macOS has an efficient way to help you search for files and folders in your memory. You can perform searches that contain 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 suggests, is a type of folder that allows you to quickly find the items you are looking for. But in saying this, a smart folder is not in reality a folder. It’s more of a search with certain criteria that you have saved on your machine.
While it’s so useful, it’s not widely used and you’re missing out on not taking advantage of this feature.
Creating a smart folder on MacOS
Creating a new Smart Folder on a Mac is a breeze. All you have to do is click on an option in the Finder and you’ll have the window open to create and save your new Smart Folder.
- To get started, make sure you’re inside a Finder window. Then click File top menu and select the option that says New smart folder.
- After specifying the options, you need to save the folder. Click on Save button on the screen, enter a name for your smart folder, select where you want to save it and click Save.
- You can tick the Add to sidebar option if you want the folder to appear in the sidebar of Finder windows.
- Once the folder is saved, you can open it like any other folder and it will display all files that meet the criteria of your Smart folder.
If you are completely new to this type of folder and want some tips, here are some useful uses of Smart Folder you could try.
Find recently created files with Smart Folders
If you often need to access recent files on your Mac, you can create a smart folder that automatically fetches all your recent files with just one click.
- Create a new smart folder as you normally would. When the screen to ask for folder criteria appears, enter the following and press Save.
Search > This Mac Created date > is > within last > 2 > days
You can edit “2” on any number of days you wish.
- Save the folder and when you launch it, it will display the files that were created in the last 2 days on the whole Mac.
Find large files with Smart Folders
If you are running out of memory space on your Mac, you can use Smart Folder criteria which will list all the large files that are on your Mac.
This way you can find large files that take up a significant portion of your storage space but are located deep in nested folders on your computer.
- 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 on your Mac. You can then get rid of all these large files that you no longer use on your machine.
View the downloaded app files
Most of the apps you download for your Mac from various sites come as a DMG package. Once you have such an app installed and it starts appearing in Launchpad on your Mac, you no longer need these DMG package files.
You can create a smart folder to find such files and then delete them from your Mac.
- For Smart Folder criteria, select 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
Not only do duplicate files create unnecessary clutter, they also take up valuable memory space on your Mac.
So it is important to find such files and permanently delete them from your Mac.
As most of the duplicate files have numbers like (1), (2), etc. At the end of the filenames, you can use the criteria below to find duplicate files on your Mac.
- Press and hold the Option button and click + (plus) sign to add a criterion. Then select the 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 on your Mac as possible.
Find unused apps on Mac
There may be some apps that you have installed on your Mac but you no longer use them. Here’s how you can find such unused apps on your computer with Smart Folders.
- Enter the following criteria and save and start Smart Folder.
Kind > is > Application Last opened date > is > before > 19/08/2017
The Smart folder above will list any apps you haven’t opened after August 19, 2017 (or whatever date you choose to enter). This gives you a clear idea of the unused apps on your Mac.
Find photos taken on certain devices
If you want to recover a list of all the photos that have been captured on a certain device, such as a OnePlus device, you can do so using a Smart folder on your Mac.
- Use the following criteria to find all photos taken using a OnePlus device on your Mac. If you don’t find one or more of the options mentioned below in the drop-down menus by default, click Other option 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 the images where the device manufacturer matches OnePlus.