Apple MacBook Air M2

Cliff Joseph/ZDNET

I recently realized that I have a lot of files that could be deleted from my MacBook Pro. The files in question were all .dmg installers that were no longer needed (as the applications were already installed).

I could go through the Downloads folder and select each of these files and delete them, but that’s hard work, especially when the folder is full of files you want to keep.

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I don’t always have time to manually search for files of the same type in a crowded folder. When that’s the case, I turn to Finder’s built-in search feature, which greatly simplifies the process of locating specific files.

How can you use this very handy feature? Fortunately, it’s very easy – once you know the trick. Let me enlighten you.

How to search for files of the same type in Finder

What you will need: To use this feature, you’ll need a MacOS device (such as a MacBook or iMac) with an updated version of MacOS. You should always keep your operating system up to date as much as possible to ensure you are protected from errors and vulnerabilities.

That’s all you need.

The first thing you need to do is open Finder, which you can do from the MacOS Dock. When you open Finder, you won’t see any clear indication of how to locate these files without using the old “stalk and click” method.

macOS Sonoma's Finder app.

There’s no obvious way to search the Finder without taking action.

Screenshot by Jack Whalen/ZDNET

With Finder open, navigate to the folder you want to search in, such as Downloads, and press Command+F. If you prefer to use menus, you can click the File entry in the menu bar and then click Search.

You should now see the Finder’s search options.

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Let’s say you want to locate the application’s installation files (those that end in .dmg). Make sure to select Type from the left drop-down menu. For the right dropdown menu, select Archive, and the full list of all .dmg files in your downloads will appear. The only caveat to this search is that by selecting Archive, you will also see .zip files included in the list.

Finder search feature.

As you can see, .dmg and .zip files are currently included in the search results.

Screenshot by Jack Whalen/ZDNET

To display only .dmg files, you’ll need to add another condition. To do this, click + under the first condition (Type + Archive). For this condition, select name And then ends with. Finally, type .dmg in the text field to the right ends with.

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At this point, only .dmg files will appear. If you want to delete these files, click in the results pane, click Command+A, two-finger tap (or right-click), and select Send to recycle bin.

Two search conditions have been added to the Finder feature.

You can add as many filters as you like to further narrow down your search terms.

Screenshot by Jack Whalen/ZDNET

And that’s all there is to deleting files of the same type at once in MacOS Finder. You can apply this to all file types, and even add date conditions to narrow your search further. This may not be the easiest task, but it is definitely more efficient than manually deleting files one by one.

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