BinaryNights Blog

ForkLift 4 beta is finally here

As you probably know, ForkLift 4 has been in the making for an extended period of time, longer than we anticipated or desired. But finally, the wait is over and we are ready to release the first beta version of ForkLift 4. We hope that you will like the new version. We would greatly appreciate it if you could help us by using the beta version and providing us with feedback.

The Evolution of ForkLift 4: From Minor Improvements to a Complete Rewrite with SwiftUI

When we started thinking about releasing a new major version of ForkLift, we didn’t plan to change a lot of things in the code. We simply wanted to create a modern GUI and add some highly requested features. But as has often been the case in the past, developing the new version resulted in a complete rewrite of ForkLift from scratch once again.

We realized that if we wanted to be able to continuously add new features to ForkLift as we are planning to do, then we needed a good foundation to build on. We decided to use SwiftUI, the new user interface framework by Apple, to build the UI of ForkLift. SwiftUI was very promising because by using this framework the code becomes much simpler, which is always a big plus, especially for the developer of ForkLift. It is really great to work with SwiftUI, but it has presented some big challenges too. Some things that we wished to create with it are simply impossible to do at the moment, so we had to make some workarounds. At this point, the UI of ForkLift 4 is around 80% written in SwiftUI.

Creating a fresh look for ForkLift 4 and improving user experience

Developing a new major version of an application is a huge challenge and it is hard to decide how and where to start and where to go from that starting point. In the case of ForkLift 4, it was very helpful to create the GUI first. We wanted to develop a GUI that was both fresh and streamlined, and we believe we succeeded in achieving that. We decided to add some themes to choose from, which go well with the streamlined design. As soon as the new GUI was ready, the app felt like a totally new app and it had become much easier to fill it with functionality. 

We have incorporated numerous small features to improve usability. To name just a few, we have moved the status bar from the bottom of the window to the top and integrated it into the status bar. We’ve added the option to colorize the icons in the sidebar. Additionally, you can use these colors as color labels for the path bar, making it easier to identify your current location. If you drag a folder over the plus sign in the tab bar, then that folder opens in a new tab. We have also added new tools to the toolbar. We have enhanced the Spotlight search in ForkLift to not only search Spotlight’s metadata for file names as it did in the past, but also to search within the content of items.

ForkLift 4’s protocol updates: direct connection to Dropbox and OneDrive, MFA for Amazon S3, and simplified key authentication

Some of the bigger changes affect the protocols in ForkLift. ForkLift 4 can directly connect to two additional cloud service providers: Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.

ForkLift 4 also can handle connections to Amazon S3 buckets even when the user only has bucket level permissions. In addition to that, users can use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) when connecting to Amazon S3.

In ForkLift 3, to use a passphrase protected private key, users had to manually add the key to the Keychain and modify the config file. However, in ForkLift 4, no extra steps are needed. Users can simply enter the passphrase on the Connect Panel, just as they would with a normal password.

In some cases, not responding NAS devices caused hangs in ForkLift. This issue occurred when in the background ForkLift was trying to communicate with the NAS but the NAS wasn’t responding. In other cases, a lot of ongoing activities made ForkLift to beachball. We worked very hard to solve this issue, and we can proudly say that at the moment, ForkLift 4 is handling this problem much better than any of its competitors.

Faster syncing and improved filtering in ForkLift 4

We have put a lot of effort into enhancing the Sync feature of ForkLift. Syncing has become significantly faster than before. The analyzing phase before the synchronization takes considerably less time, and users receive immediate feedback on the progress through a real-time counter displaying the number of folders being analyzed for syncing.

It is important to note that the way of filtering items in the Sync Window has changed. In ForkLift 3 we used positive filtering (include filter), which means that the filter only kept the items that matched the filter criteria. 

In ForkLift 4, we are using negative filtering (exclude filter), which means that items that match the filtering criteria are filtered out, and only items that don’t match are left to be synced.The filter conditions can be applied to files, folders, or both of them. This reverse approach will definitely have a steeper learning curve, but it makes a more complex filtering possible. We placed a strong emphasis on improving the performance of ForkLift. Because we have improved file caching by a significant amount and utilized new technologies provided by macOS, we were able to also optimize the efficiency of syncing.

