Editor’s note: We’ve updated this guide with a new pick for advanced users to find duplicate files and folders.
Duplicate files are shady. You won’t know their impact until you see a ‘Disk Space Full’ warning from your Mac.
As it happens, you cannot simply prevent your macOS from creating duplicate files. When you add music into iTunes, for instance, duplicate files are created. The same goes for the case of Apple Photos.
On top of these, you will be adding duplicate copies of photos, documents, music, and videos on your own. Finally, think of those repeated file downloads as well. In short, your Mac gets choked with excess files the more you use them.
So, what’s the solution? Well, regularly removing duplicate files would certainly help you, and it’s your best shot for a faster Mac.
If you are in a hurry, here are top picks:
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Can my Mac find and delete duplicate files?
Many Mac users forget that Apple’s Finder is a mighty tool integrated into every Mac computer. Finder has one particular option to help every Mac user find and list duplicate files in just minutes.
All you have to do is open Finder and click File -> New Smart Folder.
In there, you can set up the kind of file list you would like to look out for and the type of files you would like to list. Finder will do all the work from there, and it will come up with a list of all files on your Mac.
When you see a list, the last step you have to do is go through the list and find duplicate files manually. This option is convenient if you have duplicate files that have a similar name as well.
Even though Finder can be a great option to start with – it’s not ideal or as powerful as some third-party picks we’ve tested. Finder is good at displaying all files, but it cannot just automatically delete duplicates with great accuracy. You can forget about finding files or images that are similar as well.
That’s something that only dedicated third-party remover tools can do, and that’s why you should keep on reading to find how they can benefit your Mac in the long run.
What makes a good duplicate finder and remover?
Not every remover will be suitable for your needs, and that’s why it’s essential to learn how to find a decent file finder and remover that won’t break the bank or, even worse yet — harm your Mac.
Therefore, we have created a quick list & questions of the most important things you should look into before deciding on the tool you’ll be using:
- Scanning Features: How fast is the scanning process? How deep can the tool scan your Mac? What type of files can it find? Can the remover find similar photos, along with the duplicates?
- Preview and Custom Delete: When you have scanned your Mac, how convenient is the preview of the files? Do you get to double-check all found files to ensure the accuracy of the tool? What other options does preview bring? Are you able to delete files selectively? But most importantly, are you able to undo the delete action?
- File Compatibility: What types of files can the tool scan for? Is it compatible with the latest file types on macOS? How smooth is finding the files that aren’t often used on Mac? Is it compatible with files that aren’t common on Mac?
- Ease of Use: How quickly can you learn to use the tool? Is it easy to find duplicated? Is removing function going to give you headaches? What is the interface like? Can you easily find your way through the tool and use all features that it has to offer?
Based on these questions and answers, we have found the best tools you can use. We have also suggested which tool is the right option for the right type of users (beginners and advanced, for instance.)
For most people: Gemini 2
Gemini 2 is one of the most popular duplicate file finders and removers for Mac. Developed by MacPaw, the tool has also won the Red Dot Communication Award in 2017 in the Communication Design category. We picked the tool for its ease of use, incredible speed, and performance.
You can easily call Gemini 2 an ‘Intelligent Duplicate File Finder.’ It is because it uses an exclusive algorithm, which not only helps you identify duplicate files but also spots and detects similar files, quickly telling copies from originals and adapting to the way you work with it.
While using Gemini 2, we found out that it provided multiple options to scan folders and directories on our Mac. Depending on your Mac’s storage space, consumed space, and performance, the scanning process may take a few seconds to a few minutes. Of course, as a user, you would not mind this — as long as Gemini 2 finds all duplicate files present.
Once the scanning is done, Gemini 2 intelligently selects which should be deleted.
We could choose between Smart Cleanup and Review Results.
Smart Cleanup is an automated process that removes all the duplicate files that are selected by Gemini 2. For example, as you can see in the picture, Gemini 2 automatically chose 1.3GB to delete from the whole 3.2GB of duplicate files it found.
The Review Results option opened up a window where we could find the list of potential duplicate files. As you can see, the whole interface is quite detailed. For example, from the sidebar, we could view each type of duplicate file.
Finding similar files, and photos
Duplicate files and similar files are different, you know. But both can be a curse for your storage space at a time. Gemini 2 has a smarter way to recognize and remove similar files from your Mac. The app goes even a step further by listing two similar files. Thanks to its intelligent design, we could see the difference in file size, modified date, or the directory.
This works great if you have a series of burst photos stored in a folder, the difference between them might not be noticeable. However, the space occupied can be significant. With Gemini 2, you can browse through the duplicate photos, pick the ones you want to keep and discard the rest.
