Find Large Files in Mac OS X with Search
Whether you’re feeling the pinch as hard drive space runs low or you’re just wondering where all your disk space went, it’s easy to find large files in Mac OS X by using the built-in search tools. You don’t need to use any third party tools here, instead you’ll rely on search operators and the excellent Spotlight locating functionality that is a core feature of all Macs.
If you’ve never used these specific features of the Mac search function before, you’ll find it’s simple to do, just follow these steps to locate files and items based on their size.
How to Find Items Based on File Size on a Mac
This works to locate large files and items in all versions of Mac OS X:
- From the Mac OS Desktop, open any new Finder window to any file directory (except “Recents” *)
- Hit Command+F to bring up Search
- Click on “Kind” filter and select “Other”, then select “File Size” from the attribute list
- Click on the second filter and choose “is greater than”
- In the third space, enter the size to search for anything greater than (ex: 100) and choose either KB, MB, or GB as the final filter
The file and app list below will automatically update as anything larger than the specified file size is found on the hard drive. Be sure that “This Mac” is selected if you’re getting limited results, though you can also use the search limiters to find large files contained within single folders or user directories.
This feature is the same in all versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, regardless of the version, naming and spelling convention.
Want to use this feature to track down large files often? Click on the “Save” button in the upper right corner and you’ll turn the File Size search into a Smart Folder that can be easily accessed from the sidebar for easy future retrieval, plus that folder will constantly be updated with large files only, making it a very useful way to instantly find any big item laying around on a Mac.
If you’re hunting down large files because you’re running low on hard drive capacity, don’t miss these tricks to free up disk space on any Mac. Even if you’re not in dire need of more disk capacity, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you can use a tip or two from that list to find and recover some disk capacity.
One very common pit of enormous files is the user Downloads folder, which often contains .dmg .zip and other downloaded items that have long since been forgotten, so don’t be surprised if you’re using the file size search and discover that directory is consuming much of the disk space, or at the very least, is the primary location of many large files. Typically that directory can be cleared out with little impact, though you will want to confirm the contents and the necessity of keeping them around yourself before making such a drastic move.
* Note: If you are using this feature in the latest versions of MacOS, and you open a Finder window to the “Recents” folder, you will need to start searching for a filename and then click the + button before you can access the search filters. You can avoid that additional step by going to any other directory other than the Recents folder.
What do you think of this great search ability and being able to locate files based on size, and to find large files on a Mac? Let us know your experiences in the comments.