Available approaches to locate duplicate files in Mac OS X

04 14/ By Shelton

search duplicates

Duplicate files can occupy a large proportion of disk space on your Mac computer, therefore, it is necessary for you to know how to find and remove duplicate files in Mac OS X. In fact, you can locate the duplicate files in there ways:

  • Search for duplicate files with Finder
  • Use a Terminal command or script
  • Apply a third party tool to scan out duplicates files

Now let’s start to learn the details of these approaches one by one.

Locate duplicate files with Finder
Finder, the default file manager in Mac OS X, allows users to manage files, disks and network volumes. It is easy for you to find out the duplicate files with the help of Finder, but you may need to be patient for the process can be quiet slow. You may need to spend some time to decide what to trash and what to keep among the duplicate items.

Follow the steps here to locate duplicate files with Finder:

  • Open a new window of Finder
  • Enter the wild card asterisk symbol in the Search field on the interface


  • Display both the Size and Kind columns. Click on Action tab, choose “Show View Options” from the pull-down list, and then check the Size and Kind columns.

Show size and kind columns

  • Filter the lists on the window by Kind, and then you will be able to see the duplicate items.

detect deplicates

Since you have found the similar items, now you can delete those you don’t want to keep. Searching for duplicate files with Finder is a simple job, but the only fly in the ointment is the time-consuming process.

Detect duplicate files with a Terminal command or script
For newbie Mac users, it is not so recommended to adopt this approach. But if you want to have a try, you can follow these instructions:


  • Open Terminal from the Utilities folder, go to a subdirectory where you want to identify all the identical items, copy and paste the command below:
    find . -size 20 \! -type d -exec cksum {} \; | sort | tee /tmp/f.tmp | cut -f 1,2 -d ‘ ‘ | uniq -d | grep -hif – /tmp/f.tmp > duplicates.txt
    Note that the command should be on one line. This will create f.tmp file in the current folder inside tmp folder
  • Copy and paste another command here to delete all the files in the text file:
    while read file; do rm “$file”; done < duplicates.txt

Utilizing a terminal command or script to locate the identical files is, to some degree, complicated for average Mac users, thus it is not recommended to use. To fast find out the duplicates, you can try an automatic method, which relies on a third party tool.

Automatically scan out duplicate files via a third party tool
Don’t want to waste your time to search for the identical items manually? You can take a shortcut with a processional tool, which will automatically scan out all the duplicates in your computer and you will just need a few clicks to locate and delete them.

  • Download and launch the tool
  • Click on “Duplicates Finder” in the left-hand side bar of the main interface, and then click “Scan”.

remove duplicates 1

  • Select the unwanted duplicate files by clicking in the boxes before the target files, select “Remove” and then choose “Remove All” to confirm your performance.

remove duplicates 3

Compared with the complicated Terminal command and the time-consuming manual way to detect duplicate files in Mac OS X, a third party tool is a better choice for it is easy to perform and suitable for both average and advanced Mac users.

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