How to find large files on Mac

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5 min read

If you don’t regularly delete files from your Mac, eventually you’ll run out of space. Not only will you not be able to download new files or install new apps, your Mac will slow down considerably, making even the basic tasks drag for longer than they should. 

The easiest way to solve this is to find the biggest space wasters on Mac — large files, cached data, apps you don’t need — and delete them. 

Let’s see how you can find large files Mac stores in the most efficient way and get rid of them in a few clicks.

How to locate all the large files on Mac

Since you can’t upgrade storage on new Macs after the fact, the only way to get more space is to delete old large files you don’t need. Even if you’ve bought a Mac with extra storage, you’ll only delay the inevitable “the drive is full” problem unless you review your large applications and files regularly. 

The best way to find your biggest files on Mac is to use an app that can do it for you, such as CleanMyMac X.

CleanMyMac X is an all-around optimization app for your Mac, helping you find old large files, scan for malware, delete junk, uninstall apps, free up RAM, improve privacy, and much more. It features one-click scans for anything you want to optimize on your Mac. 

To allow Mac find large files with CleanMyMac X: 

  1. Launch the app
  2. Navigate to Large & Old Files in the sidebar
  3. Scan
  4. Review details, check the files you want to delete, and Remove

    Looking for large and old files...

The way CleanMyMac X lays out files and lets you sort them by kind, size, and access date makes it very easy to check a few and get rid of them on the spot. 

How to find large files manually

Although CleanMyMac X is a convenient way of finding big files that eat up disk space on Mac, it’s not the only one. 

Other common alternatives include using Mac’s native storage manager, looking up files in Finder, and using a Terminal command. 

Search for large files in Storage

If you want to find large files macOS keeps all over the place, you can do so by scanning Storage in System Settings: 

  1. Open System Settings
  2. Navigate to General ➙ Storage
  3. Click in the info icon next to Documents
  4. Select the document you don’t need
  5. Show in Finder
  6. Move to Trash

    Storage utility

Repeat the same process with apps. You can also check out space-saving recommendations given by macOS. 

Since you have to find large files Mac stores one by one with this method, it will take you a while to go through everything.

For faster overview of old large files, you can also use another CleanMyMac X tool called Space Lens: 

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X
  2. Go to Space Lens in the sidebar
  3. Scan
  4. Remove any useless files

    CleanMyMac X's Space Lens

Space Lens allows you to take a visual perspective on how much space your files and folders occupy, something which might surprise you. Just like the Large & Old Files scanner, however, deleting anything you don’t need can be done with one click.

Another quick and visual scan of the big files that eat up disk space comes from Disk Drill. 

Disk Drill is a world-renowned disaster recovery software for Mac. If you notice any files missing from your Mac — whatever the reason — Disk Drill is the easiest way to bring them back. In addition, the app features a user-friendly Clean Up scan that breaks down large files by category and lets you remove them in one click.

To Mac find large files with Disk Drill:

  1. Launch the app
  2. Go to Clean Up in the sidebar
  3. Start Scan
  4. Go through the large files by category and select the ones you don’t need
  5. Remove

    large files by category

Search for large files with Finder

When you want to find large files on your Mac, you don’t have to use third-party apps or even System Settings. There’s an option to sort files, folders, and apps by size right in Finder. 

Here’s how to find large files on Mac using Finder: 

  1. Open Finder
  2. Enable search with the Command + F shortcut
  3. Click This Mac
  4. In the dropdown, go to Other and pick File Size
  5. Select “is greater than” and 100 MB, or any other value
  6. Move files to Trash as needed

    Search for a large files

If you need to use more powerful search functionality, try HoudahSpot. 

HoudahSpot is the best search engine for your Mac. It goes beyond simple keywords and lets you combine advanced criteria, from location to kind to tags, to get the exact results you want. Using this utility you can not only filter files by size, but also add more specificity. For example, to find all the large videos on your Mac that you haven’t opened in more than a year.

search engine for macOS

Use find command via Terminal

As with everything else on your Mac, there’s always an option to use Terminal to get things done, including looking for large applications and files. 

To find files larger than 100 MB with Terminal: 

  1. Launch Terminal from the Utilities folder
  2. Type sudo find / -type f -size +100000k -exec ls -lh {} \; | awk '{ print $9 ": " $5 }’
  3. Press Return 
  4. To remove files, type rm and copy-paste any path from the results

    Search for large files in Terminal

As you can see, learning how to find large files on Mac takes just a few minutes but can save a lot of headache in the future and speed up your Mac in no time. The easiest way to find large files is to use the Large & Old Files scanner in CleanMyMac X. Or you can use HoudahSpot to get specific results. Then simply clean up your Mac with Disk Drill, and you’re good to go!

Best of all, CleanMyMac X, Disk Drill, and HoudahSpot are available to you at no cost for seven days through the trial of Setapp. Setapp is a platform with more than 240 top-rated apps for Mac and iOS across all categories. Try them all for free and discover your new favorites.

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