How To Find And Remove Duplicate Files On Mac

If you recently noticed that your Mac is slowing down, the chances are that there are a lot of duplicate files on your hard drive. Duplicate files take up a valuable amount of space on your Mac, so removing them is good to free up some space.

However, finding and deleting them one by one can be exhausting and takes a couple of hours. If you do not have time for this time-consuming job, we are here to help. We will show you quick ways to find and remove duplicate files on your Mac machine in the section below.

Why My Mac Is Duplicating Files?

There are several reasons why duplicate files take up some space on your Mac’s hard drive. But mainly, the reason lies in mistaken downloads, Mails and Message attachments. Also, if you frequently drag files to your Mac’s desktop, duplicate files should appear on your hard drive.

How to Find And Remove Duplicate Files on Mac

Smart Folders

One of the easiest ways to find duplicate files on Mac is using the Smart Folders feature in the Finder. To do so, open the Finder app on your Mac > Go To File > New Smart Folder > Click on the “+” button in the top right corner of the screen.

Deleting duplicate files using Smart Folders

Once you are in, look for documents, photos, music, and other files. The best way to find duplicate files is by sorting them by name. To do so, switch to List View and then check the date of the files to see if they are duplicates. If you do not see the dates of the files, right-click and select Date Added from the drop-down menu. If they are duplicates, remove them to free up some space.

In short, while using the Finder is pretty straightforward, it’s time-consuming because you need to search for hundreds of files on your hard drive. There is a quick way to find and remove them on Mac. Indeed, you can rely on third-party software to cleanse your Mac system of these duplicate files. Most of them are safe and won’t remove any of your Mac’s data.


You can use Terminal on Mac to remove duplicate files, but it requires some skills and is not aimed at beginners. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open Terminal on Mac. It’s located in the Applications folder.

Step 2: Now, scan a specific folder to find double files. To do so, enter the following command: cd ~/Downloads. (Downloads – the Downloads Folder).

Step 3: Now copy and paste the following command and hit the Return key:

find ./ -type f -exec md5 {} \; | awk -F ‘=’ ‘{print $2 “\t” $1}’ | sort | tee duplicates.txt

This command creates a text file in the Downloads folder. It contains all the duplicate files found in the desired folder.

Run A Manual Search

If you don’t want to spend hours looking through thousands of files on your Mac’s hard drive, you can run a manual scan to find duplicate files. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open Finder on your Mac and then type in an asterisk symbol – * in the search field.

Step 2: Once the scan completes, you should see all of your drives (the process may take a while).

Step 3: Now, sort your files by name, and you should see all the duplicate files.

How to Find and Remove Duplicate Files Using Third-Party Software

There are many tools that allow you to find and remove duplicate files on your Mac. Many are free, including Duplicates Cleaner and Duplicate File Finder Remover. If you are looking for a paid app, Gemini 2 and Parallels Toolbox are better options. These apps offer free trials, allowing you to test out their full versions before committing to paying for them.

Gemini 2

Gemini 2 is one of the best tools for removing duplicate apps on Mac. The software offers a free three-day trial without any restrictions. It features an excellent tool called Smart Cleanup, which costs $19.99.

You will need to grant the app permission to scan your folders on your Mac. The app will start scanning for duplicate files. The process may take several minutes, depending on how much data you have in your hard drive. Gemini not only searches for duplicate files but also finds external drives and cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Duplicate File Finder

Duplicate File Finder is an excellent tool for double-file removal. The app is free, but you can upgrade to the Pro version that adds a few extra features, including the ability to restore removed duplicate files. The Pro version is now priced at $19.99 for a lifetime license.

The free version of the software allows you to find and remove duplicate files. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Download Duplicate File Finder from your Mac App Store and install it. You will need to grant the app permission to access your folders.

Step 2: Now, choose Folder if you want to find double files inside a specific folder. Select the desired folder and hit the Scan button.

Deleting duplicate files using Duplicate File Finder

Step 3: Once the scan completes, the app will show the Overview screen. Click Duplicate Files from the top.

Duplicate File Finder

Step 4: Click Auto Select, and the app will automatically select all the duplicate files found in your desired folder.

Step 5: Click Review & Remove and confirm your action by hitting the Remove button to delete duplicate files.

In short, Duplicate File Finder is one of the best apps for removing duplicate files on Mac. The free version offers the ability to find and remove duplicate files on your Mac’s hard drive. You can upgrade to the Pro to access its advanced features, such as smart cleanup and file restore.

The Bottom Line

macOS offers a native tool to find and remove duplicate files using Smart Folder. However, it’s very time-consuming. So, it’s better to go for third-party software to get the job done.

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