Duplicate files is a silent killer as far as your Mac is concerned. They have troubled you for the past years, and they might trouble us in 2021 as well. But how about getting rid of them for a new year’s resolution?
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. 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 certainly the way to go in 2021 as you would want a much cleaner and quicker Mac this year.
In a hurry, here are our 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. Even though you will still have to do the work manually – it won’t be hard to find duplicate files as they’ll have the same name and will be listed one under another.
This 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 file 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 throughout 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.
Best overall for most people: Gemini 2
Gemini 2 has been the gold standard for Mac duplicate removal for some time. After testing tens of tools for duplicate file removal, we think Gemini 2 deserves the top position.
Gemini 2 is one of the most popular duplicate file finders and removers for Mac. Developed by MacPaw, the tool allows you to accurately scan your Mac for duplicate files and remove them. It’s very easy to use and is regularly updated with awesome features. A lot of people choose Gemini 2 when they want a smart way to remove duplicates from their macOS system.
See Gemini 2 in action from the developer:
Gemini 2 is great for many reasons. It addresses the three main elements that make a duplicate scanning app great — a user-friendly app design, ability to scan and delete duplicate files with ease, and the integration with photos and media. Here, we will look at each of these factors to find out what they really have to offer.
On the design front, Gemini 2 is well-recognized and has been a favorite for long. It was given the Red Dot Communication Award in 2017 in the Communication Design category.
The design is laid out in a way where all the features stand out prominent in an intuitive user interface. The icons are large, and they manage to express the functionalities of the app really well.
The intuitive user interface is pleasant on the eyes and it is fun to use. Besides, Gemini 2 also supports 12 languages, so that’s always a plus point.
What’s better than a duplicate finder working to clear the clutter in an intelligent way, saving you a lot of time and trouble?
One of the best parts of Gemini 2 is that it is so smart. The app can also aptly be said as an ‘Intelligent Duplicate File Finder’. That is because it uses an exclusive algorithm, which not only helps you identify duplicate files, but also spots and detects similar files, easily telling copies from originals, and adapting to the way you work with it.
While using Gemini 2, we found out that it provided us with multiple options to scan folders and directories on our Mac. We could choose between Home Folder scan, Pictures Folder scan, Music Folder scan and Custom Folder scan. The first three modes are nearly automated while the fourth one wanted us to provide the folder details.
Depending on the storage space, consumed space and performance of your Mac, the scanning process may take a few seconds to a few minutes. As a user, you would not really mind this — as long as Gemini 2 finds all duplicate files present.
Another great part which we liked was that when Gemini 2 scans the directory, we could see the amount of duplicate files it has found on the side — it was amazing to have a live track of things.
Once the scanning is done, Gemini 2 intelligently selects which should be deleted. We got two options here.
We could choose between Smart Cleanup and Review Results.
Smart Cleanup is an automated process which removes all the duplicate files that are selected by Gemini 2. As you can see in the picture, Gemini 2 automatically selected 738MB as the ones to delete from the whole 1.84GB 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. From the sidebar, we could view each type of duplicate files.
Gemini 2 also offers an option to customize the whole deal. We could change how duplicate files have been sorted. Once we made changes to the selection, we could click on the Remove button to delete all the selected files.
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. We tried this feature and the results were great.
When we scanned a folder or directory for duplicate files, Gemini 2 also found similar files. We could access this section from the main sidebar. The app goes even a step further with listing two similar files. Thanks to its intelligent design, we could see the difference in terms of file size, modified date or the directory.
Then, with a single click, Gemini 2 removes all of them from the system.
This works particularly well with photos on your Mac. For instance, if you have a series of burst photos stored in a folder, the difference between them might not really be noticeable, but the space occupied can be large. With Gemini 2, you can browse through the duplicate photos, pick the ones you want to keep, and discard the rest. Everyone’s set of files are different, but judging from the scan of our Dropbox folder, this feature could save Gemini customers a lot of additional storage space.
- 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 that can be used on one Mac. Gemini 2 is available on Setapp as well.
Most powerful for advanced users: Tidy Up 5
We recommend going for Tidy Up 5 if you are looking for some advanced features. Compared to Gemini, it has a Pro-level interface as well.
Tidy Up 5 has numerous features that can help you fine tune the entire process of removing duplicates from you Mac.
To begin with, it is so easy to get used to Tidy Up 5. You can choose between the Simple Mode and Advanced Mode. Even the Simple Mode offers better control over the search process. 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 want to search for a particular file format in the results.
A powerful Advanced mode
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. You can even select photos that were captured at a particular place on earth. In the case of songs, you can set up criteria based on name, size and the genre that the track is from.
Handy customization features
In other words, the performance levels offered by Tidy Up 5 is off the charts. Even when you are looking for the most specific files, Tidy Up 5 would not have trouble in helping you find them. Just so you know, you can also change the Source files and Drives from the left sidebars. Altogether, customization is the core element when it comes to Tidy Up 5.
We wish, however, if Tidy Up 5 had a more intuitive UI. It does not feel that easy to use the app for finding and removing files. While the extra power is commendable, the UI does not worth the overall praise. 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.
- Customer support should be improved
- Sales pop-up strategy to upgrade is a bit too forceful
Availability and pricing
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.
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.
Let’s look at some of the factors that made us include this app in our list of top picks for 2020.
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 right 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 important 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 an important photograph from the library. By the way, PhotoSweeper lets you access photo library from Adobe Lightroom as well.
- 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 we considered
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 other options that are out there to clean duplicate files on Mac.
Easy Duplicate Finder
If you are looking for a basic 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. Unlike Gemini or PhotoSweeper, Easy Duplicate Finder does not offer any option for customization.
Easy Duplicate Finder is available for both Windows and macOS and free to use. The trial version provides unlimited scanning and lets you manage 10 groups of duplicate files. After that, file management options become locked and the scanning remains available, you should upgrade with the price at $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 the seamless experience. You can select the folder and the app would 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 a nice 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. I like that the tool also lets you choose the similarity threshold.
Do you have the habit of taking a couple of pictures of the same thing, just in case the first one isn’t good enough? This tool can delete such 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 (one-time payment around $40) just unlocks many more algorithms that have the incredible ability to find and offer phenomenal results.
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 which 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 cheaper — $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 ratings 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 space on your Mac (or even a cloud account). Our best picks — Gemini 2, Tidy Up 5, and PhotoSweeper X — really do the job in a flash with minimal effort.
While most of these apps have a handy interface that make 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.