Maximizing productivity with ForkLift 4’s new features: iCloud Drive favorites sync, customizable tools with unlimited bash scripting, and dynamic preview pane

Adding the option to sync the favorites through iCloud was a highly requested feature. In ForkLift 4, synchronization of favorites occurs through iCloud Drive, and iCloud Drive only. We opted to discontinue using Dropbox for synchronizing favorites because of the 3-device limit on Dropbox’s free plan, and concerns expressed by some users about using third-party services for syncing. Since all Mac users have an Apple ID, all ForkLift users can use iCloud Drive without issues to sync favorites in ForkLift.

While the Tools feature in ForkLift may be overlooked by some users, it is a valuable resource for power users. In the past, the Tools had limitations, but in ForkLift 4, it is now possible to create custom tools using bash scripts without limitations, allowing users to execute complex commands just as they would in Terminal.

We also changed the Preview Pane on the right side of the ForkLift window, it can now be used in three different ways. 

  1. You can use it as an Info Window with the preview displayed at the top and the file info displayed below that. The file info contains all the data that is displayed in the Get Info window and all editable fields (such as permissions, owner, tags, etc.) can be edited right in the Preview Pane too. The file info also contains the metadata of files.
  2. You can also open the Activities in the Preview Pane. Unlike the Activities pop-up, the Activities in the Preview Pane will remain open until you navigate away. This way, you can always keep an eye on the ongoing activities.
  3. You can also display the Activity Log, that contains the successful and failed activities.

ForkLift 4 is packed with numerous other improvements, which are ready and waiting for you to explore.

Be the First to Test ForkLift 4: Become a Beta Tester!

With the release of the first version of ForkLift 4 beta, we are looking for beta testers to help us improve our new app. As a beta tester, you will have the opportunity to be one of the first people to try out ForkLift 4 and provide feedback on its features and functionality. If you take part in our beta testing program, then your feedback will help us identify any issues and make necessary improvements before the app is released to the public.

If you want to be part of our beta testing program, then download and install ForkLift 4, and make sure to move the app into the Applications folder. Send us suggestions and bug reports at support [at] binarynights [dot] com. Should ForkLift crash, make sure to send in the crash report through the “ForkLift Crash Reporter” that opens after you reopen ForkLift after a crash. (You can close the other crash report that can be sent to Apple.) Before sending the crash report to us, please add a comment describing the actions you were performing in ForkLift when the crash occurred.

We are looking forward to your feedback!

Download ForkLift 4 beta

251 thoughts on “ForkLift 4 beta is finally here

  1. Bei der Übertragung von Daten im NAS, wird es bei mir mit MacBook M1, nur eine maximale Übertragung von circa. 12 Mbyte/s
    In Forklift 3 bis zu 110 Mbyte/s.

  2. The previous version used to display “today” for files created/modified on the current day. Which is the same as Mac Finder. This seems to have changed to display the actual date. I always used to find the most recent files quicker than they were clearly marked as ‘today’. Is it possible to go back?

    1. You have to enable that setting in the View Options. Make that change in all open tabs. You can open the View Options from the View menu or with the Command-J shortcut.

    1. Here or via email. If you have a lot of suggestions, then better write an email at support [at] binarynights [dot] com

      1. I think you should have a better way to report. Like forum where users can open topic to report bug, suggest feature, etc. And then other users can confirm a bug and vote for a new feature. It’s easier for you to track all that as well.

  3. Hello,

    in Forklift 4 the folders/files from the iCloud are not fully displayed. Many folders are missing. (MacBook Pro 2022).

    1. Unfortunately, the iCloud Drive is very tricky. We will try to enhance the iCloud Drive integration but it is not documented how the Finder is displaying certain items, so it is hard to display the same items the same way, etc. We will do our best though.

