find

Search a folder hierarchy for filename(s) that meet a desired criteria.

Syntax

     find [-H | -L | -P] [-EXdsx] [-f pathname] [pathname ...] expression

Options
     -E       Interpret regular expressions followed by -regex and -iregex
       options as extended (modern) regular expressions rather than
       basic regular expressions (BRE's).   The re_format(7) manual page
       fully describes both formats.

     -H       The -H option causes the file information and file type (see
       stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link specified on the command
       line to be those of the file referenced by the link, not the link
       itself.  If the referenced file does not exist, the file informa-
       tion and type will be for the link itself.   File information of
       all symbolic links not on the command line is that of the link
       itself.

     -L       The -L option causes the file information and file type (see
       stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link to be those of the file
       referenced by the link, not the link itself.  If the referenced
       file does not exist, the file information and type will be for
       the link itself.

     -P       The -P option causes the file information and file type (see
       stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link to be those of the link
       itself.  This is the default.

     -X       The -X option is a modification to permit find to be safely used
       in conjunction with xargs(1).  If a file name contains any of the
       delimiting characters used by xargs(1), a diagnostic message is
       displayed on standard error, and the file is skipped.  The delim-
       iting characters include single (` ' ') and double (` " ')
       quotes, backslash (`\'), space, tab and newline characters.

     -d       The -d option causes find to perform a depth-first traversal,
       i.e., directories are visited in post-order and all entries in a
       directory will be acted on before the directory itself.  By
       default, find visits directories in pre-order, i.e., before their
       contents.  Note, the default is not a breadth-first traversal.

     -f       The -f option specifies a file hierarchy for find to traverse.
       File hierarchies can also be specified as the operands immediately
       following the options.

     -s       The -s option causes find to traverse the file hierarchies in
       lexicographical order, i.e., alphabetical order within each
       directory.   Note: `find -s' and `find | sort' can give different
       results.

     -x       The -x option prevents find from descending into directories that
       have a device number different than that of the file from which
       the descent began.

PRIMARIES

     -amin n
       True if the difference between the file last access time and the
       time find was started, rounded up to the next full minute, is n
       minutes.

     -anewer file
       Same as -neweram.

     -atime n
       True if the difference between the file last access time and the
       time find was started, rounded up to the next full 24-hour
       period, is n 24-hour periods.

     -cmin n
       True if the difference between the time of last change of file
       status information and the time find was started, rounded up to
       the next full minute, is n minutes.

     -cnewer file
       Same as -newercm.

     -ctime n
       True if the difference between the time of last change of file
       status information and the time find was started, rounded up to
       the next full 24-hour period, is n 24-hour periods.

     -delete
       Delete found files and/or directories.  Always returns true.
       This executes from the current working directory as find recurses
       down the tree.  It will not attempt to delete a filename with a
       `/' character in its pathname relative to `.' for security
       reasons.  Depth-first traversal processing is implied by this
       option.

     -depth  Always true; same as the -d option.  -depth can be useful when
       find is used with cpio(1) to process files that are contained in
       directories with unusual permissions.  It enures that you have
       write permission while you are placing files in a directory, then
       sets the directory's permissions as the last thing.

     -empty  True if the current file or directory is empty.

     -exec utility [argument ...];
       True if the program named utility returns a zero value as its
       exit status.  Optional arguments can be passed to the utility.
       The expression must be terminated by a semicolon (`;').  If the
       string `{}' appears anywhere in the utility name or the argu-
       ments it is replaced by the pathname of the current file.
       Utility will be executed from the directory from which find was
       executed.  Utility and arguments are not subject to the further
       expansion of shell patterns and constructs.

     -execdir utility [argument ...];
       The -execdir primary is identical to the -exec primary with the
       exception that utility will be executed from the directory that
       holds the current file.  The filename substituted for the string
       `{}' is not qualified.

     -flags [-|+]flags,notflags
       The flags are specified using symbolic names (see chflags(1)).
       Those with the "no" prefix (except "nodump") are said to be
       notflags.  Flags in flags are checked to be set, and flags in
       notflags are checked to be not set.  Note that this is different
       from -perm, which only allows the user to specify mode bits that
       are set.

