How to Find and Delete Duplicate Files on Mac to Get More Available Space

Finding the hard drive running slow is inevitable and it happens to nearly all Mac users. And unfortunately, clearing up cache files may not be enough to free up a reasonable amount of space.

Over time, your Mac's hard disk can accumulate a large number of duplicate files, which can strip away a decent amount of otherwise perfectly usable and highly valuable disk space.

find and remove duplicate files

1. Why Are There so Many Duplicates on Your Mac?

Duplicate files on your Mac can take up a lot of space once they start to accumulate. But how did they even get there to begin with?

Perhaps you mistakenly downloaded the same file twice or moved a bunch of files but forgot to delete the original ones, or it may even be possible that you saved the same files in multiple locations.

The fact of the matter is duplicate files will pop up one way or another and take up valuable space on your Mac. Luckily, there are ways to find duplicate files on Mac and delete them.

2. How to Automatically Find and Remove Duplicate Files on Mac

Finding duplicate files on your Mac can be a very cumbersome task. After all, can you remember which files precisely you downloaded twice or moved in the same folder as the original with a different name?

While you can try to find the duplicate files manually with enough time and patience on your hands, it doesn't make sense to spend this much time on such a tedious and repetitive task. This is where an automatic duplicate file finder can help you easily remove duplicate files on Mac.

Using a Program to Find Duplicate Files within 2 Minutes

Umate Mac Cleaner helps you automatically remove duplicate files on Mac with ease. Simply select a file directory to scan, and delete the files you want. In addition, it can also help you remove large files, delete private data, manage extensions and make your Mac faster. For the other features, you can check out the official guide.

In the meantime, here's a step by step guide on how to use Umate Mac Cleaner to find and delete duplicate files on Mac:

  • Step 1. Download and install the program at first

At first, you are required to download the software and install it properly on your Mac.

Mac version

  • Step 2. Start to scan duplicate files on your Mac.

Launch the program once you have installed it and choose the "Delete Duplicate Files" feature. There you can add any file directory to scan the existed duplicate files on your Mac. About 1 or 2 minutes later, all the duplicated files will be displayed to you according to the given 6 types (Images, Audios, Videos, Documents, Archives, and Others).

scan duplicate files

  • Step 3. Delete all duplicate files at once with just one click.

After scanning, the app can tick off all the duplicates automatically but keep the original file for you. Now go ahead and select the files you want to delete.  You can also find each file's storage path to preview.

delete duplicate files

Note

So what makes this program to find duplicate files on Mac superior to other methods? One reason is the simplicity to use. It has the most intuitive interface and most straightforward operation. And the second one is that the program lets you try it before buying. The trial version can scan and find all the duplicate files out.

3. How to Find and Delete Duplicate Files on Mac without Software- 3 Ways

While it's understandable that some folks may choose to bypass the above program to remove duplicate files on Mac, it should be noted that the three manual ways of finding and deleting duplicating files may not as simple, quick or time-savvy as using a program to automatically do it for you.

Way 1. Search for Duplicate Files on Mac with Finder

One of the most common ways to find duplicate files on Mac is to use the Smart Folders feature found in Finder:

  • Launch the Finder app >> navigate to File >> then New Smart Folder.

new start folder on mac

  • Click on the ‘+' icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.

This allows you to look for photos, music, and other file types. The key to mastering this is to sort the results properly. For example, when you order them by name, you will start to see duplicates pop up which are easy to find.

It would be a good idea to check the date to make sure that it is indeed a duplicate - you certainly don't want to dread deleting the wrong version file.

While this method is certainly doable when we talk about how to find duplicate files on Mac, it is still far from ideal. The time spent scanning long lists of files can be better spent downloading a program that can automatically help you do it.

Way 2. Find Duplicate Files on Mac with Terminal Command

If you are familiar with how to use Terminal Command on Mac OS, then congratulations - you are well on your way to becoming a true Apple Geek! Here's how to delete duplicate files on Mac using this method:

  • Open the terminal >> you will find it in the Utilities folder by default.
  • Find the folder you want to scan >> use the cd command to do this. For instance, to scan your Desktop for duplicate files, you need to use the "cd ~/Desktop" command and the press the Enter key.
  • Now copy and paste the following command exactly as-is:

find . -size 20 \! -type d -exec cksum {} \; | sort | tee /tmp/f.tmp | cut -f 1,2 -d ‘ ‘ | uniq -d | grep -hif — /tmp/f.tmp > duplicates.txt

find duplicate files with terminal

  • Press the Enter key.

This creates a text file which lists all the duplicate file names.

Now, a few things to keep in mind - Terminal tends to overlook quite a few duplicate files, so the files listed on that text file may not show all duplicates. And, you must manually distinguish the files to see if they are the version that you wish to delete. You also need to manually separate the copies from their originals.

In conclusion, using terminal to delete duplicate files on Mac can be a cumbersome and rather time-wasting process - not recommended for regular Mac users - because there are better ways to remove duplicate files on Mac.

Way 3. Find Duplicate Files on Mac with iTunes (Only for Music Files)

Launch iTunes and click on any of the options under "Library", found in the left-hand column.

  • Click on "File" >> Library.
  • Select "Show Duplicate Items".

show duplicate items on library

  • Now choose the ones you want to delete.

Summary

To remove duplicate files on Mac is necessary to get more available space. Let's assume you have approximately 50 GB worth files on your Mac but you're practically using 100 GB of your computer's hard drive space. This is not the best use of space for a device that typically comes with 128-256 gigs of onboard storage space.

Getting rid of duplicate files from your Mac also helps you keep it organised. What's more, it will make searches faster as no duplicate files will pop up. After removing duplicate files from your computer, you may also notice batter performance because fewer files will be indexed and processed - at the end of the day that means higher productivity. So, please feel free to choose the way of using Umate Mac Cleaner.

Mac version

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