Spring Cleaning: Use Spotlight To Find Huge Files [OS X Tips]


File Size Photo

I’m kind of a stickler for a clean hard drive, especially since I started using Macbook Airs a few years back, what with their tiny little SSD units. I’ve moved most of my music to the Cloud and my iPhoto library to an external hard drive, but there’s still a ton of cruft that ends up on my system.

So, once a month or so, I sort my Movies, Applications, and Downloads folders by size, and delete the biggest things I don’t need anymore. Or I move them to an external hard drive for access later.

What I’ve never done before is use Spotlight to find these files easily across all my folders.

It’s kind of ingenious, really, so hats off to Matt Elliot over at CNET, who pointed this out.

drop down

Open a Finder window and hit Command-F on your keyboard to bring up the window-based Spotlight function. Now, click on the drop-down menu, where it says Kind and choose Other.


A big pane will slide down, giving you a metric ton of options. Type “Size” into the search box at the top of this window, and then choose File Size for your filter type. Click on the checkbox to the right if you want to be able to select it from the original Kind drop down menu in the future.

file size

Now, click on the drop down menu that says “is equal to” and change that to “is greater than,” because we’re looking for big files at this point. Type a number into the field to the right of that, changing the unit drop down menu to GB. I wanted to find any files greater than 2 GB to see if I needed to dump any of them. You can choose any number you like, and then delete the ones that you no longer need.

This is just a faster way to do what we’ve been doing all along–finding big files that we’re not using and moving them along to the Trash or other storage.



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