General Question

DominicX's avatar

Mac question: how to search in open folder in the finder by default?

Asked by DominicX (28762points) December 11th, 2011

On my MacBook Air, if I want to search inside a specific folder in the finder window, such as “iTunes”, when I type something in the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the computer, it will search “iTunes” or whatever folder I am in automatically.

However, on my brother’s MacBook, if you are in the “iTunes” folder, for example, and type in something in the search bar, it will automatically search the entire computer rather than just the folder. How come it searches the open folder by default on my computer and the entire computer by default on my brother’s computer?

Both are running the latest fully-updated versions of Mac OS X Lion.

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3 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

When in the Finder, click on the Finder menu bar and select preferences. From the Finder Preferences window, click on the Advanced tab. At the bottom of this tab is a pop-up menu where you can choose to search the entire Mac, the current folder, or previous search scope. You want to make sure the middle option is selected.

DominicX's avatar


Thanks. I remember now going through that when I was looking at my Mac OS X handbook…for some reason I was thinking the only set of preferences were under “General” in the System Preferences, but I completely forgot about the preferences on the Finder menu bar :)

gorillapaws's avatar

@DominicX I’ve made the same mistake myself. It’s a bit weird thinking of the Finder as an “app”. Happy to help.

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