Macs have a tremendous amount of loyal, devoted followers – and that's totally understandable considering their overwhelming power, rich functionality, and classy design. But they are also notorious when it comes to hard drives volume. Meaning, their capacity often does not meet the needs even of average users not to mention the power users. As a result, the drive fills up with data pretty quickly. For optimal operations, you will want to clean up your Mac’s hard drive quite often by removing junk, temporary files, and duplicate files. However, use caution, as duplicate files are tricky. Usually, they are a waste of disk space and consume HDD or SSD space. But they sometimes act as a safety net, so you’ll want to know a bit more about finding duplicate files on Mac and what to do with them.
How Duplicate Files Originate
There are a number of reasons why you will find duplicate files on your Apple computer. Believe it or not, at the top of the list of most common things that cause duplicates to appear is NOT what we do on a regular basis. Rest assured, in the vast majority of cases, the issue is with the MacOS or various Apple services that produce all these extra files taking up disk space, not you! Many applications install, manage, and maintain duplicate files for legitimate reasons:
- Sometimes when you install an update (for example, a new MacOS or its beta version), a copy of the previous operating system remains with some files that go unchanged from version to version.
- Some applications are just organized for safekeeping with their various sub-components including duplicate files.
- Often apps are set up to keep track of all the files that make up certain elements, and they store duplicate copies of every file under their control so that they can quickly detect changes that are made.
- Most applications that manage music and image galleries now carry and install their own copy of a shared library and support files, so as to remain in control over their records.
All of the above result in duplicate files popping up on your hard drive like mushrooms after a spring rain. Do you really need them? Well, duplicates are usually useless and often result in wasted disk space. You will want to find and remove them safely. There are two main ways to do this – manually by looking through file directories or automatically by using a designated third-party application. Obviously, the first method is way more time-consuming while the second requires much less effort.
Using a specially developed duplicate file finder on your Mac can help you locate file copies and better organize your computer system. As a rule, such applications can detect duplicates even if they have different names. Moreover, some of them have a feature that allows finding not only identical copies but also similar files. This may come in handy, for example, when you make series of photos with a split second interval. Let's admit, usually, just one or two images are OK, the rest can be deleted without any regret. But hardly anyone actually does that. In such case, similar file finder may serve you well.
Also, not only will specialized duplicate finder remove unnecessary copies, it has additional benefits such as:
- Eliminating digital junk;
- Increasing safety of your private information by wiping your browsing history;
- Reducing the time and space used for backups;
- Increases the free space on the "limited" resources;
and much more.
Don’t Hit the DELETE button just yet!
Once the app detects duplicate files, hold on! Before going any further with deleting found duplicates, you’ll want to be very careful! For the more advanced techie, you can change some settings to eliminate duplicates of photos (for example), but this isn’t recommended for the average Joe. Settings are tricky, and you can lose important data if you aren’t 100% sure of what you are changing. Never bulk-delete without certainty that you aren’t erasing the original or only the copy. This is exactly why lost recovery tools are just as popular as file removing software.
Deleting duplicate files is all part of maintaining a well-performing computer, especially a Mac. You might want to become familiar with the tools to do so allowing you maximum speed and functionality. Because let’s face it, no one likes a slow computer!