If I want to use the
locate command on a Linux machine, I usually run
sudo updatedb first to update the database. I can run the
locate command on OS X 10.5 but I can't find
updatedb. What's the corresponding updatedb for the mac?
locate.updatedb on Mac.
For more information see the locate.updatedb man page.
manpage also claims: It is typically run once a week by the /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist job. (And
man locatetells one about that script: /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb Script to update the locate database)– ArjanFeb 16, 2010 at 15:29
5@Arjan : It should be run once a week, but the default it's disabled and the time when it should be done is 3am on Sundays (or something similar), which isn't really useful :)– StuderFeb 16, 2010 at 15:36
On linux I usually run
sudo ionice -c3 updatedbwhich tells
updatedbto share the i/o controller nicely (io nice) but I don't think this command is available on mac. I also miss having the
-rregular expression flag which can be used with the GNU locate, although I'm not sure I want to use homebrew and install the GNU locate mentioned by @Grogs– cwdJun 16, 2012 at 12:41
3Example macosx alternative to "locate (-r)" and "updatedb" that uses spotlight ("-i" optional of course): mdfind -name "mp4" | egrep -i "^/Users.*Downloads/.*Stuff"– michaelJan 30, 2013 at 19:35
1Also, if you don't find files which you expect to, note this relevant caveat from the the BUGS section of the manpage:
The locate database is typically built by user ''nobody'' and the locate.updatedb(8) utility skips directories which are not readable for user ''nobody'', group ''nobody'', or world. For example, if your HOME directory is not world-readable, none of your files are in the databaseDec 9, 2015 at 13:18
You can do
sudo ln -s /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb /usr/local/bin/updatedb to make the
updatedb command available.
Heh, I just posted this as a comment.. Then saw you said this. I think this is a nice little mod to make. :) Jul 2, 2015 at 16:51
7or alias it in your .bash_profile Aug 9, 2016 at 17:26
Personally, I just installed findutils (use MacPorts or Homebrew).
Then you have GNU locate and updatedb.
updatedb won't work without sudo.
Personally I prefer to have a per user locatedb though; if you sudo other users will know the names/locations of all your files.
I have a cron job to run:
updatedb --localpaths='/Users/grogs' --output='/Users/grogs/tmp/locatedb'
And in my .zshrc .bashrc/.bashprofile:
3Brew-installing findutils on OS X Mavericks gave me a
gupdatedbcommand, not an
updatedbone. Unfortunately this command gave me an error described here (where your SO answer is referenced). Ultimately I've aliased
LC_ALL=’C’ sudo updatedbas a workaround, but I don't know if this is a long-term solution. Dec 13, 2013 at 19:18
/opt/local/libexec/gnubinat the start of your path, if you want the
macportsto be available with their original names (and not their
g-prefixed versions).– 0 _Sep 18, 2014 at 22:01
I've recently installed the Linux version of
locatefrom MacPorts. Unfortunately, the
updatedbport is broken, which of course renders the newer Linux version of
locateas useless.– SeamusJun 26, 2022 at 18:42
If you run locate without first updating the database, you have a chance to see the OS's recommended way by its output.
WARNING: The locate database (/var/db/locate.database) does not exist. To create the database, run the following command: sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist
Actually you can use the GNU locate & update in mac too.
brew install findutils --with-default-names export PATH="$(brew --prefix findutils)/libexec/gnubin:$PATH" export MANPATH="$(brew --prefix findutils)/libexec/gnuman:$MANPATH" which locate
locateon an OS X box it tells you to run
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist.
locatefor, you might find it more convenient to use the command line interface to Spotlight,
mdfind, since the Spotlight database is nearly always up-to-date, and offers a lot more functionality than locate.
man locate:) The answer has been in
man locatesince at least August 17, 2006.