       If flags are preceded by a dash (`-'), this primary evaluates
       to true if at least all of the bits in flags and none of the bits
       in notflags are set in the file's flags bits.  If flags are pre-
       ceded by a plus (`+'), this primary evaluates to true if any of
       the bits in flags is set in the file's flags bits, or any of the
       bits in notflags is not set in the file's flags bits.  Otherwise,
       this primary evaluates to true if the bits in flags exactly match
       the file's flags bits, and none of the flags bits match those of
       notflags.

     -fstype type
       True if the file is contained in a file system of type type.  The
       sysctl(8) command can be used to find out the types of filesys-
       tems that are available on the system:

       sysctl vfs

       In addition, there are two pseudo-types, `local' and
       `rdonly'.  The former matches any file system physically
       mounted on the system where the find is being executed and the
       latter matches any file system which is mounted read-only.

     -group gname
       True if the file belongs to the group gname.  If gname is numeric
       and there is no such group name, then gname is treated as a group
       ID.

     -iname pattern
       Like -name, but the match is case insensitive.

     -inum n
       True if the file has inode number n.

     -ipath pattern
       Like -path, but the match is case insensitive.

     -iregex pattern
       Like -regex, but the match is case insensitive.

     -links n
       True if the file has n links.

     -ls     This primary always evaluates to true.  The following information
       for the current file is written to standard output: its inode
       number, size in 512-byte blocks, file permissions, number of hard
       links, owner, group, size in bytes, last modification time, and
       pathname.  If the file is a block or character special file, the
       major and minor numbers will be displayed instead of the size in
       bytes.  If the file is a symbolic link, the pathname of the
       linked-to file will be displayed preceded by `->'.  The format
       is identical to that produced by ls -dgils.

     -maxdepth n
       True if the depth of the current file into the tree is less than
       or equal to n.

     -mindepth n
       True if the depth of the current file into the tree is greater
       than or equal to n.

     -mmin n
       True if the difference between the file last modification time
       and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full
       minute, is n minutes.

     -mnewer file
       Same as -newer.

     -mtime n
       True if the difference between the file last modification time
       and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full
       24-hour period, is n 24-hour periods.

     -name pattern
       True if the last component of the pathname being examined matches
       pattern.  Special shell pattern matching characters (`[',
       `]', `*', and `?') can be used as part of pattern.  These
       characters can be matched explicitly by escaping them with a
       backslash (`\').

     -newer file
       True if the current file has a more recent last modification time
       than file.

     -newerXY file
       True if the current file has a more recent last access time
       (X=a), change time (X=c), or modification time (X=m) than the
       last access time (Y=a), change time (Y=c), or modification time
       (Y=m) of file.  In addition, if Y=t, then file is instead inter-
       preted as a direct date specification of the form understood by
       cvs(1).  Note that -newermm is equivalent to -newer.

     -nogroup
       True if the file belongs to an unknown group.

     -nouser
       True if the file belongs to an unknown user.

     -ok utility [argument ...];
       The -ok primary is identical to the -exec primary with the excep-
       tion that find requests user affirmation for the execution of the
       utility by printing a message to the terminal and reading a
       response.  If the response is other than `y' the command is not
       executed and the value of the -ok expression is false.

     -okdir utility [argument ...];
       The -okdir primary is identical to the -execdir primary with the
       same exception as described for the -ok primary.

     -path pattern
       True if the pathname being examined matches pattern.  Special
       shell pattern matching characters (`[', `]', `*', and
       `?') can be used as part of pattern.  These characters can be
       matched explicitly by escaping them with a backslash (`\').
       Slashes (`/') are treated as normal characters and do not have
       to be matched explicitly.

