You know how it goes: you boot up your Mac with the startup disk half empty, and by the end of the day it’s borderline full. Exaggerations aside, it is not uncommon for free disk space to dramatically shrink in day-to-day use. Large media files, dmgs, all sorts of archives — are easily left behind and forgotten in the Downloads folder. They can take up tons of space too. Instead of trying to gun them down by manually browsing through catalogs of folders on your Mac, follow the tips below to quickly check up on all the large files.

#1 Set up Smart Folders on OS X to Find Large Files

Often underlooked, Smart Folders on Mac can provide sorting and filtering functionality that is easy to pick up and hard to give up. Large files are not exempt. To quickly locate big files on your Mac computer:

search file size smart folder setup

With all the filters in place you will see all the files exceeding the size of 200 MBs all in one place. To make files easier to manage, change the view mode to list. Having everything in one place lets you conveniently drag and drop items to Trash to make more room on your drive.

For those of you dealing with large files on regular basis, you can save the Smart Folder configuration for quick and easy sidebar access. After configuring the filters, hit Save in the upper right corner, name the folder, and make sure the Add to Sidebar box is checked. Hit Save and your Smart Folder will appear in the sidebar — easy as ABC.

smart folder preferences save

#2 Delete Large Files Using Mac’s Reduce Clutter

Configurable Smart Folders make up for a great search tool as it allows to specify file size. Yet when working with an extensive list of files and looking to remove directly from the list of results — the built-in Reduce Clutter feature takes the cake.

To access Optimize Storage features (available on macOS Sierra and later):

access mac optimize storage

Reduce Clutter will locate and identify big files on your Mac. With the help of filters you can effortlessly sort the results by size or last accessed date making it simple to determine which ones have been clogging your drive without even being used. The built-in utility also enables you to delete or access file location directly from the list. Hover over the file for the buttons to show up.

mac reduce clutter utility

#3 Run Third-Party Utility to Find Large Files

When there is no time & desire to navigate multiple menus or open Finder to configure Smart Folder filters to locate large files, maintenance utilities come into play. Most of you who take good care of your Apple computers already have a go-to cleaning utility of choice which should include a big files scanner.

Besides having a more user-friendly interface, the core advantage of apps like MacFly Pro over the manual approach to finding large files is in automation. Take MacFly Pro for example, with the help of built-in Smart Assistant it will automatically give you notice of big files that are on your Mac for over 30 days. You also keep the option of scanning for large files manually:

macflypro find big files

With all these options laid out, it all comes down to personal preference. While third-party utilities can have an edge in usability, layout, and functionality, good ones usually come with a price tag. The price can be hard to justify, unless you will be putting full cleaning potential of the application to use.