I found out the hard way, after lots of time wasted then a bit of googling, that NSFileManager’s enumeratorAtURL crashes! Don’t use it.

So if you need to recursively search a folder in objective-c (on the iPhone, in my case), grabbing all the attributes of the files (such as last-modified date), here’s an alternative way to do it. Please note this example uses ConciseKit:

NSMutableSet* pathsToSearch = $mset($.documentPath);
while (pathsToSearch.count) {
    // Pop a path to search
    NSString* pathToSearch = [pathsToSearch anyObject];
    [pathsToSearch removeObject:pathToSearch];

    // Scan it
    NSArray* contents = [[NSFileManager defaultManager] contentsOfDirectoryAtPath:pathToSearch error:nil];
    for (NSString* item in contents) {
        // Item is a file or a folder
        NSString* itemPath = [pathToSearch stringByAppendingPathComponent:item]; // Get the full path for it

        // Get the attributes
        NSDictionary* attribs = [[NSFileManager defaultManager] attributesOfItemAtPath:itemPath error:nil];
        BOOL isDirectory = $eql([attribs $for:NSFileType], NSFileTypeDirectory);
        BOOL isFile = $eql([attribs $for:NSFileType], NSFileTypeRegular);
        NSDate* modified = [attribs $for:NSFileModificationDate];

        // Recurse if its a folder
        if (isDirectory) {
            [pathsToSearch addObject:itemPath];

        // Do something with it
        NSLog(@"%@; %@", itemPath, modified);

Thanks for reading! And if you want to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you: chris.hulbert at gmail.

Chris Hulbert

(Comp Sci, Hons - UTS)

iOS Developer (Freelancer / Contractor) in Australia.

I have worked at places such as Google, Cochlear, Assembly Payments, News Corp, Fox Sports, NineMSN, FetchTV, Coles, Woolworths, Trust Bank, and Westpac, among others. If you're looking for help developing an iOS app, drop me a line!

Get in touch:
[email protected]

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