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I am looking for space! I would like to search for all large folders and files. I found this answer but so far my searches failed to show some of the large files, including a .pkg file that was in my home directory (the 'house' icon). I just use "normal" finder, and then with the controls - where I am trying to find a way to say size > 100MB or something to that effect. But I don't even see size.

I also can not see how to display all folders on my computer where again folder size > 100MB. Are these possible using the Finder controls?

edit: To address the comments I've added an additional example. It's the selective file type that's bothering me. Here I create some files with python and look with Finder. Finder decides that I should not know about two of the files because the "Kind" is "Document". If I display the folder, they are there, but Finder won't show them if I'm searching.

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import json

y = [3,1,5,2,0]

np.save("TestDifferent", y)

with open("TestDifferent.json", "w") as outfile:
    json.dump(y, outfile)

with open("TestDifferent.txt", "w") as outfile:
    outfile.write(str(y))

with open("TestDifferent.weird", "w") as outfile:
    outfile.write(str(y))

plt.figure()
plt.plot(y)
plt.savefig("TestDifferent")
plt.show()

enter image description here

enter image description here

screen shot 1 of Finder

screen shot 2 of Finder

  • Have you clicked the Kind list box and selected Other... and then select a different search attribute, e.g. File Size or Logical size? – user3439894 Feb 20 '16 at 1:57
  • Thanks @user3439894! I've added two screenshots and modified the wording of the question. Briefly, I would like a list of all files > 100MB in one place, without regard to file type. The .pkg is just an example of a file that it is leaving out. – uhoh Feb 20 '16 at 10:08
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It is not possible to search for folders by file size. The combined size of all files and folders contained in a folder is computed on the fly by Finder when you ask for it.

For normal Finder windows, you can enable the option to “Calculate all sizes” in View > View Options. That option is not available for search results.

What you can do is search for files that were recently added to the system and then check the total size of folders where such a files were found. While the file you find using this method may be small, it can be part of a larger collection of files you have downloaded or installed.

I have written a blog post that shows how to find large files and folders. In the blog post I use HoudahSpot. Full disclosure: I am the developer of HoudahSpot.

You can use much the same techniques with Finder. HoudahSpot however makes it easier to set up the search. It also has the ability to show the “total size” of folders as a column in search results. You can also use HoudahSpot to quickly compute the total size of a folder.

Both Finder and HoudahSpot search the Spotlight index. Neither will be able to find system files. Yet HoudahSpot will come up with search results that the Finder intentionally hides.

BTW, if disk space "went missing” just recently, try restarting your Mac. This will clean up temporary files left behind by applications.

  • Thanks for the information @PierreBernard. Wow, I'm surprised one can't search for folders by size with Finder. There must be some underlying reason why this isn't possible, since it would be so helpful. Any idea why my list of all files by size (first screen shot) omits unusual file types (e.g. .pkg or .npy)? Is this also impossible in Finder? – uhoh Feb 20 '16 at 14:55
  • The Finder hides most of the content of the Library folders. That’s why you often see files missing from Finder search results. – Pierre Bernard Feb 20 '16 at 15:20
  • The case of .pkg is interesting. There are two Uniform Type Identifies that map to the .pkg extension: com.apple.installer-package and com.apple.installer-package-archive. Autocomplete in the Finder search field tries to be helpful and suggest you search for “Kind:installer package archive”. This makes you miss out on the non-archive type. – Pierre Bernard Feb 20 '16 at 15:23
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    Try the following at the command line in Terminal.app: find / -size +100M 2> /dev/null. – Pierre Bernard Feb 23 '16 at 8:14
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    You can learn more about the find command in its manual. Type man find to open the man pages. Hit space to scroll. Hit q to quit. I assume you are using the bash shell which has been the default on Mac for some years now. 2> redirects the error output. /dev/null is a virtual file. 2> /dev/null makes error messages go nowhere so you see only standard output in the Terminal window. You can redirect standard output to a file by writing > /path/to/file. Be careful: this overwrites the file. Use >> /path/to/file to append. – Pierre Bernard Feb 23 '16 at 14:16
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Mac's Finder search limits where your results come from. I'd recommend two solutions, both of which are free (one with a free trial).

The first is EasyFind (free) from Devon Technologies and truly searches the entire directory of your Mac. It's vital for getting a true search on your Mac.

The second solution is very handy for finding the culprits of large HD space: DaisyDisk (free trial). DaisyDisk will analyze a specified drive and then provide you with an interactive drill down to determine which files exactly are causing the issues.

  • There's also GrandPerspective freeware, which does a similar job to DaisyDisk. – Tetsujin Feb 20 '16 at 9:36
  • This looks more like an advertisement than an answer @BenHolland. Please double check the last sentence of my question again, thanks! – uhoh Feb 20 '16 at 10:06
  • Having read your last sentence again, the simple answer is "no", as the beginning of this answer mentions. The Finder will not search everywhere. That's why things like EasyFind exist. – Tetsujin Feb 20 '16 at 10:40
  • When I worked at Apple, the notorious "how do I know what to delete when my drive is full?" came up constantly. Besides the About This Mac > Storage pane, Apple really doesn't provide any tools to resolve this issue, hence my answer above. I've helped hundreds of people resolve the issue, and the two items above are the most helpful. – Ben Holland Feb 20 '16 at 15:41
  • Thanks @Tetsujin. This answer says "...limits where your results come from." Should it say "...limits which file types it displays." instead? I think the issue is file type in my case. Finder certainly does look in that directory very nicely. – uhoh Feb 21 '16 at 12:10

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