Path Finder 9 review

Cocoatech’s Path Finder is a must-have app for anyone who’s not too happy with the Finder’s performance and feature set. Path Finder 8 was a complete overhaul under the hood but was not too well received by its many impatient customers. The reason was that version 8 was totally new under the waterline with no new features that people could play with, except the modular approach of the information panels. With Path Finder 9, Cocoatech brings back the collapsible module shelves from version 7 that created all the — unnecessary, if you ask me — fuss when version 8 came out. The new version is also fully Catalina compatible and still is the best replacement for the Finder; and even if you keep on using the Finder, it offers, as it has done in all previous versions, superior functionality in areas such as compression, file renaming (batch capabilities), folder comparison, etc.

Path Finder 9’s module shelves are better than version 7’s. The new implementation offers four shelves and allows you to add as many modules in any shelf as you like. You can make Path Finder’s shelves your own as you can arrange those modules freely as well. And shelves can be collapsed as in the old days.

Some behaviour that was gone in version 8, such as drag-and-drop files into the Toolbar have returned but without the D&D functionality because that method stopped working in macOS 10.14 Mojave. Another thing that now works well is the synchronisation between Path Finder and the Finder where it concerns tags. Tags used to sync but sometimes in one direction only. On my system, they now continuously sync in both ways, so if you remove a tag in the Finder it’s gone in Path Finder too after a second or two.

Unlike the Finder, Path Finder 9 now lets you add regular files into the Sidebar’s “Favourites” list. Gone with the obligation to save files to the Desktop because you use them so often that it becomes tedious to open the Documents folder each time you need them.

Path Finder 9 will postpone copying, moving, deleting or archiving files if they are busy and has improved syntax colorising of text-based files in the Preview module. I tried the latter with a Soulver file and it actually worked better than in BBEdit which didn’t recognise the individual parts of that file.

Path Finder 9 also brings many significant improvements in the way the application performs and behaves. It improves compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina. For example, searching for files without the interference of Spotlight no longer gave any results in version 8. That’s been fixed and so have a lot of other small bugs and incompatibilities.

Despite the fact that version 9 has no new jaw-dropping features, it’s more than worth the money of upgrading. It offers a lot more functionality than the Finder ever will and there’s no other app that comes close.

Still warmly recommended.