Table Of Contents:
At some point, you may see the “Your disk is almost full” notification on your Mac. Well, yes, we’ve all been there. Wondering how to find the largest files on Mac (MacBook, MacBook Pro, Air, iMac, etc.)? You’ve come to the right place.
Regardless of how much space you have, we are always craving those extra gigabytes of memory. But even if it appears that there are no significant applications or programs consuming storage, there may be large files concealed deep within your Mac’s memory.
It can be challenging to create more space on a full hard drive, particularly when it is filled with numerous small files. Fortunately, macOS provides some exceptional tools that can assist you in locating the largest files and deleting unnecessary ones. Are you ready to tidy up your disk?
Let’s quickly dive in!
How to Find Biggest Files on Mac?
Tip #1: Find The Largest Files Using Mac Terminal
If you’re someone who uses Terminal and loves to tinker with the command line, then you can use the Terminal app to find large files and free up some much-needed space on your Mac. To find the biggest files on your using Mac Terminal, you can use the following command:
sudo du -a / | sort -n -r | head -n 20
This command will scan your entire hard drive, starting from the root directory, and list the 20 largest files and directories. Here’s what each part of the command does:
- sudo – This command runs the following command with administrator privileges, which is necessary to scan all files on your Mac.
- du -a / – This command displays the disk usage of all files and directories starting from the root directory (/).
- sort -n -r – This command sorts the output numerically (-n) and in reverse order (-r) so that the largest files are listed first.
- head -n 20 – This command displays the first 20 lines of the output, which includes the largest files and directories.
Once the command is executed, you will see a list of the largest files and directories on your Mac, along with their sizes and paths.
So, here’s how you can easily find the largest files on Mac using Mac Terminal.
Tip #2: Hunt the Most Obvious Places
To find the largest files on Mac, we need to search for the most likely place. Users typically begin by scanning various folders on their Macs when searching for large files. However, the most common location for all large files is usually the Downloads folder.
It’s easy to forget to delete files after downloading them, and you may end up with thousands of them cluttering your Downloads folder.
Therefore, examining your Downloads folder on your Mac can reveal numerous forgotten large files and documents that are no longer necessary.
Also, the directory where iTunes saves backups of your iPhone or iPad is one such location that can consume a significant amount of space. This folder can be found at:
The size of your device and the frequency of your backups can result in backup files occupying tens of gigabytes. So, navigate to the above-listed folder location and delete the backups that you no longer want to use in the future to quickly empty space.
Furthermore, the Trash folder in macOS can accumulate a substantial amount of space if it hasn’t been emptied in a while. It’s a good idea to check the Trash folder to determine if any large files are still being stored.
Tip #3: Use the Finder App
Finder’s search filters provide an alternative method for identifying large files on your Mac. To find the biggest files on Mac using Finder, follow these steps:
- Open Finder.
- Click on the search bar located in the top right corner.
- Type any symbol to reveal the “+” button located below the search bar.
- Click on Kind and select “Choose Other…”.
- In the subsequent menu, select “File Size“.
Here, you can instruct your Mac to search for files that exceed a particular size. Start by selecting 100 MB. You will likely discover some old movies and archives. By specifying the file size, you can easily find the largest files on Mac.
Tip #4: Use the Storage Management App on Mac
The storage management app on macOS is a built-in feature that allows users to monitor and manage their disk space. It provides an overview of how your disk space is being utilized, including which file types are taking up the most space.
The storage management app also suggests various ways to free up space, such as deleting unused files, emptying the trash, and removing old email attachments. It can be accessed by going to the Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info> Storage Settings.
In this section, you can observe your available free storage and evaluate the space occupied by various categories. Browse through the categories displayed to identify large files and remove the ones that are no longer needed.
To determine a file’s location, click on it, and its path will be displayed at the bottom of the window. Additionally, the Storage Management app provides the precise size of each file and the date it was last accessed.
So, yes, you can use the Storage Management app to find biggest files on Mac and delete them if you no longer need them. Once you have identified the large files that are occupying significant space on your hard drive, you can choose to delete them directly from the app.
Tip #5: Reveal the Hidden Folders
Well, yes, there may be a huge probability of large files being stored in hidden folders on your Mac.
On your Mac, there are hidden system items and files that are deliberately closed from view by applications. Although they are not large, they might still be worth checking out. Luckily, there is a shortcut combination that can reveal these hidden folders.
To reveal these folders, simply hold down Shift + Command + . (period) in your Home folder. This will unhide the greyed-out folders and allow you to access them. Once you have finished viewing them, you can hide them again by pressing the same shortcut combination.
There are several methods you can use to find the largest files on Mac and free up storage space. Whether you prefer using the Finder search filters, the Storage Management app, or Terminal commands, there is a solution for everyone.
It is important to regularly check for large files on your Mac, as they can take up a significant amount of storage space and slow down your computer’s performance.
By using these different methods, you can easily locate and delete any unnecessary large files and keep your Mac running smoothly.
By following the methods outlined in this blog, you can quickly and easily find large files on your Mac and free up valuable storage space, making your Mac more efficient and enjoyable to use.
Priyanka is a tech enthusiast who likes to write about different kinds of topics in the tech industry. She has expertise in writing problem-solving guides related to Mac computers. You can find her on LinkedIn.