With alluringly accessible apps, photos, videos, and songs, storage can be a precious commodity. MacPaw's Gemini ($9.99) helps you free up hard drive space on your Mac by flagging and removing duplicate files. Whether redundancies run riot in your iTunes, iPhoto, Downloads, or Documents folders, Gemini makes ferreting them out fast, and even fun. Gemini lacks the controls of some competitors, and it doesn't always find every duplicate (particularly those culprits in your iPhoto library), but Gemini does make searching for and removing duplicate files and folders as elementary as drag, drop, and click.
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Thanks to its availability in the Mac App Store, it's easy to download Gemini and keep it current. The only catch is that you will need Mac OS X 10.7. If you bought your Mac in the past three years you have the goods, and even if you didn't, you may still have updated your desktop. Users with older Macs can double-check their specs via the About This Mac menu.
Using Gemini is easier than reading your horoscope. Once you've opened the application, you can either drag and drop a particular folder into the window or use the plus button to identify a folder or library. I began by asking Gemini to scan my entire Home folder, of which it made quick work. The entire process took less than a minute. In those sixty seconds, Gemini identified about half a gigabyte of duplicates from a hundred gigabytes of files.
Gemini visualizes its findings using a color-coded pie chart. Files are sorted by size, and you can click on any culprit to preview it or trace the location of it and its duplicate(s). You may tick the boxes of duplicates you wish to remove, or, alternatively, you can request that Gemini Auto Select duplicates.
In my experience, Auto Select only made selections about fifty percent of the time. When it did work, I often found myself unchecking its selections. (You can, however, tinker with the Auto Select preferences). I preferred making selections manually. It's time consuming—especially for larger hard drives—but it beats losing track of a file because Auto Select retained a copy in some obscure folder.
When it comes to deleting files, however, Gemini offers several safeguards. First, ticking a box doesn't delete a file; it's simply flagged. Once you've made your selections, you can click the Remove Selected button at the top of the window. This opens another pane that prompts you to review your selections before proceeding. If you're certain that you want to delete the file(s), click Remove one last time, and the file will be literally shredded in an endearing visual effect. Even then, the file is not permanently deleted until you empty your Trash.
Exclude Lists should prove a boon for anyone who uses cloud-based repositories such as DropBox or Google Drive. If you don't want to tamper with a networked file, folder, or extension, you can simply exclude it using Gemini's Exclude List pane (Preferences). Also in Preferences, you can request that Gemini automatically delete empty folders (a constant issue for me) or to concentrate on files of a certain size (say, one megabyte or larger).
Reading Gemini's Horoscope
My only real issue with Gemini was less that Gemini imperiled files, than that it overlooked them. Particularly in the case of my iPhoto Library, a sixty-gigabyte-cesspool of duplicates, Gemini flagged just four files (totally thirteen megabytes). I know for a fact that this isn't comprehensive. It isn't even representative. In fifteen minutes I manually identified several dozen duplicates. If you're frivolous with photos—a pre-existing condition for anyone with a smart phone—I recommend investing in a dedicated photo finder, such as PhotoSweeper.
Gemini Duplicate Finder
Gemini Duplicate Finder Mac
In addition, if you have a voluminous drive and you want more control over how you go about identifying duplicates, you might find that TidyUp is a more-rigorous utility, though it'll cost you $30. That said, for the money, Gemini is a bargain, and for casual users, it makes searching across libraries quick, easy, and visually appealing. Try the free 30-day demo.