Duplicate files are almost certainly on the disk and are wasting space but how do you track them down and delete them? Use a free utility with the obvious name of Duplicate File Finder.
Some Apple MacBooks have very small solid state drives and they are soon filled. As little as 128GB of storage is in some MacBook models and this is barely sufficient for the operating system and a few lightweight apps. It is hard to cope with such small storage and even mid range models only have 256GB.
To keep the Mac going you must be careful not to unnecessarily waste storage space and one of the utilities you need in your toolbox is a duplicate file finder.
For various reasons you can end up with duplicate files and even duplicate folders. For example, if you have files or folders that you share or sync with online storage, you might copy files to it and then forget to delete the original or the copy.
I switched from Google Drive to OneDrive and copied all the folders over, only I forgot to delete some on the Google Drive sync folder and now there are two copies of many files and folders. It is a common situation where duplicates can arise.
Duplicates happen and you need to find out how bad the situation is. Then clean up.
Duplicate File Finder Remover
Duplicate File Finder is a free app in the Mac App Store that is very useful for tracking down duplicates on the Mac’s disk and for deleting them. There is a Pro version but most of the features are free and the app is excellent.
To begin you need to either drop a folder on the app window or click the Scan Home Folder button. I have a slow hard disk drive and the scanning was surprisingly quick, so it must be very fast with an SSD in a modern Mac.
When it has finished, it presents its findings in a very nice display. Pie and bar charts are available that show duplicates by type, such as pictures, documents, archives and so on. There is a panel showing the Biggest Similars – folders that are almost identical. There are cleanup hints too.
Across the top of the window is a bar with buttons for each of the file types found and clicking one displays a list of the files in that category. The list on the left is used to select a file and the area on the right lists all the duplicates and their locations on the disk.
Select a file and a preview is displayed above, such as a thumbnail of an image. In the case of audio files there is an audio player that lets you listen to the file. PDF files, Word documents, Pages documents and other file types showed in the preview window. You can easily switch from one duplicate to another if you are not sure which one to keep or don’t believe they are the same.
A number of options are available, such as to keep the current file and remove the rest, skip this file, Get Info, Show in Finder and so on.
Files can be selected manually for deletion or you can use the Auto Select option to let the app decide which one to keep.
This is one of the best duplicate file finders I have used and it is easy to use, fast and free.
There are even more features available in the Pro version, which is just £9.99. For example, it extends the scan to hidden folders as well as normal ones. Whole folders can be removed instead of just files.
Perhaps the best Pro feature is the option to merge similar folders into one. These are folders that have a number of duplicates in common, but a few differences as well. There are options to copy missing files, delete one of the folders after syncing them, and more.
The free version of the app lets you look at this and configure it, but you need a Pro license to actually carry it out. I am using the free version but the feature looks good.
Another Pro option is the ability to restore deleted duplicates. The free app deletes to the Trash, so you can always recover files manually if you find you need them after all, it is just a bit easier with the Pro Restore Removed Duplicate feature.
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Duplicate File Finder Remover is an excellent app and I recommended it for cleaning the disk of duplicate files. The bar and pie charts are perhaps unnecessary and are there just to make the app look good, but there are many useful features.
Get the free version and try it. If you need more features you have the option to go Pro.
App: Duplicate File Finder Remover
Price: Free (£9.99 Pro option)
Size: 17.5 MB
MacOS: 10.10 or later
Verdict: An excellent tool for clearing the disk of duplicate files