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Ways to Locate and Remove Duplicate Files on Mac OS X

Updated on May 11, 2016

Most users are just freaked out for Mac computers that are best known for high quality, smooth functioning, and smart features. Well, performance of a computer remains sleek till you take good care of it. Yes, it is your sole responsibility to maintain the optimum performance level of your Mac computer.

You might have noticed sluggish performance of applications you run on Mac or speed of the system suddenly slows down. A major reason for this behavior includes presence of excessive data that is unnecessary. Most of you are not aware that bulks of duplicate data exist in your computers. That's true! Sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly, you store same data at multiple locations. Particularly, personal data (such as photos, video files, documents) occupy unexpected space on the hard drive of your computer. You are experienced enough to easily suspect the consequences if such data is stored at 3-4 locations on your system. Moreover, data redundancy annoys more when less space is available on hard drive.

Such cases may also occur when you copy files from an external drive (such as USB) and the file has already been downloaded or available on the computer. Well, in any case, you face situation that you really don't want to. On your Mac, iTunes might also contain some GBs of duplicate items if you have downloaded the albums that contain one or more same tracks. Sometimes, from security point of view, you prefer keeping important data at different places so that if problem occurs at one place, you can get your files from another location, which is technically not a smart idea. If you want to keep your files at several places, it is better to store them in a flash drive, such as USB, floppy disk, etc.

Naturally, you cannot stop saving important data on computer, but of course you will want to kick out duplicate files of your Mac. The post promises to provide several ways of finding and removing duplicate data on Mac OS X, read on to know.

Using Finder to Search Duplicates

Using finder is the simplest way to locate duplicate files on your Mac computer. You can use the Finder as follows:

  • Open new Finder.
  • Type '*' in the 'search' box.
  • Ensure the visibility of 'Size' and 'Kind' columns.
  • Use Kind to filter the results, it will display all similar items.

The process takes time because you need to select the duplicate items and decide which items have to be deleted and which not. Finder helps you delete items that you do not want to keep; however, you need to be quite attentive while making sure that the file you are going to delete is a duplicate. The time taken is the only drawback associated with this method. If you want to delete the files in next few minutes, try below given methods.

Using Terminal Command

Using commands on Terminal is mainly recommended for experienced users. With 'shell commands', you can easily find and remove duplicate files. Carry out the following to use shell commands on Terminal:

From Utilities folder, access 'Terminal'.

  • Use 'cd' command to go to the directory or folder where you want to search duplicates. For this, open command prompt and type cd <folder name>.
  • On the command prompt, type the command for finding duplicates. It will list the names of duplicate files in the directory that you mentioned in your command. Open the directory to view the similar items.

Deleting Duplicate Tracks from iTunes

As discussed above that iTunes may also consist of duplicate tracks, you should also consider removing the duplicate items from iTunes. Below is how you can identify duplicates in iTunes:

  • Highlight an item, such as Films, Music in iTunes library.
  • Go to the menu, click 'File', and select 'Display Duplicates'.

A list of duplicate items shows up in the iTunes window. You can remove these items using conventional delete operation.

This is how you can find and delete duplicate files on your Mac OS X. However, sometimes, users find all these methods unsuccessful. If you happen to face the same situation, what would you opt for? It generally becomes difficult to find a way other than the mentioned ones. Well, there is still a solution.

Using Commercial Application

You can use a commercial application that is designed to find and remove duplicate files on a Mac system. This is one of the simplest ways as you need not perform anything manually, rather it requires you to provide some details, rest is done automatically. However, make sure to get a capable application that suits your requirements.

Above are the ways that will surely help you locate and remove the duplicate files on your Mac system. Bring your computer to a smart state and keep having a great experience with your Mac machine.


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