Room for improvement
- It takes up a lot of resources during its scan, which can slow down your Mac
- The price tag might be a bit over the top for people who don’t clean up their Mac regularly
Pricing and availability
Gemini 2 is available for Mac only. On the bright side, it works on all Mac devices, including the ones running the brand-new macOS Big Sur.
You can purchase Gemini 2 at about $24 for one plan to be used on one Mac. Gemini 2 is available on Setapp as well.
For advanced users: Nektony Duplicate File Finder
If you think Gemini 2 is too simple and want more features, you should check out the Nektony Duplicate File Finder. Unlike our first pick, this tool from Nektony is optimized for advanced control and performance. We must add that Nektony Duplicate File Finder is an entirely professional suite. Nevertheless, you can get started with a single click.
Despite the powerful functions inside, Nektony Duplicate File Finder is easy to understand and use. It does not confuse the user with complicated designs. Instead, when you get started, you can choose the desired folder and start scanning it.
Once it has finished scanning the folder, Nektony Duplicate File Finder shows a pretty colorful graph offering so much information about the duplicate files situation on your Mac. In short, we appreciate the simple UI and design of the tool so much.
As we have seen, getting started with Nektony Duplicate File Finder is easier than ever. You can drag-n-drop the folder that you want to scan or choose the option to Scan Home Folder. First, the tool will show you a diagram of what is inside the folder: images, music, documents, etc.
Then, you can see a fully-fledged interface with a pie diagram and information on the right side. On the left side, you can see a list of duplicate files. You can select an entry and compare the duplicates with ease. In the same way, Nektony Duplicate File Finder will detect and list similar files/photographs.
Like Gemini 2, Nektony Duplicate File Finder also gives you hints and suggestions. You can also use the Auto Select function to reduce the time you spend on filtering the duplicates. Having said that, the tool offers a lot more customizable options than the other tools.
For instance, if you find that two folders have similar/duplicate content, you can use Nektony Duplicate File Finder to merge these folders. We found that the UI is more optimized for professional photographers and users who want to ‘select’ what they delete and keep.
In short, Nektony Duplicate File Finder is an excellent suite for advanced users.
Room for improvement
- Nektony Duplicate File Finder lacks smart features that enable quick selection of duplicates.
- It can provide too much information, which is not suitable for beginners.
- No dark mode.
Pricing & availability
Nektony Duplicate File Finder is available for macOS only at this point. It has been optimized for Macs with M1 chips, and you can download the app from App Store.
Most of the features in Nektony Duplicate File Finder are free to use. However, if you want to remove all the duplicate/similar files you have found, you need the Pro version, which costs $19.99 (one-time purchase license).
Considering how much time and space you can save with the help of Nektony Duplicate File Finder, we think the pricing is reasonable.
For duplicate photos: PhotoSweeper
Did you ever feel like you aren’t sure which photo to keep/send or what other similar images should be deleted? Having a helper that will help you and even ‘push’ you to pick one or two photos and delete other similar images is one of the most important reasons you should get one of the removal tools.
These tools can help you achieve that, and that’s precisely what they’re best for, and another reason why we’ve spent time testing them out and reviewing them for this post.
PhotoSweeper should be your go-to option if you want a straightforward tool to help you. As it happens, the interface is different from what you would expect.
Effective photo-based filters
Compared to other tools in the list, PhotoSweeper offers photo-based filters as well. For instance, when it comes to searching for duplicate files, you can set up the proper criteria, such as not choosing the photographs that were clicked a long time ago. It’s also great that PhotoSweeper provides metadata and other data about the image on the sidebar.
Easy photograph comparison
PhotoSweeper has been designed in such a way that you can compare two photographs with the ultimate ease. The app performs impressively well when it comes to finding duplicate and similar photographs. We think the UI plays the most crucial role here. You can even choose between the Viewing Modes — such as One by One, Face to Face, and All-in-One.
We should understand that PhotoSweeper has been designed for duplicate photo finding only. For someone with that level of expertise, it is a privilege to have control over the scanning and removal process. Also, you would not end up deleting a vital photograph from the library. By the way, PhotoSweeper lets you access the photo library from Adobe Lightroom as well.
Room for improvement
It’s not compatible with OS versions before 10.10
Pricing and availability
PhotoSweeper is available for Mac, and you can download the free trial. It’s also optimized for the new M1-powered Macs (Apple Silicon). The license costs $9.99.
Other duplicate cleaners worth mentioning
Now, these were some of our top picks, but there are also other options out there that are quite good. Here, we will look at some alternatives that are out there to clean duplicate files on Mac.