      1. same issue here. Forklift 3 is showing 24 items (directories) in iCloud Drive Forklift 4 beta is showing 8 items – all 8 are system directories. The directories that are not showing up were all created by me.

  4. Could you add sftp connections via private key file in addition to user/password authentication? I’ve missed in Forklift 3 and still don’t see it in Forklift 4.

    Thanks, Niels

    1. You can add private keys in ForkLift 3 and 4 as well. You have to click on the key icon in the password field to add the key.

    1. That is on our feature request list, but it is not likely that we will add SSE-C support in the near future.

  5. Has the alternating row background been removed from Forklift 4? dont see it in Beta 2.

    Also, auto resizing of columns doesnt seem to be working. Columns are resized but file/folder names are truncated so there are dots in the middle of the name. ex. “Really long folder name” would be “Really lo…er name”

    1. Alternating background is available in ForkLift 4. You can set that in the View Options, which is available from The View menu or with Command-J. The issue with the column sizes is already added to our bug tracker.

  6. Would it be possible to create a mode where when you start typing a phrase, then files/folders disappear if they don’t contain that phrase? The Fman file manager does this well and makes it easy to find files in a long list. Kinda like using the Find function (by name / this folder) but without having to use many actions to get to that point.

    1. We have added this to our feature request list and we will consider adding this in the future, but it won’t be added in the near future.

  7. Hello,
    With the last version 4.0 Beta 3 (403), every time I connect to a remote server, I have to enter a passphrase! Even when I checked the box to save the password! And sometimes even re-enter the connection passwords!

    1. 1. Could you check if the passphrase is saved to the Keychain? Open keychain Access from Applications > Utilities and search for the name of the server that is saved in the Server field of the favorite.

      2. Please also let us know what the exact text of the error window is when ForkLift asks for the passphrase.

      1. It’s strange though, I don’t have these problems with ForkLift3.

        The message I get is: Passphrase required / Enter passphrase for key “id_rsa” (this is the passphrase for the computer, not the SFTP server!) which I have to re-enter for each FTP server.

        I have entered the passphrase many times, checked the “Add to Keychain” box, and the message keeps coming back! it is not saved.

      2. Could you please contact us regarding this issue at support [at] binarynights [dot] com?

  8. When performing a search (CMD +F) there seems to be no way of navigating back to the pane with the keyboard. In v3 you could hit tab to head back to the pane in order to work on the items filtered by the search.

    1. Please update to the latest version (beta 3) and let us know if that still doesn’t work.

      1. Please make sure that Keyboard navigation is not enabled.

        On macOS Monterey that can be found under System Preferences > Keyboard > Navigation > Enable Full Keyboard Access.

        On macOS Ventura under System Settings > Keyboard > Keyboard Navigation

        Those should be turned off, and then you should be able to jump from the Search field to the panes.

      2. It was down to ‘Input monitoring’ in Privacy / Security not being enabled for the beta app. It was enabled for v3. I am running both.

    2. As it just turned out, this feature isn’t ready yet, so if you can switch to the panes from the search field, then that is an accident basically:) We will fix this in one of the next updates.

  9. I was curious about three issues I had with Forklift 3 and what there status was in Forklift 4:
    – When renaming a file, the whole file list quickly re-orders and jumps back into places.
    – Sometimes, when renaming a files, a “ghost version” of the filename stays in place and does not go away until I close Forklift.
    – View options per folder are not possible.

    Is any of this different in Forklift 4?

    1. I forgot one more issue: a double click on column head when in list view (when quickly switching between ascending and descending) opens the first file.

      1. Could you please try the double-clicking on the column headers? It seems that that works as expected on macOS Ventura.

      1. Thank you, I’ll give the beta a try then!

        Regarding the double-click-header-file-opens-issue. For my work, I constantly double click a header just to quickly verify that only a single filetype is present in a folder. Everytime I do this, the first file is opened. Hope this can be resolved soon.

    1. Favorite groups do exist in ForkLift 4 too. The plus sign in the sidebar to create a new group is not there any longer but you can create favorite groups inside the Favorite Manager. We will also add a menu item to create favorite groups to the Favorites menu. To create a favorite group, select “Show Favorites” from the Favorites menu and click the folder icon at the bottom of the window.

