Is there any logic behind OS X's file sorting patterns?

Here is a screenshot of two file dialogs open side by side:

Why on the left it is labeled as "no date" and on the right it is "today"?

What is the purpose of "no date" anyway? Isn't it kind of useless, especially appearing on the very bottom of the list?

Is there any fix for this?

I'm on Mavericks.

  • What are you sorting by? I do not have the No date category?
    – Ruskes
    Dec 10, 2014 at 2:37
  • By date, obviously, maybe you don't have any files that meet the "no date" criteria? I don't know how the whole thing works though, hence I'm asking
    – YemSalat
    Dec 10, 2014 at 2:44
  • I know you use by date! which one? date added, modified, last opened, created ?
    – Ruskes
    Dec 10, 2014 at 2:52
  • Sorry, its date modified in my case, in both windows.
    – YemSalat
    Dec 10, 2014 at 4:21
  • So, if the file was newer modified by you there should not be a date ? try sorting by date added to see.
    – Ruskes
    Dec 10, 2014 at 5:05

3 Answers 3



Not all Finder dialogs use the latest information available for a file to improve performance. Information such as that is loaded asynchronously, but this sometimes fails and doesn't show the correct information.

If a directory is taking too long to load, Finder may sometimes prefer to load partial information rather than not listing the directory contents in a timely manner. If this data is never loaded, it is never cached and is consistently listed incorrectly in certain circumstances.

This can usually be fixed by remounting the partition (if applicable) or restarting.

  • 1
    Also: shouldiblamecaching.com.
    – grg
    Dec 10, 2014 at 20:05
  • Thanks for the answer, and the funny link as well, being a front-end web developer I clearly see its irony. PS my mac manages to be slow even though it caches everything.
    – YemSalat
    Dec 11, 2014 at 0:17

The dialog on the left seems to be a File Open dialog, not a Finder window. (Note the word Open in the title bar, and the Cancel/Open buttons at the bottom.)

If the app is opening photos, it may be more interested in the date the photo was taken, rather than any modify/creation/access date associated with the underlying file. Finder, of course, is only interested in dates associated with the underlying file, and has no interest in the date the photo was taken nor any other EXIF tags.

The dates associated with the underlying file always have a value. EXIF tags may be missing. EXIF dates and file dates need not match in any way.

  • Well, both of the windows are set to order by 'date modified', so I don't see why the context would matter.
    – YemSalat
    Dec 11, 2014 at 0:19

Force quit Finder. You can do this by pressing the option+command+esc keys and then selecting Finder from the list and clicking on the Relaunch button.

Then, delete the Finder's preferences file by launching the Terminal app and entering the following command:

rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist

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