Tidy Up 5
Tidy Up 5 is another advanced duplicate finder tool you can rely on. Like the Nektony Duplicate File Finder, Tidy Up 5 also packs some advanced features. You can use two modes — Simple and Advanced — to find duplicates. You can tell the app about the type of content you want to find — Images, Photos, Music, Folders, Documents, etc.
You can also decide if you wish to search for a particular file format in the results. In the Advanced Mode, you can go to further depths of finding the right files. For instance, while searching for Photographs, you get a variety of filtering options.
We wish, however, if Tidy Up 5 had a more intuitive UI. If you have not used a duplicate remover before, you may have trouble with Tidy Up 5. At the same time, we think the Review page is not so bad. It should also improve the overall customer service.
Tidy Up 5 tool is available for Mac, and the pricing starts at $29.99. You can always download the free trial to test the tool. For three-devices licenses, you can also get their Duplicate Remover Suite Bundle at 25% Off here.
Easy Duplicate Finder
If you are looking for an essential duplicate file remover for Mac, you should consider Easy Duplicate Finder. This tool does not have anything fancy to offer here. You have a three-tabbed interface that navigates you in the whole duplicate-finding process. However, we found that the scanning process is comparatively slower than our top picks.
The way Easy Duplicate Finder works is really straightforward. Once you have found the duplicate files, you can go ahead and review the files.
Easy Duplicate Finder is available for both Windows and macOS and is free to use. The trial version provides unlimited scanning and lets you manage 10 groups of duplicate files. You can upgrade by paying $39.95 for 1 computer.
Duplicate Detective is a pretty straightforward duplicate file remover for Mac. It comes from Fiplab, which has developed a number of Mac utilities in the past. Instead of investing in fancy features, this app is trying to offer a seamless experience. You can select the folder, and the app will start the scanning in some time. In the next step, you can review the results as always.
For a simple tool like Duplicate Detective, we think the Review UI is impressive. You can choose between the various viewing modes and easily compare two duplicate files. Even better, Duplicate Detective has separate viewing options for documents, images, music, etc. Although not as smart as Gemini, this app too has a Smart Select option, which is more than sufficient.
Duplicate Detective is available for Mac, and you can get it for just $4.99. A free trial is also available.
Duplicate Photo Cleaner
Besides PhotoSweeper X above, Duplicate Photo Cleaner is an excellent option if you want a straightforward tool to find and remove duplicate photos from your Mac. You can either drag and drop your image folders, scan for images in bulk, or select the image type precisely. This ensures that you don’t miss a single duplicate – but the options don’t stop there.
This tool can and find delete similar images, even if they’re not 100% duplicates. You also get to select the size limit so you can aim for the photos that take up the most of your storage first to see results quickly and efficiently.
Even though you can free download Duplicate Photo Cleaner, the free version is a bit too limited. You can get the upgraded version via a one-time payment of around $40.
Cloud Duplicate Finder
While you might be busy cleaning duplicates on your Mac, the fact that you might have plenty of duplicates on your cloud storage might just pass by unnoticed. Cloud Duplicate Finder (CDF) is a web application that lets you remove duplicates from the cloud. It supports OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and Box.
While you are using this web app, you can be assured that your privacy is well taken care of as it doesn’t access the actual data or content in the cloud.
You can subscribe to the app with a starting price of $5.83 per month for a yearly subscription. The price is lower — $4 per month — if you purchase a 2-year subscription.
Dupin is an app that manages your duplicate tracks and helps you to delete them. It is compatible with the Finder, iCloud music library, and Apple Music and comes with keyboard shortcuts as well as customizable toolbars.
The app lets you automatically select the “Keeper” tracks from the duplicates through different filtering options. From there, you can consolidate the play, skip, and even access rating information from all tracks. This way, you can re-populate your playlists by replacing “non-Keeper” tracks with “Keeper” tracks.
Dupin is available for a free trial, and a registration code can be purchased for $15.
Wrapping it up
We hope that this list helped you with finding out the best app to get rid of duplicates on your Mac and keep your Mac clean. With a duplicate-free Mac, you can ensure more productivity along with saving those precious gigabytes to get more space on your Mac (or even a cloud account). Our best picks — Gemini 2, Nektony, and PhotoSweeper X — really do the job in a flash with minimal effort.
While most of these apps have a handy interface that makes sure that you do not delete your important files and folders, we really recommend backing up your Mac using Time Machine alternatives or online backup services before trying to remove duplicates. So, even if something goes wrong, you will have a backup or recovery them.