Removing Duplicate Files on Mac OS X: The Complete Guide

Your Mac is full of files: big ones, small ones; documents, music files, photos, videos, and system files. A quick check of my iMac’s 256 GB SSD shows that it contains more than 60 million files. You can see this number on your Mac by opening Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder), selecting your drive, and then clicking the Info button in the Disk Utility toolbar–then scroll down to the File Count entry.

Naturally, you haven’t created all those files. Most of them are system files, preference files, bits of applications (an OS X application is actually a bundle, or a sort of folder containing thousands of files), and more. Most of the files you’ve created are in your Documents folder, or in other media-specific folders inside your home folder: Music, Pictures, or Movies. And some of your personal files may actually be in your Library folder; this includes your email messages and their attachments, for example.

Among these millions of files, your Mac may contain many duplicate files, and there are two types of duplicates: intentional duplicates and accidental duplicates.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

4 thoughts on “Removing Duplicate Files on Mac OS X: The Complete Guide

  1. Good article, but when it comes to iTunes, I have to say that I find the default action for Show Duplicate Items useless. I want to know about real, actual duplicates, and fortunately this is available. All you need do is hold the Option key (Shift in Windows?) for Show Duplicate Items to become Show Exact Duplicate Items.

    • I think some people might want the basic duplicate search, to find, perhaps, studio and live tracks, or tracks on regular albums and greatest hits. But I agree it’s not a “power” duplicate tool.

  2. Good article, but when it comes to iTunes, I have to say that I find the default action for Show Duplicate Items useless. I want to know about real, actual duplicates, and fortunately this is available. All you need do is hold the Option key (Shift in Windows?) for Show Duplicate Items to become Show Exact Duplicate Items.

    • I think some people might want the basic duplicate search, to find, perhaps, studio and live tracks, or tracks on regular albums and greatest hits. But I agree it’s not a “power” duplicate tool.

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