Best duplicate file finders

7 min read

Keeping your Mac files neatly organized and easy to find feels great. You don’t have to waste time when you need to find something, your work becomes more efficient, and you use less hard drive storage space.

If your Desktop, Downloads, and Documents folders look like a file explosion just went off, one of the easiest ways to start organizing them is to install a duplicate files finder, which will locate all the unneeded file copies and delete them, freeing up space in the process.

What is the best duplicate file finder and remover for Mac?

Finding and removing duplicate files is an essential part of Mac organization. Not only does it help instantly reduce the number of files in your main folders, but it also significantly lowers the amount of storage space required — so much so that you could possibly have a smaller (i.e. cheaper) hard drive on your Mac or a lower storage tier with your cloud provider.

The best thing about duplicate file scanners is that they only delete copies of files — the originals will still stay on your Mac, so you’re not losing any data. The best duplicate finders will even detect similar files that don’t have enough useful differences to merit keeping them all on your Mac. 

Plus, if you find your Mac running at max storage capacity all the time, it’s going to be slower than those that have plenty of space on the hard drive. This is because Macs use storage for processing tasks, essentially turning it into temporary RAM. 

The key benefit of using duplicate remover tools is that they give you all these instant performance boosters with none of the downsides. Simply regularly check your Mac for duplicates and reap the rewards.

Personally, the idea of having duplicate photos or any other unneeded files on my Mac and iPhone makes me shiver. I try to manually remove similar files I don’t need but inevitably miss quite a few. That’s why I still scan my devices with a duplicate finder around once a week. 

Here are the top duplicate file finders for Mac. 


Gemini: AI-powered duplicate detection

Gemini is one of the most simple, powerful, and intuitive duplicate files finders out there. A winner of the 2017 Red Dot Design Award for its interface, it packs a serious punch under a single-button design.

Gemini duplicate files finder for macOS

Drop any folder into Gemini (including your Home folder), and it’ll scan it for duplicate or even similar-looking files (e.g. multiple photos of the same bridge, identical music files saved in different audio formats) and preselect less optimal versions for deletion. You’ll still have a chance to make the final call and adjust the selection. Then click Remove to delete the versions you don’t want.

delete old duplicates and similars on a Mac

Gemini has recently added a self-learning AI model to its selections, which monitors the selections you keep and adjusts its future behavior to your actions. And if you ever delete something you should’ve kept — don’t worry — you can still see all recently deleted files and restore the ones you need.

Pros

  • Beautiful and easy-to-use interface
  • AI that adjusts to your workflow
  • Ability to restore recently deleted files

Cons

  • Steep one-time purchase price of $45, unless used on an annual subscription plan or through Setapp

Disk Drill: Find duplicates and recover lost files

Disk Drill is one of the world’s leading file recovery tools and, as such, should already be a staple in your Applications folder. 

Find duplicate files with Disk Drill

But not everyone knows that on top of pro-level file recovery, Disk Drill features multiple extra tools, ranging from backups to disk space cleanups, to data shredding, to duplicate detection. 

To see if there are any duplicates on your Mac:

  1. Launch Disk Drill.
  2. Choose a duplicate file finder from the sidebar. 
  3. Open or drop a folder into the app’s window. 

    Folders to scan for duplicates

  4. Click Start Scan. 
  5. Remove any found duplicates. 

While the duplicate finding is not Disk Drill’s main selling feature, it has no problem detecting the same files in any folder or your whole Mac. If you don’t need extensive duplicate-finding features, Disk Drill gives you a 2-for-1 in terms of being able to recover files and delete duplicates at the same time.

Pros

  • Straightforward duplicate-finding functionality
  • File recovery, file shredding, and backups as extra features

Cons

  • Can’t suggest similar files for deletion
  • No extra features to speed up your workflow

Cisdem Duplicate Finder

Another powerful duplicate file scanner is Duplicate Finder by Cisdem. This app can scan any folder, your entire Mac, and even external hard drives for the same files.

