Have you noticed your favorite Apple computer running out of disk space too fast? It is awfully disappointing when you cannot download and enjoy new multimedia files or applications. You didn’t pay significant money for your powerful Mac just to find it cluttered to the gills and thus helpless, did you? If you want your Mac to work faster and have enough space to save any file you wish without problems, you should realize what's taking up all those gigabytes on your HDD or SSD.

Duplicate Items

One of the major reasons for the lack of free space on the hard drive are the duplicate files. The worst thing is that many Mac users usually do not have a clue where these duplicate files are hiding and how to get rid of them.

Discover Duplicate Files on Your Device

Once you realize the importance of removing useless duplicates in order to speed up the machine, you will want to know how to detect them. Most users have no idea that some files are copied into various folders and external USB drivers. In some cases, the doubles appear in the Mail downloads folder; in other cases, they remain in iTunes. It happens because different music albums may contain the same tracks. For instance, the same band may have a 2002 release and The Best of with the same hits).

Commonly, these duplicates are just clogging up the system. It's time to get rid of that trash!

The methods we are going to cover in this post are:

And so we begin.

  1. Manual Detection

Despite there are many third-party apps on the market today that can assist in identifying the clones and removing them, some users prefer doing it manually. The reason is that this approach allows more precise detection with less risk to erase a file that a user may still need.

Remember three locations where duplicates are found most often:

  1. Photos library;

  2. Mail Downloads;

  3. Downloads folder.

To begin with, it makes sense to describe the functionality of Finder. This native Mac utility has the Smart Folders, which will help to classify the files by size before making the final decision.

  1. Turn up the Finder window.

  2. Move to Apple Menu à File à New Smart Folder.

  3. Pick a Plus button & choose Search parameters. Those are Kind, Date, Name, etc.

After that, you should choose “Other.” There you will discover additional characteristics for finding and categorizing items.

Among all the elements, video files usually occupy most of the space, so it would be a good idea to start from deleting outdated videos. The next step would be tossing away copies of videos, for example, TV-shows downloaded in various quality – standard and full HD.

Some users have their disk space filled up with images. They are most probably located here: Home > Pictures > Photos Library. If you are not a great fan of the Photos library and have all necessary pics stored elsewhere, feel free to empty the entire app. Don’t forget that removing files means transferring them files to a Recently Deleted folder. So, only clearing this folder guarantees the total elimination of duplicate images.

  1. Terminal Command

Another free option, which you can find on any Mac, is deleting files with the help of Terminal Command. Please keep in mind that the command might be different depending on the Mac OS X version you're running. Some people find this method rather risky, but it is still available.

One of the ways state you should go to a subdirectory where you wish to detect the clones. Copy-paste the following line:

find . size +20 ! -type d -exec cksum {} ";" | sort | tee ./f.tmp | cut -f 1,2 -d ' ' | uniq -d

The command develops f.tmp file with all the items and their md5 value. Check the values of first two columns to understand how many duplicates are there. The next command will find the duplicate files only:

cut -f 1,2 -d ' ' f.tmp | uniq | grep -v  -f f.tmp > dup.txt

Discover the list of duplicates in the dup.text files. Use any editor to open it. To do the same in one go, type in:

find . -size +20 \! -type d -exec md5 -r {} \; | sort | tee ./f.tmp | cut -f 1 -d ' ' | uniq -d | grep - -hif ./f.tmp > dup.txt
  1. Third-Party Software

Perhaps, it is the most convenient and time-saving method to find and delete useless items on Mac. Almost every duplicate finder application can toss away all possible types of files: from photos to archives. In 90% cases, the tools work this way:

  1. Download the app of your choice from the AppStore or developer's official website;

  2. Launch the app and start the scanning procedure via the corresponding section.

Usually, such apps sort files by their size, date, type, etc. To get rid of the unnecessary items, find the button that says something like “Remove Duplicates” and press it after you have double-checked what you're going to delete. That's it, you're done!

Now you know three basic methods both inexperienced and advanced Mac users may apply to get rid of the junk duplicate files. Do not let duplicates and outdated items create obstacles on the way to excellent Mac performance!