  10. In der Beta 3 (403) habe ich folgendes Problem:

    Ich arbeite viel mit sehr großen Dateien. Lösche ich eine oder mehrere Dateien, kann ich den freigegebenen Platz unter Umständen (z.B. bei ohnehin knappen freien Speicher) nicht wieder mit einer großen Datei beschrieben, da FL4 anscheinend den freigewordenen Festplattenplatz nicht erkennt. Ich bekomme dann eine Meldung, dass der Festplattenplatz für die Aktion nicht ausreicht.
    Die selbe Vorgehensweise bei FL3 funktioniert einwandfrei. FL3 aktualisiert auch in der Seitenleiste den freigewordenen Festplattenspeicher sofort.

  11. Rename ich eine PDF-Datei, dann wird diese nicht in der Vorschau angezeigt, erst wenn ich die Datei nicht mehr in der Auswahl habe und sie dann erneut anwähle wird sie über die Vorschau angezeigt.

    – ABC.pdf
    – Datei anwählen
    – [SPACE] Datei wird korrekt in der Vorschau angezeigt
    – [ENTER], neuen Dateinamen vergeben XYZ.pdf; [SPACE] Datei wird nicht angezeigt; alter Dateiname ABC.pdf wird noch angezeigt
    – Auswahl verlassen (z.B. Cursortasten rauf/runter, Mausklick auf andere Datei, …)
    – Datei XYZ.pdf wieder anwählen, [SPACE], Datei wird wieder in der Vorschau angezeigt

  12. One of my most used features of Forklift 3 was using the “copy dropbox link” context menu option. Could you bring that back for Forklift 4? Thanks!

    1. You can connect to multiple Google Drive accounts with ForkLift. You can select the account that you want to use in the browser that automatically opens when you connect to Google Drive in ForkLift.

  13. Beta 4 no longer allows you to copy individual attribute information from the information pane. Is this a bug or feature removal?

    1. That wasn’t intended. In the next version, it will be possible to copy text from the Info Window.

  14. Activities bar (while copying many files) does not show over all progress. I’d prefer, if the bar would do it. Thanks!

    1. You can individually set all the shortcuts in the Settings of ForkLift. Please change those shortcuts to the commander style shortcuts manually.

  15. request:

    im annoyed because i need to copy 10TB and it already take me 3 Days, because of sometimes it ask me for permission.

    Then i give permission and it copies till next time it needs permission.

    is there any option to give permanent permission or only to give the right once and then it stays till forklift gets closed or something like this.

  16. small feedback from what i checkt till now when using forklift 4 beta:

    – why forklift 4 uses english as language. so at my system its mixed. english and german.
    – no warning colors for low space from drives 🙁
    – backspace dont go a folder structure higher
    – shortcuts/kurzbefehle: i can not use commanderstyle or select anything – i used commander style since ages – musclememory

    i really like your work – see it as feedback 😉

    1. The final version will have full localization, right now it is a mix between English and the other languages that are supported in ForkLift.
      You can change the individual keyboard shortcuts, Going one level up is the “Enclosing Folder” command, change that to Backspace.
      We will add some kind of warning to the empty space display

  17. Forklift 4 issues
    1. every time when I unmount a network drive or eject an external drive Forklift 4 crashes
    2. is it possible to customize the column view ? to add columns like type? Now you have to widen the date column manually to see the time,

    1. 1. Please send in the crash report from inside ForkLift through the crasg reporter that opens after you restart ForkLift and write into the comment field how it crashed. You can also directly send the crash report to us.

      2. I think you are talking about list view because the date columns are only available in list view. When you make the date columns wider, ForkLift automatically switches the date formats. There are 4 different date lengths in macOS, and based on available space, ForkLift switches between them. When the date column is very narrow, ForkLift uses the short format, which doesn’t include the time, only the date. In previous macOS versions (prior to Ventura) you could set up all 4 date lengths in the System Preferences. That meant that you could very easily format the different date formats. Unfortunately, on macOS Ventura it is not possible any longer to set the date lengths in the System Settings.

