macOS has an efficient system to help you search for files and folders in your storage. You can run searches containing specific words or other criteria to find the items you are looking for. What makes finding things even easier is the Smart Folders feature built into the Finder.
Smart Folders, as the name implies, are a type of folder that allows you to quickly find the items you are looking for. But say, a Smart Folder doesn’t actually a folder. It’s a search with certain criteria that you have saved on your machine.
While it is very useful, it is not widely used and you are missing out by not taking advantage of this feature.
Create a Smart Folder on MacOS
Creating a new Smart Folder on a Mac is a pain. All you need to do is click an option in Finder and you will have a window open to create and save your new Smart Folder.
- To get started, make sure you’re in a Finder window. Then click File at the top and select the option that says New Smart Folder.
- Once you have specified your options, you need to save the folder. Click Save on the screen, enter a name for your Smart Folder, choose where you want to save it, and click Save.
- You can tick Add to sidebar if you want the folder to appear in the sidebar of your Finder window.
- Once the folder is saved, you can open it like any other folder and it will display all the files that meet your Smart Folder criteria.
If you’re completely new to this type of folder and you want some pointers, here are some useful Smart Folders uses that you might want to try.
Find recently created files with smart folders
If you frequently need to access recent files on your Mac, you can create a Smart Folder that automatically retrieves all your recent files with a single click.
- Create a new Smart Folder as usual. When the screen asking for directory criteria appears, enter the following and press Save.
Search > This Mac Created date > is > within last > 2 > days
You can change “2” to any number of days you want.
- Save the folder and when you launch it, it will show the files that were created in the last 2 days on your entire Mac.
Find large files with smart folders
If you’re running low on storage space on your Mac, you can use Smart Folders criteria that will list all the large files on your Mac.
This way you can find large files that take up a significant portion of your storage but are deep in nested folders on your machine.
- Create a new Smart Folder and use the following criteria for it.
File Size > is greater than > 1 > GB
- It will list all files larger than 1 gigabyte in size on your Mac. You can then get rid of any large files that you no longer use on your machine.
View downloaded application files
Most of the apps that you download for your Mac from various websites come in the form of DMG packages. Once you’ve installed such an app and it starts appearing in Launchpad on your Mac, you don’t need these DMG package files anymore.
You can create Smart Folders to find such files and then delete them from your Mac.
- For Smart Folder criteria, choose the following:
File extension > is > dmg
- It will find and list all the dmg files that exist on your Mac. You can then get rid of those files by moving them to the Trash.
Find duplicate files on your Mac
Duplicate files not only create unnecessary clutter, but they also take up precious memory space on your Mac.
So it is important that you find such files and permanently delete them from your Mac.
Since most duplicate files have numbers like (1), (2), etc., at the end of the filename, you can use the criteria below to find duplicate files on your Mac.
- Hold Right to buy and click + (plus sign) to add criteria. Then choose other options as follows:
Any > of the following are true Name > contains > (1) Name > contains > (2) Name > contains > (3)
You can continue with these numbers to find as many duplicate files as possible on your Mac.
Find unused apps on your Mac
There may be some apps you installed on your Mac but you no longer use. Here’s how you can find such unused apps on your machine using Smart Folders.
- Enter the following criteria and save and launch the Smart Folder.
Kind > is > Application Last opened date > is > before > 19/08/2017
The Smart Folder above will list all the apps you haven’t opened after August 19, 2017 (or whatever date you choose to import). This gives you a clear idea of unused apps on your Mac.
Find photos taken on certain devices
If you want to retrieve a list of all the photos that have been taken on a certain device, such as a OnePlus device, you can do so by using Smart Folders on your Mac.
- Use the following criteria to find all photos taken with a OnePlus device on your Mac. If you don’t find one or more of the options mentioned below in the dropdown by default, click Other in the drop-down menu and enable those options.
Kind > is > Image > All Device make > matches > OnePlus
It will scan the EXIF data of your images and show you images that the device manufacturer matches with OnePlus.