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how to find large files mac

Tutorial: How to Find Large Files on Mac Computers

Dealing with large files has been a common burden for many Mac users. Apple's machine can get pricey for high internal storage so most Mac computer users are always limited by their native storage so it is crucial to keep enough free space at all times.

In this article, we show you how to find large files on Mac and then the easiest ways to remove them efficiently. It is true that you don't need a third-party Mac application to be able to carry out this task. However, for many, it will be worth the convenience and time savings to utilize a Mac Cleaner like CleanMyMac X to locate any oversized files on your machine and remove them in just a few clicks.

Automatically Locate Large Files On Your Mac With CleanMyMac X

If you aren't a very tech or Mac savvy user, I'd recommend utilizing a premium Mac Cleaner like CleanMyMac to quickly and efficiently locate any large files on your Apple computer then safely delete those which are unnecessarily taking up a lot of space. A storage management app like this makes it easy to check how much space is being taken up by junk files with just a quick scan.

CleanMyMac X has a dedicated ‘Large & Old Files' section which is dedicated to just that. With only a few clicks you can start scanning your entire Mac and view every file by size, date accessed, or file type. This still will also ensure that all the files flagged for are not part of the macOS operating system itself thus saving you from a major headache of accidentally deleting important system files.

Large Old Files CleanMyMac X 1

Once it spits out a potentially long list of big files, you'll have a review files option where you can determine which specific files you actually wish to delete. Once you have come to the conclusion of which are unnecessary files, you can simply select them and click delete files to remove them all at once.

What's the downside? CleanMyMac X is a paid Mac cleaning application although it is worth the license fee for many reasons beyond finding large files on your Mac. In actuality, using CleanMyMac X regularly will keep your Mac operating in top shape and help you delete temporary or junk files to the point where you might not even have to delete any large, more important files.

The regular pricing goes for $39.95 a year, but you should check the product page as there are promotional discounts offered regularly. They also offer full access to CleanMyMac X as well as dozens of other premium Mac apps through their Setapp subscription which is $9.99 a month with a free 7-day trial.

CleanMyMac X on Setapp

How To Manually Find Large Files On Your Mac Computer

If you don't want to go the premium application route, you can always follow these steps to manually find large files on Mac and then delete them from your machine.

  1. Open ‘About This Mac' from the  Apple menu
  2. Click on the ‘Storage' tab
  3. From there click on the ‘Manage…' button (top right of window)
  4. Click on the ‘Documents' tab then filter by ‘Large Files' at the top
  5. From there you'll be able to view large files from a list and manually choose which ones are unnecessary
  6. Once you've found one click on it to highlight it then click the ‘Delete' button (bottom right)
  7. Repeat the same process for the ‘Applications' tab within this same window
Documents Folder Large Files on Mac

5 Likely Places for Data Heavy Files & Folders on MacOS

As you'll likely find out from your file scanning, there are some common places where oversized files tend to accumulate. Keeping an eye on these areas can help your Mac avoid storage shortages.

Here are the five most common offending areas that you should perform regular storage management on:

1) Downloads Folder

One of the most common places to rack up large, unnecessary files is your downloads folder. After all, the internet is full of files and you'll be downloading a lot of them. If you don't regularly keep an eye on your downloads folder, then none of those files will ever get deleted thus taking up a lot of valuable space.

By doing a once-a-month scanning and purging of your downloads folder, you'll be able to keep this area under control and delete large files before they become too big of a burden.

2) Documents Folder

Your documents folder is another common place to find a lot of large files stored. This is particularly true if you have a lot of photos, videos or music files that are natively stored in the area through multimedia editing software.

Unlike the downloads folder, the documents folder will likely have a lot more files that you won't want to delete as they are meaningful and necessary files to keep. However, in some cases, there may be duplicate files or files that you don't need on your machine long-term that could be better stored on the cloud or on an external hard drive.

3) Trash Folder

The trash folder is another frequent offending area in which you might find large files stored. All files or folders that you delete will automatically be brought to your trash folder before you permanently delete them.

This can be misleading as you often delete things, but don't realize it still may be taking up valuable disk space on your Mac. Clearing out your trash regularly is an easy way to regain disk space and keep your machine running smoothly.

4) Applications

While most applications are likely something you'll want to keep, sometimes you'll find yourself with low disk space and old, used applications with a large file size still around that you could delete to save space.

5) iTunes

There is a lot of iTunes caches and system junk your music, video or podcast content that can pile up over time. If you find and delete large files in the iTunes cache you can often reduce clutter pretty easily.

Final Verdict

If you don't want to pay a premium for the convenience of a Mac Cleaner, there are ways to find and delete large files on your Mac manually. In order to avoid these problems entirely, it's good practice to do monthly scans of your Mac's content primarily of the Downloads folder or Documents folders–especially if you have a lot of multimedia files stored natively within those areas. Once you've found one big file take care of it immediately before deleting anything else!

I hope this article helped you on how to find large files Mac.