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  1. Computer Skills
  2. Finder
Computers

Do More With Finder for Mac: Batch Rename and AirDrop

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Finder is arguably the most central element of the OS X user experience. It helps you navigate, access files and folders, and helps you organize them. 

It’s been extensively revised over the years and, with OS X Yosemite, Finder has had a complete visual makeover; translucent sidebar, new-style toolbar buttons, and a new application icon. 

iCloud is the most obvious functional change. AirDrop is also much improved and now there’s a in-built batch renamer tool to rename multiple files. Along with the new features and improvements, the complexity of file management in particular has also increased tremendously. 

The method you follow to manage files and folders may not be necessarily same the way others do, you may find it difficult to adjust your needs with Finder application. There could be minor issues or fundamental philosophical difference in the way you want to use Finder. This tutorial will show you how to

  • Use and take advantage of latest features introduced in Finder
  • Evaluate your needs for a third party Finder application
  • Use and take advantage from third party Finder applications

Batch Rename Files in Finder

A consistent file naming structure, including information such as date, project, and description can often be the best way to properly organize digital data. 

There are a few different reasons I can easily think of to batch rename files, including photos so they make more sense, documents with a logical topic keyword so I know what belongs to which project, and videos with a logical name or description to locate them easily.

In-built-renamer-tool-in-finder
Raw Image Files with weird naming scheme. This kind of naming will not help you to locate photos in long run

If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll notice that all the image files have a weird naming scheme, Rahul’s iPad 2014.06.21_0, _1… and so on. That’s not very helpful because the filenames don’t give any useful information. 

The filename should include the date they were shot and a brief description. Now I could go through and rename each file individually, but that would take a good bit of time. Instead I can use the new batch rename feature introduced in OS X Yosemite.

Select all the files, then right-click or Control-click on the selected files and choose Rename 10 items. The number of items in the context menu will change depending on how many files you’re working with. A new window will appear with multiple options.

Replace Text

With this function you find and replace only certain parts of an existing filename. For example—if I want to replace the Rahul’s iPad prefix with the description of where the images were shot then I enter Rahul’s iPad into the Find field and Home Renovation into the Replace with field.

Add Text

With this function you add text to the beginning or end of the existing filename. For example—if you want to keep the existing file name but simultaneously want to add some text at the beginning, then I enter Home- in the text field and select before name from the drop-down menu.

Format

With this function you get rid of the original filename entirely. Options include creating:

  • a custom name with a numbered sequence, Name and Index
  • custom name with a counter, Name and Counter, and
  • a custom name with the date, Name and Date

In each case, you can choose to place the counter, sequence, or date before or after the current name.

For example—if you want to replace the current filename with your own name and date, then choose Name and Index and put the name and date manually in the Custom Format field.

replace-filename-with-custom-format-options
Custom format option lets you get rid of the original filename entirely

As you fiddle with the naming scheme, Finder will helpfully show you an example preview of what the files will look like at the bottom of the window. 

When you’re all set, just click Rename to apply the changes.

Use AirDrop to Wirelessly Send and Receive Files

Prior to OS X Yosemite, AirDrop simplified transferring files between Macs on the same network. But now you can share files between Macs, iPhones, and iPads with just a few taps or clicks, but only if you have the right hardware. 

iOS devices need iOS 7 or later installed and the following are compatible:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad 4 or later 
  • iPad Mini
  • 5th generation iPod touch

The  following Macs running OS X Yosemite are compatible:

  • Macbook Air 2012 or newer
  • Macbook Pro 2012 or newer
  • Mac Mini 2012 or newer
  • iMac 2012 or newer 
  • Mac Pro Late 2013

AirDrop uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between devices. Ensure all devices have Wi-Fi turned on, though they don’t have to be on the same network. 

On the Mac, go to System Preferences > Network, click Wi-Fi and turn them on. 

On the iOS device swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring Control Center and turn on Wi-Fi.

toggle-on-the-wifi
Toggle on the Wi-Fi for successful AirDrop connection. Ensure all devices have wi-fi turned on

In the next step check that Bluetooth is turned on. 

On the Mac, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and click the Turn Bluetooth On button. 

On the iOS device swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring Control Center and turn on Bluetooth. 

Bring devices into Bluetooth range—no more than 33 feet / 10 metres—the closer the better.

toggle-bluetooth
Toggle on the bluetooth for successful AirDrop connection. Make sure that your devices are in range

If you have enabled firewall on the Mac, go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy. Click the Firewall tab and unlock the lock icon with administrator password. In Firewall Options ensure that Block all incoming connections is not checked.

Keep in mind that it is not required for both devices to log into the same iCloud account to use AirDrop, but doing so offers the benefit of transferring files through AirDrop automatically without the need to approve each transfer. Also make sure that your devices must not be locked before AirDrop file transfers.

AirDrop From Mac to iOS

AirDrop is available from the Finder window’s sidebar, Share menus, and in Open and Save windows. When you choose AirDrop, the Mac automatically looks for nearby devices. 

If you don’t see another device in the AirDrop window, it might only accept files from the people listed in the Contacts on the device. Ask them to add you in their contacts list, or have them select the option Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone.

AirDrop lets you send files to your iPad easily. Select Go > AirDrop, drag the file to the AirDrop window and drop it on the image of iOS device’s icon. A notice then appears on iPad and the file downloads. To view the file, a related application automatically opens or may give you an option to select the application.

For example, a word processing document open in Pages, Excel document open in Numbers, and images in Photos app. AirDrop also lets you share a link. Click the Share button in the Safari toolbar and choose AirDrop. An AirDrop dialog box opens. Click the iOS device icon to send.

share-file-from-mac-to-ios
To share a file, drag it's icon onto the iOS device icon in your Mac's AirDrop window

AirDrop From iOS to Mac

On the iOS 7 device or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to show Control Center and tap AirDrop. You’ll notice three options, and they all have different meanings. 

  • Off means that this device will be invisible to others while using AirDrop
  • Contacts Only means that the sharing is limited to people solely listed in your contacts. You must be signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID to use this option
  • Everyone means that all the nearby iOS devices using AirDrop can see your device

For example, to send a photo to the computer, choose a photo from the Photos app and tap the Share button

Under the Tap to share with AirDrop header tap the icon of the Mac. The image will appear in the Downloads folder. 

Similarly if you want to share a link from iOS device, then tap the Share button in the Safari toolbar and choose AirDrop. The link will open in the Mac default browser.

share-links-with-airdrop
Share links from AirDrop to open it on your Mac. Very handy tool if you browse a lot on iPad

In the next part of the tutorial I’ll show you the changes in iCloud and how you can use and take advantage from third party Finder applications.

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