Mac Developer Library Developer
Search

 

This manual page is for Mac OS X version 10.9

If you are running a different version of Mac OS X, view the documentation locally:

  • In Terminal, using the man(1) command

Reading manual pages

Manual pages are intended as a quick reference for people who already understand a technology.

  • To learn how the manual is organized or to learn about command syntax, read the manual page for manpages(5).

  • For more information about this technology, look for other documentation in the Apple Developer Library.

  • For general information about writing shell scripts, read Shell Scripting Primer.




FIND(1)                   BSD General Commands Manual                  FIND(1)

NAME
     find -- walk a file hierarchy

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

DESCRIPTION
     The find utility recursively descends the directory tree for each path listed, evaluating an expression
     (composed of the ``primaries'' and ``operands'' listed below) in terms of each file in the tree.

     The options are as follows:

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

     -H      Cause the file information and file type (see stat(2)) returned for each symbolic link speci-fied specified
             fied 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 information 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      Cause 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.

             This option is equivalent to the deprecated -follow primary.

     -P      Cause 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      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 delimiting characters include single (`` ' '') and double (`` "
             '') quotes, backslash (``\''), space, tab and newline characters.

             However, you may wish to consider the -print0 primary in conjunction with ``xargs -0'' as an
             effective alternative.

     -d      Cause 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 vis-its visits
             its directories in pre-order, i.e., before their contents.  Note, the default is not a breadth-first breadthfirst
             first traversal.

             This option is equivalent to the -depth primary of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1'').  The -d
             option can be useful when find is used with cpio(1) to process files that are contained in
             directories with unusual permissions.  It ensures that you have write permission while you are
             placing files in a directory, then sets the directory's permissions as the last thing.

     -f      Specify a file hierarchy for find to traverse.  File hierarchies may also be specified as the
             operands immediately following the options.

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

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

             This option is equivalent to the deprecated -xdev primary.

PRIMARIES
     All primaries which take a numeric argument allow the number to be preceded 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''.

     -Bmin n
             True if the difference between the time of a file's inode creation and the time find was
             started, rounded up to the next full minute, is n minutes.

     -Bnewer file
             Same as -newerBm.

     -Btime n[smhdw]
             If no units are specified, this primary evaluates to true if the difference between the time of
             a file's inode creation and the time find was started, rounded up to the next full 24-hour
             period, is n 24-hour periods.

             If units are specified, this primary evaluates to true if the difference between the time of a
             file's inode creation and the time find was started is exactly n units.  Please refer to the
             -atime primary description for information on supported time units.

     -acl    May be used in conjunction with other primaries to locate files with extended ACLs.  See acl(3)
             for more information.

     -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[smhdw]
             If no units are specified, this primary evaluates to 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.

             If units are specified, this primary evaluates to true if the difference between the file last
             access time and the time find was started is exactly n units.  Possible time units are as fol-lows: follows:
             lows:

             s       second
             m       minute (60 seconds)
             h       hour (60 minutes)
             d       day (24 hours)
             w       week (7 days)

             Any number of units may be combined in one -atime argument, for example, ``-atime -1h30m''.
             Units are probably only useful when used in conjunction with the + or - modifier.

     -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[smhdw]
             If no units are specified, this primary evaluates to 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.

             If units are specified, this primary evaluates to true if the difference between the time of
             last change of file status information and the time find was started is exactly n units.
             Please refer to the -atime primary description for information on supported time units.

     -d      Same as depth.  GNU find implements this as a primary in mistaken emulation of FreeBSD find(1).

     -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.  Following symlinks is incompatible with this
             option.

     -depth  Always true; same as the -d option.

     -depth n
             True if the depth of the file relative to the starting point of the traversal is n.

     -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
             may be passed to the utility.  The expression must be terminated by a semicolon (``;'').  If
             you invoke find from a shell you may need to quote the semicolon if the shell would otherwise
             treat it as a control operator.  If the string ``{}'' appears anywhere in the utility name or
             the arguments 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.

     -exec utility [argument ...] {} +
             Same as -exec, except that ``{}'' is replaced with as many pathnames as possible for each invo-cation invocation
             cation of utility.  This behaviour is similar to that of xargs(1).

     -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.

     -execdir utility [argument ...] {} +
             Same as -execdir, except that ``{}'' is replaced with as many pathnames as possible for each
             invocation of utility.  This behaviour is similar to that of xargs(1).

     -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
             preceded 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 lsvfs(1) command can be used
             to find out the types of file systems that are available on the system.  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.

     -gid gname
             The same thing as -group gname for compatibility with GNU find.  GNU find imposes a restriction
             that gname is numeric, while find(1) does not.

     -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.

     -ignore_readdir_race
             This option is for GNU find compatibility and is ignored.

     -ilname pattern
             Like -lname, but the match is case insensitive.  This is a GNU find extension.

     -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.

     -iwholename pattern
             The same thing as -ipath, for GNU find compatibility.

     -links n
             True if the file has n links.

     -lname pattern
             Like -name, but the contents of the symbolic link are matched instead of the file name.  This
             is a GNU find extension.

     -ls     This primary always evaluates to true.  The following information for the current file is writ-ten written
             ten 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 device number 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
             Always true; descend at most n directory levels below the command line arguments.  If any
             -maxdepth primary is specified, it applies to the entire expression even if it would not nor-mally normally
             mally be evaluated.  ``-maxdepth 0'' limits the whole search to the command line arguments.

     -mindepth n
             Always true; do not apply any tests or actions at levels less than n.  If any -mindepth primary
             is specified, it applies to the entire expression even if it would not normally be evaluated.
             ``-mindepth 1'' processes all but the command line arguments.

     -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.

     -mount  The same thing as -xdev, for GNU find compatibility.

