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. Even if it seems like there is no app or program that would take a considerable amount of storage, the large files may be hidden deep down in your Mac’s memory. Keep reading to discover how to locate such files on your Mac and delete them for good. 

Scan the most obvious place 

When looking for large files on their Macs, users often start scanning a bunch of folders stored on their machines. 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. 

Looking for the large items may take some time. Free tools, like CleanMyMac X, can accelerate the process by scanning your Mac’s memory and detecting large files. The only task left for you will be to remove the found files all at once. 

Find large files using Finder 

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

  • Open the Finder.
  • Click on the search bar in the top right.
  • Start typing any symbol.

This will reveal the “+” button below the search bar. 

  • Click the “+”
  • Click on Kind > Choose Other…
  • 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.

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

Although, this method has certain disadvantages. 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. 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.

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

Find large files using the Storage Management app

Another solution is to use the built-in Storage Management app. 

  1. Choose the Apple menu. 
  2. Select 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 Management app 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 machine, you may consider using the Storage Management app tiresome.

How to find biggest files on Mac 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 /home -size 1G
  3. To delete the files enter
    find /home -type f -name *.avi -size +2G -exec rm {}
    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 /home -size +30M -size -100M. This command will locate all files that are greater than 30MB but less than 100MB. 

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

Locate and remove large files using CleanMyMac X

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

Archives selected in LAOF module of CleanMyMacX

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 all 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. Check the boxes for the files you want to delete and click Remove. 

Tip: In the same app, there is a tool called Space Lens. It shows the interactive map of your drive so you can find your largest space wasters. Check that out!👇

Using CleanMyMac X, you can remove all unnecessary files quickly and make some space for more important documents.

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

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