7 Ways to Find and Organize Files on Mac

Mac has many applications used to sort out and find files, folders, and other data on the system. You do not necessarily need paid apps or software to do this. You can either start with the built-in apps or functions to do this, or you can simply use third-party apps that are free to use and easy to work with.

To find and organize files on Mac, you can use iCloud, where you can choose to sync the important files and folders and keep them in a single place. Moving on, you can use Spotlight Search to find the files on Mac and organize them using the Smart Folder system or even by Merging Folders. Furthermore, some other third-party tools you can use for the same are Gemini 2, Hazel, etc.

This article details the various tools used to organize and find files on a Mac. Furthermore, some of the tools are found by default on Mac, while others are third-party software.

7 Ways to Find and Organize Files on Mac

1. Using iCloud Drive to Sort Files

iCloud includes all Apple devices with five GB of free cloud storage. iCloud can be used to sort photos and videos while syncing them across all other devices using the same iCloud ID.

Furthermore, this can be done on any Apple device, including Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Refer to the following instructions to learn how it is done.

  • Head over to System Preferences from the Menu bar. 
  • Click on Apple ID
  • Select iCloud from the sidebar
  • Make sure the checkbox next to the iCloud Drive option is checked.
Find and Organize Files on Mac
  • Select the folders and applications you want to sync on your iCloud Drive. 
  • Any changes made within these applications and folders will be reflected on every single device using the same iCloud ID. 

2. Using Gemini 2 to Find & Remove Duplicate Files

Duplicate files and copies can take up a lot of space on your Mac’s hard disk, especially if they’re copies of large files. Finding and deleting duplicates is one of the first steps you should take when organizing files on a Mac.

However, Mac does not have any native function for this specific task. You can use third-party software like Gemini 2 to scan your hard disk quickly and list duplicate files.

  • Head over to the Gemini 2 website and download it. 
  • You can also install the application from the AppStore. 
  • Open the application and click on the “+” icon on the main screen. 
  • Click on the Home folder and select Smart cleanup.
How to Find and Organize Files on Mac
  • The application will look for duplicate files and folders on your hard disk and delete them automatically. 
  • You also have the option to manually sift through the results and select which ones to delete. 

3. Merging Folders

When you try to merge two folders with the same name on a Mac, you’ll get a message asking if you want to replace the folder.

This is a little confusing as if you replace the folder, the contents of the other folder will be replaced by the new one, causing unwanted data loss. However, there is a workaround to this issue.

  • Open a Finder window on your Mac. 
  • Find the folder that you want to copy and select it. 
  • Drag it over to the folder you want to merge it with but this time, hold down the Option key before dropping the folder.
Find and Organize Files on Mac
  • A Merge option shows up, click on it, and the folder and all of its files merge into one. 
  • If any files have the same name, a suffix will be added so that none of the images are replaced. 

4. Using Terminal to Organize Files

Terminal has a dedicated command to merge files into one. The ‘Ditto’ command is used for this method; refer to the steps below to see how it is done.

  • Open a finder window and head over to the Applications tab. 
  • Open Terminal. 
  • Now, type in: ditto ~/source_folder ~/target_folder
  • Here, the source_folder and targer_folder should be replaced with the names of the two folders that you want to merge. 
  • An alternative is to drag and drop the file path into the Terminal window instead of typing them out. 

5. Using Hazel to Organize Files on Your Mac

Hazel is a third-party paid software developed by Noodlesoft. Hazel can be used to create multiple rules on the basis of which you can organize your files and folders. Head over to the Noodlesoft website to download the software.

Furthermore, it has a pretty easy-to-use interface, and you can create any sort of customization that you want. For example, files that haven’t been used in over a week will be categorized into a separate folder labeled as “action items.”

6. Using Spotlight to Search For Files on Mac

Spotlight is the default search tool used on a Mac. It’s fairly easy to use and can be adjusted according to personal preferences. Here are the steps on how to use it.

  • Press the Command-Space shortcut to launch Spotlight. 
  • Type any search term in the box. 
  • Alternatively, you can also click on the small search icon on the Menu bar. 
  • You can also use the search bar to look for results on the web.

7. Organizing Files Using Smart Folders

Smart folders are like folder tags that can be helpful if you want a specific folder to be searched first. Moreover, nothing has to be copied into a smart folder.

Instead, they’re created within folders and collected files based on specified search criteria. Read the following steps to know how it is done.

  • Navigate to the folder that you want to be searched first using a Finder window. 
  • Click on File from the Menu bar and select New smart folder
  • Click on the “+” icon on the right side of the window and set the search criteria that you want the folder to be associated with. 
  • Click on Save, and the folder will be created. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I really need paid applications to organize files on my Mac?

No, it’s not necessary to download any third-party software to organize files on your Mac. There is plenty of free software that will help you to do the tasks. Furthermore, you can even use iCloud and Smart Folders on your Mac itself to organize the files.

2. What is the best way to search for files on Mac?

The Spotlight search is the best method to find files and folders on Mac. Furthermore, if you are looking for a specific file based on date, size, content, etc., you can use the in-built search section on Finder to look for such files within a single tap.


As you saw, several methods can be used to find and organize files on a Mac. Mac does not make it easy to organize files, so using third-party software in some cases might be the best way. Furthermore, Spotlight is still the best method to search for files on your Mac and the web due to its vast resources.

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