How To Merge Two Folders On a Mac

Merging two folders can seem difficult or impossible until you learn this trick. While it is easy to drag and drop new files into an existing folder, you'll need to decide which ones to keep and which to replace on a file-by-file basis. However, a hidden feature of the macOS Finder lets you merge the files in folders, keeping the newest versions.


Comments: 11 Responses to “How To Merge Two Folders On a Mac”

    nick
    9 months ago

    Great tip Gary, had no idea Merge existed in Finder. On a related note, over the years I learned to take the time to come up with meaningful folder structure and file names, which include modifiers such as, dates, version numbers, etc. That way I know what version I have just by looking at the name. thx

    Eric
    9 months ago

    VisualDiffer (https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/visualdiffer/id412386481?mt=12) is your friend for this as the content differences can be inspected before arbitarily getting a file with a more recent time-stamp.

    Still, it is handy to know about the facility described by Gary.

    Rocky
    9 months ago

    Excellent tip, Gary! I have needed this SO many times. Thanks!

    Pathy
    9 months ago

    Gary, thank you for pointing out these hidden gems! This is so useful and I had no idea this capability was built into MacOS.

    Lawrence Moore
    9 months ago

    Does merging work when there are subfolders within the two folders to be merged? Are the latest files retained in the subfolders? Thx.

    Lawrence Moore
    9 months ago

    Related topic suggestion: How to merge Photos' libraries.

    9 months ago

    Lawrence: Yes, subfolders are merged too. Try it and see. Photos libraries are a whole different topic. There's no good way to merge them. You have to take the smaller/older/less important one, export the photos to files, then import them into the main library.

    Juan
    4 months ago

    I am trying to merge music folders (backing up to an external drive). Do I need to have the total space available to complete the merge. Right now I have the external HD library of 928 GB / 2TB available but I am trying to merge an updated internal library of 982 GB. Currently getting error, not enough space. Trying to save the deltas.

    4 months ago

    Juan: Not sure I understand your situation. If you have 2TB free, then adding 982 GB, even if it was all new, shouldn't be a problem.

    Marc Ye
    4 months ago

    When I hold down the option key, select the folder I want to merge from one drive (not Macintosh HD) into another external drive (the folders have the exact same name), I get a seperate window that opens up asking me to "manage disk space" and not the box with the merge button. What am I doing wrong?

    4 months ago

    Marc: It's different if you are talking about separate drives. Try the Command key instead. Or, move the folders to the same drive and then do what I show in the video.

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