      As a workaround, you can set the date formats in the Terminal. Here you can find how you can do that:
      Add the time to the shortest date format, and then ForkLift will display it as well.

      OR make the date columns in ForkLift wider, so that you can see the time as well. Leave only one tab open in each pane and change the columns to the preferred widths in one pane. Then switch to the other pane, and do the same thing. Open the View Options (Command-J) and make sure that on top you see All Folders, and click the Use as Defaults button at the bottom of the window. Right now, the “Restore Default View Settings” command is missing from the View menu but we will add it in the future. By selecting that command from the menu, you will be able to restore the saved settings whenever you need them.

  18. Forklift 4 beta 4 issue:
    I found that searching files ‘by Content’ even complemented with ‘Search in Subfolders’ does not work. I tried to search just a simple string, nothing complicated, but no luck. 0 files searched.

    1. Search by Content only searches in text files and files such as pdf or Word documents aren’t text files. Search by Spotlight in ForkLift and that will search by content as well in all kind of files.

  19. Too sad it’s still can’t use Dropbox, Google Drive and Bandizip right click menu items. I like it and I really wish to fully replace Finder with Forklift but those important features are not implemented.

    1. Please update to beta 5. In beta 5 you can copy Dropbox links. The same integration that you see in Finder can’t be done in ForkLift because there is no API of most of those cloud service providers that third party developers can use to offer the same options.

  20. Bug in Beta 5 – when using the creating new file or new folder function (either from the menu bar or the toolbar) and after inserting file or folder name Forklift now displays a dialog box asking to make changes. If you enter passcode to make changes, Forklift then changes permissions to owner:root and group:wheel. If you cancel the operation then correct permissions appear to be applied owner:username group:staff.

  21. Do you have a solution for the Problem when syncing Favorites and the other Mac has another name of the user folder for example? I always had the problem, that favorites don’t work on my second mac, because the user folder is not the same. Or in Case of FTP connections, sometimes the Local Path is different on each Mac.

    1. In ForkLift 4 most of the favorites use relative paths, meaning that the paths of the favorites don’t look like “/Users/your user/Downloads” but “~/Downloads”

      “~” represents the path to your user. It is possible that in your case you don’t see that because you have imported your existing favorites from ForkLift 3, which didn’t use relative paths. You can edit existing favorites by right-clicking them in the sidebar and selecting Edit. Replace the beginning of the paths with “~” Or drag the same locations into your sidebar again and delete the old favorites.

  22. Copy between two Amazon buckets doesn’t seem to work. I first have to copy files to my local disk and then to the second Amazon bucket.

    When copying between amazon buckets, it complains about an invalid checksum. This happens when I CMD+C files in one bucket and CMD+P in a different bucket.

  23. I started using ForkLift 3, and it’s been able to reliably handle file transfers where other tools have failed (or been excruciatingly slow) — v2 sounds magnitudes even better!

    Does Dropbox direct connect mean that I can upload local files to a Dropbox without having to move it into a linked Dropbox folder? And with selective sync on, I don’t have to use that space locally? I’m eyeing the Dropbox Advanced plan to backup some larger sets, and wondering how ForkLift is designed to integrate with that.

    Please explain more? Thank you.

    1. My understanding is that you can set which folders you want to sync to your Mac. You can do that inside the Dropbox app when you click the Dropbox icon in the Menu bar and then select Your Name > Preferences > Sync > Selective Sync (or “Select folders to sync to this Mac” in case of a business account) > Select folders. You can deselect which folders you don’t want to sync to your Mac. The deselected folders won’t be visible in Finder and they won’t sync to your Mac. However, when you connect to your Dropbox directly in ForkLift through the Connect Panel, then you can still see those folders and their content, and you can manage them. You can upload new items into those folders or open or download their content. That way, those items will be only downloaded to your Mac if you manually download them.

