File duplicates is a common thing on any Mac. If not treated, file copies and junk may occupy up to 30% of disk space on a typical Mac after only 1 year of use. Users forget to remove the file copies very often, so they eventually stack up and start occupying plenty of disk space. There are several ways to get rid of the annoying file doubles. Mac users can purge them manually in Finder, use special Terminal commands, or third-party cleaning applications.

How to Find and Remove Duplicates in Finder?

Reportedly, there is some magic trick to make all the file duplicates show up in the Finder. It is possible to sort the cloned files manually and purge them one-by-one. All of these file copies are scattered around your Mac, so one needs to look everywhere to locate the items. The typical locations to search for duplicate files are Photos media library, Mail attachments, and Downloads folder. File copies pile up in these folders for various reasons, so they need a different cleaning approach. Looking for the doubles manually may not be the best and the fastest way to delete duplicate files, but it, at least, ensures that you won’t erase data that should stay intact.

Duplicate Files

Remove File Duplicates from Downloads

By default, all the data downloaded from the web settles in the Downloads folder. It is not a rare case when a specific file has several copies nested in Downloads. How to locate all of the copies in Finder?

  • 1. Go to the Downloads folder from the left Finder sidebar.
  • 2. Choose the Cover Flow view to sort files by name and preview them.
  • 3. After you sort all files by the Name, search for items with identical names
  • 4. Be careful, since not all files with identical names are copies of each other. For example, the names of screenshots are generated automatically, so one needs a preview to make sure these are different files.

But what about the same files one of which has been renamed at some point? Most likely, you won’t be able to discover them manually, because this requires more of an in-depth approach. Specially developed duplicate finders can compare the size and metadata of the files regardless of their name and date of creation. Also, the algorithms of some of such apps can analyze the contents of the files to tell if they are copies of the same item.

How to Delete Duplicates from Mail Attachments

Whenever you download mail attachments from the Mail app to your Mac, they are copied to the app’s downloads folder. Over time, mail attachment duplicates pile up in the Mail Downloads folder. To access the folder manually, follow these steps:

  • In the Finder menu bar, click Go -> Go to Folder…
  • Type in the following: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail Downloads, then click Go.

Once you access the contents of the folder, delete all of the files lodged in it. All the files in the folder are duplicates by default. Instead of walking such great lengths, try using some specialized duplicate detector app. Not only does it scan the Mail Downloads folder, but also cleans all of the attachment copies in a click. The app’s algorithm scans your Mac’s folders and analyzes the files relevant to downloaded mail attachments. After that, you can easily eliminate the unnecessary data leaving the original attachments intact.

How to Locate and Purge Duplicate Files with a Terminal command?

Using Terminal commands requires knowing your way around the Mac OS command line. If you consider yourself experienced enough, search for file doubles using the Terminal app:

  1. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal or use the Spotlight search to launch the command line.
  2. Use the $ cd command to navigate to the folder that needs scanning for file copies, then hit Enter (Return). For instance, use the $ cd ~/Downloads command to scan the Downloads folder.
  3. Paste this command into the Terminal and click Enter (Return):

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

  1. As a result, a new text file listing all the file copies will appear in the folder of interest.

How to Use Duplicate Photo Finder Feature in Duplicate Cleaner?

duplicate photos on mac

Source: Apple Support Community

Believe it or not, all photos on your Mac imported to the Photo library, exist in two copies: within the initial photo folder and Photo library folder. Images stand among the most space-consuming types of data, no wonder your Mac’s disk space shrinks right before your eyes. If you’re not much of a Photos user, here is how to delete the pictures from its library. However, there are two important things to keep in mind:

  • 1. Make sure to backup or copy all the important images to prevent losing memorable shots.
  • 2. Clean up the Recently Deleted folder after purging the Photo library to reclaim some of your Mac’s disk space.

Nothing wrong with using Photos as your default application for images. However, you should keep in mind that it displays the pictures located in Home -> Pictures -> Photos Library. To prevent the unnecessary mess, delete the other image copies stored elsewhere on your Mac. To locate them, do the following:

  • Go to Photos -> the Photos tab to sort all your images by date.
  • Go to Finder and open All My Files to view all your images together.
  • Use the Finder sorting option to extract the images by Date Created, to list the files in the order similar to the one in Photos.
  • The most time-consuming part is to compare the images located in both Photos library and Finder by date and remove the doubles.

Do you have the time to waste on the Photos library cleaning? Luckily, the duplicate photo finder feature comes shipped with most specialized cleaning apps. It can help you save your precious time as it locates the image copies stored outside the Photos library in a cinch. Removing the images is even faster.

default application

In Conclusion

Removing file duplicates from your Mac is essential to keep it clean and healthy. Most users prefer time-consuming ways of dealing with file copies removal. However, searching for files manually or using Terminal commands are the least effective methods possible. Using special duplicates removal apps is the best way to deal with the file doubles. The in-depth cleaning algorithms allow scanning and removing the file copies leaving the originals intact. Purging the image copies usually takes one click.