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How to Delete Duplicate Files on Mac? – 101 Made Easy Guide

Published By Chirag Arora
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On December 20th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading

Outline: You must have come across a scenario where you have a lot of files in your system. In such a plethora of collections, duplicate files are a thing of concern. These identical files are difficult to find and detect and most of the time remain unspotted resulting in slowing down the system performance. In this regard, we have prepared this article on “How to delete duplicate files on Mac?”

These similar files are nothing but copies of pre-existing files in your folder. Here the file can be categorized in different formats such as database files, archive files, executable files, etc. With this information let’s dive into the main context of erasing duplicate files. 

Table of Contents Hide

Reasons to Get Rid of Duplicate Files on All Versions of Mac

Read the following section to know why to remove duplicate files from pc:

  • Free up disk space by removing redundant files.
  • Improve system efficiency and responsiveness.
  • Simplify file management and organization.
  • Prevent confusion and errors with multiple files.
  • Reduce backup duration by eliminating duplicates.
  • Save time and effort in file retrieval and management.
  • Maintain data integrity by preventing file overwrites.
  • Facilitate quicker system backups with a leaner file structure.

How to Delete Duplicate Files on Mac Using Finder

In this section of the solution, we will be talking about the manual method to detect and remove similar files using the Finder utility. Moreover, this technique is specialized in visually inspecting the files based on file names, sizes, and file content.

Things to Consider:

  • Slow for big folders.
  • Verify files before deletion.
  • Finder sorting aids identification.
  • Empty Trash for permanent deletion.

Steps Breakdown:

  • Open Finder: Click on the Finder icon or press cmd + N.
  • Navigate to folder: Go to the folder with suspected duplicates.
  • View Options: Tap “View” in the top menu, and choose “Show View Options” (Command + J).
  • Sort by Name: In View Options, select “Sort by” → “Name” and close the window.
  • Identify duplicates: Locate files with similar names or parameters.
  • Select duplicates: Hold the Command key and click on each identical file.
  • Move to Trash: Right-click on the Dock, and choose “Move to Trash.”
  • Empty Trash: Right-click on the Trash icon, and select “Empty Trash.”

Note: Make sure to check the files before deleting the targeted files so that you do not eliminate the crucial information. Besides this, it is always better to have a backup of data.

How to Eliminate Identical Files on macOS with Terminal

In this technique, we will be using the Terminal command to identify and eliminate duplicate files on Mac. Mainly, the Terminal runs a proper set of given codes to get rid of duplicate data. 

Things to Consider:

  • Familiarity with terminal commands is essential.
  • Exercise caution with ‘rm’ to avoid accidental deletions.
  • Customize commands based on file type.

Steps Breakdown:

Open Terminal using Command + Space, type “Terminal,” and press Enter.

Navigate to the folder with duplicate files using the cd command:

cd /path/to/your/folder

Replace “/path/to/your/folder” with the actual folder path.

Use the following command to find and display duplicate files based on MD5 checksums:

find . -type f -exec md5 -r {} + | sort | uniq -w 32 -dD

Review the output to confirm duplicate files.

Delete duplicate files cautiously with the rm command:

rm /path/to/duplicate/file

Replace “/path/to/duplicate/file” with the original path of the duplicate file.

Optionally, use the following commands to find and remove duplicates of a specific file extension:

find . -name "*.[file_extension]" -exec md5 -r {} + | sort | uniq -w 32 -dD | cut -d ' ' -f 3- | xargs rm

Replace “[file_extension]” with the actual file extension.

How to Erase Duplicate Files on Mac Through Smart Folders

Smart Folders in Finder is generally used to create dynamic folders according to your search results. By using this method, you can easily find out the identical files. 

Things to Consider:

  • Define specific search criteria for targeted results.
  • Use sorting options to facilitate identification.
  • Drag and drop files from Smart Folder to Trash.

Steps Breakdown:

  • Open the Finder window on your system and go to “File” → “New Smart Folder.”
  • In the Smart Folder window, use the search bar and click the “+” button to add criteria.
  • Choose criteria like “Name,” “Date Modified,” or “Kind” to identify duplicates.
  • For example, select “Kind” to find duplicate images.
  • Sort files by clicking column headers (e.g., Name, Date Modified) for proper arrangement.
  • Visually examine files, hold “Command,” and click to select.
  • Right-click and choose “Move to Trash” or drag to the Trash icon in the Window.

How to Find and Remove Duplicate Files Using Automator

Automator is generally used as a visual scripting tool to automate any preferable task. Manually finding and cleaning duplicate files can be difficult at times. Due to this, you can use this utility to curtail the overwhelming condition. 

Things to Consider:

  • Basic Automator knowledge is required.
  • Workflow actions: find and move files by Name, Date Modified, etc.
  • Run the workflow to execute deletions.

Steps Breakdown:

  • Open Automator from Applications.
  • Choose “Workflow” as the document type.
  • In Automator’s left sidebar, select “Files & Folders.”
  • Drag “Get Specified Finder Items” to the right side.
  • Drag the “Find Finder Items” option beneath “Get Specified Finder Items.”
  • Next, Click on the “Options” button in the “Find Finder Items” action.
  • Set dropdowns to “Name” and “Contains,” leaving the third field blank.
  • Drag “Move Finder Items to Trash” below “Find Finder Items.”
  • Save the workflow (File → Save) with a name, e.g., “Delete Duplicates.”
  • Click “Run” in the top-right corner of the Automator window.

Read More: Absolute solution to “how to delete duplicate photos on macOS

How to Delete Duplicate Files on Mac? – Expert Solution

The above-mentioned strategies are useful for small file sizes. However, they fail to perform the same for large file sizes. In such a case, the duplicate file finder for Mac is the ideal solution. Moreover, it can be efficiently used to locate and remove similar files with its rich features.

Here are some of the main features of this wizard:

  • Efficient scanning engine
  • Recursive scanning for depth
  • Support for various file extensions: EXE, MSI, MSIX, APP, DMG, PKG, ZIP, TAR, RAR, 7-ZIP, TGZ, GZ, ZIPX, etc.
  • Easy removal or deletion of duplicate photos
  • Visual similarity detection
  • Preview option before photo deletion
  • External storage device compatibility (e.g., Pendrive, SSD, External disk, Camcorder, etc.)

Noteworthy Steps to Detect and Remove Duplicate Files on macOS

  • Download and install the Duplicate File Finder and Remover app on your macOS.

application landing page

  • Click “Add Folder” to include the folder with suspected duplicate files.

hit on Add Folder

  • Choose scanning parameters, select a file extension, and click Continue.

click on continue to delete duplicate files on macOS

  • Press “Delete” to remove the identified duplicate files.

press on the Delete tab

  • Check the Action column; the message tag should now read “Deleted.”

Action tag changes to Deleted

Final Takeaway

In this blog, we have answered the question of “how to delete duplicate files on macOS?” Mainly, we have covered the manual steps and the automated approach. Here, we have highlighted some major methods to remove identical files on Mac. But every manual approach has its limitations as a result the most preferable solution is the go with the expert solution.

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