  24. Would be nice if we could get a shortcut to create a new folder within the currently selected folder (when in tree view), rather than the folder being created on the root level.

  25. Dragging folders into a subfolder (on a mountend network drive) requires a manual refresh to show in the target tab.

  26. BUG? It looks like if right-click and try to Delete a saved workspace or other Favorite in the left sidebar, it doesn’t actually delete.

    1. We are not aware of such an issue.

      1. Doesn’t the favorite disappear when you delete it or does it come back later? If it appears later, then when does it appear, after you restart ForkLift or while you are using it? 2. Add a favorite and restart ForkLift and let me know if ForkLift saves the favorite or not.

    1. Control-Click as a right-click doesn’t work in SwiftUI, so unfortunately, we can’t fix that issue. We will try to make it possible that you can delete favorites inside the favorite Manager (Show favorites) with a button at the bottom or with a different method. As a workaround, you can also enable secondary click on your mouse or trackpad to right-click.

  27. Please bring back the ability to select which keyboard shortcuts to use.. I like/use the old commander shortcuts and they are fixed my head 😀

    Yes I can assign the keys by my self, but It would be easier to have a “preselect” for it..


    A good think with the beta is, that I can connect to Synology ftp again.. version 3 stops connecting to all of my newer Synology NAS.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. We will consider putting back the option to choose the Commander style shortcuts but at the moment, we don’t plan putting them back. It is very easy to change those shortcuts manually though. I don’t think that the connections on ForkLift 3 should have stopped working but I’m glad to hear that you can connect with ForkLift 4.

  28. Hi! When copying a file, if there is already an existing file in the destination folder, in Forklift 3, the dialog box showed the size of both source and destination files, so it could be easily seen if the same filename comes with the same filesize. However, in Forklift 4, file size is not shown, which is quite inconvenient (using beta8), as I have no view if the two files have different sizes.

  29. I’m using beta 9 on my M2 Air

    1. Don’t know why “Command + X” “Command + F”… doesn’t work.
    2. Prefer to use “Automatically Resize” for PDF files in Preview Pane, but everytime reopen Forklift, it goes to “Actual Size”, could it allowed to be set as default?

    Have paid for QSpace and subscribed PathFinder, but like UI of Forklift the most, only concerned and very much hope that Forklift4 could like 3 instead of subscriptions, and whether there are incentives for users that participate in beta XD, thanks for your great work!

    1. We believe that copying and moving files is a better solution than cutting and pasting. Instead of Command-X and Command-V, please use Command-C and Command-Option-V to move files.

      Command-F to search works but it seems that when the search filed is replaced by the button in the tool bar, then it doesn’t work. I have added this to our bug tracker.

      ForkLift doesn’t use the subscription model, the licenses are life time licenses with a free update period. If you buy a license with 1 year of free updates, then you can install all new updates for one year and you can keep using the app after that even if you don’t renew your license. In a subscription model, you can’t use the app if you don’t have an active subscription.

        1. Sorry, I forgot to answer that. Making ForkLift remember the settings in the Preview pane is on our feature request list, but we use an external pdf reader so it is not sure that we can configure it to remember the settings. We will take a look at that.

          1. I thought it should be the essential function before the final release, usually the preview pane is relatively small, in the rapid positioning of a large number of PDF file content, if you can not see the complete content of the first page, the preview does not make sense.
            But now every time open Forklift, preview shows the actual size, which is, the top left corner of the first page of the PDF file, which is meaningless for quickly locating the file…

            1. We will take a look at what can be set and if the current behavior can be changed, then we will change it.

  30. Thanks for:
    “Path bar displays the available free space and the size of the selected items”
    It’s so helpful for me! :*)

    Please make the Devices sortable (ABC) or at least manually, or as an alternative make the Favourites possible to show space left. That would be great!

    1. Yes, that feature was really missing from previous versions. I have added your suggestion to our feature request list.

    1. That option is not available yet. We are working on that right now. You can buy a license now and enter the old license key later into a form on our site. The 100 days will be then added to your existing license key. We will write a new blog post when that option becomes available.

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