     -perm [-|+]mode
       The mode can be either symbolic (see chmod(1)) or an octal num-
       ber.  If the mode is symbolic, a starting value of zero is
       assumed and the mode sets or clears permissions without regard to
       the process' file mode creation mask.  If the mode is octal, only
       bits 07777 (S_ISUID | S_ISGID | S_ISTXT | S_IRWXU | S_IRWXG |
       S_IRWXO) of the file's mode bits participate in the comparison.
       If the mode is preceded by a dash (`-'), this primary evaluates
       to true if at least all of the bits in the mode are set in the
       file's mode bits.  If the mode is preceded by a plus (`+'),
       this primary evaluates to true if any of the bits in the mode are
       set in the file's mode bits.  Otherwise, this primary evaluates
       to true if the bits in the mode exactly match the file's mode
       bits.  Note, the first character of a symbolic mode can not be a
       dash (`-').

     -print  This primary always evaluates to true.  It prints the pathname of
       the current file to standard output.  If none of -exec, -ls,
       -print0, or -ok is specified, the given expression shall be
       effectively replaced by ( given expression ) -print.

     -print0
       This primary always evaluates to true.  It prints the pathname of
       the current file to standard output, followed by an ASCII NUL
       character (character code 0).

     -prune  This primary always evaluates to true.  It causes find to not
       descend into the current file.  Note, the -prune primary has no
       effect if the -d option was specified.

     -regex pattern
       True if the whole path of the file matches pattern using regular
       expression.  To match a file named `./foo/xyzzy', you can use
       the regular expression `.*/[xyz]*' or `.*/foo/.*', but not
       `xyzzy' or `/foo/'.

     -size n[c]
       True if the file's size, rounded up, in 512-byte blocks is n.  If
       n is followed by a c, then the primary is true if the file's size
       is n bytes (characters).

     -type t
       True if the file is of the specified type.   Possible file types
       are as follows:

       b       block special
       c       character special
       d       directory
       f       regular file
       l       symbolic link
       p       FIFO
       s       socket

     -user uname
       True if the file belongs to the user uname.  If uname is numeric
       and there is no such user name, then uname is treated as a user
       ID.

     All primaries which take a numeric argument allow the number to be pre-
     ceded by a plus sign (`+') or a minus sign (`-').  A preceding plus
     sign means `more than n', a preceding minus sign means `less than n'
     and neither means `exactly n'.

OPERATORS

     The primaries can be combined using the following operators.  The opera-
     tors are listed in order of decreasing precedence.

     ( expression )  This evaluates to true if the parenthesized expression
         evaluates to true.

     ! expression
     -false expression
     -not expression
         This is the unary NOT operator.  It evaluates to true if
         the expression is false.

     expression -and expression
     expression expression
         The -and operator is the logical AND operator.  As it is
         implied by the juxtaposition of two expressions it does
         not have to be specified.  The expression evaluates to
         true if both expressions are true.   The second expression
         is not evaluated if the first expression is false.

     expression -or expression
         The -or operator is the logical OR operator.  The expression
         evaluates to true if either the first or the second
         expression is true.  The second expression is not evaluated
         if the first expression is true.

     All operands and primaries must be separate arguments to find.  Primaries
     which themselves take arguments expect each argument to be a separate
     argument to find.

BUGS
The special characters used by find are also special characters to many shell programs. In particular, the characters *, [, ], ?, (, ), !, \ and ; might have to be escaped from the shell.

As there is no delimiter separating options and file names or file names and the expression, it is difficult to specify files named -xdev or !. These problems are handled by the -f option and the getopt(3) -- construct.

The -delete primary does not interact well with other options that cause the filesystem tree traversal options to be changed.

EXAMPLES

Print a list of all the files whose names do not end in .c.

$ find / \! -name "*.c" -print

Print a list of all the files owned by user `wnj' that are newer than the file ttt.

$ find / -newer ttt -user wnj -print

Print out a list of all the files which are not both newer than ttt and owned by `simon'.

$ find / \! \( -newer ttt -user simon \) -print

Print a list of all the files that are either owned by `simon' or that are newer than ttt.

