How to Find Duplicate Files on Mac

You can use Smart Folder in Finder, the Photos app, and the Music app to find duplicate files on your Mac. To simplify the process, use third-party Mac duplicate file finder apps.

How to Find Duplicate Files on Mac

Hi, I’m Devansh. I find and delete duplicate files regularly to keep my iMac and MacBook Air clutter-free.

In this article, I’ll show you three native methods to find and delete duplicate files on your Mac. In addition, I’ll also introduce you to some excellent third-party duplicate file finder tools and answer some common questions.

If you want to remove all the duplicate files on your Mac and free up space, keep reading!

Method #1: Smart Folder (for All Files)

Finder is the default file manager in macOS, and you can use a new Smart Folder to find duplicate files. Here are the steps to find duplicate files using Finder.

Step 1: Open Finder. In the menu bar, click File and New Smart Folder.

Step 2: Click the ‘+’ button beside Save below the search bar.

Step 3: In the search attributes field, click Kind and select File Size. Plus, choose is greater than and enter a value to specify the minimum file size for duplicates. Since I’ve entered 1MB here, it will exclude smaller files from the search.

Step 4: Type the name of the file you suspect has duplicates and initiate the search.

The search results will now display the files matching your specified name and size criteria. You can review the results and delete the duplicates. To focus your search further, feel free to add more parameters.

Method #2: Photos App (for Photos)

Duplicate photos can take up a lot of space on your Mac. Fortunately, the Photos app has a feature for deleting duplicates. To use it, open Photos and click Duplicates in the sidebar.

The time required for finding duplicates depends on the size of your library. Once done, you’ll see a list of duplicate photos and can start merging them.

Merging photos will leave only one original from a row of duplicates, and the rest are deleted. However, you need to go to the Recently Deleted album to delete them permanently.

Method #3: Music App (for Songs)

Similar to the Photos app, you can use the Music app to find duplicate songs. Here are the steps to do it.

Step 1: Open Music and click Songs in the sidebar.

Step 2: Select a song that you think has duplicates. In the menu bar, click File, Library, and Show Duplicate Items. This will show every instance of that song in your entire library.

Step 3: To find exact duplicates, hold down the Option key and click Show Exact Duplicate Items.

If you find duplicate songs, delete them. Once you’re done and want to return to your songs, click Done in the bottom-right corner of the window.

Method #4: Third-Party Apps

If you have many duplicate files on your Mac, using the above methods to find and delete them can take hours. To make the process smoother, you can leverage third-party duplicate file finders available for Mac, like Disk Drill. Let’s go through the steps to use it.

Step 1: Launch Disk Drill and click Find Duplicates in the sidebar.

Step 2: Click Add a folder to search for duplicates, choose the desired scan location, and click Start Scan.

Step 3: DiskDrill will present you with a list of duplicate files once the scan is complete. Review the results and select the duplicates you want to remove.

You can also check out Gemini 2, Duplicate Files Fixer, and Duplicate File Finder. These tools can scan and find duplicate files on your Mac in just a few clicks, allowing you to delete them automatically.


Here are some common questions about finding duplicate files on Mac.

Can You Find and Delete Duplicate Files Using Terminal?

Yes, but it can be risky if you don’t have a proper understanding of Terminal. For a detailed walkthrough of finding duplicate files using Terminal, I recommend this MacMost video. For most people, using Finder or a third-party tool is a more suitable option.

How to Avoid Accumulating Duplicate Files?

First, designate a folder for different types of documents. You can also use nested folders. In addition, make it a habit to clean up duplicate files using any of the above methods periodically. Overall, try to be more mindful of how you manage files on your Mac.

What Precautions Should You Take Before Deleting Duplicate Files?

Be sure to preview a file before deleting it. Even if it looks similar to another file, it could be different. If you’re using a duplicate file finder tool like DiskDrill, it allows you to sort files by newest, oldest, or automatically based on priority and hierarchy.

Can You Recover Deleted Duplicate Files if You Realize Later You Need Them?

Yes! If you haven’t emptied the Trash for 30 days since deleting the duplicate file, the file might still be there. You can drag it out of the Trash or right-click it and select Put Back. If the file isn’t in the Trash, be sure to check external drives or cloud accounts for a backup.


There are many ways to find duplicate files on your Mac: Smart Folders in Finder, the Photos app, and the Music app. These allow you to find and delete duplicate documents, photos, and songs. To streamline the process, use duplicate file finder tools like DiskDrill and Gemini 2.

Deleting duplicate files on your Mac can help you free up storage space and make finding the files you need easier. I hope the methods mentioned in this article—Finder, Photos, Music, and third-party tools—help you successfully free up extra space on your Mac!

Do you have further questions about finding duplicate files on Mac? Let me know in the comments.

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  • Semaj D'lareg

    All good stuff, thank you.
    Even more problematical than multiple photographs, are multiple ‘takes’ in music recording studios, whereby jazz musicians (in particular) frequently record the same item many times over before everyone seems satisfied – both musicians and studio technicians. Charlie Parker’s original recordings, when they eventually appeared on LP, were a a classic case-in-point of course, whereby most of us found out when LPs started to replace our 78s.

    I have modified my own iTunes setup to tackle this issue so that, by and large, it now deals with the problem . . . albeit not always entirely fool-proof ! A good discography can usually help to settle the really difficult items.

  • Liz

    Easy Duplicate Finder is another app worth including in your post. It’s really versatile and works great on my Mac.

  • Howard Huxter

    Gemini takes light years to work on my iMac and then doesn’t do the job.

    EDF is not a very professional application