How to find large and old files taking up space on Mac

Everything you download takes up space and eventually that space starts to run out, so for those struggling with storage, let’s look at how you find and delete old files on a Mac. Removing these files, especially if you don't need them should free up space that could be put to better use. 

How to find large files on Mac? 

Finding anything on your Mac shouldn't be difficult. 

macOS and older versions of Mac OS X comes with a whole lot of great built-in-search functions and features. One of the things you can do with those is to search for something based on the size of the file, which can be handy because some files don’t always outwardly display their size, especially if they've been turned into or downloaded in a zip format.

Find large files using Finder

Here is the easiest way to find files based on their size: 

  1. Open Finder (it should be in your macOS Dock) 
  2. The Search bar is in the top-right 
  3. Type in a search input - it could the name of a file you’re looking for; 
  4. In the middle of the top toolbar of Finder is a symbol for Settings; 
  5. Click on this and go down to Search Criteria 
  6. This opens up a wide range of search criteria options, and one of those is File Size; 
  7. Click on this and now you can search for something in MBs or GBs 

Delete large files on Mac manually

Now that all of the large files on your Mac have appeared, you can drop and drop into the Trash the ones you want to delete. Remember, if these are zip folders, you may have already emptied the contents into one or more files, so they may not show up in this list. 

Also remember that apps, even if they have a sizable memory and cache aren't always going to show up here either, as the contents of what makes them bloated are often hidden, usually in the Library area of your Mac.

Without realizing it, every large file you’ve ever downloaded and forgotten about is slowly taking up space you'd probably rather put to better use. You could follow the steps above, although with the slight problem that some files and folders might remain hidden due to where they now live in your Mac. Or you can clear up the clutter without the task taking up as much time or effort. 

Delete large files on mac with CleanMyMac

There is one tool that specifically searches for large and old files on your Mac. The app is called CleanMyMac X and it's notarized by Apple, meaning it's safe to use.

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (download a free version here) 
  2. Click on the Large & Old Files tab
  3. Run a quick scan 
  4. Now everything you've forgotten or can’t find, based on a file’s size, date last opened, and type, will be visible and you can safely delete them, or use the Shredder to delete them. 

One more tool to find hidden files

Since you've already started using CleanMyMac at this point, I recommend trying one of its lesser-known features. That one is called Space Lens. It's a kind of a visual map of your entire drive (a similar tool you'll find in Daisy Disk). 

In CleanMyMac X:

Click on the Space Lens tab
Click Scan

These blue bubbles are folders on your Mac in relation to their size. See anything extra large? Check what it is and do accordingly.

And there you go, no more large old files taking up space you need for other things. No fuss to get the job done, and it only takes a few minutes too - depending on how many files the app needs to scan.

CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.