mac for iCloud files.

So why not just build off of this and make it the new file browser? And by that, I don’t mean the place we go to see all of our files, but the place we go to see the files we need.

Instead of digging through Folders in Finder, why not just open the app you want to use, open the file you want, and be done with it.

So how does this make anything better? Won’t we have to dig through tons of stuff to find what we want?

Nope. See, in each app’s Info.plist, it will specify which file extensions can be used with that app. Then the File Browser will only show files with that extension.

This is slightly different from how iCloud currently works. Right now, iCloud sorts files by which app they belong to. A .txt file written in TextEdit on a Mac can’t be opened via iCloud on iA Writer for iOS. With this new file management system, because everything is based on file extensions, you would be able to open that file in any app that supported .txt files.

And of course, for situations like video editing where you need to import a bunch of video clips, there would be the option to launch a separate browser. Say for example you were working in iMovie. The file browser that shows when the app opens will let you browse for iMovie projects, but you’ll be able to launch a video browser that shows video files compatible with iMovie, just like you can do on iMovie for iOS.

As for iCloud files, rather than a separate tab for iCloud and local files like you see in the screenshot above, files stored in iCloud could be indicated with a cloud icon like iTunes Match uses.

And finally, Finder could stick around for power users, albeit hidden in the Utilities folder, and no longer always running. The filesystem would be easily laid out with folders named after the file extension they contain, and most features of the current Finder would still exist, although since you should be able to duplicate files right in apps using the Save A Copy feature, and you can delete and rename files from the file browser, there doesn’t really seem to be a need for most Finder functions anymore.

So let’s just get rid of the inefficient Finder. It was great for a long time, but computer usage has evolved and file management needs to evolve with it.