Cisdem interface

Cisdem app it acts as a duplicate photo finder as well as iTunes duplicate music finder, locating those photos and songs that were copied or downloaded multiple times over the years. 

In fact, just like Gemini, Cisdem Duplicate Finder highlights photos that are nearly identical but have insignificant differences, prompting you to only keep the best version. Unlike Gemini, Cisdem doesn’t feature an adaptable AI model and works with simpler algorithms. 

Cisdem Duplicate Finder is not free. The license will cost you $19.99 for one year or $39.99 to buy the app forever. 

Pros

  • Lots of configurations for scanning criteria
  • Duplicate photo and music finder

Cons

  • The app could be improved with AI features

Nektony Duplicate File Finder

One more contender for the best duplicate finder is Nektony. The app lets you scan any Mac or external drive folder for duplicates and then remove them automatically or go through them manually one by one.

Find and remove duplicate files, folders, pictures and music files using Nektony

Like Cisdem, Nektony covers photo and audio libraries, which tend to always take up a lot of space. In addition, Nektony has a direct file and folder comparison feature, which lets you see whether any two files or folders are identical, and what the differences are. 

One unique Nektony Duplicate File Finder feature is merging folders. Simply select two folders on your Mac, and Nektony will merge them into one. The app is available through the App Store, so the pricing differs for every country, but you can expect to pay around $9.99 for a monthly license, $19.99 for an annual one, and $49.99 to keep the app forever. 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • The ability to compare two files or folders
  • The ability to merge two folders into one

Cons

  • Both the $9.99 monthly and $49.99 forever licenses seem expensive

dupeGuru: Free duplicate finder

As one of the original cross-platform duplicate finders, dupeGuru finds identical files on macOS, Linux, and Windows devices.

dupeGuru website

Unlike other apps, dupeGuru scans for either contents or filenames (even similar filenames), which opens up more opportunities to find copies of files that should be deleted. 

The same goes for photos and music. Due to its fuzzy scanning algorithm, dupeGuru detects similar but not exactly the same files. You can specify the exact type of duplicates you want to find in Preferences. 

Overall, dupeGuru is great (and free). But there’s one major downside — you can’t run it on up-to-date macOS versions. The last fully supported macOS for dupeGuru was 10.12 Sierra. Since then, the developers haven’t really updated the code, so new macOS versions like Sonoma won’t let you open the app for security reasons.

Pros

  • Free and open-source
  • Scan filenames or contents
  • Scan similar files

Cons

  • Not updated for recent macOS versions

The best duplicate files finder for iPhone

When it comes to finding duplicate files on your iPhone and iPad, no app is as fast and comprehensive as CleanMy®Phone. 

CleanMy®Phone is an all-in-one phone optimizer. It cleans up duplicates, similar files, and other clutter; tests your network speed; and organizes your photo library for convenient access. 

What sets CleanMy®Phone apart is that it’s by far the best photo duplicate finder on iOS. It combines duplicate or similar photos in clusters that you can quickly scroll through to identify the best shots to keep. 

In my experience, weekly CleanMy®Phone scanning has been the best iOS solution for keeping dozens of similar screenshots off my phone.

To find duplicates with CleanMy®Phone: 

  1. Install and open the CleanMy®Phone app. 
  2. Tap Scan. 
  3. Go through all the selected files and tap on the ones to keep. 
  4. Tap Clean to delete duplicates. 

    Clean iPhone storage using CleanMyPhone app

The best duplicate file finder for Mac and iPhone

While every app listed above has its advantages, if you tend to process lots of files and have lots of duplicates, Gemini is the best app to keep your Mac organized. For occasional duplicate scanning, Disk Drill might suffice as well, since it comes with a powerful and super helpful file recovery functionality. For iPhone and iPad, CleanMy®Phone should cover all your needs. 

Try Gemini, Disk Drill, and CleanMy®Phone for seven days — free. Simply start a Setapp trial and get a full week to explore more than 240 Mac and iOS apps in its collection. Setapp features curated apps across multiple categories, so give them all a try at no cost and find your new favorites. 

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