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How Do I Clean Up the Files and Photos On My Mac?

I am cleaning up 30 years of junk on my computer & I know I have lots of duplicates – both photos, text files, and other stuff. How do I find them?

I am trying to clean up all the extra stuff I have lying around and make a cleaner, neater Mac.

Comments: 4 Responses to “How Do I Clean Up the Files and Photos On My Mac?”

    2 years ago

    My advice:
    Elbow grease. Seriously. Nothing compares.

    There is no substitute for going through your files yourself, deciding what to keep, what to archive, what to throw away. As you go, organize. Create folders to group files together. Rename files to make it more obvious what is inside.

    The same for photos. Hopefully, you don't have any true duplicates (photos you imported twice, despite warnings that they were duplicates). But if you do, there's no substitute for scrolling through your All Photos list, noticing the duplicates (which would be side-by-side), and deciding to delete one of the two. As you go along, you can also clear out photos you don't want and maybe re-discover some of your favorite photos and get some joy out of them as a bonus for your hard work.

    Using an app to look for duplicates or somehow automatically decide for you what to keep and what to throw away isn't anything I would recommend.

    If this task seems daunting, then break it up. Do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Spread it out over days and weeks if you like.

    Rick Grossman
    2 years ago

    I've found Gemini 2 helps with duplicates.
    I also created albums and "moved" photos into each. To see what I still needed to sort, I created a smart album (with File > New Smart Album) and use a rule "Album is not any". This smart album will show all photos that are not in any album.

    When I have a few minutes, I move the unsorted into the appropriate folder.
    In the folder, I can see lots of lower quality pics and I delete them.

    2 years ago

    My old way to do the cleanup for Mac is to open a regular folder, and search for “.pdf”. When the window popups up, select “PDF Document”. I was expecting the Smart Folder to point out duplicate files, not that I’d have to look for them myself.

    Rick Grossman
    2 years ago

    If I can add to Clem's comments. Once I see all the PDFs, I will sort them by size. That will allow me focus on the big ones, as well as to see if two files might be the same.

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