Is there a way to make the finder show icons in newest to oldest order in a grid?

As it is when I pick "View->As Icons" and then "View->Arrange By->Date Modified" the finder displays them in long rows. The first row is "yesterday", the second row is items in the previous 7 days, then a row for 30 days, then a row for the previous year. There's 286 files in that row. Navigating by scrolling across the row is nearly useless. There's a "Show All" but that' also useless as it shows all the files a year old but in alphabetical order so for example if I want to find files from November last year I'm S.O.L.

Is there way to just display them in one long grid in newest to oldest order?

  • cruel to be kind, but.. if you want pretty pictures, view by icon; if you want data, view by list.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 22:28
  • 1
    I want to find my file. I can't tell by name, only by image. This is trivial in Windows. Maybe I should run Fusion/Parallels just to use Windows Explorer on my files :P
    – gman
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


Another way to do it: (Mavericks 10.8 if it makes a difference):

Use Command-J or right-click (Control-Click on my fairly stock system) or select "View Options" from the gear icon pulldown menu on the window to pull up the options dialog. Select Arrange by None and Sort by Date Modified (or one of the other 3 date options).

finder arrange by none sort by date

Credit to @grgarside who answered my very similar question a few minutes ago: Disable cover flow in 10.8 Mavericks

  • Let me add, clicking "Use as Defaults" at the bottom after making those settings finally makes the macOS finder useful for me for finding images in the way I need most. So happy to no longer be so frustrated.
    – gman
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 6:12

To sort by modified in icon view:

Go to the settings for your finder window by clicking on the gear icon at it's top and choosing View Options. You've already set it to arrange by date modified, but you also need to set it to sort by date modified.

Then you'll have groupings to minimize until you reach the date range you are looking through AND a list of items to scroll through that's sorted by date.

*as an aside, in figuring this out, I noticed that the sections aren't entirely accurate for me in 10.9.5 (items from 2014 are in the 2013 section), but the files are in the correct order - so don't necessarily trust the section headers. Interesting glitch.

As a tip - You could change to list view to see where the modification dates are about where you want to be, select an item to mark your place and then switch back to icon view. Another note - to find where you'd clicked after clicking show all, just arrow key to the left or right and your view will scroll to the selected file.

Hope that helps!

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