I love my Mac and how things generally just work. Now and again, however, one finds a few annoyances. My latest one is that I cannot find a refresh button anywhere to update a file listing in a Finder window.

Please note that I am aware that refreshing is generally not needed as new files are automatically added to Finder windows. In my case I have a NAS on my network, and to update a file listing in a NAS folder I currently need to change directory to somewhere else and then back again to see new files.

Is there a way to request an updated file listing in a Finder window?



A simple AppleScript can tell the Finder to tell its front window to update every item. Such an AppleScript can be saved as an Application and then dragged to the Finder toolbar to give you a refresh button

The AppleScript you need is quite simple:

 tell application "Finder" to tell front window to update every item
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    Just as a footnote: In Macericks you need to press [cmd]+[alt] as you drag the app to the Finder toolbar. This is an excelent answer (just used it and works great) – Barranka Nov 14 '13 at 21:07
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    Indeed, Daniel's solution works great. Although I wish there was a way to run the script without having the AppleScript open. Also thanks to Barranka for the hint about pression CMD and ALT keys. – t0r0X Feb 2 '14 at 0:26
  • Thanks for this workaround. Maybe I create a daemon which runs this script once per second (but that's not very power efficient), although that polling approach is not very power efficient, would prefer Finder to automatically properly update based on file system events. Isn't there a fix for this? (Erasing com.apple.finder.plist and .DS_Store in affected folders did not fix it for me). – porg Mar 6 '14 at 11:43
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    I have tried this example in yosemite with no luck. Does this still work for you? – Chris Hough May 22 '15 at 19:21
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    Great answer, just to make the things a bit clearer: this still works in Sierra. You should paste the content of the answer in Script Editor, then use Export -> Application. THAT executable should be dragged, with cmd+alt, to the finder toolbar (the top bar, not the sidebar) – Alan Franzoni Sep 14 '17 at 16:45

To relaunch the Finder:

  1. Hold the Option key and right-click the Finder icon in the Dock, then select Relaunch.
  2. Press Option-Command-Escape or choose Force Quit from the Apple menu, then select the Finder and click Relaunch.
  3. Log out and log back in to your user account.
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    nowhere near as elegant as simply refreshing the window – Tetsujin Jan 10 '15 at 14:04
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    This sounds insane, I cannot believe this is considered a solution. – Sébastien Oct 17 '16 at 8:32
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    These are three different answers, right? Logging in and out shouldn't be necessary. – Jonathan Jun 14 '19 at 14:05
  • Yes, I believe these are three distinct ways to relaunch Finder. – ThatsJustCheesy Jul 12 at 14:49

I've noticed that changing the view in Finder seems to refresh the content of the Finder window. What I mean by changing the view is going from e.g. Icon view to List. I've not done any extensive testing, but it did the trick for me last night when I copied a file into the NAS box in the Terminal, while the directory I copied the file into was also open in Finder.

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    This does not work. – Matthew Read Feb 16 '18 at 19:10

The easiest way to have the Finder refresh it's listing is to enter a subfolder and click the back arrow to come back to the original folder. (Or click the back arrow to go to the previous folder, and then the forward arrow).

The other way is to use an Applescript as suggested in Daniel's answer.

Using osascript, this command can be copy/pasted directly into Terminal, without first creating a script:

osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to tell front window to update every item'
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If it's a remote server, sometime one has to reconnect to refresh the file list.

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This worked for me on El Capitan


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  • Also this 'applet' doesn't work with El Capitan – GlennG Jul 21 '16 at 11:12

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