     -mtime n[smhdw]
             If no units are specified, this primary evaluates to 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.

             If units are specified, this primary evaluates to true if the difference between the file last
             modification time and the time find was started is exactly n units.  Please refer to the -atime
             primary description for information on supported time units.

     -name pattern
             True if the last component of the pathname being examined matches pattern.  Special shell pat-tern pattern
             tern matching characters (``['', ``]'', ``*'', and ``?'') may be used as part of pattern.
             These characters may 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), inode creation time (X=B),
             change time (X=c), or modification time (X=m) than the last access time (Y=a), inode creation
             time (Y=B), change time (Y=c), or modification time (Y=m) of file.  In addition, if Y=t, then
             file is instead interpreted 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.

     -noignore_readdir_race
             This option is for GNU find compatibility and is ignored.

     -noleaf
             This option is for GNU find compatibility.  In GNU find it disables an optimization not rele-vant relevant
             vant to find(1), so it is ignored.

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

     -ok utility [argument ...] ;
             The -ok primary is identical to the -exec primary with the exception 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 not affirmative (`y' in the ``POSIX'' locale), 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 ``?'') may be used as part of pattern.  These characters may 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 may be either symbolic (see chmod(1)) or an octal number.  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 may 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, -print, -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/''.

     -samefile name
             True if the file is a hard link to name.  If the command option -L is specified, it is also
             true if the file is a symbolic link and points to name.

     -size n[ckMGTP]
             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).  Similarly if n is followed by
             a scale indicator then the file's size is compared to n scaled as:

             k       kilobytes (1024 bytes)
             M       megabytes (1024 kilobytes)
             G       gigabytes (1024 megabytes)
             T       terabytes (1024 gigabytes)
             P       petabytes (1024 terabytes)

     -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

     -uid uname
             The same thing as -user uname for compatibility with GNU find.  GNU find imposes a restriction
             that uname is numeric, while find(1) does not.

     -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.

     -wholename pattern
             The same thing as -path, for GNU find compatibility.

     -xattr  True if the file has any extended attributes.

     -xattrname name
             True if the file has an extended attribute with the specified name.

OPERATORS
     The primaries may be combined using the following operators.  The operators are listed in order of
     decreasing precedence.

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

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

     -false  Always false.
     -true   Always true.

     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 expres-sions expressions
             sions 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 argu-ments arguments
     ments expect each argument to be a separate argument to find.

ENVIRONMENT
     The LANG, LC_ALL, LC_COLLATE, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES and LC_TIME environment variables affect the execu-tion execution
     tion of the find utility as described in environ(7).

EXAMPLES
     The following examples are shown as given to the shell:

     find / \! -name "*.c" -print
             Print out a list of all the files whose names do not end in .c.

     find / -newer ttt -user wnj -print
             Print out 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 ``wnj''.

     find / \( -newer ttt -or -user wnj \) -print
             Print out a list of all the files that are either owned by ``wnj'' or that are newer than ttt.

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

     find / -type f -exec echo {} \;
             Use the echo(1) command to print out a list of all the files.

     find -L /usr/ports/packages -type l -exec rm -- {} +
             Delete all broken symbolic links in /usr/ports/packages.

     find /usr/src -name CVS -prune -o -depth +6 -print
             Find files and directories that are at least seven levels deep in the working directory
             /usr/src.

     find /usr/src -name CVS -prune -o -mindepth 7 -print
             Is not equivalent to the previous example, since -prune is not evaluated below level seven.

COMPATIBILITY
     The -follow primary is deprecated; the -L option should be used instead.  See the STANDARDS section
     below for details.

SEE ALSO
     chflags(1), chmod(1), cvs(1), locate(1), lsvfs(1), whereis(1), which(1), xargs(1), stat(2), acl(3),
     fts(3), getgrent(3), getpwent(3), strmode(3), re_format(7), symlink(7)

STANDARDS
     The find utility syntax is a superset of the syntax specified by the IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1'')
     standard.

     All the single character options except -H and -L as well as -amin, -anewer, -cmin, -cnewer, -delete,
     -empty, -fstype, -iname, -inum, -iregex, -ls, -maxdepth, -mindepth, -mmin, -path, -print0, -regex and
     all of the -B* birthtime related primaries are extensions to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1'').

     Historically, the -d, -L and -x options were implemented using the primaries -depth, -follow, and
     -xdev.  These primaries always evaluated to true.  As they were really global variables that took
     effect before the traversal began, some legal expressions could have unexpected results.  An example is
     the expression -print -o -depth.  As -print always evaluates to true, the standard order of evaluation
     implies that -depth would never be evaluated.  This is not the case.

     The operator -or was implemented as -o, and the operator -and was implemented as -a.

     Historic implementations of the -exec and -ok primaries did not replace the string ``{}'' in the util-ity utility
     ity name or the utility arguments if it had preceding or following non-whitespace characters.  This
     version replaces it no matter where in the utility name or arguments it appears.

     The -E option was inspired by the equivalent grep(1) and sed(1) options.

HISTORY
     A find command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.

BUGS
     The special characters used by find are also special characters to many shell programs.  In particular,
     the characters ``*'', ``['', ``]'', ``?'', ``('', ``)'', ``!'', ``\'' and ``;'' may 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 dif-ficult difficult
     ficult 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 file system tree traversal
     options to be changed.

     The -mindepth and -maxdepth primaries are actually global options (as documented above).  They should
     probably be replaced by options which look like options.

BSD                           September 28, 2011                           BSD

Reporting Problems

The way to report a problem with this manual page depends on the type of problem:

Content errors
Report errors in the content of this documentation with the feedback links below.
Bug reports
Report bugs in the functionality of the described tool or API through Bug Reporter.
Formatting problems
Report formatting mistakes in the online version of these pages with the feedback links below.

Feedback