$ find / \( -newer ttt -or -user simon \) -print

Print out a list of all the files whose inode change time is more recent than the current time minus one minute:
$ find . -newerct '1 minute ago' -print

List filenames ending in .mp3, searching in the current folder and all subfolders:
$ find . -name "*.mp3"

List filenames matching the name Alice or ALICE (case insensitive), search in the current folder (.) and all subfolders:
$ find . -iname "alice" -print0

List filenames matching the name Alice or ALICE (case insensitive), search in the current folder (.) only:
$ find . -maxdepth 1 -iname "alice" -print0

List filenames ending in .mp3, searching in the music folder and subfolders:
$ find ./music -name "*.mp3"

List files with the exact name: Sales_document.doc in ./work and subfolders:
$ find ./work -name Sales_document.doc

List all files that belong to the user Maude:
$ find . -user Maude -print0

List all the directory and sub-directory names:
$ find . -type d

List all files in those sub-directories (but not the directory names)
$ find . -type f

List all the file links:
$ find . -type l

List all files (and subdirectories) in your home directory:
$ find $HOME

Search for every .app file (application package) including those not in the applications folder:
$ sudo find / -iname *.app
Apple System Information will have more details: version, and where the app was obtained from.

Find files that are over a gigabyte in size:
$ find ~/Movies -size +1024M

Find files that are over 1 GB but less than 20 GB in size:
$ find ~/Movies -size +1024M -size -20480M -print0

Find all .DS_Store files in the current directory (.) and its subdirectories and DELETE them:
$ find . -name '*.DS_Store' -type f -delete

Find all .gif files, pipe to xargs to get the size and then pipe into tail to display only the grand total:
$ find . -iname "*.gif" -print0 | xargs -0 du -ch | tail -1

Find files have been modified within the last day:
$ find ~/Movies -mtime -1

Find files have been modified within the last 30 minutes:
$ find ~/Movies -mmin -30

Find .doc files that also start with 'questionnaire' (AND)
$ find . -name '*.doc' -name questionnaire*

List all files beginning with 'memo' and owned by Maude (AND)
$ find . -name 'memo*' -user Maude

Find .doc files that do NOT start with 'Accounts' (NOT)
$ find . -name '*.doc' ! -name Accounts*

Find files named 'secrets' in or below the directory /tmp and delete them. Note that this will work incorrectly if there are any filenames containing newlines, single or double quotes, or spaces:
$ find /tmp -name secrets -type f -print | xargs /bin/rm -f

Find files named 'secrets' in or below the directory /tmp and delete them, processing filenames in such a way that file or directory names containing single or double quotes, spaces or newlines are correctly handled. The -name test comes before the -type test in order to avoid having to call stat(2) on every file.
$ find /tmp -name secrets -type f -print0 | xargs -0 /bin/rm -f

Run 'myapp' on every file in or below the current directory. Notice that the braces are enclosed in single quote marks to protect them from interpretation as shell script punctuation. The semicolon is similarly protected by the use of a backslash, though ';' could have been used in that case also.

find . -type f -exec myapp '{}' \;

Traverse the filesystem just once, listing setuid files and directories into /root/suid.txt and large files into /root/big.txt.

find / \( -perm -4000 -fprintf /root/suid.txt '%#m %u %p\n' \) , \
\( -size +100M -fprintf /root/big.txt '%-10s %p\n' \)

Search for files in your home directory which have been modified in the last twenty-four hours. This command works this way because the time since each file was last modified is divided by 24 hours and any remainder is discarded. That means that to match -mtime 0, a file will have to have a modification in the past which is less than 24 hours ago.

find $HOME -mtime 0

Search for files which have read and write permission for their owner, and group, but which other users can read but not write to (664). Files which meet these criteria but have other permissions bits set (for example if someone can execute the file) will not be matched.

find . -perm 664

Search for files which have read and write permission for their owner and group, and which other users can read, without regard to the presence of any extra permission bits (for example the executable bit). This will match a file which has mode 0777, for example.

find . -perm -664

Search for files which are writable by somebody (their owner, or their group, or anybody else).

find . -perm /222

“We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled” ~ Bill Watterson

Related:

find man page - Apple.com
grep - Search file(s) for lines that match a given pattern
ln - Make links between files (hard links, symbolic links)
ls - List information about file(s)
locate - Find files.
mdfind - Spotlight search.
rm - Remove files
whereis - Locate a command.
which - Locate a program file in the user's path.


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