How to find and remove large files on your Mac

No matter how much space you have on your Mac, one day, you may see a “Your disk is almost full” notification. It could be due to having numerous large files hidden deep down in your Mac’s memory that ate all disk space. Keep reading to discover how to find large files on Mac and delete them safely.

Scan the most obvious place 

When looking for large files on their Macs, users often start scanning a bunch of folders stored on their computers. But, usually, the most common destination of all large files is the Downloads folder. You may automatically download thousands of files and forget to remove them. So, checking the Downloads folder on your Mac may help you find lots of forgotten large files and documents that you don’t need anymore. Don’t forget to empty the Trash afterward. 

Now that you’ve cleaned the Downloads folder, let’s proceed with other tips.

1. Find largest files with one click

If you have enough time, you can look through all data stored on your Mac using the methods we’ll describe below. In case you want to speed up the process, CleanMyMac X can prove useful. Thanks to its Large & Old Files module, you can look at the bigger picture of all large files found on your Mac and delete them altogether.

Here’s a short instruction on how to find and delete large files using CleanMyMac X:

  1. Download the free version of CleanMyMac X and open the app once it’s installed.
  2. Click the Large & Old Files tab.
  3. Run a quick scan.
  4. CleanMyMac X will show you files stored on your Mac. You can sort files based on their size, type, and access date to see the large items that can be removed from your Mac.
  5. Select the boxes for the files you want to delete and click Remove.

2. Find large files using the Finder 

Another way to search for large files is by using search filters in the Finder. It can help you locate the biggest files on your Mac. Here’s how to find large files using Finder:

  1. Open the Finder.
  2. Click on the search bar in the top right.
  3. Start typing any symbol. This will reveal the “+” button below the search bar. 
  4. Click the “+” there.
  5. Click on Kind > Choose Other…
  6. In the next menu, choose File Size.

Here you can tell your Mac to search for large files exceeding a specified size. Pick 100 MB for a start. You’ll find some old movies and archives for sure.

Remember to select This Mac to get a full list of results. You will then see all files, the size of which is greater than you defined. Look through the found documents and remove unnecessary items that take up too much space on your Mac.

Although, this method has certain disadvantages. The Finder doesn’t give you a full picture of the large files stored on your Mac. It shows only single files, excluding large folders that comprise a lot of smaller items. 

It’s also unclear which files you can safely delete without the risk of removing important documents. The Finder neither provides any additional information about files nor shows which folder the file belongs to. So, it’s difficult to decide whether the large file is important or not.

Tip: How to find hidden folders on your Mac

There is a shortcut combination that reveals hidden folders on your Mac. By hidden, we mean various system items and files that applications deliberately chose to close from view. They are not large but still might be worth your look. 

  • To reveal the greyed-out folders, hold down Shift + Command + . (period).
  • Try it in your home folder. 
  • To hide these items, press the same combination again.

Continue reading to discover how to find the largest files on your Mac using other methods.

3. Find large files using the Storage Manager

Another solution is to use the built-in Storage Manager. 

  1. Open the Apple menu. 
  2. Choose About This Mac > More Info > Storage Settings. 
  3. Here you can see how much free storage you have and view the amount of space used by different categories. 
  4. System Preferences - Storage
  5. Browse the categories you see to find large files and delete those you don’t need.

Click any file to see its path at the bottom of the window. The Storage Manager also shows the exact size of each document as well as the date you opened it last. 

Apple provides helpful recommendations at the top left to help you optimize your storage. Here you can choose to store all your files in iCloud, remove large files like movies and TV shows, turn on Empty Trash Automatically, and reduce clutter. 

This method is great for those who don’t have a lot of large files on their Mac. But if you tend to keep many files on your computer, you may consider using Storage Manager tiresome.

A faster way to hunt down large files is to use CleanMyMac X and its module named Space Lens. It deeply scans your Mac and provides you with a visual comparison of all the folders you have. This way, you can see where to find the largest files. 

Here’s how to find large files on Mac using this smart tool:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X and click Space Lens from the sidebar. 
  2. Click Scan.
  3. Now, review the largest folders and select files you want to delete. 
  4. Click Remove.

4. Find biggest files via Terminal

Another way to locate large files on your Mac is to use Terminal. Although some users find commands complicated, if you use them correctly, you can find anything on your Mac. So, you can locate the biggest files on your device just like that:

  1. Go to Utilities and open Terminal.
  2. Execute find command. If you want to locate all files bigger than 1G under the home directory, for example, type find ~/ -type f -size +1G and press Return.
  3. To delete the files, enter find ~ -type f -name \*.avi -size +2G -exec rm {} and press Return. This command will remove all AVI files that are greater than 2GB under the home directory.

Using this command, you can also limit your search, setting size filters. Then your command will look like this: find ~/-size +30M -size +100M. This command will locate all files that are greater than 30MB but less than 100 MB. 

    So, these were some simple methods of how to view all files on Mac and delete them. You can either use Finder, Storage Manager, or Terminal to find the biggest files on your Mac and clean up your computer of them. 

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