How to Find Duplicate Files on your Mac

Use the Duplicate Finder for Mac feature of Disk Drill to analyze your storage space for extra files that take up valuable space. Duplicate Finder can search internal and external drives to find and delete duplicate songs, videos, images, files, and documents. macOS Sonoma Ready!

Duplicate Files
Duplicate finder mac

It can be a real pain to manually search for wasted storage space. Storage is often wasted by holding copies of files that aren’t being used. These extra files take up valuable space and eat into your storage potential and machine efficiency. Our Duplicate File Finder makes the menial task of finding wasted storage space simple by locating duplicate files and giving you the option to automatically or manually select and delete unwanted ones.

Why Is My Mac Duplicating Files?

Your Mac itself, should not duplicate files. One of the biggest causes of duplicate files is that data has been imported to your Mac more than one time. This could be because you imported the same photos more than once or copied over data and accidentally added it more than one time.

No need to worry though as this is something that we can easily fix by using the Duplicate File Finder in Disk Drill.

Duplicate data on your Mac can easily be detected and taken care of by using Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill onto your Mac.
  2. Launch Disk Drill and select Find Duplicates from the sidebar. Simply drag the folder that you would like to scan for duplicates into the Disk Drill window.
  3. Click on Start Scan.
  4. Review the duplicates that Disk Drill was able to find and delete the ones that you no longer want.

You can also use the Find Duplicates feature on external hard drives or SD cards. This would be useful if you’re going to import data onto your Mac. Checking the device that you’re going to import data from first could help lower the number of duplicates that you have on your Mac.

How to Find and Remove Duplicate Files Using Disk Drill

In this section we’re going to take a look at how to find and remove duplicates using a third party software option such as Disk Drill.

Disk Drill can be used to find and remove duplicate files in addition to being some of the best data recovery software that you can use. Using Disk Drill to find and remove duplicate files is also free.

Step 1

Download and Install Disk Drill

Let’s start off by downloading Disk Drill. Once the file has been downloaded, head to your downloads folder and double-click the file to open it. You will then need to drag it to your Applications folder. Once you’ve installed Disk Drill, we can start looking for lost data.

Install and Launch the App
Step 2

Launch Disk Drill

After launching Disk Drill, look for the Duplicate File Finder on the left-hand side.

Launch Disk Drill
Step 3

Select Folders for Disk Drill to Scan

Next, select what folders you would like to have Disk Drill scan for duplicate files. Drag them into the Disk Drill window, and then click on Start Scan.

Select Folders for Disk Drill to Scan
Step 4

Wait for the scan process to complete

Wait for the Scanning Process to Complete. This can take some time depending on how much data you’re scanning.

Wait for the scan process to complete
Step 5

Review the Duplicates

Review the duplicates that Disk Drill was able to find. Disk Drill has a handy preview function that allows you to view what the duplicate file looks like before deleting it to help you ensure that you’re deleting the correct file.

Review the Duplicates
Step 6

Select Duplicates for Deletion

Once you’ve reviewed and selected the files that you would like to delete, click on the Remove button in the lower right-hand corner.

Select Duplicates for Deletion
Step 7

That’s It!

You’ve now decluttered your Mac and have more storage space available

That’s It!

Other Methods to Remove Duplicate Files on Mac

While Disk Drill is one of the best methods to find and remove duplicates on your Mac, it’s helpful to also try and test other methods as this will make you a better Mac user.

Below we’re going to take a look at and explore some other options that you can use.

Using the Mac Terminal to Find Duplicate Files to Delete

You can use the Mac Terminal to find duplicate files right on your Mac. This option works, but it can sometimes miss duplicates. However, if you want a purely textual-based experience then this one is for you.

  1. Launch the Mac Terminal.
  2. Let’s scan the Downloads folder for our example as that is a frequent place for duplicates to form. Type in: cd ~/downloads
  3. Once you’re within the Downloads folder now, type in this command: find ./ -type f -exec md5 {} ; | awk -F '=' '{print $2 "t" $1}' | sort | tee duplicates.txt
  4. A file will then be created and placed in the location of where you checked for duplicate tiles and you can check that file to see what duplicates there are on your Mac.
Using the Mac Terminal to Find Duplicate Files to Delete

How to Use Smart Folders

Smart folders can be used to find duplicate files on your Mac and it’s actually quite easy to do. In this example, I’m going to search my Downloads folder for duplicate images as that is the most likely place on my Mac that would have duplicates.

