MacOS app to move files one at a time

I regularly move files from one drive to another on my Mac, I tend to do this in batches, e.g. I’ll move one file, then three files, then another file, then 12 files.

These will all happen at once, so in the example in the previous sentence I’d have 4 file moves happening concurrently which leads to the disk head moving between the 4 file copies (I still have spinning drives) and it actually moves more slowly.

Does anyone know of a mcOS app that will allow me to queue file moves so that only one happens at once?

If you’re comfortable with Terminal, mv commands separated by semicolons will act this way, e.g. mv newdir/; mv def newdir/defwill move a zip file, then move an entire directory after the zip file has moved.

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I think this is also the default if you select all the files, e.g., using command and selecting, then move them. But, what I think the OP is meaning is they start moving a couple of huge files, then a few minutes later while they are still chugging along, selecting to move another couple of huge files, etc, and things grind to a halt with a spinning disk.

What you want is a file mover that automatically queues tasks as they are added.
I have no answers, but since sync software allows you to choose the number of concurrent threads, I could easily imagine a file explorer with built in sync would let you do it.

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Ah, I see. A better Terminal approach, then, would be to install a spooler like pueue from Homebrew. Mv commands can be added to the queue, the queue of moves processes one at a time by default, and the queue can be inspected and edited at any time. I wish I knew of a visual equivalent.


I think you can do this with FileZilla.

Here’s the queue info. I think both machines can be your local machine.


Yes, I was just thinking about suggesting Transmit… but really any (S)FTP app should work, as you can usually tell it how many operations to run at the same time.

I also wondered if Path Finder might have a feature for this, but I did not see anything from an admittedly-cursory look.

Path Finder can do it if you switch on “queue file operations” in the copy progress window. It will then copy things sequentially instead of consecutively. You can start moving files and each instruction will wait for the previous move to be ready


Teracopy does this for Windows, so I assume that the Mac version does the same, though I’ve only tried the Windows version.