  1. Open the downloads folder on your Mac and then with Finder active, go to the navbar section and click on File. From within File, click on New Smart Folder. This will create one from your Downloads folder.
  2. After you have done the steps above, a new Finder window will appear. You will see that there is a “+” and a “Save” button. Select the “+” button from within the new Finder Smart Folder.
  3. Leave Kind as is and then go to the dropdown after “is” and change it to what you want to search for in your Downloads folder. In my example, I am going to choose images.
  4. Then, your Mac will display the duplicate images that it found. Go through and delete any that you don’t want.
How to Use Smart Folders

How to Delete Duplicate Photos Using the Photos App

You can manually go through the built-in Mac Photos app to find and remove duplicate photos. This can be quite time-consuming based on how many photos you have on your Mac.

  1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.
  2. Go to the Photos tab and then click on Library. You will want to scroll through and delete any duplicates that you have. Keep in mind that duplicates usually appear one after another.
  3. Hold the Command button on your keyboard and click on the photos that you want to delete at the same time. This will allow you to select more than one.
  4. Click on the delete key on your Mac keyboard.
How to Delete Duplicate Photos Using the Photos App

How to Remove Duplicates in Apple Mail Downloads

If you’re using Apple Mail on your Mac, you can review your attachments by following the steps below. This will allow you to find duplicates and large files that could be taking up space on your Mac.

  1. Go to Finder and then using the navbar click on the Go tab.
  2. Hold the Option key and your Library folder will then appear. Click on your Library folder.
  3. Within your Library folder, look for Mail.
  4. Then, look at each attachments folder and delete any attachments that you do not want on your Mac anymore.
How to Remove Duplicates in Apple Mail Downloads

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

How to delete duplicate files on Mac?

Follow these steps to delete duplicate files on your Mac:

  1. Launch Disk Drill for the Mac.
  2. Click Find Duplicates from the top menu.
  3. Add locations you want to check to the search window.
  4. Press the Scan button and allow Disk Drill to perform its search.
  5. Select and delete duplicates manually or choose auto-selection.
  6. Click Remove to delete the duplicates.

How do I remove duplicate files on my Mac for free?

Disk Drill for Mac offers free data protection and management features in its free trial version. One of these is a tool that will search selected locations on your computer for duplicate files. Disk Drill offers an intuitive and simple method of cleaning up duplicate files from your system to increase storage capacity with no financial investment in the application.

Is it safe to delete duplicate files?

Yes, it is usually safe to delete duplicate files. You may find that you have many duplicates due to reinstalling software or generating temporary work files. There may be some instances where like-named files have been created from different apps. A safe strategy is to backup before removing duplicates in case you have removed a file that you need.

What is the best duplicate file finder for Mac?

The three best duplicate file finder apps for the Mac are:

  1. Disk Drill which offers a free duplicate finder in addition to data protection tools in its trial version.
  2. MacPaw’s Gemini 2 which works well to remove duplicate files but operates via a yearly subscription.
  3. Duplicate Detective is a simple, paid application that will help you remove identical files.

How do I delete duplicate photos on my Mac?

Follow this procedure to delete duplicate photos on your Mac:

  1. Launch Disk Drill.
  2. Select Find duplicates.
  3. Drag and drop or add folders to the list to be searched.
  4. Click the Scan button in the upper right to locate duplicate images
  5. Select Pictures to filter the scan results to show duplicate photos.
  6. Choose the files to be deleted and click Remove.

How do I find duplicate files on my Mac?

You can easily find duplicate files on your Mac using a duplicate file finder tool, such as the one that’s included for free with Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Launch Disk Drill and click Find Duplicates in the left pane.
  3. Add locations to search for duplicates.
  4. Click Start Scan.
  5. Delete all unwanted duplicates.

Does Mac Have a duplicate file finder?

No, your Mac doesn’t come with a built-in duplicate file finder, but there are many great third-party duplicate file finders you can choose from. Some, such as Disk Drill, are actually just an extra free feature, while others, such as Gemini, are stand-alone software applications.

Why are all my files duplicated on Mac?

The most common cause of this problem is the unintentional creation of backups. Fortunately, getting rid of unwanted duplicates can be easy—you just need to use a capable duplicate file finder software application.

How do I remove duplicates from iPhoto?

To remove duplicates from your iPhoto library:

  1. Press and hold the Option key and launch the Photos app.
  2. Select your iPhoto library.
  3. Click Preferences from the menu bar and click Show in Finder.
  4. Download, install, and launch Disk Drill.
  5. Open the Find Duplicates feature.
  6. Drag the iPhoto library folder into Disk Drill.
  7. Click Start Scan.
  8. Delete all unwanted duplicates.

Saving Space is Important

We know that your storage solutions are important to you. Storage is important to us too, which is why we created Disk Drill. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about Disk Drill, please feel free to contact our Technical Support Staff.

Stop wasting your Mac disk space. Remove file duplicates with Disk Drill.

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